On this day: A Policeman as a Bushranger

PolicemanWearingKellyArmourPhotograph taken on 5 July 1880 of a policeman equipped with Byrne's helmet and Ned Kelly's rifle and skull cap. Bushranger.

5th July 1880: one week after the Kelly Gang siege at Glenrowan, an Australian policeman poses with the equipment of two of the bushrangers (highwaymen) killed. The helmet belonged to Joe Byrne, and the rifle and skullcap belonged to gang leader Ned Kelly.

The Landowner's Secret by Sonya Heaney blog-sized

The Glenrowan siege came at the end of the bushranger era, as improved communication technology and the arrival of the railway made it harder for bushrangers to operate. My book The Landowner’s Secret takes place around this time.

On this day: A Bushranger in Glenrowan

For a fairly morbid post: here is an image of a member of Australian bushranger (highwayman) Ned Kelly’s gang being photographed on the 29th of June, 1880.

This is Joe Byrne, who was killed the day before in the infamous siege in Glenrowan, in the colony of Victoria.

Source: the National Museum of Australia, Canberra.

Byrne_480w Joe Byrne’s body being photographed after the siege at Glenrowan, 29 June 1880. Ned Kelly Australian Bushranger.

The image is recognised as the first press photograph in Australian history.

Byrne was twenty-three when he died.

Joseph Byrne 21 November 1856–28 June 1880 was an Australian bushranger born in Victoria to an Irish immigrant. A friend of Ned Kelly he was a member of the Kelly Gang who were declared outlaws the murder of three police

Bushrangers terrorised the Australian colonies for much of the nineteenth century, but Glenrowan was something of a turning point. The improvements in communication technology and the arrival of the railway meant bushrangers found it harder to commit their crimes.

The Landowner's Secret by Sonya Heaney blog-sized

My book The Landowner’s Secret takes place shortly after these events, and deals with the threat of bushrangers.

On this day: Ned Kelly’s execution

Ned Kelly the day before his execution 10th November 1880

Ned Kelly photographed – at his request – the day before his execution.

Notorious Australian bushranger (outlaw), Ned Kelly, was executed at Melbourne Gaol on the 11th of November, 1880. He was twenty-five at the time.

A divisive figure, some saw him as a type of Irish-Australian Robin Hood, while others condemned him for his actions.

Ned Kelly, aged fifteen, photographed in 1871 at Kyneton, Victoria.

Police mug shot of Kelly at fifteen.

While Kelly was convicted of or suspected of committing many crimes over his life, the one that finally led to his hanging was the wilful murder of Constable Lonigan at the infamous shootout at Glenrowan in late of June the same year.

Shows the burnt remains of the Jones's Hotel, the scene of the final confrontation between Ned Kelly and the Victorian Police. A sign still stands The Glenrowan Inn, Ann Jones, best accommodation. 1880.

The burnt remains of the hotel in Glenrowan, shortly after the Kelly Gang’s last stand.

All the other members of the Kelly Gang were killed during the shootout.

Nine people were killed during the Kelly Outbreak, and seven injured, including Kelly himself.

Old-Melbourne-Gaol-in 1861

Melbourne Gaol in 1861. Source.

Kelly’s last words were allegedly, and famously: Such is life.