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Journey Through Ned Kelly Country

Journey Through Ned Kelly Country

Ned Kelly is one of the most celebrated and controversial characters in Australia’s history. He has been widely portrayed in art and poetry but Australians stand divided over whether Kelly was a victim of the system or another crazed bushman. However, Ned Kelly’s intriguing history continues to fascinate people around the globe, even more than a century since his execution.

Tourism Australia’s Regional Manager for New Zealand, Vito Anzelmi, believes New Zealanders have the opportunity to gain a unique insight into Kelly’s life by following The Ned Kelly Trail in Victoria, which passes through the towns where Kelly spent most of his short life.

"There are many colourful Australian figures in history, and Ned Kelly has become an icon of Australia’s uniquely rugged pioneer history throughout the world. The tales revolving around the Kelly Gang’s adventures still intrigue people and what better way to understand their history than to explore the region where the adventures took place," says Anzelmi.

Ned Kelly became the breadwinner of his family at the age of 12, after the death of his father. But young Kelly became angered by an incident between his sister and a police officer, leading to Kelly’s mother being jailed for three years. In retribution against the authorities, Kelly turned to a life of crime. His crimes became more and more daring and one raid resulted in the killing of three police officers, turning the Kelly Gang into Australia’s most wanted.

The adventures of Australia’s most famous bushman come to life on the Ned Kelly Trail, a 458km route through Victoria’s beautiful northeast region. The drive takes about six hours, so why not hire a car or a four-wheel-drive and immerse yourself in the culture of the Kelly Gang.

The trail begins north of Melbourne at the house where Kelly lived with his parents. The journey continues north through towns such as Avel, where Ned Kelly’s father is buried; Glenrowan, where the Kelly Gang made their last stand against the authorities; and Stringybark Creek, where the Kelly Tree stands, marking the Kelly Gang’s transition from petty thieves to Australia’s most wanted outlaws. The final destination, back in Melbourne, is The Old Melbourne Gaol where Ned Kelly was hanged.

For an even more enlightening experience, there are many other Ned Kelly tours in the State which delve deeper into the exploits of Australia’s most infamous colonial criminal while travelling through the towns and countryside of Kelly Country.

There are also many walks throughout this beautiful, scenic region, such as in the quaint town of Beechworth, where the trial of Kelly and his mother took place. It is the great way to learn about the Kellys and the Gold Rush era.
In the heart of Kelly Country is Benalla Art Gallery which houses the famous Sidney Nolan tapestry Glenrown, depicting the capture of the Kelly Gang. The gallery also has the painting by Albert Tucker of one of the gang members, dead and bound, left for the press to photograph. Situated by the lake on Bridge Street and in the picturesque grounds of the botanical gardens, the gallery offers an idyllic setting for lunch or coffee - and to muse about the life and times of one of Australia’s most notorious characters.

For a route map of the Ned Kelly Trail visit


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