Wednesday, March 06, 2013
Ned Kelly Was No Hero
Ned Kelly has been made into a folk hero yet his exploits were very bad indeed. He killed policemen and believed he was hard done by and above the law. Like Jesse James in the US it is surprising how an evil person can be made larger than life. While there was possible police corruption affecting the lives of both, it was not a prime factor in their behavior.
From the start they had the belief in the their own superiority, that they could live above the law. Even today many strongly support the "heroism" of Ned Kelly. He was recently laid to rest in a Requiem mass. His skeleton, minus the head, were cremated. It has been 132 years since his execution.
There is something to be said about his fight against British rule in the colonies. Police control over the population was strong and brutal. Carrying the fight from Ireland to Australia is seen as a virtuous act. The problem is Ned Kelly was not really acting on this premise. He wanted to declare a region of Australia his own.
The authorities could not allow a break-away province and with the killing of police he was a "dead man walking". His gang was too small to fight the whole police force on its own. Despite his armour, twenty-eight police bullets struck his arms and legs. The sheer number of hits shows the ferocity of the final battle. He was captured and taken away.