The Kelly Gang

Central to the events of Glenrowan are the Kelly Gang, a quartet of outlaws who are wanted for robbery and murder. Each member brings their own unique qualities to whatever they turn their hands to, but the undisputed leader is Ned Kelly. By 1880 the gang have been at large for over a year and the police seem no closer to catching them, but life on the run has brought the outlaws to breaking point and Ned is desperate for a new plan that will not only unite the gang again, but will also ensure that the police will no longer be a problem.

Ned Kelly

Leader of the gang

Ned is in his mid-twenties and has spent most of his life on the wrong side of the law. He is as brash, arrogant and self-serving as he is courageous and charismatic. When he sees how he has become a figurehead for many of the struggling selectors who feel unfairly targeted by police, he elects to live up to the role as their champion. Beneath his hard, outlaw exterior he desperately wants an ordinary life raising a family of his own, and is driven by a desire to procure justice for his mother who has been imprisoned for assaulting a policeman. The strain of outlaw life has worn him down and as he becomes more and more desperate he hatches an incredible plot to change his fate.

Joe Byrne

Beechworth bohemian

Joe is a young man driven by his whims and desires, and in desperate need of a leader to keep him focused and motivated. He grew up on the goldfields where he adopted many of his most notorious habits, such as vulgar language, smoking opium, drinking like a fish; and it is also where his mingling with the much-maligned Chinese enabled him to learn Cantonese. He’s a bilingual balladeer who finds his loyalty being stretched between his best friend, Aaron Sherritt, and his brother in arms, Ned Kelly. As times get harder he finds his resolve and his loyalty severely tested.

Steve Hart

Loyal larrikin

Steve Hart is a young man whose loyalty to his best mate, Dan Kelly, has cost him his liberty. He may seem like a bully while the gang are performing raids, but his bark is worse than his bite. Steve’s greatest ability beyond riding horses is guiding the gang through the Warby Ranges to keep two steps ahead of the police. He longs for the days when he was simply knocking about with the Greta Mob and showing off his riding ability and wishes he could turn his back on the gang, but he needs them as much as they need him.

Dan Kelly

Stuck in his brother’s shadow

Dan Kelly is still a teenager but he has a maturity and bearing beyond his years. Forever trying to break away from being Ned’s underling, Dan is consistently frustrated by his older brother’s domineering and bullying. If given the chance he could show the world just how capable he is. Dan’s desire is to leave the colony and make a fresh start with new identities, but as always it is a struggle to make Ned see sense.


The Kellys, the Glenrowan quadrilles as danced at the Brussels Ball of the Kelly Waterloo, by George McCrae [Source: NLA]