|The First Art Newspaper on the Net
||Established in 1996
|| Sunday, November 19, 2017
|Bullets bounced off Ned Kelly 'like hail', letter donated to the State Library of Victoria says|
A letter detailing a remarkable eyewitness account of Australian outlaw Ned Kelly's last stand, recounting bullets "sliding off him like hail" as though he was a "fiend". The dramatic retelling of the Kelly Gang's 1880 shootout with police in Glenrowan is contained in a letter from Scotsman Donald Sutherland to his family, donated to the State Library of Victoria where it has just gone on display. AFP PHOTO/HO/STATE LIBRARY OF VICTORIA.
By: Amy Coopes
SYDNEY (AFP).- Bullets bounced off Ned Kelly "like hail" as the Australian outlaw made his last stand, according to an eyewitness account that has surfaced more than 130 years after his capture.
The dramatic retelling of the Kelly Gang's 1880 shootout with police in the town of Glenrowan is contained in a letter from Scotsman Donald Sutherland to his family, donated to the State Library of Victoria where it has just gone on display.
Kelly is one of Australia's most enduring legends, celebrated as a folk hero and symbol of Irish-Australian rebellion against British colonial authorities, with his exploits depicted in art, literature and film.
According to Sutherland, a bank clerk in a town near Glenrowan who lived in fear of being robbed by the notorious band of bushrangers, Kelly and his men were "desperados who caused me so many dreams and sleepless nights".
The letter gives a detailed account of the infamous siege that ended the gang's reign of terror in colonial Australia.
"The police thought he was a fiend seeing their rifle bullets were sliding off him like hail," Sutherland wrote.
"They were firing into him at about 10 yards in the grim light of the morning without the slightest effect."
Protected by makeshift armour covering his head and chest which "alone weighed 97 pounds", Kelly reeled but did not relent until he was shot in parts of his body not protected by his home-made metal outfit, Sutherland wrote.
"The force of the rifle bullets made him stagger when hit, but it was only when they got him on the legs and arms that he reluctantly fell exclaiming as he did so, 'I am done. I am done'," Sutherland wrote.
"Ned does not at all look like a murderer and bushranger," he added. "He is a very powerful man aged about 27, black hair and beard with a soft, mild-looking face and eyes, his mouth being the only wicked portion of the face.
"Poor Ned, I was really sorry for him. To see him lying pierced by bullets and still showing no signs of pain."
Kelly's sisters surrounded him, "crying in a mournful strain at the state of one who, but the night before, was the terror of the whole colony," added Sutherland.
"The Kellys are annihilated. The gang is completely destroyed," he wrote.
He enclosed with the letter a lock of hair from the tail of Kelly's horse "who followed him all around the trees during the firing. He said he wouldn't care for himself if he thought his mare safe."
Victoria's state librarian Sue Roberts said she was delighted that Sutherland's family chose the institution to look after the document.
"This letter is a very personal account of events that have become part of Australia's folklore," she said.
Kelly was the only one of his gang to survive the shootout at Glenrowan due to his homemade suit and helmet of plate metal armour. He was hanged at the Old Melbourne Gaol later that same year.
The Kelly Gang had been officially outlawed after the deaths of three policemen at a gunfight at Stringybark Creek in 1878, and at the time of the siege they could be shot on sight by anyone.
Today, paintings by renowned Australian artist Sidney Nolan depicting Ned Kelly are among the most popular exhibits in the National Gallery of Australia, while Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger immortalised the bandit in the 1970 film "Ned Kelly".
Kelly's remains were finally buried beside those of his mother in the rural cemetery at Greta, near to Glenrowan, earlier this year, after being retrieved from a mass burial pit at the gaol and identified through DNA testing. His skull has never been found.
© 1994-2013 Agence France-Presse
October 10, 2013
Exhibition of paintings by Lucian Freud opens at Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna
Geeorge Washington's original Thanksgiving proclamation to be sold at Christie's
Bullets bounced off Ned Kelly 'like hail', letter donated to the State Library of Victoria says
Hidden sea discovered in portrait reveals Walter Ralegh's secret desire for Elizabeth I
Albanian police seize over 1,000 stolen pieces of art; Two people were arrested
Ring which sealed the love between Pre-Raphaelites Holman Hunt and Millais for sale at Bonhams
Marian Goodman Gallery Golden Square, London to launch October 2014 in former factory warehouse
European Journal of Human Genetics: Science robs French King Henri IV of his head
Julien's Auctions to offer rare medical files of Marilyn Monroe at Icons and Idols Hollywood Auction
Christie's to offer works from the Estate of David Bomberg sold to benefit Hadassah
A rare work by the great Lin Fengmian to be offered at Koller Zurich sale of Asian art
Brazilian gold ingot brings $199,750 to lead World & Ancient Coins Sale at Heritage Auctions
A Cry for Freedom: Exhibition of works by Martin Kippenberger opens at the Museum of Cycladic Art, Athens
Leica Digital Rangefinder Camera designed by Jony Ive and Marc Newson joins (RED) Auction at Sotheby's
Exhibition of classic and lesser-known works demonstrate intellectual and emotive power of animation
One hundred years after founding, Memorial Art Gallery explores how memory shapes identity
Baltimore Museum of Art opens new Front Room & Black Box Contemporary exhibitions
$377,000 helmet tops Bonhams Arts of the Samurai Auction in New York
Pointer painting to cause a 'sensation' at Bonhams New York
Norman Rockwell's classic Song Of Bernadette headlines illustration art event at Heritage Auctions
Most Popular Last Seven Days
1.- Grasshopper found embedded in van Gogh masterpiece at Nelson-Atkins
2.- Scientists discover a mysterious, plane-sized 'void' in Great Pyramid in Egypt
3.- The largest collection of Viking artifacts on display in North America comes to the Royal Ontario Museum
4.- Rafael Soriano opens at Frost Art Museum FIU: Kicks off Miami's Art Basel season
5.- Cleveland Museum of Art releases new strategic plan
6.- Exhibition tells the story of the artists who fled to Britain to escape war in France
7.- Zahi Hawass criticises pyramid void 'discovery'
8.- French court to rule on Nazi-looted Pissarro painting
9.- Clark Art Institute exhibition studies less-explored aspects of Impressionist works
10.- Exhibitions in Germany and Switzerland present works from the Gurlitt Estate
Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .
|Royalville Communications, Inc|
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.