I seem to be having a very Ned Kelly year, starting off with my daughters First Fleet assignment, in which Red Kelly, Ned's father, was the first Irish convict to be transported to the new colony. That was followed up with the musical Ned, in the fitting setting of the old Bendigo Gaol, which has been converted into the new Ulumbarra Theatre.
~130 years since the man was hanged for his crimes, his legend still lives on. The original Aussie Battler, trying hard to survive the harsh Victorian countryside, when everything was against him, his heritage, his upbringing, even his name. I don't know what it is with us Aussies, but we love a good underdog story, someone sticking it to the man, when most would have long given up. Ned Kelly seems to be the epitome of this.
Carey created a wonderful, well researched, flowing narrative. It was easy to imagine Kelly sitting down, writing out these letters, reliving his life in paper, in an open letter to his daughter. It was not hard to picture the beautiful yet dangerous countryside that the Kelly's and their various cronies roamed around, this is my home after all.
I am in awe of the distances they traveled on horseback. These trips take hours in a car on a freeway, though we don't have the joy of following ridges and dry creek beds. As much as I romanticise about travelling on horseback around this beautiful state, I can't imagine the conditions they must have deal with spending days travelling from one hideout to another, let alone in the heat of our Summer, the chill of our winter, during a bushfire, or when there's torrential rain and flash flooding.
I would recommend this to anyone who loves history, to every Victorian and to anyone who loves a good underdog story.