Mrs Kelly and two granddaughters
Mrs Kelly and two grand daughters (1911)
Ellen Kelly (mother of the bushranger Ned Kelly) photographed in 1911 with two of her grand-daughters, Lil and Alice Knight, daughters of Ellen junior. The hard years have left their mark but she is still a forceful, resilient woman at seventy-nine.
Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria.
State Library of Victoria
Ellen Kelly had married 'Red' Kelly in 1850. Red was an ex-convict transported from Ireland ostensibly for stealing two pigs. He had settled in country Victoria, prospecting for gold. Later he purchased a small farm but was forced to sell because of debts. The bushranger Ned Kelly was the second of Ellen's eight children. Ellen had little education and was unable to write. Life was not easy. After Red died she ran a sly grog shop as a means of earning some money.
Ellen was in the female section of the Old Melbourne Gaol when Ned was hanged on 11 November 1880.
She had been convicted of assaulting Constable Fitzpatrick when he had visited her home and harassed her daughter Kate. Ellen was sentenced in the Beechworth Court to three years in gaol for supposedly hitting the constable on the head with a shovel. Even by the standards of the day this was a harsh punishment, made even crueller by the decree that she was not allowed to take the normal course of having her four-month-old baby in prison with her. Her punishment was meant to be a warning to the Kellys and their relatives.
As it transpired, Ned was captured and sentenced to hang while his mother was still serving her sentence. Permitted to visit him before his execution, she told him: 'Die brave, die like a Kelly'.
Further details can be found at the State Library of Victoria's Ergo site.