Today I’m sharing a little bit of Australia with you in the form of this letterbox sculpture in Tapanui (Otago, New Zealand). We walked past it the other day and Nigel referred to it as ‘Ned Kelly’. Now, I know the name ‘Ned Kelly’ from a saying I’ve long been familiar with where one person might say of another that he “has the cheek of Ned Kelly”. But I knew nothing about the character. I’ve since found out that he was an Australian bushranger and outlaw who had a rather tragic life, a few run-ins with the authorities and eventually was captured and hung. Life was harsh and he was probably treated very unfairly; when he was young he’d saved a boy from drowning. When captured, he was wearing a suit of armour made of steel from plough shares. When I found photos of this armour, I realised that Nigel was absolutely right and that this sculpture is indeed Ned Kelly in his armour.
Here are photos of Ned Kelly’s armour from the State Library of Victoria, Australia.
Short introduction to Ned Kelly from Culture Victoria
Biography of Ned Kelly from the Australian Dictionary of Biography
Very comprehensive information available at Ned Kelly: Australian Iron Outlaw
Ned Kelly’s father was transported from Ireland, an ex-convict who’d served seven years for stealing two pigs. I’ve previously reviewed The Tin Ticket a book about the experiences of women who were transported to Australia as convicts from the UK. Its a real eye-opener into the attitudes and corruption in society at that time.
Text and Photos by Liz; Exploring Colour (2018)