Five or six weeks ago Ethan set out to write a report about Ned Kelly. Together we made a list of topics that his report should cover and realised that it was going to be quite the mammoth task to include it all. However, Ethan was reluctant to leave anything out. Using the technique we use I knew it was manageable, but would just take a bit of time to complete. And so he began.
First, he outlined a paragraph for each topic. As this is only the third time Ethan has embarked on such a large task I stayed nearby to guide him. Together we flicked through the books we had borrowed and Ethan noted the information. As the information is often found and noted out of order, once the paragraph was outlined, Ethan cut up the notes and glued them into a logical order. The outlining process took about two weeks.
Once the outlines for each paragraph were completed, Ethan then set to work on his drafts. Generally he completed two drafts a day, with no support. Working from an outline, draft writing is a breeze…with a bit of practise…of which he has had plenty.
I allowed Ethan to type his draft (which I’m sure the HEU will be horrified about) as the point of the task was composing and not handwriting. Allowing Ethan to type his draft also freed him to write just over 2300 words. If he had to handwrite the draft, I can guarantee it would have been short and succinct.
The final stage, after editing the drafts in a conference type approach, was the inclusion of the dress ups, that are a key feature of the IEW approach. Each day Ethan worked on adding two types of dress ups to each of the paragraphs and then I would read through his work and offer feedback.
It was agreed that school would finish for the year when this report was completed. Great motivation for small boys who just want to run and build forts all day…or read computer programming books as is the case for this small boy. One day before our scheduled end of school, Ethan completed his report, and our school year ended.
Ethan grinned from ear to ear when he saw his final printed copy. His Mummy was delighted too. This from a boy who has never been to school a day in his life. Yes, this is a proud Mummy moment.
I reckon this homeschooling thing might just work. Phew! Because I have been holding my breath and hoping it will. 🙂
Best pull up a chair if you plan on reading the report through to the end. I guarantee you’ll learn lots about Ned Kelly, Australia’s most famous bushranger.
By Ethan (aged 11)
Bushrangers were a type of Australian outlaw, whose hideouts were in the bush. Travelling roads was risky because a bushranger could jump out of the bush and rob you. Bushrangers were often first-rate bush men and horsemen. Because they hated authority, they were daring and defiant to the police. The first bushrangers were ex-convicts. Then a second type of bushranger was created, when the goldrush began. These bushrangers would typically rob you of your gold as you left the goldfields. On your way to the goldfields, they would steal your belongings. The final type was bushrangers that were Australian born poor farmers’ sons, who did not want to live the same poor life. That type started by stealing cattle to feed their hungry, starving families. The poor always helped the bushrangers but it was different for the rich, they hated bushrangers. Bushrangers lived a hazardous life because they often had a large reward for their capture. The most famous bushranger was Ned Kelly.
Edward Kelly, known as Ned Kelly, was born in June 1855 in Victoria. He was the eldest boy in the Kelly family. John ‘Red’ Kelly, who was known as Red because of his red hair, was transported from Ireland for stealing. Ellen Quinn was an Irish free settler, as her father came to Australia as a free man. They had eight children, five of them were girls and three of them were boys. The Kelly and Quinn family were poor and were often in trouble with the law. The police were suspicious because the Kellys were friendly with bushrangers. From a river, Ned saved a drowning boy, whose name was Richard Shelton. The grateful Shelton family was rich so they happily awarded Ned a green sash. Sadly, Red Kelly died when Ned was twelve, then Ned needed to work to earn money for his family.
Believing that every crime was committed by one of the Kellys, the police constantly harassed the family. Since one of Ned’s jobs was working with villainous Harry Power, a bushranger, he was getting his family an even worse reputation, but he was only holding Harry Power’s horse while Harry Power did the robbing. When Ned was 14 years old he was accused of possessing stolen property. The charges were later dropped because they didn’t have enough evidence. The first time he was convicted was when he was 15 for assaulting hawkers. He was put in jail for 5 months. A short time after being released, he was falsely charged with stealing a horse, however, he was in jail when it was stolen! He assumed the horse belonged to his friend. He was sentenced to three years hard labour and the real thief was only sentenced to half Ned’s time, which was unfair. When he was released he worked as a bullocky but the police still hounded him. Ned also worked as a gold miner, boxer, timber man and shearer. Then he became involved in cattle and horse stealing. The police now had a valid reason to harass him.
On the 15th April 1878 Constable Fitzpatrick traveled to the Kelly home, while Ned was not home. Fitzpatrick attempted to take Dan to jail for stealing a horse. When Fitzpatrick arrived back at the police station he did not have Dan, instead, he had a damaged helmet and an injured wrist. He claimed that Ned had shot him but Ned was not there and he also claimed that Dan had resisted arrest. Ned had not shot him it was Fitzpatrick that had shot himself. Ellen had also whacked him with a shovel and that is why he had a damaged helmet. Witnesses claimed that Fitzpatrick had rudely tried to kiss the beautiful Kate Kelly, Ned’s sister. Since Fitzpatrick was well known to be drunk, dishonest and untrustworthy, he would later be fired from the police force. Ellen Kelly, her neighbour and her son-in-law were charged. Ellen was given a three year hard labour sentence. Unfortunately, she had to take her two day old baby with her to prison, which wasn’t a nice place for a baby. The neighbour and son-in-law were given six years hard labour. It is believed that Ellen Kelly’s son-in-law was not at the Kelly home when Constable Fitzpatrick called to arrest Dan, instead it was Joe Byrnes.
Towards the bush, Ned and Dan bolted, after hearing what had happened. When they heard what had happened to Ellen Kelly, their mother, they were both exploding with anger. There was a £100 reward for their quick capture. The gang formed and the members were Ned, Dan, Steve Hart and Joe Byrne. Their hideout was located in the Wombat Ranges, which was a place that Ned and Dan were familiar with and the police would not easily be able to find them. Friends naturally helped the gang by giving them information, food and clothes, while the police received no information about the location of Ned and Dan!
The Kelly Gang were hiding in the Wombat Ranges for 6 months when on the 25th October, 1878 four police appeared and were less than 2 km from the Kelly Gang camp. The police were Sergeant Kennedy, Constables Lonigan, Scanlon and Mclntyre. The police were camped there to locate the bushrangers but it was not them who spotted the bushrangers first, it was the bushrangers who spotted them first. The police were spotted first because they shot a parrot, which Ned and his gang heard, and lit a fire to cook it and the bushrangers observed it. The Kelly Gang caught Lonigan and Mclntyre. Unfortunately for Lonigan, Ned shot him because he did not surrender like Mclntyre had. Arriving back to camp, Scanlon and Kennedy did not surrender so Ned shot them as well. Kennedy was only wounded so Ned sympathetically shot him again to speed up his painful death. Mclntyre escaped but was shot at. He spent a night hiding in a wombat hole! The reward was changed from £100 to £800 as they desperately wanted the Kelly Gang captured. The police notified the public that if any one helped the Kelly Gang they would be in jail for 15 years. Ned, who was furious at the police, said that he would attack all his enemies.
Two months after the Stringybark Creek incident, on the 10th November, the Kelly Gang robbed a bank in Euroa, Victoria. Taking 30 hostages, the Kelly Gang took over a house as their base. A farmer, they held hostage, was forced to write a cheque to trick the bank. The Kelly Gang put clever disguises on and cut the telegraph wire, as this would prevent news from escaping the town. Joe stayed at the homestead with the hostages, while the rest of the gang robbed the bank. They boldly stole £2000, which wasn’t as much as they had hoped. They also took 15 new hostages. The gang was never violent to their hostages. They ate with them and entertained them. After the Kelly Gang had left, a farmer left to tell the police what had happened. He didn’t leave until 11 pm. Since the Kelly Gang had done something illegal, the reward was raised once again to £4000. They also composed the Cameron letter during the robbery at Euroa.
A few months after Euroa, the Kelly Gang traveled to Jerilderie. They arrived there on Saturday, 8th February, 1879. It took three days to complete this next robbery. Cheekily their temporary base was the local police station and the new police base was a jail cell with a drunk. On Sunday, the gang dressed up as police and patrolled the town, since they didn’t want the town to think something had happened to the police. Through the town, they walked, noting the locations. They had their horses’ shoes replaced then took over a hotel. They held the town hostage. Ned and Joe moved on to the bank in police clothes. Angrily, Ned wrote a new letter called the Jerilderie letter, which told how the police were treating them badly. He wanted the letter to be published in the newspaper but it wasn’t published until 60 years later. The gang stole £2000 which was disappointing to the gang. The huge reward was raised again. Before they left the town they cut the telegraph wires to make sure news didn’t leave the town quickly.
Laying low, the Kelly Gang refrained from anything noticeable for 16 months. They carefully made armour out of ploughs, which they stole, for all the gang. Ned’s armour weighed over 40kg. Each piece of battle armour included a helmet, a breast plate, a back plate, a shoulder plate and a groin flap. Since the Kelly Gang were planning a large attack, the armour was designed to be bullet proof.
Urgently, the police needed information so they could stop the Kelly Gang. Victoria and New South Wales offered a reward to capture the Kelly Gang. The reward was £8000, which could tempt the poor into selling their secret information. Ned suspected Aaron Sherritt was giving information to the police. Aaron was a close friend to Joe Byrne and he knew the Kelly family. Nowadays people believe that Aaron Sherritt was giving false information to mislead the police. Dan and Joe visited Aaron on 26th June 1880. When Aaron opened the door Joe shoot Aaron, killing him, as they thought he had betrayed them. It is believed that four policemen, who may have been protecting Aaron or getting information from him, were hiding under the bed! Since the police were so afraid, they didn’t crawl out until the next day, allowing the Kelly Gang to escape once again.
While Ned and Steve traveled to the Glenrowan Inn, Dan and Joe proceeded to kill Dan’s friend, Aaron Sherritt. They understood that if they shot Aaron Sherritt, a train load of police would arrive. They planned to derail the train so they forced a railway worker to dig up the tracks, since they were unable to do it alone. All the people in Glenrowan were held hostage in the Glenrowan Inn. It was like a party – there was dancing, singing and drinking. The gang hoped they could take some police hostage. The gang had armed helpers in the hills waiting to join the battle. A teacher, who pretended to be friendly with the gang, seemed to be trustworthy so Ned agreed that he could head home with his sister and wife. Dropping his sister and wife off at his house, he quickly left to warn the train. He warned it with a bright candle and red scarf ruining the Kelly Gang’s plans.
By 2am the prisoners were asleep but not the Kelly Gang. Seventeen police disembarked the train and surrounded the inn. The gang dressed in their protective armour, since they didn’t want to be shot in fatal places. The gang then lined up on the veranda and started firing at the police. The police’s bullets just bounced off the gang. The police then started to carefully aim at arms and legs. All but Ned retreated back into the inn. The hostages were terrified. Ned had been shot in the arm and foot and was bleeding. He hurried into the bush to warn his supporters who were waiting for his signal. Ignoring the innocent inside the inn, the police continued to fire, killing some innocent. Reinforcements were sent and police numbers increased from 17 to more than 30. The woman and children were finally released. Out of the bush, Ned staggered from the mist, at 5 a.m., in his armour. He was firing to save his gang, who were still in the hotel under attack. He was shot down and captured. More prisoners were released at 10am. One prisoner reported that Joe had died because he bled to death from a shot in the leg. The police decided to burn the inn at 3pm. When the burning was almost over, a priest scampered in to retrieve Joe’s body. Dan and Steve killed them self before they were burned.
Ned Kelly was transported to Melbourne where he recovered from his injuries, then had a short unfair trial. He was sentenced by the same judge as his mother, who was still in jail. He was found guilty of murder and was sentenced to death by hanging. He declared to the judge, “I will see you there, where I go”. Two weeks later the judge died!! Ellen Kelly visited Ned before they hung her oldest son. At the Melbourne Jail, on 11th November 1880, Ned was sadly hung. His last words were commonly believed to be, “Such is life” but they were really, “Ah well I suppose it has come to this”. Scientists cut his head off to examine the bumps on his head that might be clues to his evil behaviour. Fortunately, the police were investigated for the bullying and unfair treatment of poor people so Ned Kelly was victorious, although he died before he saw his victory.
Ned Kelly is the best known Australian bushranger because people remember his daring acts and the injustice of the police. Clearly, he was a courageous hero to the poor and a villain to the rich. There is a saying nowadays, “to be as game as Ned”, which means to be as brave as Ned Kelly. You cannot question the brave spirit of Ned Kelly, the greatest bushranger in Australian history.