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Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell
3 July 2005
The site of Ned Kelly's last stand, at Glenrowan in northern Victoria, has been added to the Australian Government's National Heritage List, the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, announced today.
"Ned Kelly has become a part of the Australian story -both as one of our best-known historical figures and also as a mythological character - to some a bushranger, some see him as a larrikin and some a hero," Senator Campbell said.
"The 8ha Glenrowan siege site being listed today played a defining role in both the story and the myth of Ned Kelly.
"This is where the Kelly Gang, after being hunted by the law for almost two years, laid siege to this small rural town and finally confronted the Victorian police on 28 June 1880. The ensuing battle between gang members in heavy armour made from ploughshares, and the Victorian police, led to the ultimate deaths of all four gang members.
"Three were killed that day and Ned Kelly was wounded, captured and hanged five months later (on 11 November 1880) in the old Melbourne Gaol for the murder of three policemen at Stringybark Creek, north of Mansfield, two years earlier. More than 125 years later, we are all familiar with the figure of a faceless bushranger in heavy blackened armour. This is an image that has haunted and inspired many of the nation's greatest talents to express his story through art, literature, film, music and other forms of popular culture.
"That is why the Glenrowan site is of outstanding national significance.
"One of Australia's great artists, Sidney Nolan, created his celebrated Ned Kelly series of paintings with square-headed bushranger figures in a stark Australian landscape. Nolan described the truly Australian essence of the Kelly tale when he said that it was 'a story arising out of the bush and ending in the bush'.
"What is believed to be the world's first feature film, The Story of the Kelly Gang, which was made in 1906, was one of many which have been centred on the bushranger. Numerous actors have played Ned Kelly including Heath Ledger, Mick Jagger, Yahoo Serious and John Jarrett.
"Fiction writers immortalising the bushranger include Robert Drewe, Jean Bedford, and Peter Carey who won a Booker Prize for his novel, The True History of the Kelly Gang. Kelly has also been celebrated in song by musicians such as John English, John Williamson, Kris Kristofferson, Waylon Jennings, Midnight Oil and Redgum.
"In trying to project the essence of what it means to be Australian, the opening ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Olympics featured a myriad of Ned Kellys.
"The National Heritage listing of the Glenrowan Heritage Precinct, which includes the key sites of the final Kelly conflict, will ensure that this symbolic place in Australian folklore is protected for the future."
For more information visit: http://www.deh.gov.au/heritage/national/index.html
Renae Stoikos 02 6277 7640 or 0418 568 434