True History of the Kelly Gang

Peter Carey

2001

True History of the Kelly Gang is the song of Australia, and it sings its protest in Ned Kelly’s voice. Carey gives us Ned Kelly as orphan, Oedipus, horse thief, farmer, bushranger, reformer, bank-robber, police-killer and finally, his country’s beloved Robin Hood. By the time of his hanging in 1880 a whole country would seem to agree that he was ‘the best bloody man that has ever been in Benalla’. Carey skillfully makes art from his country’s great story and helps us all to understand the measure of that ‘best bloody man’.