Mrs Kelly by Grantlee Kieza

1. First lines. 2. Published 2017 Harper Collins Publishers 3. A photograph of Mrs Kelly and family group outside the Kelly homestead. Description: Shows group of people on the veranda of a small homestead L-R: Alice Kelly (King), Kate Kelly (seated), Grace Kelly with Faith, the Kelly cattle dog, Mrs Kelly (seated), Jack Kelly (King), Ellen Kelly (King) feeding a lamb from a bottle, Rev. William Gould (who had presided at Ellen’s marriage to George King in 1874). Photograph taken to celebrate Ellen Kelly’s release from prison in 1881. No copyright restrictions. Source: State Library of Victoria 4. Fields north of Ballymena by Rossographer [cc-by-sa/2.0] via geograph UK
Very detailed, but uneven. Mrs Kelly’s life after her son’s death (43 years), is only a small part of the book.

Ellen Quinn was born in Ireland in 1832. She migrated to Australia with her parents and married ex-convict John ‘Red’ Kelly in 1851. They had eight children, one of whom was Australian bushranger, Ned Kelly. After John died in 1866, the family moved north from Avenal and settled at Greta West. Ellen married George King in 1874, and had three children. Much of her time was spent trying to help her children stay out of jail. She herself was jailed in 1878, for allegedly assaulting a police officer. Her son Ned was hanged in 1880 while she was still serving her sentence. When Ellen was released from jail she returned to her home, where she continued to raise her children and grandchildren. She died in 1923.

“Now, having plunged Ellen into the worst crisis of her life Ned Dan and Joe gallop away from Greta into the blackness of the night.

In the early hours of 16th April 1878 they leave Ellen to face the full force of the law, with only her small children and poverty as company. The attempted murder of a police officer is a capital crime that carries the penalty of death by hanging.

Once again Ned Kelly’s propensity for violence has caused his family immeasurable grief.

Little Alice is now just three days old and Ellen is left holding the baby”

~Quotes from “Mrs Kelly” by Grantlee Kieza
  • Sydney Morning Herald: “This book, while shirking some of the conclusions that its own material suggests, makes a significant contribution to the popular Kelly story, widening its scope, and revealing some of the thicker, nastier details which have hitherto been largely confined to archives. This is no small achievement. It deserves to be read.”
  • Ned Kelly Unmasked: “This book differs from other books on the Kelly story because the focus is taken off Ned to enable a much wider field of view. What is revealed more clearly than anything Ive ever read before is how the Quinns, the Lloyds and the Kellys created such a chaotic maelstrom of criminality around Ellen and her family. There was an almost constant parade of drunken violence, of theft, of petty lawlessness and squabbling that Red and Ellen Kelly  struggled to separate themselves from, but inevitably got drawn into.” “Grantlee Kieza : you’ve written a terrific Kelly book. Well done Sir!”

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