. He is considered by some to be merely a cold-blooded cop killer
— others, however, consider him to be a folk hero
and symbol of Irish Australian resistance against the Anglo-Australian ruling class
Kelly was born in Victoria
to an Irish convict
father, and as a young man he clashed with the Victoria Police
. Following an incident at his home in 1878, police parties searched for him in the bush.
I have seen as many as eleven, big & ugly enough to lift Mount Macedon out of a crab hole more like the species of a baboon or Guerilla than a man.
but I am a widows son outlawed and my orders must be obeyed.
... Perhaps not from what you now conceive, but if you had heard me examine the witnesses it would have been different.
... my mind is as easy as the mind of any man in this world, as I am prepared to show before God and man.
More men than I have put men to death, but I am the last man in the world that would take a man's life. Two years ago — even if my own life was at stake — and I am confident, if I thought a man would shoot me — I would give him a chance of keeping his life, and would part with my own; but if I knew that through him innocent persons' lives were at stake, I certainly would have to shoot him if he forced me to do so; but I would want to know that he was really going to take my innocent life.
I dare say; but a day will come, at a bigger Court than this, when we shall see which is right and which is wrong. No matter how long a man lives he is bound to come to judgement somewhere, and as well here as anywhere. It will be different the next time there is a Kelly trial; for they are not all killed. It would have been good for the Crown had I examined the witnesses, and I would have stopped a lot of the reward, I can assure you, and I don't know but I won't do it yet if allowed.
That is how the evidence came out here. It appeared that I deliberately took up arms, of my own accord, and induced the other three to join me, for the purpose of doing nothing but shooting down the police ...