We use cookies to enhance your experience on our website. By continuing to use our website, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Find out more

ISBN: 9780195519662

Published: 21 Sep 12

Availability: 76




purchase now

The Kelly Gang Unmasked

Ian MacFarlane

This controversial new book forensically examines the myths about the Kelly Gang and will ignite fierce debate about their undeserved ranking as national heroes today.

The book is entirely different to all earlier versions of the Kelly legend. It spells out the case against Ned and his gang carefully and in previously inaccessible detail. Seldom heard victims of the gang’s activities at last have their say.

The book examines hundreds of archival documents that fully expose the extent of the gang’s murderous campaign against Victoria police, five of whom were shot. Many new factors and insights are presented, and the recent invention of Ned's NE Victoria 'republic' is debunked. In the various arguments for hero status, many ‘facts' are cited or assumed – but are they truly facts? Or are they distortions (deliberate or accidental) that have twisted the Kelly story into today’s improbable legend?  

The mythology created by pro-Kelly writers is critically explored, unravelled, and often found wanting. The book identifies many ‘missing’ official documents for the first time. The Kelly Gang story is fragmentary and full of holes at best. The missing documents add baffling question marks.

A controversial and fresh take on an Australian icon

Re-examines the story of the Kelly Gang in fascinating detail and with many new insights

Many missing official documents have been identified for the first time

Problems with archival records
How this book is structured

1. 'I am bullet proof. You can't hurt me.'
2. Organised rural crime and terror
3. The killing ground at Stringybark Creek
4. Forensic science investigations
5. 'We shall all have to go to a bigger court than this.'
6. Victoria Police actions defended
7. The bitter aftertaste of the Kelly legend

Select bibliography




Ian MacFarlane

Ian MacFarlane is a former journalist, public relations consultant, radio broadcaster and musician. During twenty-one years at Public Record Office Victoria (Victoria's State Archives) he co-edited the Historical Records of Victoria series, a primary source documenting pioneer European settlement in Victoria. He later became familiar with the extensive archival records about the Ned Kelly Gang.

'A damning history... mesmerising in its detail.' - Lesley McDowell, UK Independent, March 2014

'Ian MacFarlane's assiduous research provides a valuable antidote to those who would unthinkingly sentimentalize violent men.' - Sir Clive Sinclair, Times Literary Supplement, December 2013

'... this work provides a fascinating insight into one of the great Australian sagas and sets many aspects of the story to rights.'
'I found it to be a compelling read and I highly recommend it.' - Retired Chief Inspector Ralph Stavely, The Police Association Victoria Journal, November 2012
To read the full review, click here.

'The author - amoung other qualifications a long-experienced archivist - lays out for us all the known sources for the Kelly story, locates them for us, and offers his cool judgement on their value and veracity. Any Australian seriously interested in Ned Kelly needs MacFarlane at his elbow.' - Peter Ryan, Quadrant, March 2013

'This is not a balanced book, nor is it meant to be; MacFarlane positions himself (several times) in the anti-Kelly camp, as if the title were not clue enough.' - Clive Sinclair, Times Literary Supplement, December 2013

'Close examination of his developmental history and subsequent criminal behaviour reveals that Kelly was a violent and vindictive man who demonstrated prominent psychopathic features including pathological lying, callous lack of empathy for others and a parasitic lifestyle.' - Russ Scott & Ian MacFarlane, Ned Kelly – Stock Thief, Bank Robber,
Murderer – Psychopath, Psychiatry, Psychology and Law
, July 2014