[Editor: This book review, of The Inner History of the Kelly Gang (by James Jerome Kenneally), was published in The ABC Weekly (Sydney, NSW) 1 February 1947.]
Kelly, slang for courage
The Inner History of the Kelly Gang, by J. J. Kenneally (J. Roy Stevens, Melbourne), 316 pp.
“Game as Ned Kelly” is still the highest compliment many Australians can pay another Australian, proof that notorious Ned Kelly is still enshrined in the hearts of many as the epitome of courage.
Mr. J. J. Kenneally (who disarms much criticism by explaining that he is a friend of the Kelly family) brings no new evidence in his Inner History, but he does bring out damning evidence against the police given at the subsequent Commission inquiry.
He shows that the Kellys had a raw deal from the start. Then the arrest of their mother so infuriated her sons Ned and Dan that they vowed to make the pace so hot the authorities would be forced to release her from prison.
They did not succeed. But there seems no ground for the belief that the Kellys and their companions, Joe Byrne and Steve Hart, were indiscriminate killers.
The final drama in the hotel at Glenrowan on June 28, 1880, is vividly described by Mr. Kenneally. The police completely lost their heads when they knew that the outlaws were trapped in the local hotel.
Finally, it was Dean Mathew Gibney (later Bishop Gibney, of W.A.) who, unarmed and alone, braved sudden death to enter the burning hotel.
Whatever you think of the Kellys, read this book. Then ask yourself whether (though misguided) the Kellys were not fighting for liberty denied them long before they became murderers.
And, after all, is not Liberty in the forefront of the Atlantic Charter?
The ABC Weekly (Sydney, NSW) 1 February 1947, p. 23
Atlantic Charter = a joint British-American declaration issued on 14 August 1941 (during the Second World War) by Winston Churchill (Prime Minister of the UK) and Franklin D. Roosevelt (President of the USA); the charter was a demonstration of the USA’s support for Britain (which was significant, as the US had not entered the war at that stage), and it laid out guiding principles for the conduct of both nations in the future, as well as some principles for when the war had ended, including national self-determination, liberalisation of international trade, post-war disarmament, and opposition to expansionism
See: 1) “The Atlantic Charter”, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, 2 July 2018
2) “The Atlantic Conference & Charter, 1941”, Office of the Historian, Foreign Service Institute, United States Department of State
3) “Atlantic Charter”, Wikipedia