On the left is Mal Kelly, roofer of Raymond Terrace. On the right is Ned Kelly, bushranger formerly of Beveridge in Victoria.
Mal, 28, is Ned’s distant relative. A great, great nephew – something like that.
Mayfield’s Matt Lowe works with Mal. The pair are doing a roofing job at a Catholic church in Newcastle.
“He’s a spitting image. It’s deadset like Ned’s been reborn from a bushranger to a roofer,” Matt told Topics.
Mal said he grew up at Wallsend.
“My great great grandfather was Ned’s brother or uncle,” he said.
Before we saw his picture, we asked Mal if it was true. Does he really look like Ned?
“Yeah dead ringer,” Mal replied.
What’s it like to look like Ned and be related to him?
“I’ve never really talked about it much. If someone hears my last name and asks if I’m related to Ned Kelly, I just say yeah,” he said.
“Most of the time, people just laugh it off.”
Is he anything like Ned Kelly?
Mal chuckled, saying “No, probably the complete opposite”.
Ever been in trouble with the law? “No, never,” he said.
Glad to hear it, Mal.
Mal, like many Aussies, is interested in the story of Ned Kelly, but had “never really done much digging into it”.
“Some people say he was a bad person, some people say he was like Robin Hood. I’d like to think more Robin Hood, who took from the rich and gave to the poor.”
The records show Ned Kelly was a horse thief, armed robber, bank robber, gang member and cop killer. But he was also considered a courageous but flawed hero, who fought for justice and liberty, railing against authority and the establishment, holding the powerful to account and fighting against discrimination and persecution of poor Irish settlers.
Kelly was hanged on November 11, 1880, at Melbourne Gaol. He was 25.
The outlaw himself and his famous armour have been embedded in Aussie culture through countless books, songs, paintings, movies and websites.
Ned Kelly and the Kelly Gang were immortalised in Australian history. Come to think of it, Ned is quite possibly the most famous person in our history. But what about Captain Cook, Julia Gillard, Don Bradman, Betty Cuthbert, Ian Thorpe, Eddie Mabo, Kylie Minogue, Michael Hutchence, Olivia Newton John, John Farnham, Nicole Kidman, Robert Menzies, Gough Whitlam, Paul Hogan, Andrew Johns, Colleen McCullough, Rupert Murdoch, Greg Norman, Cate Blanchett, Phar Lap, Skippy and Steve Irwin? Hmmm, for the purposes of this story, we’ll stick with Ned Kelly.
Journalist Martin Flanagan said Ned Kelly was “like a bush fire on the horizon casting its red glow into the night”.
Weapons Not Allowed
Herald journo Brodie “Brodester” Owen was strolling along Honeysuckle, whistling to himself and thinking happy thoughts when he came across a Hunter Development Corporation “Prohibited Area” sign.
“No unauthorised carriage of weapons or firearms,” the sign asserted.
Brodie said the sign was at a blocked-off area between the harbour and Throsby car park.
“My theory is it's a sign for fishermen who may bring knives there, but the way it was worded anyone would think the humble fishermen were using bazookas to blow the hairtail out of the harbour!,” Brodie said.
“Is it your birthday this week?” The Lass O'Gowrie Hotel posted on Facebook.
“Come get your birthday gift.”
The gift? A $30 bar tab for “you to spend on yourself or your friends”.