The journey continued southward, climbing over high winds and mountains to reach fields of cattle spread out either side of us. We had booked a room in advance at Wangaratta, just 2 hours north of Melbourne. After spending a comfortable night at the motel, a short drive took us to Glenrowan, the place where the outlaw Ned Kelly was finally caught. It was easy to imagine the time of Kelly (late 19th century) as the buildings had remained the same; perfectly preserved for us tourists. We parked up across the road from the Post Office and looked upward, where a giant statue of Ned stood, in full Armour, holding a rifle, with a pistol in his pocket.
Photographs duly taken and a visit to the souvenir shop (where you can get t shirts, tea towels, fridge magnets, you name it; all with a link to Kelly and his gang), a short walk took us over the railway bridge and to the site of the siege, now part of Australian history. This was where the Kelly gang hid, in the back room of Anne Jones’ pub, whilst the police had them surrounded. The pub has long since gone; burnt down on that very night, and all that remains is a grassy overgrown lot. BUT there’s a boulder to mark the entrance to the pub, plus a plaque and a map of the pub layout. With some imagination, you can easily find yourself cowering in Anne’s pub whilst the police shots rang outside….We walked towards the now infamous railway crossing, where a police post marks the spot where a pistol was found…its all quite eerie, knowing the drama that occurred at that patch of grass
Kelly survived the siege, but was caught that same day and later hanged at Melbourne Old Gaol (November 1880; he was 25 years old). Today he is regarded as a cultural icon; some say he was a Robin Hood figure, whilst others see him as a ruffian and a murderer. Either way, more is written about him than any other Australian.
Next stop – Melbourne 🙂