- Gift Vouchers
SUCH IS LIFE
Fashioned from plough parts, heated in an improvised forge and beaten into shape over a green log, the primitive armour worn by Ned Kelly (1855–1880) and his gang at the siege of Glenrowan is as familiar today as the bushrangers’ exploits. The original armour was effective. The helmet alone stopped at least two bullets, thus saving Ned’s life. At trial, Ned claimed that he and his gang manufactured the armour for themselves; however, there was not a blacksmith amongst the gang so his statement was (at best) highly unlikely. Although the idea for bullet-proof armour was definitely Ned’s, he probably took credit for its manufacture to cover for the true maker, who would have faced prosecution for aiding the gang. Consequently, a certain degree of mystery surrounds the helmet. We will never know who made it and where it really came from. The two-day siege at Glenrowan, Victoria, in June 1880, began after Joe Byrne murdered Aaron Sherritt, a police informer, and the gang (Ned Kelly, his brother Dan, Byrne, and Steve Hart) then took the townsfolk hostage in a local hotel. Byrne was killed in the ensuing gunfight with the police, the bodies of Dan Kelly and Hart were later found in the ruins of the burned-out hotel. Ned Kelly was captured during an open shoot-out—his famous last stand. Kelly was sent to trial, found guilty and hanged. But even before his execution there were signs of the development of a folk hero: a massive public petition asked for a reprieve. His last words before the gallows were “such is life”.
Attention to detail…. The original helmet has two bullet strike indentations left over from Ned’s last gun battle – the most likely culprit being the .45 cal Martini-Henry as used by the Victorian Police. These dents not only stand as tribute to Ned’s bravery, but also to the marksmanship of the Victorian police, who evidently scored two head shots on a distant moving target in conditions of near darkness. Both of these dents are faithfully reproduced, as are one regular circular hole and a part of a circular hole below eye slot (on the bevor). These holes belonged to the original plough share from which the helmet was made. They are the bolt holes which would have attached the plough share to its wooden frame. The smaller pairs of holes at the top of the helmet (also reproduced) were probably made to facilitate a lid or (some would contend) by the blacksmith to keep the helmet in place during its manufacture.
Stand not included.
FREE POSTAGE FOR AUSTRALIA (NEW ZEALAND & JAPAN).