Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Ballad of Ned Kelly

Unknown (The Sandgroper)

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You've heard of Mirth and Music, the chestnut and the grey,
The gang that rode with Kelly, in ev'ry bold affray
The dark and daring Outlaw, who led his rebel ranks
To steal the squatters' cattle and robe the squatters' banks.

Kelly! Ned Kelly!

By Stringybark they sought him, he gunned troopers down
He galloped out of daybreak, to raid Euroa Town
His warlike band around hi,, their leather running free,
He swept across the border, and took Jerilderie.

He punished his betrayer, who broke the Kelly code,
To challenge up the troopers, he wrecked the iron road;
Against the foe, in armour, he strode his native land,
The Battle of Glenrowan, his great and fatal stand.

Amid the fire and fury, the troopers won the day,
The Kelly-men were broken, their leader brought to bay;
Beyond the pale of pardon, he kept a reckless pride,
Then choking on the gallows, the Armoured Outlaw died.

They tell the tale of Kelly, wherever deeds are known,
Of thunderbolt rebellion, the courage he had shown'
They tell of death and danger, the fate of mortal men
Then looming in the twilight, Ned Kelly rides again.

Another of the seemingly endless supply of Ned Kelly songs. No author's name is included on the single-sided sheet that includes this song. There is this footnote:

The sandgroper, 9B St. John's Court, Rivervale, WA.

Any assistance would be greatly appreciated (The "90 years" reference in the notes places the song around 1970).

The following notes are from the lyric sheet:

Game as Ned Kelly!

Of all Australia's song, why did Kelly's name become the widest known and a household word for courage? What was the true calibre of the man who won such a lasting renown?

Ned Kelly has been likened to the Scto, Sir William Wallace - of whom it was said, "he began as a brigand, but his final aim was Independence". Both men were hanged and decapitated. Wallace's head was stuck on London Bridge - and Kelly's kept on a government desk. Legend has it, that a document - proclaiming a Republic of the North East - was found on Kelly at Glenrowan.

Some say it was Ned Kelly's mortal enemy - Lonigan - who triggered the gunfight at Stringybark Creek; that like Ben Hall, Kelly's intention had been to strip the troopers of their uniforms and dignity and run them back to Mansfield; but the tumble of events brought tragedy. Nevertheless, violence was inevitable, for the Kelly edict was clear; The Outlaw must be obeyed! And he meant it.

At all events, Australia - the nation, has given Ned Kelly a justice that Victoria - the colony, denied him.

After 90 years, the verdict stands - no man was gamer!.

The illustration to this post is a contemporary newspaper illustration of Ned Kelly's trial (1880).

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