CRIME TWO: The Bushranger ‘Ned Kelly’ (Intermediate English Lesson)

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‘Edward Kelly’ or ‘Ned’ as he was known was an Australian bushranger, outlaw, gang leader and convicted police-murderer. One of the last bushrangers, he is known for wearing a suit of bulletproof armour during his final shootout with the police.

Note: New or interesting vocabulary are always set in  ‘BOLD’.


Ned  was born June 1855, in Beveridge, Victoria, Australia—died November 11, 1880, Melbourne. He was the most famous of the bushrangers in Australian rural outlaws of the 19th century.  CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL STORY ABOUT NED KELLY

VOCABULARY: bushranger, rural, outlaws.


In 1877 Kelly shot and injured a policeman who was trying to arrest his brother, Dan Kelly, for horse theft. The brothers fled to the bush, where two other men joined them to form the Kelly gang. The Kelly gang’s perpetration of a series of daring robberies in the Victoria–New South Wales borderland (1878–80) captured the imagination of the public. Some viewed Ned Kelly as a personification of the plight of workers set against large landowners in an economically depressed period.

VOCABULARY: shot, arrest,horse theft, fled, bush, perpetration, daring, robberies, borderland, captured, viewed, personification, plight, depressed.


In June 1880, after several police shootings and robberies, the gang took possession of Glenrowan township, where they were besieged by police. Kelly was wounded and captured in the ensuing fray; his fellow gang members were killed. Later that year he was taken to Melbourne jail, where he was hanged.

VOCABULARY: shootings, robberies, took, possession, township, besieged, wounded, captured, ensuing, fray, jain, hanged.


Bushrangers:  Any of the bandits of the Australian bush, or outback, who harassed the settlers, miners, and Aborigines of the frontier in the late 18th and 19th centuries and whose exploits figure prominently in Australian history and folklore. Acting individually or in small bands, these variants of the classical bandit or highwayman followed the usual pattern of robbery, rape, and murder. They specialized in robbing, or “bailing up,” stagecoaches, banks, and small settlements. From 1789, when John Caesar (called “Black Caesar”) took to the bush and probably became the first bushranger, until the 1850s, the bushrangers were almost exclusively escaped convicts. From the 1850s until their disappearance after 1880, most bushrangers were free settlers who had run afoul of the law. The last major bushranger—and also the most celebrated—was Ned Kelly (1855–80).

VOCABULARY: bushrangers, bush, outback, harassed, settlers, miners, aborigines, frontier, exploits, figure, prominently, folflore, variants, highwayman, rape, murder, bailing-up, stagecoaches, small settlements, exclusively, escaped, convicts, disappearance, run afoul.


While many bushrangers, such as John Lynch and Daniel “Mad” Morgan, were ruthless killers, the glorification of bushranging in Australian society stems in part from the actual deeds of certain figures: Matthew Brady and Edward “Teddy the Jew-boy” Davis, both transported convicts, were known for their humane treatment of their victims; Davis actually shared his booty with the poor. Both ended their career on the gallows, despite popular protestations for leniency. The cult of the bushranger is the source of such folk songs as “Bold Jack Donahoe” and “Wild Colonial Boy,” as well as the expression “as game as Ned Kelly.”

VOCABULARY: ruthless, killers, glorification, stems, deeds, jew-boy, Teddy, humane, protestations, leniency, cult, to be game.

LISTENING SECTION (Listen and watch the short video and answer the following questions below)


  1. When was Ned Kelly born and when did he die?
  2. Where was he born?
  3. How many brother and sisters did Ned have?
  4. What nationality were his parents?
  5. When he was sixteen years old how long did Ned go to prison for and what was the crime?
  6.  Name the members of the ‘Kelly Gang’
  7. In what country and state did these events happen?
  8. How heavy was Neds metal armour?
  9. How did Ned die?
  10. What part of Neds body was stolen from a museum?

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Can you think of a famous criminal in early history from your home country? Who were they and what were they famous for?

(To help you with this writing exercise here is an ebook you can download    AMAZON DOWNLOAD)


Use two forms of ‘direct speech’ in your text. Below are the conditions where you use direct speech with example sentences.

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