31 May 2007

Poor Ned, You're Better Off Dead

I loved the Redgum song about Ned Kelly when I was a teenager, Poor Ned. Today I have been immersed in the legend of Ned Kelly.

First stop was to the State Museum in Melbourne to see their Ned Kelly exhibit and to participate in some art activities. The State Library of Victoria has the Jerilderie Letter online. They have the real thing at the library as well as the armour. My students completed an art activity making the armour in a well prepared session. I learnt today the letter was not published until the 60's as it was held by the government. When I say letter I would like to add this was an 8000 word document and was dictated to Joe Byrne (one of the Kelly gang) by Ned Kelly.

From there it was off to the Arts Centre to watch a performance called 'The Legend of Ned Kelly'. This performance was inspired by the Sidney Nolan Paintings and these paintings were featured in the performance. The performance was a mixture of puppetry and video and light. Some of the effects were quite impressive.

It was not mentioned today but I think it is interesting that 'The Story of Ned Kelly' was probably the worlds first full-length feature film. There have been many books and films made about the legend of Ned Kelly, the notorious Australian Bushranger. There was much discussion between teachers and students as to whether he was a hero or a villian. I was interested to note that many students saw him as neither, but rather a victim of circumstance. The Irish in my ancestry makes me want to believe he was a hero, yet I think the students were right.

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