'"I lost my own father at 12 yr. of age and know what it is to be raised on lies and silences my dear daughter you are presently too young to understand a word I write but this history is for you and will contain no single lie may I burn in Hell if I speak false."
'In TRUE HISTORY OF THE KELLY GANG, the legendary Ned Kelly speaks for himself, scribbling his narrative on errant scraps of paper in semi-literate but magically descriptive prose as he flees from the police. To his pursuers, Kelly is nothing but a monstrous criminal, a thief and a murderer. To his own people, the lowly class of ordinary Australians, the bushranger is a hero, defying the authority of the English to direct their lives. Indentured by his bootlegger mother to a famous horse thief (who was also her lover), Ned saw his first prison cell at 15 and by the age of 26 had become the most wanted man in the wild colony of Victoria, taking over whole towns and defying the law until he was finally captured and hanged. Here is a classic outlaw tale, made alive by the skill of a great novelist.' (From the publisher's website.)
'Outlaw Ned Kelly lived only 25 years, but it was enough to write his story into Australian legend. The subject of countless books, songs, and other lore, he has become a near-mythical figure in the mould of Jesse James or even Robin Hood. Adapting the Booker Prize–winning novel by Peter Carey, True History of the Kelly Gang stars George MacKay, Russell Crowe, Nicholas Hoult, Essie Davis, and Charlie Hunnam in a gloriously fictionalized tale of a true-life renegade.
'Kelly (MacKay) grows up in an already rebellious Irish immigrant family, regularly bristling against the outback justice imposed by local police. Over time, he falls under the influence of Harry Power (Crowe), a true bush-ranger with little regard for colonial authority over the wild territory where he operates. Each encounter with the law pushes Kelly further and further into a dedicated life of crime. Soon enough, he's gathered a gang around him to help with the horse thieving and shootouts, and many Australian settlers are applauding his exploits. It all builds to an epic final showdown.'
Source: Toronto International Film Festival.
Unit Suitable For
AC: Year 11 (English Unit 2)
19th-century Australia, Australian identity, English–Irish tensions and conflict, folklore, heroes, lawlessness, loyalty, Oppression and victimisation, policing and the law, rebellion, villains, violence
Critical and creative thinking, Ethical understanding, Information and communication technology, Intercultural understanding, Literacy
'The purchase of the documents relating to True History of the Kelly Gang (2000) by the State Library of Victoria amounts to a significant moment in his career. This collection, catalogued as “The Papers and Drafts of Peter Carey,” marks the convergence of canonicity, the literary market, and the materiality of the cultural artefact. This archive adds a new facet to Carey’s image as an Australian author in the public domain, creating a sense of the continuous relevance of Carey’s work to the canon of Australian literature. I demonstrate how the archive is built via the collective recognition of the economic and cultural capital of Carey’s manuscripts and paraphernalia. Through the case study of an agent in constructing the archive, I investigate the stakes invested in Carey’s ongoing dominant position in the Australian literary field into the twenty-first century. This chapter also examines the ways in which agents augment their volume of literary and economic capital through engaging with what I call Carey’s “archival capital.”' (Publication abstract)
'Exploring dislocation and longing, Sarah Krasnostein dives into Peter Carey's literary tour de force, True History of the Kelly Gang, in this latest offering from the stunning Writers on Writers essay series.
'Award-winning writer Sarah Krasnostein shines new light on the impossibly vulnerable Ned Kelly of Peter Carey's True History of the Kelly Gang. Carey, who moved from Australia to America, conjured Kelly after seeing Sidney Nolan's paintings of the bushranger at the Met. In this moving essay Krasnostein, who moved from America to Australia, interrogates notions of home, history, distance and identity in Peter Carey's Booker Prize-winning novel.
'In the Writers on Writers series, leading writers reflect on another Australian writer who has inspired and fascinated them. Provocative and crisp, these books start a fresh conversation between past and present, shed new light on the craft of writing, and introduce some intriguing and talented authors and their work.
'Published by Black Inc. in association with the University of Melbourne and State Library Victoria.' (Publication summary)
'In his 2006 thesis, “‘Staying Bush’ – A Study of Gay Men Living in Rural Areas”, author Edward Green described his subject as the “largely hidden and untold story of gay men living in rural areas”. That was a pivotal year for gay men living in the bush, with Australian television broadcasters platforming two of their stories. In the space of one 12-month period, this cohort went from “hidden and untold” to prime time. From as early as 1989, rural politician Bob Katter had been declaring that he would “walk to Bourke backwards if the poof population of North Queensland is any more than 0.001 per cent”. Analysing media and popular culture, this article explores the visibility and portrayal of rural gay men in Australia prior to and after 2006. In spite of Katter’s minuscule population estimates, the rural gay cohort continues to defy assumptions.' (Publication abstract)
'The imaginations of convicts in Australia became attuned to the pairing of opposites and this led to strange tensions in their way of representing things. On Norfolk Island the meanings of words were reversed, so that ‘good’ meant ‘bad’ and ‘ugly’ meant ‘beautiful’. This undermining of official meanings produced the argot called the ‘flash’ or ‘kiddy’ language of the colony. Designed at first to keep private sentiments from being inspected, it eventually supported a system of dissident actions called ‘cross-work’ or ‘cross doings’. One word loomed large amidst these inversions: ‘fakement’, meaning booty, forgery or deceit. The verb has more extensive meanings: rob, wound, shatter; ‘fake your slangs’ means break your shackles. It also meant performing a fiction and accepting the consequences of it.' (Publication abstract)