Author(s): Grantlee Kieza
The astonishing life of Ned Kelly's mother Ellen Kelly was born during the troubles in Ireland. When she arrived in Melbourne in 1841 aged nine, British convict ships were still dumping their unhappy cargo in what was then known as the colony of New South Wales. When she died at the age of 91 in 1923, having outlived seven of her 12 children, motor cars plied the highway near her bush home north of Melbourne, and Australia was a modern sovereign nation. The wife of a convict, Ellen, like so many Australian pioneering women, led a life of great hardship. She was a mother of seven when her husband died after months in a police lock-up, lived through famine and Australian drought, saw her babies die, listened through the prison wall while her eldest son was hanged and saw the charred remains of another of her children who'd died in a shoot-out with police. One son became Australia's most infamous (and ultimately popular) outlaw. Another became a highly decorated policeman, an honorary member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and a worldwide star on the rodeo circuit. By bestselling biographer Grantlee Kieza, MRS KELLY is the story of one of Australia's most notorious women, but it is also the story of so many of Australia's pioneering women, who knew only too well the hardships of pioneering life. More than that, it's the story of the making of Australia, from struggling colony and backwater to modern nation.