Jerilderie Letter, p. 42

A page from Ned Kelly's 8000-word letter to the press.

In this section of the letter, Ned portrays himself as a man of principle who wouldn't shoot anyone unless he had to. He wanted to communicate that he wasn't a simple villain, but rather someone forced into a life of crime as a result of social disadvantage and police prejudice.


Created 1879. Manuscript: letter.


Accession number: MS 13361


From the State Library of Victoria's Manuscript Collection.


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of my mates was near him after he was shot I put his cloak over him and left him as well as I could and were they my own brothers I could not have been more sorry for them this cannot be called wilful murder for I was compelled to shoot them, or lie down and let them shoot me it would not be wilful murder if they packed our remains in, shattered into a mass of animated gore to Mansfield, they would have got great praise and credit as well as promotion but I am reconed a horrid brute because I had not been cowardly enough to lie down for them under such trying circumstances and insults to my people certainly their wives and children are to be pitied but they must remember those men came into the bush with the intention

Ned Kelly's Jerilderie letter
The Jerilderie Letter