Mrs Kelly

Mrs Kelly 4

The Astonishing Life of Ned Kelly's Mother

by Grantlee Kieza

Hardback Publication Date: 20/02/2017

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RRP  $39.99 $31.25

While we know much about the iconic outlaw Ned Kelly, his mother Ellen Kelly has been largely overlooked by Australian writers and historians until now, with this vivid and compelling portrait by Grantlee Kieza, one of Australia's most popular biographers.

When Ned Kelly's mother, Ellen, 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.

By the time she died aged ninety-one in 1923, having outlived seven of her twelve children, motor cars plied the highway near her bush home north of Melbourne, and Australia was a modern, sovereign nation.

Like so many pioneering women, Ellen, the wife of a convict, led a life of great hardship. Born in Ireland during a time of entrenched poverty and sectarian violence, she was a mother of seven when her husband died after months in a police lock-up. She lived through famine and drought, watched 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 most celebrated) outlaw; another became a highly decorated policeman, an honorary member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and a worldwide star on the rodeo circuit. Through it all, 'the notorious Mrs Kelly', as she was dubbed by Victoria's Assistant Police Commissioner, survived as best she could, like so many pioneering women of the time.

By bestselling biographer Grantlee Kieza, Mrs Kelly is the astonishing story of one of Australia's most notorious women and her wild family, but it's also the story of the making of Australia, from struggling colony and backwater to modern nation.

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HarperCollins Publishers
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Grantlee Kieza

Award-winning journalist Grantlee Kieza has held senior editorial positions at The Daily Telegraph, The Sunday Telegraph and The Courier-Mail.

He is a Walkley Award finalist and the author of twelve acclaimed books, including the recent bestsellers Bert Hinkler: The Most Daring Man in the World, Sons of the Southern Cross and Monash.

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  • A revelation

    by on

    Warts and all, and there are plenty of warts. The whole Kelly saga laid bare. Tough times and tough, dangerous people. Glad I'm living now and not then. The Kellys were `a criminal brood' but it's hard not to feel sympathy for Old Mrs Kelly who suffered for her sons' crimes.

  • A Wonderful story - very enjoyable

    by on

    What a great read.

  • Outstanding

    by on

    I've read a lot of Ned Kelly books and this is the best so far. Hard hitting, the Kellys are shown as dangerous people but old Mrs kelly comes through everything that life throws at her. Truly an astonishing life.

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