Guest Blogger #3 (Again): Melita Rowston on Ned Kelly’s Bones
Nora Moloney ran a pub in Wangaratta, Victoria in the 1870’s. She kept a shotgun under the bar and thought Ned Kelly was ‘scum of the earth.’ So the family story goes… And apparently Ned Kelly, Australia’s greatest bushranger of all time, was scared of her.
Nora was my mum’s great, great grandmother.
Malcolm Rowston reckoned he stole Ned Kelly’s bones from the Old Melbourne Gaol. Malcolm thought of himself as a bit of a daredevil and apparently in 1929 he saw an opportunity…
Malcolm was my grandfather.
So, you can understand why I grew up thinking everyone’s family has a Ned Kelly connection. I mean, why would my family be the only ones? They were fence builders and pub owners – nothing special.
Our Ned travelled a fair bit, held a few people hostage, had lots of brothers and sisters – it makes sense we’ve all been touched by his larrikin ways. Or does it?
I’ve been wondering if my family stories are actually true. I mean, it’s pretty cool to boast a Ned Kelly connection. Or is it more the case that there’s someone in everyone’s family who likes tothinkthey’re connected to Australia’s most famous baddass outlaw?
So I decided to go on a journey of discovery from Melbourne into the heart of Kelly country. I wanted to check out the wall my grandpa scaled at The Old Melbourne Gaol, have a squiz at Kelly’s disrupted grave. I wanted to hit the highways and visit historically important sites, (Oh look! Ned got his boots mended here!) I wanted to find Nora’s pub in Wangaratta and experience the ‘brilliance of animation and computerised robots’ at Ned Kelly’s Last Stand (again). I wanted to get some answers. Discover some home truths. I wanted to prove a theory.
I think we’re all connected. It’s even a little bit spiritual. And luckily for the time poor, it can be achieved in six simple steps. I reckon we’re all six degrees of Ned Kelly. Think about it. It can’t be that hard to prove! (I’m not very good at maths or science or theories). BUT, I reckon I can give this one a whack. I mean, ideas like this are nation building…
We are one. But we are many. For we are all connected to Ned Kelly.
Tripping over the heels of her recent production, Crushed at The New Theatre, Melita Rowston dives into her love of TED talks, corporate keynotes, Shit Tourism and theatrical monologues with her FREE performance lecture Six Degrees of Ned Kelly as part of Serial Space’s Time Machine Festival.
Location: Serial 002 – (The Old Queen Street Studios), 10-14 Kensington St, Chippendale.