NED 'S YOUNG DAYS
July,1865. the story begins in Avenel , a small town north of Melbourne. Ned kelly lives here with his parents, John and Ellen Kelly. Ned is ten years old, the oldest boy of seven Kelly children. He has two brother Dan and Jim, and four sister - Anne, Maggie, Rate and Grace.
Where 's your father, boy ? Ellen kelly call out to her son one evening. " Is he on the road ? Can you see him ? "
Ned kelly looked out of the door. "No, ma,' he said I can't see him'
Ned's father came home late , and he came in quietly
"Ellen, he said : come with me. I need your help. There a dead cow by the the trees on the hill. We must cut it up and bring it home."
' Oh John, is it one of our cows ? ' his wife asked ? . " How did It die ? "
" It's one of Morgans cows, and I killed it ", John said. ' so we must be quick, before he comes looking for it '
" Oh, you fool " said Ellen
In the Children's bed in the next room , Ned listened to this. It was a small house, with only two rooms, and you could hear everything. Ned was pleased about the dead cow. They didn't have meat to eat, and the chlidren were always hungry.
But dead cow bring troulbe. Three days later there was a policeman at the door . " John kelly, you killed the Morgan's cow, I'm taking you to the prison..."
That was the end of School for Ned Kelly. He was the man of the family now. Helped his mother, and he worked on the Kelly's farm. The farm was not very big, and life was not easy for the Kellys.
John Kelly and Ellen Quinn were from Ireland. They first met in Melbourne, and then came North, to find land for a farm . Many other Irish people did the same thing. Everybody wanted land, but some people had a lot more land than other some people. It's was hard, wild life. There was a lot of drinking, a lot of fighting, a lot of stealing - horses, cows, dead or alive . . .
John Kelly was in prison for six months. Prison was not good for him, and when he came out, he began to drink. A year and a half later he was dead.
"what are we going to do now ?, Ma ?" Ned asked.
Ellen thought about it. She was a tall, strong woman, and all her life she was a fighter. She had twelve children in the end and was ninety-three years old when she died."we must leave here," she said. "we must go to the north-east, and live near my family."
The Kelly' s new house was at Eleven Mile Creek , near Greta. They had some animals and a small garden, and Ned worked hard to get money for the family. He could do farming work, take care of horses and cows , cut down trees.
But trouble was never far away. The police did not like the wild Kelly boys or their friends. In 1870, when Ned was fifteen, he hit a man very hard in a fight and the police put him in prison for six months.
The next year something worse happened. Ned was in the town of Greta on a brown horse when Policeman Hall come up to him.
"Ned Kelly, you get down and come with me. You stole that horse and i'm taking you to prison."
"That's not true," said Ned and then there was a terrible fight. Policeman Hall had a gun and Ned did not, but Ned was better fighter. In the end Hall called for help and five man came to help him.
Next day they took Ned down to Wangaratta and he went in front of the judge.
"It's not my horse, it's belong to a man calld wild Wright," Ned told the judge. "Wright was at my mother's house, and his horse ran away. he needed a horse so i gave him one of my horses. And he said to me, " when you find the brown horse, you keep her for me." And so when i found the horse, i kept her."
"Ned Kelly stole that horse" Policeman Hall said. "It belongs to the man in Mansifield, and someone stole it on the 6th of March."
"Well." Ned said, " I was in Beechworth prison up to the 29th of March. How can i steal a horse when I'm in prison ? And Wright told me it was his horse - i didn't know it was a stolen horse."
But it is a crime to have a stolen horse. Wild Wright of course, stole the horse, and he went to prison for eighteen months. But they put Ned in prison for three years. When he came back to Eleven Mile Creek in 1874, things was very different.