… and now he carried the proof, the trophy, the rank untidy nest of paper beneath his arm. These stained “manuscripts” were disgusting to his touch and his very skin shrank from their conceit and ignorance ….
(From Peter Carey’s “True History of the Kelly Gang”, p. 390)
While ever Tony Kelly – presently assisting ICAC in its inquiry – was regarded as a decent, dutiful, if somewhat dull Minister, the idea of associating himself with the legend of Ned Kelly might have been thought a quirky flight of fancy.
(Of course, since 1880, every Australian male with the “Kelly” surname has no doubt copped a Ned reference at least once. Oh, and at least one female: Detective Nhu Kelly, heroine of P M Newton’s nicely accomplished “The Old School” ).
However, as disclosed to ICAC in Tuesday’s “Currawong” hearings, (Tony) Kelly has a private Hotmail account with the username “glenrowan”, to which some “off the books” drafts of correspondence was sent from the gang at the Lands Department.
Using “glenrowan” like that was perhaps just tempting fate a litt …no, sorry … it was asking Fate out on a date, and then dumping her for Fortune.
“Glenrowan”, for those of you who haven’t read the Andrew Rule and John Silvester series “UnderKelly” (sorry), was where Ned and the Gang were variously captured or killed in 1880 after a blazing shoot out with the constabulary.
(Actually, after her date dump, Fate really had it in for Tony. While I had, at first, been having my fun simply with the Glenrowan connection, I came across The Punch’s Lucy Kippist noting that 28 June (the day Tony’s email address got the guernsey at ICAC) was the anniversary of the Glenrowan shoot out. Really. Truly. You couldn’t make this shit up. Well, you could. But you might need to backdate it. Just to be sure.)
Anyway, Ned’s outlawing path might have led inexorably to the gallows. But in his favour: at least the Jerilderie Letter wasn’t backdated.