Was Ned Kelly a hero or a villain?

Case Study Overview


Students investigate how people can interpret one set of facts very differently to come up with contrasting ‘Ned as hero’ and ‘Ned as villain’ interpretations. They then put Ned Kelly on trial for the event that set his fate — the killing of the three police at Stringybark Creek in 1878 by becoming witnesses, presenting evidence and being challenged about that evidence. In doing so they confront one of the icons of Australian history and decide for themselves the place of that person in their own sense of their national identity.

An interactive entitled, Kelly country — the race to Glenrowan, is also available for this case study.

Case Study unit of work inquiry structure

  • Activity 1: What is a hero? What is a villain?
    Understanding the main concept(s) raised in the case study
  • Activity 2: Video visit
    Looking at the video segment of this case study and answering questions about it
  • Activity 3: An Inquiry into the events
    an inquiry into the events at Stringybark Creek
  • Activity 4: Reflection and presentation
    Examining Kelly Gang comic strip
  • Activity 5: Kelly Country — the race to Glenrowan game
    It’s 1878 and Ned Kelly is racing Constable McIntyre to Glenrowan. If Kelly gets there first he will escape the siege; if McIntyre gets there first he will capture Kelly. See if you can use your knowledge of the past to change it!

For Primary & Secondary Students

• The Australian Colonies

• Making a nation

Case Study Resources

  • Interactive website
  • Print Resources (PDF)
  • Worksheets (DOC)
  • High Quality Video
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