Saturday 30 August 2014

The Jerilderie Letter : Part One

“Dear Sir,
I wish to acquaint you with some of the occurrences of the present past and future……..”

So begins Ned Kellys Jerliderie Letter, a polite and deferential beginning to a letter that ends with violent threats and a non-negotiable command “My orders must be obeyed”

This is a document that’s truly remarkable not only for its style and content, and for the fact that it has survived to the present day, but for the way in which it has been used like a Sacred Text and interpreted in various different ways to justify and support various political and historical perspectives by Kelly sympathisers, and others.

Take this for example:

“It is of no surprise that the Australian Class War website carries a 'working class heroes' section with Ned Kelly in it, for Kelly has long been perceived as the Australian Robin Hood by the masses. There are those who believe that if we are reasonable enough then social change can be achieved without getting your hands dirty in conflict. They forget that there is conflict going on everyday, and social crime is the 'hidden revolution' by those who choose to fight back rather than keep their head down. For people rationalise their class positions in many ways and not all choose to fight back by any means necessary. Not all have regular lifestyles and employment, but we're sure that if work (when you can get it) made you rich then the poor would be prevented from it as it would be kept for our 'betters' to do. That these words were suppressed by enemies of the working class for so long says volumes, and we are very happy to promote Ned Kelly's memory.

These are the words of the dead and the living, and we  want revenge
(Class struggle, Ned Kelly and the Jerilderie Letter.

Like other Holy Writings, claims made about what The Jerilderie Letter actually asserts should not necessarily be taken as Gospel. I would guess this author has no real appreciation of the facts of the life and actions of Ned Kelly but has  adopted the Robin Hood version of the facts that suits his personal political agenda, and it can be perfectly legitimate to use literature in this way, to illustrate a point. But that is not the same as asserting that  Class Warfare was Kellys actual agenda. When you read the Letter, you will see it was much more personal and narrow than that.

Like everyone, I had heard about this Letter a very long time before I got around to reading it for myself. It was said to contain witty and characteristically Irish humour and turns of phrase and colourful language, but overall I had gained the impression that it was largely a kind of Political Manifesto, wherein Ned Kelly set out his grand plan for  the Republic of NE Victoria. The document was portrayed as a defence of the rights of the poor and the needy, a challenge to the corrupt might of Police and Government, and an explanation of why he had to do what he did.

When I finally did get around to reading it from start to finish, I was quite literally shocked. Maybe I was shocked because it was so completely unlike what I had been expecting to find – yes the wit and humour and Irish turn of phrase was there, but the thing that really shocked me was the white-hot intensity of the personal rage, the anger and the violence and the threats and self-justifications within it. It builds and rises and becomes louder and wilder, more defiant and rebellious, becomes what Alex McDermott calls an “apocalyptic chant”  Indeed it does! And yet most surprising of all, there is a virtually complete absence of anything like a manifesto, no mention of a Republic or a revolution or a political agenda. Nothing….

Read it for yourself. But think about this as you do : Kelly dictated this letter in the midst of planning a prolonged bank Robbery at Jerliderie. He had previously robbed the Bank at Euroa and was on the run for the murder of the three Policemen at Stringybark Creek, a huge reward posted, he could be shot and killed by anyone in a time when murder was a Capital Offence. Would he not be expected under those circumstances to present a story that would paint his actions in the best possible light?

Could it not  be said of his explanations of those “occurrences” of the present past and future “ Well, he would say that, wouldn’t he?”

Tuesday 26 August 2014

Site Review : Iron Icon

Iron Icon is Bill Denhelds personal Kelly website, and its mostly about a quest that Bill has been on for many years, to establish the exact place at which the Police Murders took place at Stringybark Creek. However there are many other discussions about related historical Kelly matters that are also fascinating.For example he supports a suggestion that arises from the mysteries of Ned Kellys actual birth - there are no official records of it to be found anywhere -  that Ned Kelly may have been adopted into the Kelly family! This remarkable possibility could be dismissed - or proven - by currently available DNA testing from Neds remains and from living Kelly descendants but I would imagine they would run a country mile from a test that could prove their claims to fame could be "illegitimate". Good luck with that one Bill! I think he's going to need a bit of luck with his idea that there are some yet to be unravelled connections between the Kellys and various other political leading lights in Australian history, some of whom certainly had connections with the same geographical regions of Victoria as the Kelly Gang.

Peter Fitzsimons, on his Ned Kelly book tour last year said this on ABC radio about Bill:
“I went to StringyBark Bark Creek with a guy called Bill Denheld who is a guy - he is a lovely man - but there is not enough hours in the day to go to SBC - think about SBC, read about SBC, draws maps of it, he is the SBC man, And so he showed - took me - to the site where the memorial is at SBC.”  -and in his acknowledgemts page he writes -"I learned early that , on a bad day Kelly experts can be flat out agreeing it is Tuesday, let alone having a concensus on where presicely the Stringybark Creek site is - but, in my search for accuracy, I have been every bit as exhaustive as I have been exhausted by it. ( And for the record, having visited Stringybark Creek with Bill Denheld and seen the evidence with my own eyes, I am confident that he has it right.)"

Officially,  the murders happened near the “Kelly Tree”, a site marked wrongly by council workers years ago who also created the nearby picnic ground. A different site was later identified by the so-called “doyen" of the Kelly world, the author Ian Jones, who concluded it was further up the creek on the east bank where the council authorities have recently directed all Kelly tourist trafic. Jones' deserved authority derives from his life long passion for things Kelly, he has unarguably produced the best biography of Ned Kelly, and so his opinion carries enormous weight, but nevertheless Bill, and many others have prepared a very convincing case that in this instance, Ian is wrong too. It upsets them to think the public are going to the trouble of driving out into the Wombat ranges, many of them making a sort of Pilgrimage and paying their solemn respects to the fallen Policemen at completely the wrong place. Imagine going to an ANZAC ceremony and then discovering later that for years the Beach everyone was visiting was the wrong one, they should have been at the one next door! Suppose you paid money to go on a Tour of a house that you were told a former Prime Minister had lived in and then later discovered he hadn’t?  You might feel cheated at the very least.

The question then becomes, well where DID these killings happen and where should the Memorials really be? Is it even possible to work it out after all this time? And this is where Bills site comes in, because Bill has taken up the challenge and created a quite remarkable website that in great detail explains how he found what he is certain is indeed the exact place. Its amateur detective work and archaeology but fascinating to read. 

My own encounters with Bill happened on my original now maliciously deleted Ned Kelly Truth Forum. I began a thread on the subject of Stringybark Creek, and Bill signed up and participated in a debate that became the most hotly debated subject in the entire Forum. Essentially everyone seemed to agree that the Jones site was wrong so the debate centered around which of two other proposed sites was the most likely one. The debate was for the most part fascinating and informative – I learned a lot about such things as species of spear grass, geological formations, photographic interpretations, and the history of the area.  Eventually the discussion was terminated after 25 pages because by then contributors were starting to repeat themselves, the arguments seemed to be creating more heat than light or descend into personal attacks and worse. Some posts attacking Bill rather than his arguments were obscene and I had to delete them. What impressed me was that throughout sustained vitriol and sarcastic abuse Bill remained calm and polite and attempted time and again to patiently explain with words and fascinating diagrams and photos his reasonings for picking what has become known as the Two Huts site. Occasionally, under severe provocation he lapsed into more colorful language but mostly his detailed posts were fascinating to read, as were many contributions from several other old amateur archaeologists who believed the correct site was not Bills one, but theirs, the CSI@SBC site.(The Crime Scene Invstigation at SBC) For $50 the publisher will sell you a copy of the report explaining their findings or you can read a free version of it on Bills site.

You can also read most of the SBC debate from my deleted site, as unknown to me, Bill had kept copies of it, knowing from previous experiences on other Kelly Internet spaces that my site was also at risk of being sabotaged – and so he was proved right when it disappeared one day along with hundreds of  interesting posts and debates many of them a result of careful thinking and research and writing. (Others, such as the ones from “Sarah”  one of the many pseudonyms used by the person who now publically claims to be responsible for this internet vandalism, were no great loss ) I am grateful to Bill for preserving and reposting them - its an enjoyable read of some wonderfully animated discussions - such a pity these core Kelly fanatics are so intolerant of diversity of opinion.

Bills site is not an easy read for the most part. It’s a place where Bills inventive and inquisitive mind is on display and his arguments are dense and detailed and require careful reading but it will reward a serious visitor who is prepared to follow the arguments closely. Enjoy!

Sunday 24 August 2014

Some Kelly Sympathisers behave just like Religious Fanatics

Some people think the guy in the middle is Ned Kelly, but he was no saint.
On my original Ned Kelly Truth Forum an amazing number of abusive and vicious Posts were made attacking me and calling me names. I was labeled a liar and a slag and filth, evil personified and various other things that I cant remember but it was remarkably personal and vicious. Obscene images labeled  with my name and the names of other Forum members were also posted but I deleted these as soon I came across them. I am still being attacked like this on a FB page!

However, all this didn’t surprise me because it had already been happening on the Forum that I had joined previously, the one that said you would get a fair go if you had a level head.  Evidently I was determined not to have a level head, because I certainly didn’t get a fair go and in the end they kicked me off the site altogether. Hence I started my own one (and as I have mentioned, the people who hated me on the first Forum followed me to the second one, eventually had it removed, and removed again when I tried a third time, and as we have seen already, are trying to remove THIS one as well…)

Ive been wondering lately why it is that these people hate me so much for having a different opinion about Ned Kelly from theirs? With all the horrible news about religious hatred and slaughter in the Middle East of late, I started thinking that the “Kelly” people are exhibiting a similar sort of intolerance of the right of another person to have a different point of view, and are behaving like religious fundamentalists, consumed with a fanatical desire to silence every voice on the topic but their own. In fact, this is EXACTLY what religious fundamentalism is, as I discovered when reading about what exactly defined fundamentalism : consider this Wikipedia definition :

Fundamentalism is the demand for a strict adherence to orthodox theological doctrines, usually understood as a reaction to Modernist theology. The term was originally coined by its supporters to describe five specific classic theological beliefs of Christianity, and that developed into a Christian fundamentalist movement within the Protestant community of the United States in the early part of the 20th century.
The term usually has a religious connotation indicating unwavering attachment to a set of irreducible beliefs, but fundamentalism has come to be applied to a broad tendency among certain groups, mainly, although not exclusively, in religion. This tendency is most often characterized by a markedly strict literalism as applied to certain specific scriptures, dogmas, or ideologies, and a strong sense of the importance of maintaining ingroup and outgroup distinctions, which can lead to an emphasis on purity and the desire to return to a previous ideal from which it is believed that members have begun to stray. Rejection of diversity of opinion as applied to these established "fundamentals" and their accepted interpretation within the group is often the result of this tendency.

Theres probably a PhD thesis in this for someone interested in the Sociology of Australian cultural beliefs, so if someones interested, here are a few free hints for you, with my comments on why those criteria, if applied to the hard core Kelly people, define them as Religious Fundamentalists:

The essential features defined above are 
1.   Strict adherence to orthodox theological doctrines
It shouldn’t be hard to define what the orthodox doctrines are of the Kelly Religion, but they are quite nicely summarized in the Blurb for Brad Webbs  Pictorial History – see my earlier post : “The Kelly Propaganda Machine exposed”
2. They are a reaction to modernist theology
The Modernist theology  that they are reacting to is based around the notion that proper  assessment of the character and story of Ned Kelly  demands that he should not be promoted as an icon and model of Australian values. Kelly Fundamentalist reaction to this modernist approach is nowhere better seen than in their hatred of Ian MacFarlanes new book “The Kelly Gang Unmasked” (see my earlier post of the same name)
3.Unwavering attachment to a set of irreducible beliefs
Demonstration of this unwavering attachment is evident in many of the Forums that have come and gone on the Internet, where the slightest deviation from the received doctrines is relentlessly  attacked and ridiculed, as is anyone supporting it.
4.Strict literalism as applied to certain specific scriptures, dogmas, or ideologies
The Jerilderie Letter would probably count as one of the Kelly Religion Scriptures, along with other writings purported to be from Ned Kelly.
Certain  ambiguous phrases in the JL have interpretations attached to them to enable them to support major doctrines of their religion, notably that Kelly was interested in assisting the Poor generally and planning to establish a Republic of NE Victoria. Kellys accounts of events are always taken as literally true and unchallengable.
5.A strong sense of the importance of maintaining ingroup and outgroup distinctions,
This is nowhere more clearly demonstrated than on the Ned Kelly Forum, which regularly purges its members looking for Trolls and Traitors and moles, and readily expels any member who refuses to toe the party line ( see my earlier Post “Site Guide Part One The NKF)
6.Emphasis on purity and the desire to return to a previous ideal from which it is believed that members have begun to stray
Actually, given their Idols violent and anti-establishment lifestyle, the emphasis is not so much on purity but on defiance and rather than codes of behavior, a laisez-fair and anything goes kind of ethic is promoted. This is possibly a key to the success of the appeal of this religion to young men, a specific rejection of purity, and promotion of the “outlaw” mentality.
7.Rejection of diversity of opinion….
My own experience in the Kelly World is perfect testimony to this (read my earlier post “Stepping into the Kelly World”
8. …..Leading to an accepted interpretation within the group
The inevitable fossilizing effects on Doctrine of disallowing alternative points of view – a fixed inflexible and brittle set of opinions that are defended against all odds, if necessary against logic and the facts, no matter how compelling they may be.
I realise there are many people who are interested and fascinated by the Kelly story who are moderate, learned, tolerant and open minded, but no doubt in my mind, theres a hard-core of extremists among us who are intolerant of every opinion but their own. Like Fundamentalists in all religions, they are blinded to the reality of their behaviour which is that they do more damage to their cause than good, and drive most reasonable people in the opposite direction. Its a shame they're like that, because ultimately we're all fascinated by the same chapter of pioneering Australian history, and could  probably learn more by co-operative dialogue than by intolerant bullying, suppression and censoring of free discussion.

I am not interested in destroying their right to believe whatever they want to, or to free speech - I just which they weren't interested in destroying mine - but that is the way of fundamentalism. Its bitter fruits are in the daily newspapers for all to see. Will things ever change? Probably not.

  1. Dee, you should be congratulated.

    Not sure I agree with your every posting but you are changing the status quo.
    Sooner or later these Religious Fundamentalists will understand your first picture being 'The first Supper'

    Then the second picture. Wouldn't we all just love one of those Kelly death mask tats not! if that was his left arm wonder what his right looks like? but thought this quote may also speak. -

    " Sometimes the nicest people you meet are covered in tattoos & sometimes the most judgmental people you meet go to church on Sundays."

    Anonymous14 August 2014 02:24    spot on

    Dee17 August 2014 23:44Great to at last be getting some feedback so thanks for your input. I had hopes that as knowledge of the Blogs existence slowly grows this would happen! I don't expect everyone to agree with me all the time, so please add to the debate with your own thoughts.

    This Post had been taken down by Blogger after a complaint by someone. It would have been simpler for that person to add a comment here saying what the problem was, but no doubt to have done so would have revealed their complaint was not bona-fide, they did not have a copywriter issue but were alleging one in the hope that Blogger would do their dirty work of censorship for them behind an anonymous gutless whining complaint. This is typical of these Kelly Fanatics. They should do what Jaquie Lambert recommended and grow a set.

    I have modified the Post by removing an Image of a Deaths Head/Kelly Armour tattoo.

Thursday 21 August 2014

Helping the Poor

Perhaps the most attractive image  of Ned Kelly is of him helping the poor, an image which gave rise to the idea that he was Australias Robin Hood. If anyone knows anything at all about Robin Hood, the first thing they will tell you is that he robbed from the rich and gave to the poor. All the other stuff, Sherwood Forest, the Sherriff of Nottingham, King John, Friar Tuck, Maid Marian – that’s all perpipheral to the big theme  of the Robin Hood legend which is that he stole from the rich to give to the poor.

Now I have already pointed out that the only Ned Kelly that could be likened to Robin Hood is an airbrushed and photo-shopped version of Ned Kelly that is so far from the reality of the mans actual life as to make the comparison  absurd and ridiculous.  It would be like saying after writing the Jerliderie letter Ned Kelly should be regarded as Australia’s Shakespeare , or that he is Australia’s Nelson Mandela or another Peter Lalor.  Or because he built a house he is Australia’s Frank Lloyd-Wright. These glib comparisons are easy to make – and indeed are made by glib people  who are ignorant of historical facts and careless about truth ( though I must admit I have never heard anyone refer to Ned Kelly as Australia’s Frank Lloyd_Wright  - I just made that one up to show how easy it can be!)
( See my earlier post : Was Ned Kelly Australias Robin Hood?  August 9th)

But what do we know about Ned Kellys acts of charity towards the poor? We know he made orders about the rich giving to the poor  and to  widows and orphans fund in the Jerilderie letter and threated violence to anyone not obeying them, but what did he do himself? We know he was certainly a robber, but was it so that he could then give to the poor, “a la Robin Hood?”

About the best I can find is this quote from Peter Fitzsimons, writing about the aftermath of the Euroa Bank Robbery:

“…it is shortly noticed that many of those known to be closest to the Kelly Gang, including most particularly Ned  and Dans sisters are already in the money. That young lady over there in the Benalla Saddle store? That is the 13 year old Grace Kelly and you will note she is paying for a top class side saddle and bridle in bright shiny pieces – while not far way and not long afterwards her elder sisters Maggie and Kate are equally liberal in opening their purses to buy supplies, clothing hats and even children’s toys. From being so poor that the families couldn’t  even afford to walk into a shop let alone saunter in casually with cash to burn, Kate suddenly becomes notable  for going into a Benalla store “and taking a bundle of 10 pound notes from her blouse to pay the storekeeper from it”, while Joe Byrnes mother is herself suddenly so  flash with cash she is able to slap down 65pounds to settle a long standing account with the a shopkeeper”

In fact this describes the well known Bushranger tactic of using money to maintain a well oiled network of community support among the  poor, beginning obviously with those closest to the Bushranger. This was a tactic Ned Kelly learned aged 14 when he was directly tutored in the craft of bushranging by the wiley old thief to whom he was “apprenticed” for a short while, Harry Power. Kellys knowledge of the lives of other Bushrangers no doubt reinforced the value of that tactic and he employed it to good effect. What shopkeeper having a huge 65 pound debt repaid is going to complain about where the cash came from? Or making a sale of an expensive saddle and maybe more later? A person has to make a living!

So really, it would be reasonable to say that what Ned Kelly did was rob from the rich so he could make use of the poor, by buying their silence and their support. He was not helping the poor but himself by spreading the stolen money about among his closest friends and allies, buying protection.

Or have I missed something that Peter Fitzsimons also missed or decided not to write about.?

Is there somewhere else evidence that he distributed money to poor people who were  neither supporters nor detractors, just the deserving orphans and widows or did he just  talk about it and bully and order other people to do that while he went  about robbing Banks to help himself? It would be reasonable to say he robbed to help his family but anything more than that is fantasy

I wish Kelly people who believed he helped the poor would supply the evidence for this claim, or else drop it..

Sunday 10 August 2014

Was Ned Kelly Australia's Robin Hood?

Ned Kelly is often referred to as “Australias Robin Hood”, a comparison that immediately adorns the image of Ned Kelly with visions of noble acts of bravery, robbing the rich to feed the poor, courageous opposition to evil and corrupt authority,  outlaws defending the defenseless with a cavalier and fun loving  band of merry men in the forest.

Perhaps if Australias origins were more continental, Ned Kelly might have been known as “Australia’s William Tell”, because as we all know William Tell was a courageous strong and skillful horseman and archer who defied a cruel and vindictive Swiss authority, protected his family by shooting the apple off his sons head and eventually killed the King and led a successful rebellion. He became a national Icon in Switzerland for generations, is praised and remembered in books, statues, songs and film, and was an inspiration for many who followed.
William Tell and his son

Whats interesting however, is that William Tell never existed.  And neither did Robin Hood.

What modern historians have shown is that these figures are not real people but legends and myths that evolved from various sources over generations and the further back you go in time the less colourful they become and the harder they are to trace to an actual person. If you do not believe me, do some proper research for yourself rather than just swallow the Kelly propagandist falsity that Ned Kelly was Australias Robin Hood – how can he be, when no such person existed?

But of course, leaving peoples ignorance of history aside, what they might mean when they say Kelly was Australias Robin Hood is that he was like whatever it is that we understand Robin Hood to have been. Ian Jones is reported to have said that Ned Kelly was “perhaps the only real Robin Hood who has ever lived” a comment which shows that at least Ian Jones understood that “Robin Hood” never actually existed. I think most people reading that sentence fail to grasp the significance of his use of the word “real” and believe that Robin Hood was real and Ned Kelly was like him.

If indeed Ian Jones is correct in saying that Ned Kelly was “perhaps” the only “real” Robin Hood who ever lived, then these are massive shoes that Ned Kelly has filled, a real person judged to be the fulfillment of a legend of mythic proportions. Its grandiose and almost Biblical in its scope. Ian Jones can be heard saying on a Youtube video when being interviewed by Tony Robinson that after first reading about Ned Kelly as a boy he wondered if  Kelly was an “unbeatified saint, the greatest hero who ever lived"  It seems after a lifetime of study he hasn’t altered his view much from that position 70 years ago. But could it be true?

To answer this question we would need to define the essential elements of  “Robin Hood” the myth and then see how well the life of Ned Kelly the man, lived up to them. The trouble is, its almost impossible to find anywhere an agreed version of who and what Robin Hood represents. The essential elements are disputed at every turn, but at its most basic, the modern myth is about the leader of a band of outlaws who lived in Sherwood forest, supported King John but were enemies of the Local Sherriff of Nottingham, robbed from the rich and gave to the poor. We know nothing about his birth his parentage his education  his family or his early life, and nothing is certain about his later years and death, or which of several graves is really his, if any are.
In early versions of the myth Robin Hood is mostly regarded as having been a “yeoman” ( Definitions: neither a knight nor a peasant or 'husbonde' but something in between; A man holding and cultivating a small landed estate; a freeholder) in other words not a peasant, but in other later versions he is a Noble, an Earl and in yet others he IS a peasant. There are many versions of why he became an outlaw :  he killed someone who didn’t pay a debt, he was a poverty stricken felon who gathered together with other outcasts and lived in the forests outside the reach of the Law, and in later versions he was not really an outlaw but a national hero of epic proportions, who not only supports the poor by taking from the rich, but heroically defends the throne of England itself from unworthy claimants.

The reality is therefore that Robin Hood is like a Mix ‘n Match Cutout figure that you can recreate in almost any way you want. If you want to dress him in green and have a feather sticking out his cap, go ahead. You will be able to find somewhere among the legends a reason to do so. But if you look again you will find reasons not to. Same with having him in the Sherwood Forrest. Or marrying Maid Marian. Or robbing the rich and giving to the poor. Or being a common criminal. Or that he loaned money to a Knight to help pay a debt. Stole from Churches. That he was Welsh. That he lived in Warwickshire. That he lived in Leicestershire. His real name was Loxley. Or Wood. Or Hod. Or Godberd.

So how sensible is it to say Ned Kelly was Australias Robin Hood? Not only did he not exist as a real person, even the Legend of Robin Hood has no clear definition, but is a rather nebulous and forever evolving story that these days centers on the notion of a brave rebel who lives on the outskirts of society, fighting injustice and oppression with his band of companions. There is a strongly moral flavor to the Robin Hood legend, a sense that he and his followers adhered to strict ethical principles of fairness and honesty, and fought when necessary with gallant and chivalrous courage. Laws were only broken to right great wrongs and injustices. Cunning and trickery, mockery and derring-do were as much his weapons as the Bow and the sword. Murder and killing are the last resort, and rare.  But this is the modern version. 

The early versions were much less flattering – A book published by English author David Baldwin claims that Roger Godberd, a 13th century farmer who committed burglaries, arson and murder was the basis for the Robin Hood legend. Intriguingly his 2011 publication “Robin Hood” is subtitled “The English Outlaw Unmasked”

So we ask ourselves, if we are going to compare Ned Kelly to Robin Hood, which Robin Hood should we use? The early ones or the latest least historical but most colorful and romantic one?

Clearly, modern Kelly propagandists want us to compare him to the heroic modern version, but if we do, does this description also match what we know of the character and behavior of Ned Kelly and his gang? The answer in my view, is that Ned Kelly can only be compared favourably with the modern Robin Hood myth, by creating a highly selective and very inaccurate picture of Ned Kelly, by stripping away and ignoring and hiding the very many facts that we know about him that completely destroy the notion that he was anything like the modern Robin Hood legend. What facts?

Well, where in the Robin Hood legend do you find images of torture? ( You find them in Ned Kellys Jerilderie Letter) Where in the Robin Hood legend are there stories of executions of former “Merry Men” ?( Ned Kelly authorized the killing of gang associate and former friend Aaron Sherrit) Where in the Robin Hood legends are there stories of Robin stealing the personal possessions of his victims for his own personal use? ( as the Kelly Gang did at Stringybark Creek) Where in the Robin Hood legends are there stories of organized “wholesale and retail” stock theft? (this was Ned Kellys boast)Where in the Robin Hood Legends are there stories of violent threats to women and children (At Euroa, Ned Kelly threatened harm to the wives and children of his Police hostages) or of hostage taking and of the use of human shields?(Ned Kelly rounded up innocent passersby at Gunpoint and imprisoned them in the Glenrowan Inn) Where in the Robin Hood Legends are there stories of plots to kill with no concern for the inevitable“collateral damage” of the death of innocent men women and horses? (Ned Kelly had the rail lines ripped up so a trainload of police, journalists, aboriginal trackers, some wives and a dozen horses would crash at high speed at Glenrowan) Where in the Robin Hood Legends is there a tone of violence and anger and hatred toward all authority, such as penetrates every act and written word of Ned Kellys? ( read the Jerilderie letter as a start) Where in the Kelly story is there actual evidence of him assisting the poor generally rather than just his own circle of supporters? (there isn’t any) Where in the Kelly legend is there evidence that Kelly used anything other than violence or threats of violence with his fists or with a gun to achieve his ends (well where?) There is no evidence that Kelly wanted to change the whole of society for the better – this is a myth that has been tacked on to try to make some sort of sense of the terror plot at Glenrowan, and to try to make Kelly something more than an angry man wanting to settle personal scores, something more like “Robin Hood”

Unlike the Robin Hood myth there is no humour in the Kelly story. Unlike the Robin Hood myth there is no fun and derring-do in the Kelly story, other than perhaps the drunken tom-foolery forced on the hostages at Glenrowan. Unlike the Robin Hood myth there is no sense of a higher motive than revenge in the Kelly story. Unlike the Robin Hood myth there is nothing noble in the Kelly story – its a story of violence, revenge, lies, threats and self promotion. Unlike the Kelly story, Robin Hood wasn't reviled and feared by honest countryfolk, and he doesn’t get caught, convicted of murder and hanged. In fact he dies an old man, revered by all.
One of the Legends is that Robin fired an arrow through the window from his death bed and asked to be buried wherever it landed

So is Ned Kelly the Robin Hood of Australia? It depends on which Robin Hood and which Ned Kelly you are talking about. If you are talking about the real Ned Kelly and not the sanitised  made-up modern version, and you believe that the real Robin Hood was actually the unsavoury 13th century farmer Roger Godberg, then perhaps he is. But nobody comparing Robin Hood and Ned Kelly is talking about the real versions of these people when they make this comparison. 

The "people" they are comparing are the made-up popular modern version of Ned Kelly, the Kelly propagandists airbrushed and photo shopped version , and  the made-up modern version of Robin Hood.
And again, yes, if you do that then I suppose you could say Ned Kelly is Australias Robin Hood. But so what? Two fake non-historical characters resemble each other? You may as well be saying Biggles is Englands Tintin - a completely meaningless comparison.

But if you are asking the question in the way most people think they are asking it, comparing the real Ned Kelly with the modern version of the Robin Hood story - believing it to be true - then absolutely not. If you look carefully at the sort of person Ned Kelly really was, and the way he behaved, and what he did with his life, the giant shoes of "Robin Hood" remain unfilled. 

No, sadly perhaps for Australia, and for the blind Kelly fanatics, the actual Ned Kelly was most certainly not Australia's Robin Hood.