Mansfield Fox

Law student. Yankees fan. Massive fraggle. Just living the American dream.

Friday, November 11, 2005

"Such is life."

In addition to being Armistice Day (and the feast of St Martin of Tours), today is the 125th anniversary of the execution of Ned Kelly, greatest of the bushrangers, champion of the Australian working class and hero of the Irish diaspora.

Kelly and his gang defied the British authorities for almost two years until they were cornered in the hamlet of Glenrowan. After the Gang's daring plan to derail the police train pursuing them was foiled by an informant, they were forced to make a desperate last stand at the Inn at Glenrowan. Facing down a force of about 50 police officers, Kelly and his gang donned homemade suits of bullet-proof iron armor (pictured above) and fought the police head-on. Hopelessly outmatched, Kelly was captured and the rest of the gang killed. He was tried, convicted and hanged on this date in 1880. His final words at the gallows: "Ahh well, I suppose it has come to this.... Such is life." (A classically Irish take.)

Requiescat in pace

For more on Ned Kelly, you may want to check out Peter Carey's True History of the Kelly Gang and the sadly overlooked Heath Ledger/Orlando Bloom movie Ned Kelly, which plays like a less melodramatic Braveheart.