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John (Red) Kelly : 16-May-2013
John (Red) Kelly : 16-May-2013

Photographs supplied by Graeme Saunders

The headstone at the grave, erected by the Avenel Historical Society, commemorates John (Red) Kelly, the father of Ned Kelly.

The Kelly family moved to Avenel in the early 1860s (when Ned was about 8). Red rented a 40-acre farm for £14 a year from Mrs Elizabeth Mutton (wife of William, one of Avenel’s two earliest settlers) and ran it as a dairy farm. Ned’s youngest sister, Grace, was born here, increasing the family head count to seven, living in a simple slab hut with a bark roof.

John Kelly, who had been transported from Ireland to Australia for stealing two pigs, had to stand trial in Avenel Courthouse for cattle stealing, though he was later acquitted for the theft but charged with ‘unlawful possession of a hide’, for which he served four months. Red had killed a calf that wandered onto his property out of hunger and desperation to feed his family during the drought of 1865. What got him into trouble was not notifying the police, according to the decree, of his intention to slaughter an animal.

Red’s health had been deteriorating over the years of struggle and it was in December 1866 that he died at the age of 46 of dropsy (oedema) possibly contributed to by heavy drinking. He was laid to rest in Avenel Cemetery.


Address:Queen Street & Ewings Road, Avenel Cemetery, Avenel, 3664
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -36.896279
Long: 145.230095
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Grave
Monument Theme:People
Monument Manufacturer:Avenel Historical Society


Approx. Monument Dedication Date:1985
Front Inscription

John (Red) Kelly
Husband Of Ellen nee Quinn,
Father Of Mary (dec.), Ann, Edward (Ned),
Margaret, James,
Daniel, Catherine and Grace.

Avenel Historical Soc.

Source: MA,VMR
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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