Melbourne Fringe: 6 Degrees of Ned Kelly

Melita Rowston’s paternal grandfather told the story of how he nicked Ned Kelly’s bones from the Old Melbourne Gaol in 1929. Her maternal great great great grandmother ran a pub in Wangaratta and refused entry to Ned and co. Melita wanted to find out the truth of her family stories. The result is part mystery, part travelogue and a fascinating and funny exploration of Australia’s fascination with Kelly.

6 Degrees of Ned Kelly

She uncovers facts like Kelly’s bones were nicked in 1929 and, even though the coffins had been filled with lime and should have been squish, Kelly’s skeleton missed out. And she finds records in Wangaratta hotels from the time. You have to go along to find out more. And that’s before she explores stories like Steve Hart and Dan Kelly surviving the Glenrowan fire that declared them dead.

As she visits historical Kelly gang towns, she shares the wonderfully bizarre memorials – log art and robots – and meets equally wonderful people who are certain that they have less than 6 degrees of separation to Ned Kelly.

If any of these stories are correct, then Melita’s degrees of separation could be as close as two. If you want to get your degrees of separation closer to Kelly, you know you have to see her show.

Anne-Marie Peard

Anne-Marie spent many years working with amazing artists at arts festivals all over Australia. She's been a freelance arts writer for the last 10 years and teaches journalism at Monash University.

Anne-Marie Peard

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