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One of Nolan's principle sources of inspiration has been the legend of the 19th century Australian outlaw and folk hero Ned Kelly. Born in 1845, Edward ('Ned') Kelly was the son of an Irish convict and cattle thief. After spending three years in prison for receiving a stolen horse Kelly embarked, a the age of nineteen, on a career of horse and cattle stealing. Kelly subsequently graduated to robbing banks, forming a gang of outlaws whose exploits achieved notoriety. The metal body armour worn by the gang captured popular imagination. This painting relates to the Siege of Glenrowan in 1880, a gun-battle between the gang and police in which Kelly was finally captured.

August 2004