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Ned Kelly

The Kelly Country

Edward Harrington


Where is the Kelly Country? What man has mapped its bounds?
Has it a site or centre like old-time battle grounds?
I who was born and nurtured among the outlaws' friends
Cannot supply the answer where fact with fiction blends.
To me 'tis a chimera - vague, shadowy undefined -
The twilight land of folklore, a figment of the mind.

The travellers and the strangers who tour the mountain ways,
They see the dewy uplands where quiet cattle graze;
And here and there a homestead where settlers lived and died -
Mute relics of an era that time has swept aside.
They see that rocky summit, the gorges and the streams...
For them it holds no magic, it conjures up no dreams.

Who knows the Kelly Country? How far does it extend?
Is it a dream or legend that has no start nor end?
The outlaws ride no longer but like the afterglow
Their spirits haunt the ranges they rode long years ago.
The Rebels of Strathbogie who held the Law at bay,
Will ride the purple mountains from now 'till Judgement Day.

This document is an extract from Australian Folklore: A Dictionary of Lore, Legends and Popular Allusions, compiled by W. Fearn-Wannan [Bill Wannan] (first published 1970), page 323. Bohemia (April 1966) is cited as the original source.

The Association for the Advancement of Australian Culture