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Ned Kelly’s armour off to National Museum

Ned Kelly's armour is one of the most iconic, and popular, items in the Library's collection

Media release

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Friday 25 February 2011


Ned Kelly's armour, one of Australia's most iconic objects, is leaving its home at the State Library of Victoria today bound for Canberra where it will be displayed in the National Museum of Australia's exhibition Not Just Ned: A true history of the Irish in Australia.

The exhibition will reunite Ned Kelly's armour with that of the remaining Kelly gang members - Joe Byrne, Steve Hart and Dan Kelly. This will be the first time all four suits have been exhibited together outside of Victoria.

Not Just Ned: A true history of the Irish in Australia examines the Irish presence in Australia – from the day in January 1788 when a small number of Irish convicts, marines and officials walked off the transports of the First Fleet to the continuing arrival in our own time of young Irish backpackers.

Shane Carmody, Director of Collections and Access at the State Library said he was pleased the State Library could make a significant contribution to the exhibition.

'Victoria would not be the state it is today without the influence of the Irish. From Sir Redmond Barry who founded our State Library and the University of Melbourne to Ned Kelly our most famous outlaw, Victoria's history is marked by men and women of Irish descent from all walks of life.

When we think of great moments in Australia's history the Irish are there – Peter Lalor leading the Eureka rebellion, Burke and Wills' epic journey across the continent. We are fortunate that our State Library collection is rich in material relating to these events and many others that Australians will be less familiar with. We are delighted to support the National Museum in this exhibition and the important story it tells'.

Not Just Ned: A true history of the Irish in Australia opens at the National Museum of Australia on 17 March (St Patrick’s Day) and runs until 31 July 2011.

Adults $10 | Children $5 | Concession $8 | Family $22