The life and times of Ned Kelly tour – primary

Primary students discover how Ned Kelly became Australia's most notorious bushranger.

60 minutes
Year level
Year: 5–6
$130 per group (up to 25 students)
50 students

By examining a variety of paintings, photographs and items, this popular tour introduces students to the turbulent life and times of Ned Kelly.

How did the events of early European settlement shape the attitudes of one of Victoria's most enduring antiheroes? What made this charismatic young man turn to crime?

Students review varied reports of Ned's exploits, discovering different perspectives and drawing their own conclusion to the most famous question surrounding the story of the Kelly Gang: was Ned Kelly a hero or a villain?

Students also gain an understanding of the Library's role in collecting and documenting Victoria's history, and experience first-hand our heritage building's unique architecture and legacy.

Student experience

Students will:

  • consider the life and times of Ned Kelly using a range of sources
  • develop their understanding of perspectives in history
  • view paintings from the Library's collection in the Cowen Gallery
  • see Ned Kelly's armour and death mask in the Changing face of Victoria exhibition
  • learn about Sir Redmond Barry, Library founder and the man who sentenced Ned Kelly to death
  • be inspired by the view of the domed La Trobe Reading Room from the level 5 gallery level

Curriculum information

This program links strongly to the Victorian Curriculum, history, and is relevant to Years 5–6.

Skills development

This program assists students to:

  • sequence significant events and lifetimes of people in chronological order
  • identify the origin, content and purposes of sources
  • explain the significance of an event and individual that influenced change
  • examine how different kind of questions can be used to identify and clarify information, ideas and possibilities

Embark on a journey of discovery at the State Library

Held in the inspiring heritage setting of Australia's oldest public library, our school excursions offer students a uniquely immersive, enriching experience, encouraging return visits and life-long learning. The Library has provided free access to information and education since 1856, and we invite students to become part of history as they tour the breathtaking dome and view our historic collections. All tours and workshops are developed by experienced teachers, aligned to the Victorian Curriculum and facilitated by expert staff.