Whether or not you consider Aussie bushranger and icon Ned Kelly a national hero or national disgrace probably depends on which version of history you’ve been told. But whatever your views, there’s no denying Ned’s reincarnation as both cultural icon – and tourist drawcard!
From inspiring the first feature film ever made (more recent remakes star Mick Jagger and Heath Ledger), numerous songs, and novels including Peter Carey’s Booker Prize winning ‘True History of the Kelly Gang’, AND giving his name to an Aussie bakery pie (with various ingredients) Ned Kelly’s name is big business.
You construct an 8 ft high statue of Ned out of bread tins, of course!
If you were already thinking this – and why wouldn’t you be? – it’s my sad duty to inform you that you’ve been beaten to the punch by the Jerilderie Bakery. MUCH more striking than the numerous bushranger cut-outs scattered through Jerilderie’s main streets that telegraph its bushranger credentials, this innovative and tasteful tribute is quite possibly the only one of its kind in the world*!
But Jerilderie’s connection with the elusive Ned is far from tenuous. In 1879, Jerilderie was ‘visited’ by the Kelly Gang – the only town in New South Wales to be so honoured!
It’s ironic that Jerilderie’s livelihood doesn’t actually depend on Ned’s legacy – its position in the Southern Riverina, varied industry base, rich heritage and natural attractions make it a tourist drawcard in its own right.
While Ned’s manifesto wasn’t printed, and in fact remained hidden until 1930, Jerilderie gets the benefit of his intent to publish – thereby earning a unique place on the Ned Kelly tourist trail.
But maybe Ned’s legacy can be found at the Jerilderie Bakery where the class divide is impossible to maintain when eating under the watchful gaze of ‘Bread Tin Ned’! It’s also virtually impossible to maintain a straight face …
Although you can always fix that!!
*Please correct me if I’m wrong!