Kate Kelly has always been overshadowed by her famous brother Ned, but the talented young woman was a popular public figure in her own right. This moving biography tells her astonishing story in full for the first time.
At the inquest, Kate’s husband Bricky Foster claimed that she was addicted to drink and frequently spoke of suicide. However, a neighbour testified that she had only known Kate to drink since the recent birth of her baby and that she never spoke of suicide. Was it suicide, accident or murder, and why had she changed her name to Ada?
While only a teenager, Kate rode as a messenger and decoy for the Kelly Gang, and was present at the gruesome Glenrowan siege. After Ned’s execution, she appeared at public gatherings around Australia. Huge crowds came to see her talk and ride, and she helped to popularise the Ned Kelly story as a celebrity in her own right. Then she disappeared from the public eye.
Rebecca Wilson is the first to uncover the full story of Kate Kelly’s tumultuous life. It will surprise anyone who thought they already knew the story of Australia’s most famous outlaw.
‘Rarely told in full, this is the fascinating life of one of the great characters in one of our greatest stories.’ – Paul Terry, author of The True Story of Ned Kelly’s Last Stand
‘Thoroughly recommended not only to those who have an interest in bushranging and the Kelly dynasty but anyone who enjoys a well-written and riveting yarn, based on fact.’ – Rob Willis OAM, National Library of Australia Oral History and Folklore Collections
This book is catalogued by the NLA as Fiction (https://catalogue.nla.gov.au/Record/6934961) and so it is. It is appallingly bad as history; the text is totally unreferenced, and large parts of it clash with very well documented facts and much recent (and even not so recent) scholarly work about the Kelly outbreak. She makes a total hash of the Fitzpatrick incident and has perpetuated a number of long-demolished myths including Jones’ now well dead and buried tale of Kelly trying to start a ‘republic of north-eastern Victoria’. Download the free book, ‘Ned Kelly and the myth of a republic of north-eastern Victoria’ by Googling the title. ‘Kate Kelly’ is padded out with paragraph-long descriptions of places and people that have nothing to do with the plot. I think it needed a good edit, down to about half its size, and a lot of its “history” corrected before publication.
Just one example of gross deficiency: she claims to have aimed to tell her story “as accurately and completely as the available records permit”. Yet her treatment of the Stringybark Creek police murders just follows Kelly’s Jerilderie letter; she hasn’t bothered with the memoir of the only survivor, Thomas McIntyre’s ‘True narrative of the Kelly gang’ and subsequent research to correct Kelly’s many ridiculous claims about what happened. As it is, I think RHS Vic should not stock it for sale. It presents a picture of events that is in many places factually wrong and a far cry from the “true story” its title implies.
Sam Sabastian –
Rebecca Wilson has written a book of total and complete fiction throughout.
Much of the book is made up to suit her own views, and do not follow well known historical facts.
This book is considered a fictional account by professional and amateur historians alike.
Credibility is non-existent.