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John (Red) Kelly - Early Pioneer of Avenel (1860)

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Red and Ned Kelly

Wife - Ellen Kelly

Birth Record: 246 of 524 - Kelly Grace - Father, John, Mother, Ellen, Maiden name, Quin, Place of Birth, Avenel, Year 1865, Registered Number, 19822.

W. H. Mutton, had acquired a farm block between Avenel and Tabilk, 2 miles from Avenel. It was this land that Red Kelly rented from Mutton in 1860 as a dairy farm. Red Kelly and his wife had five young children when they came to live at Avenel, there were Annie, Ned, Maggie, Jim and Dan. Ned was 6 years of age and Dan was a babe in arms in 1861. Two more children, Kate and Grace were born at Avenel. There was a slab house with a bark roof, he lived here for 6 years. The farm was 40 acres of grassland, on the banks of Hughes Creek, six miles from Goulburn River. It cost 14 Pounds a year in rental. The family had a hard struggle to make ends meet, but every old resident spoke well of them. The children were well behaved and Ned Kelly was a very brave lad. At the risk of his own life he saved Dick Shelton from drowning in Hughes Creek. Mrs Kelly was a great horsewoman, and used to ride to help anyone in trouble or needing help

There was another Michael Kelly at Avenel who owned 88 acres. Across the road from Red Kelly was the Morgans, who owned 700 acres.

John Kelly was unable to support his family solely on dairying was supplementing his income by selling beef in Avenel township and district.

The Government had decreed than any person intending to slaughter a beast should notify the police and keep the hide for inspection.

On Thursday 25 May 1865, John Kelly slaughtered a heifer calf which had strayed onto his paddock.

On Monday 29 May, the prisoner was brought before the local magistrate in Avenel, J. Elliott Blake, J. P., he was convicted and fined 25 Pounds or 6 months imprisonment with hard labour.

A kindly neighbour or some of the Quinn family paid the fine.

On 10 Aug 1865, Ellen Kelly gave birth to a baby daughter, the birth was registered by John Kelly who informed the registrar Mr William Campion.

In December 1866 Red Kelly was seriously ill. Dr Healey was called for and came out from Seymour. He found that dropsy had set in. On 27 December he died, aged 47. A coffin was made and on the 29 December 1866, Red Kelly was given a pioneers burial without benefit of clergy, the service read by a neighbour, John Brady. Some months after her husband’s death she moved further up the country to Greta, near Benalla to be near her parents and other relatives settled in the district.

She married a second time and lived at Greta to a great age, over ninety years, and died at Wangaratta Hospital in March 1923. The deeds of the Kelly gang when they were outlawed in 1878, naturally caused great excitement at Avenel, especially among their old schoolmates and friends of the family. No one would hear a word against them, considered that the Kelly’s boys were victims of circumstances which drove them to desperate deeds

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