Iron Outlaw Update

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Back at the beginning of August I linked to a story about the Australian government providing funds to promote tourism centered around Ned Kelly and his gang of outlaws. Kelly and his gang made a last stand against law enforcement wearing iron armor fashioned by local blacksmiths. Three of the gang members were eventually killed even though the armor proved amazingly effective. Kelly himself was wounded but was captured and later hanged for his crimes. The four suits of armor have been in private hands for years, but are exhibited fairly often.

Today the Sydney Morning Herald has a story about a man who is almost certain that he has located the smithy where at least some of the armor was fabricated.

DARREN SUTTON could not believe his eyes. Treading warily across the scorched earth outside Beechworth after the 2003 bushfires, he stumbled on something he always figured must be there. And it goes a long way to solving one of the last mysteries surrounding the Kelly Gang.

An army of historians and folklore aficionados have been unable to establish where the armour worn 120 years ago by Ned and Dan Kelly, Steve Hart and Joe Byrne was made.

Mr Sutton believes he has found the forge where Byrne's armour suit was created by a local blacksmith, Charlie Knight, and a friend, Thomas Straughair.

The only relic he has removed from the site is almost certainly an offcut from Byrne's armour. It has lain under topsoil and bush scrub for more than a century.

This week Mr Sutton took the Herald to the site. Also on the expedition was noted Kelly historian and author Ian Jones, whom Mr Sutton invited for his expert opinion.

Once again, here's a link to a website dedicated to Ned and his gang.

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