On this day …….. 6th of October 1898
Notorious bushranger Ned Kelly had five sisters, two half-sisters, two brothers and one half-brother. His sisters were Maggie, who was born in 1857, three years after Ned, and Catherine, variously nicknamed Kate or Kittie, who was born in 1863. In addition, there were Mary, who died as a baby, Anne and Grace. Ned Kelly’s two brothers were Daniel, who joined Ned in the Kelly gang, and James. Some time after Ned Kelly’s father died, his mother remarried, and bore another two daughters, Ellen and Alice and a son, John, also known as Jack. Kate Kelly was perhaps the best known of Ned Kelly’s siblings. Legend claims that she was the fiancee of Aaron Sherritt, notorious for betraying the Kelly gang to the police, and being shot for his trouble. Kate also had another admirer, Alexander Fitzpatrick, who attempted to ingratiate himself into the Kelly family. After making unwelcome advances towards young Kate, he was attacked by Ned’s mother, beaten by one brother and allegedly shot by Ned, although the doctor who attended Fitzpatrick did not confirm a gunshot wound. The event resulted in Ned’s mother being arrested, and the brothers being hunted further by police. Kate was a central catalyst to these circumstances. After helping hold the family together following the arrest of their mother, at the age of 25, Kate married William Henry Foster of Forbes, New South Wales. She was a skilled and respected horsewoman, and perpetuated the family line by bearng six children, three of whom survived to adulthood. Kate’s colourful life ended tragically when she was just 35 years old. Some two years after her sister Maggie died, Kate went missing, on 6 October 1898. Eight days passed before her body was located in a lagoon at Condobolin Road near Forbes. Initial indications were that she died of drowning, but the Magisterial inquiry that was held into her death on 15 October did not indicate how or why this could have occurred. Kate’s death certificate stated there was no evidence, but family and friends believed her depression following Maggie’s death contributed to her own death.