John Kelly father of Ned Kelly.
Convict John Kelly was transport, to Australia on the 31st July 1841 when he was placed on board the convict ship ‘The Prince Regent’ in the port of Dublin, arriving in the Derwent River, Van Diemens Land, on 2nd January 1842. He was granted his ticket of leave on 11th July 1845 and headed to Melbourne and he headed inland along the old Sydney road and worked as a carpenter around Donnybrook and Kilmore, an area with many Irish settlers. In 1850 he met Ellen Quinn, who had come out from Ballymena, County Antrim, with her family as a young girl. They were married on 18th November 1850 in St. Francis’s Church, Melbourne by Fr. Gerald Ward. For the next fourteen years or so John Kelly made a living from horse dealing, dairy farming and even some gold mining. During this time seven children were born, including Edward, who subsequently became the famed ‘Ned Kelly’. John and Ellen Kelly bought and sold a number of farms around the township of Beveridge, but their fortunes seem to have been declining over time. In 1864 John Kelly sold his farm for £80 and headed further inland with his family, and they rented 40 acres near Avenel, Victoria. The Kelly family was very poor at this stage and the drought of 1865 made things even worse. In 1865 John Kelly was charged with stealing a calf from a Mr. Morgan and on 29th May 1865 he was in Court for this offence. The charge of cattle stealing was dismissed, but the charges of “unlawful possession of a hide” was upheld and he was fined £25 or 6 months in Gaol. He seems to have served 4 months in gaol because on 3rd October 1865 John Kelly himself registered his eight and last child, Grace, in Campions store in Avenel. In the birth register he lists his home area as “Moyglass, Co. Tipperary, Ireland” and his age as “45”. It is this entry, signed by John Kelly himself that confirms that he and the John Kelly baptised on 20th February 1820 in Moyglass are one and the same person. John Kelly’s health was breaking down and he got seriously ill in November 1866. A Doctor Healey, came from Seymour one week before Christmas of that year, but John Kelly was dying of Dropsy for which there was no cure. John Kelly died on 27th December 1866, aged 46 years. His death was reported and signed by his son Edward Kelly who was not yet 12 years of age at this time. John Kelly was buried in an unmarked grave in Avenel Cemetery, Victoria, on 29th December 1866.