John "Red" Kelly, Claimed historic proflle do not merge until released by CS

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John "Red" Kelly, Claimed historic proflle do not merge until released by CS

Birthplace: Killenaule, Tipperary, Ireland
Death: Died in Avenel, VIC, Australia
Place of Burial: Avenel, VIC, Australia
Managed by: Private User
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About John "Red" Kelly, Claimed historic proflle do not merge until released by CS


JOHN 'RED' KELLY Father of Australian outlaw Ned Kelly

John 'Red' Kelly

John Kelly, father of Ned Kelly was baptised on 20th February 1820 in Moyglass Church in the Parish of Killenaule in the county of Tipperary Ireland

Old Moyglass Church 1837-1989. John Kelly saw this church being built and more than likely helped out with other locals. Demolished in 1989.

This entry in the Parish register in Moyglass Church tells us that his father was Thomas Kelly and that his mother was Mary Cody and that they lived in the townsland of Clonbrogan, which is about one mile west from Moyglass village

Old Moyglass School House. Built on the site of church where John Kelly was baptised in 1820. Now used as a private house.

The Marriage Register tells us that Thomas Kelly and Mary Cody had been married in the same church in the previous year on 1st February 1819 when Thomas Kelly was 18 years of age (going back further still we find that Thomas Kelly’s parents, John Kelly and Ellen Head had also been married in Moyglass Church on 16th June 1799). Thomas Kelly and Mary Cody reared their family of five boys and two girls on a very small plot of ground, less than half an acre, which looked across on Slievenamon mountain. The Kelly homestead in Clonbrogan, marked on the maps of the 1840’s, is long gone, but the Kelly story still arouses great interest both here in Ireland and in Australia where, later on, six of the seven Kelly children journeyed when they left their Tipperary home.

The Two Pigs

John, the eldest son was the first of the Kelly’s to go to Australia. The truth is, he was sent, because on 4th December 1840 he stole two pigs "value about six pounds" from a James Cooney of Ballysheehan, near the famous ‘city’ of Cashel, and then went and sold them at Cahir market about 14 miles further on. So the police records tell us anyway and the authorities seem to have trusted the police reports because on 7th January 1841, John Kelly was found guilty at Cashel Court and sentenced to 7 years transportation for pig stealing.

Newpark Police Station where the pig stealing incident was first reported by a Mary Cooney in December 1840. Now used as a private house.

The police and court reports further indicate that our John was also involved in the stealing of ‘seven fat cows’ belonging to a neighbouring farmer, a Mr. Ryall from Moyglass. He seems to have been ‘helping out’ a Patrick Regan on that occasion, and Patrick Regan got 10 years transportation for his cattle rustling efforts, It must be mentioned here also that the court reports also state that "it was he (i.e. John Kelly) that gave information respecting Regan", which would seem to indicate that John Kelly had ‘squealed’ on his friend. However, the reports do not tell us what pressure was applied to elicit the said ‘information’, or whether his reduced sentence was a reward for his cooperation.


Mobarnan Police Station. The Mobarnan Police intercepted Patrick Regan and John Kelly while they were stealing "seven fat cows" in Moyglass. Now used as a private house.

Famine Times

It is pertinent to remember that in the 1840’s we are dealing with the most wretched period in modern Irish history. The majority of the Irish population of over eight million people (1841) were chronically poor tenant farmers and cottiers. The Kelly’s, it would appear, were just another poor, near landless family whose plight was of little concern to the alien administration in control at that time.

The Great Famine of 1845 - 1847 left over one million dead and another million gone on the ‘coffin ships’. Such was the background to the offences committed by the likes of John Kelly, Patrick Regan and countless others.

John Kelly sails on 'The Prince Regent'

John Kelly was kept in Jail until 31st July 1841 when he was placed on board the convict ship ‘The Prince Regent’ in the port of Dublin. On the 7th August 'The Prince Regent' sailed from Dublin with 182 convicts on Board. There was one port of call, Cape Town, and the ship arrived in the Derwent River, Van Diemens Land, now Tasmania, on 2nd January 1842. By this time John Kelly had already served one year of his sentence and the next six years were spent at convict and labouring jobs in Tasmania. He was granted his ticket of leave on 11th July 1845 and on 11th January 1848 he was granted his Certificate of Freedom. He was a free man again but in a different country at the other side of the world.

John Kelly in Victoria

Sometime during 1848/49 John Kelly crossed the Bass Strait to Port Philip Colony, now 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’.

Last Move to Avenel

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 Jail. He seems to have served 4 months in jail 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.

Death of John Kelly

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, far from his native home of Clonbrogan in the heart of County Tipperary.

Kelly Family Tree

John Kelly married Ellen Head 16th June 1799 Their son Thomas Kelly, born 2nd July 1800 married Marry Cody 1st February 1819.

Thomas Kelly and Mary Cody had the following children John 'Red' Kelly born 20th February 1820 Edmund born 1822 Thomas born 1825 Mary born 1828 Anne born 1831 James born 1835 Daniel born 1839

John 'Red' Kelly married Ellen Quinn 18th November 1850 (in Melbourne Australia) and had the following children Mary Jane born 1851 (died 1851) Anne born 1853 (died 1872) Ned Kelly born 1855 (died 1880) Maggie born 1857 (died 1896) James born 1859 (died 1946) Dan born 1861 (died 1880) Kate born 1863 (died 1898) Grace born 1865 (died 1940)

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John "Red" Kelly, Claimed historic proflle do not merge until released by CS's Timeline

February 20, 1820
Killenaule, Tipperary, Ireland
February 20, 1820
Clonbrogan, Tipperary, Ireland
December 27, 1866
Age 46
Avenel, VIC, Australia
December 29, 1866
Age 46
Avenel, VIC, Australia
Avenel, VIC, Australia