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art - serene paintings that portray coastal and tranquil scenes by the artist Tillack - australian artist
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Ned Kelly - 11 November 1880
art work - painting - Ghost of Glenrowan (Ned Kelly)
ghost of glenrowan (ned kelly)
acrylic on aged wood

  The tree depicted in this painting is a Ghost Gum, and the title - "Ghost of Glenrowan" actually refers to it. I gave as much precedence to the tree as I did to Ned as I feel they both represent a strong solitary character.
This piece is related to the body of work called "Situations of Serenity" - you will find a mix of coastal scenes and figurative but I feel they all have the same value of serenity.

This piece, in particular is very close to me, as being an Aussie away from home, it symbolizes the strength, hardship, hard land and character of our "Lucky Country" and both Ned and the Ghost Gum both bare these qualities.

This painting refers to the time when Ned returns wounded from a previous battle ( hence the bullet holes ) to find the police had set ablaze the Glenrowan Inn ( building in the background with smoke mixed with calm morning mist ). Coming to the conclusion that his brother and two friends that made up the Kelly Gang are now dead, he realizes his fate as he is now faced by a mountain side of armed police, and this is where a complete feeling of Serenity over comes him - "Situations of Serenity".

I have traveled all around the world and nothing reminds me more of home than gum trees - the smell and their stature - they pull a blanket of serenity over me, as I remember running thru the Australian bush to go surfing - the smells and their forms against the Aussie sky with a breath of summer wind. And here I have incorporated my own feelings and symbolisms that I find in these trees and place them into both characters with in this painting, because, here you have a rugged man who has been shot, endured a harsh life and driven to this point, where he understands his future and direction - a complete blanket of serenity has come over him and clarity would fill his mind as he will face over 100 gun wielding police, knowing the outcome.


Ned Kelly was just aged sixteen, when he was convicted of receiving a stolen horse and served three years in gaol before being released in 1874.
Whether or not he was set for a life of crime is hard to say, but one event had a dramatic effect on determining his future.
In April 1878, a police officer accused Ned's mother of attacking him and Ned of shooting him in the wrist. The first feature film ever made shows a version of events in which Fitzpatrick brings on the attack by assaulting one of Ned's sisters.
But whatever actually happened, the end result of Fitzpatrick's claims was that Mrs. Kelly was sent to prison for three years and a one hundred pound reward was offered for the capture of Ned. From that time on Ned and his brother Dan kept to the bush.
On the 26 October 1878, together with friends, Joe Byrne and Steve Hart, they came across police camped at Stringy Bark Creek. Ned believed the police intended to kill him and Dan so he called on them to surrender. But three of the officers resisted, and in the fight which followed Kelly shot them dead.
The reward for Kelly and his gang rose to two thousand pounds and would later rise to an amazing eight thousand pounds, the equivalent, today, of nearly two millions dollars!
But Ned had many supporters and for almost two years they helped the gang dodge police. During this time the Kelly gang robbed two banks. The robberies were important in the making of the Kelly legend. In defying authority, robbing the rich and by not taking any more lives the gang fitted the popular image of brave and bold bushrangers. The robberies also give us an idea of how Ned saw himself.
At each robbery he gave one of his hostages a letter in which he explained to the government how he'd been persecuted by police. He called Constable Fitzpatrick a liar and explained his killing of police at Stringy Bark as self defence. He also called for justice for the poor, writing...

"I have no intention of asking mercy for myself of any mortal man, or apologizing, but I wish to give timely warning that if my people do not get justice and those innocents released from prison, I shall be forced to seek revenge of everything of the human race for the future."

In June 1880 Ned made his last stand.

The Kelly gang was at the Glenrowan Hotel when they were surrounded by police. Prepared to fight, the four bushrangers wore suits of armour made from steel. During the battle, Ned escaped through the police lines. But rather than fleeing into the bush, he returned a number of times to fight police. He was trying to rescue his brother and friends. Eventually, he collapsed with more than twenty-eight bullet wounds to his arms, legs, feet, groin and hands.
Beneath his armour a green sash he wore was stained with blood. It was a sash he'd been given many years earlier for saving a drowning boy.
Ned was the only survivor of the siege. Joe Byrne had been shot early on and after Ned's capture police set fire to the Inn and the charred remains of Dan Kelly and Steve Hart were removed.
After Ned recovered he was convicted of the murder of one of the police officers at Stringy Bark, and despite protests by thousands of supporters, was sentenced to death.

In Melbourne gaol, on 11 November 1880 Ned Kelly was hanged. He was twenty-five years old.

For many, the making of Ned Kelly the legend, raises questions about how Australians see themselves.
For some he's no more than a criminal but for others he continues to be seen as brave and daring and, a bit of a larrikin, someone distinctly Australian.

click for more information on Ned Kelly

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