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Gria Shead has delved deeply into the Kelly family back-story, identifying protagonists and dynamics that not only prompt questions about the shaping of history but also pre-empt thoughtless perpetuation of paradigms that are full of favour and empty of honour.
Gria shows us that Kate Kelly — Ned Kelly’s sister — grasped the opportunity to contribute to addressing the wrongs and injustices that were the lot of her family in nineteenth-century rural Australia.
Her circumstances clearly signified inequality to her brother — inequality that he was determined to challenge. The subsequent myth-making neglected to show however, that Kate was a far cry from a passive symbol of subjugated womanhood and that she participated fully in her brother’s campaign.
Gria has established a different viewpoint. She redresses the balance by adding fact to the mythopoeic mix, creating haunting images of a young woman seeking integration and rejecting conventional solutions.