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[2019] The Armour: the myths, the facts

[2019] The Armour: the myths, the facts

On Saturday 23 February 2019, the Greta Hansonville Hall Committee hosted The Armour: the myths, the facts. The day was filled with discussions focusing on the Kelly Gang’s armour – how it was made, why it was made, and the impact it has had on history, folklore, and popular culture.

Noeleen Lloyd presented a discussion on the concept and impact the boy’s armour had not only on the sympathisers but on colonial society. Brad Webb presented a talk on the evolution of Ned Kelly in folklore and how the imagery of the Gang’s armour has transcended pop culture on multiple levels from cinema to comic books. Artist Joe Zapp who started a Kelly painting as the event began then discussed, near the end of proceedings, the painting: the process and the subject – Ned. Joe then auctioned the painting with the lucky bidder receiving a one-off signed painting with 50% of the proceeds going to the Hall. Joe also donated four signed #1 prints from his Ned Kelly series for the silent auction which also included signed books and other collectable items such as some lovely signed bottles of wine donated by Bob Morrison.

As the guests took their seats in the Hall, they were met by the sight of four sets of armour – exact fiberglass replicas of the originals.  These are usually seen at their home in the Ned Kelly Vault, Beechworth. In the spirit of collaboration between organisations and districts, the armour was loaned to the Glenrowan Hansonville Hall Committee especially for the day. 

Our thanks go to both Cameron Auty, Beechworth, Manager, Burke Museum and Matt Shore, Curator, The Ned Kelly Vault.  This was a great opportunity to work together, with a promise of doing so in the future.

There was a live demonstration of traditional blacksmithing methods by well known local blacksmith, Nick Hawtin after he presented a thought-provoking talk on the process of making the armour. Nick owned the famous Rutherglen Forge and has produced some well crafted pieces including replica armours for the Jerilderie Shire (made to the exact weight and size of the originals). There was also a number of additional presentations and displays along with a Q&A session.

Admission was $25 per person and included morning tea and a light lunch. Due to the size of the hall, tickets were strictly limited to a maximum of eighty seats (there was no standing room!). Along with a packed hall and program, there was opportunities to pick up merchandise and take home a prize in the raffle. Most important of all, it was a day where everyone came together to talk about, debate, and keep our local history alive. All proceeds went to the continued upkeep and refurbishment of the Greta Hansonville Hall.

Images: Courtesy Kevn Lee Photography