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THE WILD WILD EAST

FROM THE STREET ART OF MELBOURNE TO THE RUGGED UPLANDS OF VICTORIA ’S NORTHEAST, TALES OF LEGENDARY OUTLA WS AND HIGH- COUNTRY HORSEMEN ABOUND. WE DISCOVER THEM ON THE TRAIL OF THE MOST FAMOUS BUSH BANDIT OF THEM ALL, NED KELLY
ADDITIONAL PHOTOGRAPHS: PICTORIAL PRESS LTD/ALAMY
The hanging beam at Old Melbourne Gaol, where Ned Kelly was hanged almost 140 years ago. Opposite: The iconic photograph of Ned Kelly taken the day before his execution

Atfirst glance, the face looks peaceful, its heavy brow and strong features relaxed as if in sleep, but the neck is engorged, the head oddly angled. This is not sleep, but death. It’s a plaster mask cast from the head of a criminal executed here in Old Melbourne Gaol almost 140 years ago. It glows white in a glass box at the end of the very cellblock in which he was hanged.

It’s early and the only footsteps echoing round these cold stone walls are my own. Soon, this eerie space will be ringing with the chatter of visitors as they press in to see this last frozen moment of one of the most famous igures in Australian history: the notorious 19th-century bandit, Ned Kelly.

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Find the complete article and many more in this issue of Lonely Planet - January 2019
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