Part of the border town of Jerilderie is dedicated to servicing some of the nation’s major merino studs, another to perpetuating a legend. The legend lives on in the old post and telegraph office which remains much as it looked in February 1879 when the notorious Ned Kelly gang came to town for the weekend.
When Ned and Dan Kelly and sidekicks Steve Hart and Joe Byrne left after terrorising the locals for three days, the bank was 2140 pounds ($4280) poorer, the reward on the gang members’ heads had been doubled to $4000 and a Bank of NSW teller had been left holding the (in)famous Jerilderie letter.
In the 8000 word manifesto dictated to henchman Joe Byrne, Ned outlined his grievances and the injustices visited upon his family. The letter neither swayed his jury nor saved his neck when he was eventually captured, tried and hung in Melbourne Gaol on November 11, 1880. The original, however, is preserved among the Victorian State Library's collection of national treasures.
The Kelly conection, of course, means a constant flow of visitors who discover there are fish to be caught in the Billabong and Yanko creeks and aquatic fun to be had on Jerilderie Lake and its attendant Lukes Park.