140 years ago this year, three Victorian Policemen were murdered in the Wombat Ranges, Victoria. They had been tasked with the arrest of two young brothers, who were known horse and cattle thieves. These brothers, along with two other accomplices, would later become known as 'The Kelly Gang.'
The story of The Kelly Gang has been the subject of much literary debate. Indeed, the world's first ever feature length multi-reel film, released in 1906, was titled 'The Story of the Kelly Gang'. Since that time, Australians have embraced Ned Kelly as a national folk hero; an underdog; champion of the poor; a modern day Robin Hood. But how do we reconcile that image with the apparent cold blooded murder of three policemen tasked with his arrest?
How? Because with the passage of time, we have learned to gloss over the principle elements of this story - that three policemen, two with wives and familes, having been tasked with the arrest of the Kelly Brothers, were ambushed and killed in the Victorian high country in 1878. Why have we glossed over these terrible facts? Possibly because the image of an armoured outlaw with guns blazing is far more romantic than the events for which he was responsible.
Above: The 3 Policemen killed by the Kelly Gang. (From Left to Right) Sergeant Michael Kennedy, Constable Michael Scanlan and Constable Thomas Lonigan.
After two solid years of research, we are ready to embark upon the telling of this important Australian story. This will be the first time in Australia's history that this story will have been told in a dramatic context from the police perspective.
Our project is a short film that gives us a glimpse into the lives and emotions of the policemen and their families, the orders they undertook to follow in 1878, and the dramatic events that ultimately led to the most high profile homicides in Australia's colonial history.
Stringybark will feature accomplished Australian actor Greg Stone (Van Diemen's Land, The Bank, Underbelly Files: Tell them Lucifer was Here, Is This the Real World, OffSpring, and Blue Heelers among many others).
Why donate to this project?
Are you interested in the facts behind a legend?
Are you a current or ex-serving member of any Australian police force? Or a friend or relative of one?
Have you ever wondered what seminal events led to the Kelly Gang siege at Glenrowan in 1880?
Do you like the thought of being part of Australian cinematic history?
Or would you like to see your name or company details appear in the credits of a film to be judged nationally and around the world?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, then this is your project for 2018!
We look forward to hearing from you soon.
Ben Head and the STRINGYBARK Team.
The budget - a very lean one - is intended to supplement our own investment and cover costs of:
- horses and wranglers
- set design and construction
- additional camera and sound equipment
- location and access fees
Budget is everything.