Irish-Australian bushranger larrikin from Greta, Ned Kelly, had
drawn a pistol for his assault on the rural citadels of capitalism,
the Jerilderie and Euroa banks.
to the pounding words of his `Jerilderie Letter', a treatise so
radical the authorities buried it from the public gaze for a generation,
it was the "widows and orphans and poor of the Greta district"
who dined on the proceeds of Kelly's assault on the State.
A Norman castle near Red Kelly's birth place
Kelly knew the banks were an agent of the pastoral company and the
`big-wig' urban financiers in their war against the small settler.
For Jack Lang and Frank Anstey and the old guard of the ALP, as
it was for Ned, the banks represented the worst of avaricious capitalism.
contrast Treasurer Paul Keating, the symbol of new modern Labor,
carried only personal, not ideological, enmity towards the money-lenders.
Curtin and Chifley had wanted to control them, Keating only wanted
to see them squirm under the pressure of market forces.
the Kellys from Tipperary and their sympathisers gathered around
Jones' Hotel at Glenrowan on that foggy, fateful night in 1880,
they'd already settled on a Republic.
was nothing to argue about; the Crown was a symbol of oppression,
pure and simple. It
would take another 115 years before the boy from Tynagh, County
Galway, stormed the Australian Parliament to deliver his ode to
the Australian Republic.
Kelly's outpourings said far more about national sovereignty and the
source of power and privilege in Australia than did Keating's offerings.
Keating wanted to change the Head of State, Kelly wanted a
just state. In the heat
of battle Keating remembered bank managers.
At Jerilderie the bushranger's words were saved for avaricious
squatters and British tyranny...