In Authors, Personalities

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The story of Ned Kelly is Australia’s most heralded myth. Black Snake, an explosive new book, tells the victim’s side of the story for the first time. Written by the great-grandson of one of the policemen murdered at Stringybark Creek, Black Snake is the most compelling rebuttal of the Ned Kelly myth ever told. The book has been published to coincide with the 140th anniversary of the Stringybark Creek killings.

The story of Ned Kelly is also the untold story of Michael Kennedy, the police sergeant slain and robbed by the outlaw 140 years ago. Both Kennedy and Kelly were Irish immigrants struggling to make their way in the new colonies of Australia – Kennedy was committed to defending the law, while Kelly was hell-bent on breaking it. When their paths crossed one fateful day at Stringybark Creek, it triggered the end for one and the beginning of an incredible myth about the other.

Author Leo Kennedy is the great-grandson of Sergeant Michael Kennedy. He was raised in the shadow of his great-grandfather’s murder. He witnessed the deep psychological wounds inflicted on successive generations of his family – and the families of other victims – as the Ned Kelly myth grew around them and the sacrifice of their loved ones was forgotten.

Now, for the first time, these historical episodes have been brought to life. Instead of celebrating a heroic man of the people, Black Snake challenges the Ned Kelly legend, giving voice to the victims of a merciless gang of outlaws. It is a captivating true story, gleaned from meticulous research and family history, of two men from similar backgrounds whose legacies were distorted by history. The repercussions of their encounter reverberated through generations.


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