‘Fearless, Free and Bold’: The Moral Ecology of Kelly Country

  • Graham Seal
Part of the Palgrave Studies in World Environmental History book series (PSWEH)


This chapter discusses the bushranging episode involving Edward ‘Ned’ Kelly, a number of accomplices and a cohort of sympathisers and supporters in northeastern Victoria, Australia, during the nineteenth century. Using a variety of sources, including Kelly’s own ‘Jerilderie Letter’, newspapers, the subsequent Royal Commission and the recollections of police officers involved in pursing the Kellys, it is argued that the rupturing of the fragile moral economy of the region through the Kelly outbreak and the consequences of those events reveal the origins of a rudimentary moral ecology in a European settler society. What Jacoby refers to as ‘the pattern of beliefs, practices, and traditions that governed how ordinary rural folk interacted with the environment’ can be seen through the grassroots and official documents generated by those tensions.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Graham Seal
    • 1
  1. 1.Curtin UniversityPerthAustralia

Personalised recommendations