T-shirt – A Pardon for Ned Kelly #2011-1766
White cotton t-shirt with a screen printed image of Ned Kelly’s helmet and gun and inscribed ‘A Pardon for Ned Kelly’.
This t-shirt was part of the 1980 ‘Ned Kelly centenary’—that is, the centenary of his death—during which a campaign for a posthumous pardon was launched. To some, Kelly is a heroic figure, compelled by injustice to fight the police. To others he is a common criminal, best forgotten. The people behind the ‘Pardon’ campaign were left-wing nationalists. Important support for the campaign came from the Builders Labourers Federation in Melbourne. The campaign petition received several thousand signatures but failed to secure a pardon for Ned Kelly. The issue has been kept alive on-line by an Australian ‘nativist’ group (nativism being the belief in the dominant established community in a country or region and the perpetuation of its culture): http://home.alphalink.com.au/~eureka/petition.htm.
The t-shirt is from a collection of objects given to the donor by a daughter of the late Ted Bull (1914-1998) who was Secretary of the Waterside Workers Federation (Melbourne Branch) and a supporter of the ‘pardon’. An account of the Ned Kelly centenary has been written by the organiser, Peter Galvin, and is at galvinpt.pcug.org.au