Big Ned Kelly ‘should be demolished’

Tourist drawcard or glorifying a killer: The giant Ned Kelly statue at Glenrowan should be pulled down, a descendant of one of his victims believes.

Tourist drawcard or glorifying a killer: The giant Ned Kelly statue at Glenrowan should be pulled down, a descendant of one of his victims believes.

A six-metre tall Ned Kelly statue at Glenrowan should be pulled down, a descendant of a policeman killed by the bushranger believes.

Leo Kennedy, whose great grandad Sergeant Michael Kennedy was slain at Stringybark Creek, believes the landmark should be replaced with a statue of Thomas Curnow, the teacher who alerted police to the Kelly Gang’s plan to derail a train at Glenrowan. 

“It glorifies a murderer and a terrorist, what messages does that send to society?” Mr Kennedy said of the statue.

“I’d like to see Curnow put there in place of it, because he’s the hero.

“He saved lives, Kelly caused deaths.”

Appalled: Leo Kennedy, a descendant of policeman Sergeant Michael Kennedy who was killed by the Kelly Gang at Stringybark Creek, would like a statue to school teacher Thomas Curnow, rather than Ned Kelly, at Glenrowan.

Appalled: Leo Kennedy, a descendant of policeman Sergeant Michael Kennedy who was killed by the Kelly Gang at Stringybark Creek, would like a statue to school teacher Thomas Curnow, rather than Ned Kelly, at Glenrowan.

The statue, which cost $12,000, was unveiled in 1992 by the owners of Kate’s Cottage souvenir shop, Chris and Rod Gerrett.

Mrs Gerrett said it had been driven by the town being bypassed by the Hume Highway, a craze for things such as the Big Merino and the move of other large Kelly statues from another Glenrowan business.

“We were being bypassed, we had people coming in looking for the statue and the bigs were the go at the time, that’s what motivated us,” Mrs Gerrett said.

“Ned Kelly said he wasn’t an angel; I don’t think he was a hero, he’s somewhere in between.

“I feel sorry for the families that carry this, but both sides carry this pain – the Kelly side and the police side.”

Mrs Gerrett said she was “bemused” and “flabbergasted” by the suggestion the statue should be removed.

She said in talks she gave to school children about the siege she spoke of Mr Curnow’s heroism and did not disagree with the idea of a statue for him.

“It would be great if someone wanted to put the money up for it, because he was a brave man,” Mrs Gerrett said.

Mr Kennedy’s concern about the statue follows the Victorian government this week committing $1 million to preserving Kelly’s boyhood home at Beveridge.

He was disappointed the families of Kelly’s victims had not been consulted on the plan and wants to meet Planning Minister Richard Wynne to discuss how the past would be portrayed. 

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