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Black Snake : The Real Story of Ned Kelly - Leo Kennedy

Black Snake

The Real Story of Ned Kelly

Hardcover Published: 9th October 2018
ISBN: 9781925584950
Number Of Pages: 336

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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. Leo himself was nicknamed 'Red Ned' at school and taunted for being on the wrong side of Australian history.

Now, for the first time and in brilliant prose that brings these historical episodes to life, Black Snake challenges the legend of Ned Kelly. Instead of celebrating an heroic man of the people, it gives voice to the victims of a merciless gang of outlaws. This is a captivating true story, gleaned from meticulous research and family history, of two men from similar backgrounds whose legacies were distorted by history.

About the Authors

Leo Kennedy is the great grandson of Sergeant Michael Kennedy and was raised in the shadow of his great grandfather's murder. Leo is a member of the Blue Ribbon Foundation, which supports police families and honours the memory of police killed in the line of duty. He lives with his family in Melbourne, where he works as a lawyer. In his spare time he enjoys working on other history, conservation and permaculture projects.

Mic Looby is a writer, editor and illustrator. He is the author of the novel Paradise Updated (Affirm Press), a co-creator of six children's books, and a scriptwriter for television including the ABC's award-winning natural history documentary The Great Australian Fly. A former columnist for The Big Issue magazine, Mic was also a senior digital wordsmith at The Age for many years, and a Lonely Planet guidebook writer at large. A father of two, Mic lives in Melbourne with his family and other wildlife.


Very Good Read


Kennedy gives us a teagic view from the victims of crime. Brings a cold reality to killing & debunks some of the romanticized Kelly view. Comes with a balanced view that is harsh (understandible in the circumstances) but with little understanding/compassion of the prevailing conditions that led to such tragic circumstances. Enjoyed the read brought another perspective but like alk the Kelly books is not 100% correct.

Nthn NSW


Read the other BLACK SNAKE (2002) by Carole Wilkinson


I too am a direct descendant by way of the Police enforcement side of the Kelly saga. One insight my family history has taught me is how corrupt the police constabulary was in 1880 and the anti Irish Catholic sentiment within the forces and government of the time. Shame that Leo Kennedy had to borrow his title from a much more balanced book by Carole Wilkinson published 2002 "BLACK SNAKE - the daring of Ned Kelly" which gives a balanced view of events and allows the reader to come to their own conclusions. Kennedy attempts to distort history by only giving a one sided account of events. Astute readers are much better served reading newspaper articles from the Trove archives. The Jerilderie Letter also gives insight into the Kelly Gang's motivation. Leo Kennedy, is just one descendent of a plethora of Kelly descendents on both sides of this sad saga. Victoria in 1880 was a very much different place to 2018. Just because our ancestors wore a uniform and badge does not make their place in history any more important than the victims of police harassment and brutality of the time. Many a family lossed loved ones during this brutal era. Many were forced into poverty and died of starvation due to property dispossession. Let's look to the future and learn from the mistakes of the past.

Ferntree Gully


Bitterness is eternal, apparently.


Suggests that a particular narrative regarding Kelly is more accurate because it focusses upon his criminality while ignoring formative influences.

Mornington Island.


The real Ned Kelly


It should be mandatory reading for school kids along with a book from the "other side" of Ned's story.

Macquarie Fields


At last the other side of the story.


I feel for the families the Kelly Gang hurt- they are many.



Black Snake The Real Story of Ned Kelly


Great book I have found this quite hard to put down. Leo Kennedy has researched the Ned Kelly story and delivers what would be the best researched story of Ned Kelly and his gang to date.



About Time The Story was Told - a Great Read


Its about time that the other (real) side of the story was told. What a great read and by someone who actually knows the facts - not the fiction we were taught at school.





Briiliant book giving the ":otherside". A great addition to my Kelly History Library



Dont waste your time


So full of errors that cant be could anything but a work of fiction




3.4 9


ISBN: 9781925584950
ISBN-10: 192558495X
Audience: General
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 336
Published: 9th October 2018
Publisher: Affirm Press
Country of Publication: AU
Dimensions (cm): 24.0 x 16.0  x 3.0
Weight (kg): 0.61
Edition Number: 1