Stringy Bark Creek and The Kelly Tree


The infamous shootout between police and the Kelly Gang took place at Stringybark Creek on 26 October 1878.

Four Mansfield policemen had ridden out with tents and supplies to search for the Kelly Gang. Ned and his brother surprised two of the police at their camp (McIntyre and Lonigan) and held them up. McIntyre surrendered but Lonigan fired at Ned so Ned fired back and shot and killed Lonigan. When the other two members of the group returned, McIntyre was supposed to tell them to surrender and Ned had promised not to harm them. However, Scanlan fired a shot and was shot in return. Kennedy took cover behind a tree and fired shots and was also killed by Ned. McIntyre escaped on horseback and Ned let him go, wishing to keep his promise.

It was these events, where Ned committed his first murder – which he claims were all in self defence – that sealed his fate when he ultimately stood trial. The gang was declared outlaws at the Mansfield Courthouse on November 15 1878 when they failed to appear and a reward of £800 for the Kelly gang (£200 each member) was posted in Victoria.

There’s a police memorial here (and another at Mansfield, where the policemen were stationed).

The natural bush setting at Stringybark Creek is largely undisturbed and can be reached by a well-graded dirt road from either Benalla or Mansfield. Drive carefully as logging trucks frequently use this road.