Author Rebecca Wilson recently launched her debut book, Kate Kelly, the true story about Ned Kelly’s little sister, in her hometown of Forbes. Locals have rejoiced at the launch of this book and having this incredible story be told.
“When I was a young person growing up in Forbes in the central west of New South Wales, my uncle told me that Kate Kelly, the younger sister to renowned bushrangers Ned and Dan Kelly, had lived in the town for a number of years. But it wasn’t until 2010 that I discovered that the teenaged Kate had ridden as a decoy for and delivered news and supplies to the Kelly gang when they were on the run in northeast Victoria from 1878 to 1880. I was instantly intrigued, and jumped down the rabbit hole of research, hot on Kate’s heels,” Rebecca said.
One aspect of Kate’s story that intrigued me was the mystery surrounding her death. Kate had arrived in the region in 1885 and was employed at Cadow Station, in Forbes, as a domestic servant under a false name. I was shocked to discover it had been my relatives who hired her.
After playing a significant role in the saga of her brothers and suffering relentless fame as a consequence, Kate was found dead in a waterhole in October 1898, leaving behind three young children and an infant. Perhaps her attempts to disappear from the public eye are the reason her story is not remembered very well in history’s pages.
“I congratulate Bec on the launch of this wonderful book,” said Forbes Shire Councillor, Michele Herbert who was at the launch.
“I think it is so important we tell the stories of the past and keep our history alive for future generations.”