Views #1063 | Intermediate (B1)

Ned Kelly

Shirley talks with Jake about a famous folk here in Australian history.

Jake: OK, so tell me about Australia. Do you have any similar folk heroes there?

Shirley: Well Jake, in Australia, one of our most famous - a kind of black folk hero, is Ned Kelly from the Kelly gang and he was a real life person who in the-I don’t know, about the 1850’s I guess was kind of a modern day Robin Hood. So he used to rob the people and he would give some of his profit I think to the needy or to the town’s people.

Jake: Some of his?

Shirley: Some of it. Not all though. He wasn’t quite as virtuous as the image of Robin Hood is. I don’t know how virtuous Robin Hood was, but- and also he was considered a bandit and an outlaw so the police were always chasing him and in the end he was killed by a policeman that was quite famous.

Jake:So this story isn’t exactly as clean as the Robin Hood story? They get killed at the end and they probably, they’ve done also some bad things in order to also provide to the poor, but do they clean the story up for children and make a children’s version of this?

Shirley: Well, I don’t know if they clean it up for children. You know, I suspect these days that a lot of the fame of Ned Kelly and the Kelly gang is because, you know, attributable to the tourist industry. There are lots of towns that have claimed either the place where he died or the place where he was born or the place he hid out, and all of those small towns have tourist attractions, but I guess as you said earlier, Australia being a young country in terms of its white history like America, we’re only about 200 odd years old then we don’t have that many heroes to call on so I guess people who have stood out in our history take on sort of heroic image or at least become famous in their own right.

Learn Vocabulary from the Lesson

folk heroes


similar folk heroes

Folk heroes are traditional cultural heroes from our country's past. Note the following.

  1. Russell Crowe plays the folk hero Robin Hood in the 2010 movie of the same name.
  2. Joseph became a bit of a French folk hero after vandalizing a fast food restaurant in 1999.

real life


He was a real life person.

A real life person is living or has lived in the past. He or she is not a character from a book, TV show or a movie. Notice the sample sentences:

  1. Superman is, of course, not a real life person.
  2. Buffalo Bill Cody was a real life person from America's wild west.

clean it up


clean it up for children

Here 'clean it up' means to change or remove text, speech, or images that might be offensive or unsuitable to some. Notice the following:

  1. HBO commonly cleans up movie dialog for TV viewing.
  2. My teacher returned my homework and told me to clean up the grammar.

stand out


people who have stood out

People or things that stand out are special. The meaning can be positive or negative. Notice the sample sentences.

  1. The poor performance of the French team really stood out at the 2010 World Cup.
  2. Tiger Woods was a stand out as a young boy.

in their own right


become famous in their own right

The phrase 'in their own right' talks about success by a person's own ability and hard work, often without the help of others. See below.

  1. Bill Clinton is a famous US president, and his wife is famous in her own right.
  2. My father never finished high school, but started a business, worked hard and became successful in his own right.

Vocabulary Quiz

folk heroes • real life • clean it up
stand out • in her own right
  1. I was shocked to get a person at the call center.
  2. She made it to the top .
  3. All cultures have they look up to.
  4. You need to to get a promotion.
  5. The song has lots of bad words so they need to before it can go on the radio.
Answer the following questions about the interview.

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1063 Ned Kelly
Shirley talks about a famous hero in Australia.

1062 Famous Americans
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1061 Famous Australians
1061 Famous Australians
Nick talks about famous people in Australia.


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