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Sword with scabbard presented to Sergeant Arthur Steele by grateful pastoralists following the capture of Ned Kelly

Object type

Object number

Steel sword of the pattern used by Royal Artillery officers. The sword is highly polished and the blade is decoratively etched. The blade is also inscribed 'Presented to Sergeant Steele, Victoria Police by the Moyhu Stock Protection Society as a testimony of the high esteem they entertain of his public services during the recent outbreak. Wangaratta 1880.'. The sword is fitted with a basket hilt, a wire-bound sharkskin grip, and the outfitter's name "J.W. Rosier / Melbourne" is on the ricasso. The sword is sheathed in a highly polished undecorated scabbard, which has two raised bands.

Collection name
Sergeant Arthur Steele collection

Collection statement of significance
The collection consists of a ceremonial sword awarded to Sergeant Arthur Steele and a copy of the 1881 report by the government board which distributed the reward offered for the capture of the Kelly Gang. Also included is a copy of the catalogue to the Old Melbourne Gaol 2001 exhibition on Ned Kelly, signed by the author.

Sergeant Arthur Steele was one of the most prominent police officers involved in the pursuit of the Kelly Gang. It was Steele who finally shot Kelly at Glenrowan in June 1880, avoiding Kelly's armour by wounding the bushranger in the legs. Steele was also criticised for some of his actions, yet he received a sizeable portion of the official reward. The sword was given to Steele by local stockowners - those people who had the most to fear from the Kelly Gang - in gratitude for Steele's actions at Glenrowan. Given that the fundamental background to the Kelly outbreak was a land war beteeen squatters and selectors, the sword is powerfully symbolic of the economic and political battle that underlay the Kelly story.

J W Rosier, Gun Maker

Place made
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Sergeant Arthur L. Steele
Sergeant Steele managed to bring down Ned Kelly by shooting him in his legs, which were not protected with armour like the rest of this body

Victoria Police

Moyhu Stock Protection Society

Edward 'Ned' Kelly

Place of event
Glenrowan, Victoria, Australia

Wangaratta, Victoria, Australia

Moyhu, Victoria, Australia

Date of event
Ned Kelly was captured during the siege of the inn at Glenrowan, Victoria.

Nickel-plated steel, Animal material - non specific

Length: 990mm
Width: 103mm
Height: 120mm

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