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22 September 2003

The first major exhibition to investigate national outlaws across the world Outlawed! The World's Rebels, Revolutionaries and Bushrangers opens at the National Museum of Australia in Canberra on 28 November, presented by Lockwood.

This dramatic travelling exhibition explores how societies produce legendary outlaw heroes who are both reviled and revered and always present in popular culture.

'A nation's outlaw legends can tell us a lot about the political, economic and social circumstances of different times and places in history,' National Museum director Dawn Casey said. 'Our continued fascination with outlaws tells us something about society today.'

Outlawed! explores the tension between the reality and legend of outlaws from nine countries, including many from Australia and America's Wild West.

Outlawed! examines how the nature of an outlaw's death influences the birth of their legend. Japanese outlaw Ishikawa Goemon was reportedly boiled alive; Sicilian separatist Salvatore Giuliano was shot by his best friend; Ned Kelly and Aboriginal bushranger Musqito were hanged and the Indian Bandit Queen Phoolan Devi was assassinated.

Outlawed! also follows the exploits of Australian bushrangers, looking at the gangs of Ned Kelly, Ben Hall and Frank Gardiner; the Clarke Brothers of the Monaro; Queensland cattle thief Henry Readford; and indigenous outlaws such as Walyer and the Governor Brothers.

The mythmaking of the immortal hero is revealed through painting and film with a special film studio allowing visitors to literally put themselves in the picture as a Wild West outlaw, Australian bushranger, Mexican revolutionary or in pursuit of a Japanese ninja.

The exhibition includes 500 objects sourced from across the globe, including a publican's transcript of Ned Kelly's famous Jerilderie Letter; Kevin Costner's costume from Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves; fragments from Jesse James' coffin and Hone Heke's fighting sticks. Visitors can play the new video game, Robin Hood: Defender of the Crown, and children can follow the outlaw's clues from a special children's area called Thunderbolt Country.

The Museum's Public Programs include a Crime Fiction Forum in December with Peter Corris; a groundbreaking February conference on the representation of outlaws in popular culture; and outlaws taking over the animation theme of Sky Lounge through February.

Outlawed! is on show at the National Museum in Canberra from 28 November 2003 to 26 April 2004 and the Melbourne Museum from 10 June to 10 October 2004.

Entry is $8 adults, $6 concession, $5 children, $16 families.

For images or information contact Martin Portus on 02 6208 5351, 0409 916 481or

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