Image Sidney Nolan: 'Ned Kelly', 1946

TLF ID M012591

This web page focuses on Sidney Nolan's famous Ned Kelly series of paintings held by the National Gallery of Australia including links to a gallery of enlargeable images, a primary education resource and a lesson plan with interactive resource for Years 5 and 6. The webpage also includes a video with audio commentary about the series, and onscreen text that provides an interpretation of the painting and information about the artist's views. Nolan portrays Kelly as a stylised, central figure against a flat, bright, coloured landscape.

Educational details

Educational value
  • This is a resource of great value for the Responding strand of the Visual Arts curriculum in upper-primary and secondary schooling. The content descriptions can assist students responding to the visual arts works of Australian artists and considering the broader contexts of their works and their contribution to the development of Australian art. The resource gives students the opportunity to examine the painting closely and to read and listen to a senior curator's response to the work.
  • The Ned Kelly series is important for its historical and cultural significance. Along with other artists, Sidney Nolan (1917-1992) developed a uniquely Australian style, particularly in his representation of the landscape. As described in the onscreen text, Nolan insisted that the Kelly paintings were more than an illustrative series of the famous bushranger story. He developed his ideas from reading the original text of Kelly's 'Jerilderie letter'.
  • The resource may also have some relevance for the Literacy and Critical and creative thinking general capabilities.
  • 'Ned Kelly', 1961 is a significant painting in the career of Sidney Nolan. The painting exemplifies Nolan's style of using flat, colourful shapes and abstract patterns that allow the viewer to consider the vast emptiness of the Australian landscape. As described in the onscreen text, he wrote that the Kelly saga was 'a story arising out of the bush and ending in the bush'. Kelly is represented as the central figure; a black-slotted square on a stylised body, riding a horse.
Year level

5; 6; 7; 8; 9; 10

Other details

  • Contributor
  • Name: Education Services Australia
  • Organization: Education Services Australia
  • Description: Data manager
  • Address: VIC, AUSTRALIA
  • URL:
  • Copyright Holder
  • Name: National Gallery of Australia
  • Organization: National Gallery of Australia
  • URL:
  • Publisher
  • Name: National Gallery of Australia
  • Organization: National Gallery of Australia
  • Description: Publisher
  • URL:
  • Resource metadata contributed by
  • Name: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Organisation: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Address: AUSTRALIA
  • URL:
Access profile
  • Unknown
Learning Resource Type
  • Image
  • Text
  • Video
  • © National Gallery of Australia 2009 (except where otherwise indicated). This material may be copied, downloaded, communicated and displayed free of charge for non-commercial educational use until 31 December 2015, provided all acknowledgements associated with the material are retained.