a discussion with a my friend Guy the other day over Beer and Fish and Chips progressed from a discussion of Emmet style Gn15 to developing an Australian-flavoured layout. Various themes were tossed around, and then my friend mentioned Ned Kelly, Australian Bushranger.
For those overseas who may not of heard of Ned, he is a character who looms very large in Australian folklore. Following a short career in bushranging (highwayman) in which the Kelly gang terrorised Northern Victoria and Southern New South Wales, Ned and his brothers made a dramatic last stand at Glenrowan, Victoria.
Following the taking of hostages at Ann Jone's Hotel, the plan was to attract a train of Victorian police to Glenrowan by train. The scheme involved the removal of rails to derail the police train. This was thwarted by a hostage who escaped, warning the train and preventing a disaster. Ned and his brothers made a famous Last Stand at Glenrowan, with several of the gang donning iron armour made from ploughshares. Ned's helmet in particular is (an overused word) iconic. Ned was shot in the leg (a weak point was the gaps between armour plates), captured and transported by train to Melbourne, where he was hanged in Melbourne in 1880. His last words were allegedly recorded as "Such is Life". https://www.slv.vic.gov.au/search-disco ... /ned-kelly
Now this figure, some call a psychopathic murderer, others a folk-hero, came to be a symbol of how Australians would like to view themselves as smart, brave, loyal to family, inventive and anti-authoritarian(not as psychopaths
Many artists have drawn on the Kelly saga to express ideas about the Australian psyche and isolation, notably Sidney Nolan. Nolan's eerie paintings show Ned Kelly in his black letterbox helmet as a figure in the landscape, all around, everywhere, but not belonging there. https://nga.gov.au/Nolan/Index.cfm
So the idea is to take elements of Ned's exploits and folklore, and represent these in a Gn15 Emett-esque Australian setting. The locos (a vertical-boiler job springs to mind) might look as if the workings were cobbled together from Ned's armour. I have a Bachmann On30 tramcar chassis, and Hornby Smokey-Joe chassis that would be suitable. Carriages can be built on old longer wheelbase Hornby chassis. I'll start with these elements, and then build the layout.
In Ned Kelly folklore, Ned was said to be seemingly everywhere at once. This comes through in some of Nolan's paintings. With this in mind, my friend suggested that all (or most) of the figures on the layout wear versions of Ned's helmet.
I am thinking of a slightly larger layout than my usual micros for this project. It might include the siege at Glenrowan with Ann Jone's Hotel, Stringybark Creek and other key elements of the story. Quite by accident my mate has given me a challenging and unusual project, which should be great fun to build.
Watch this space,
Wamberal NSW Australia
"I would not join any club that would have someone like me for a member." -- Groucho Marx