The Story of the Kelly Gang

1906 film

The Story of the Kelly Gang is the world's first feature length movie. This 70 minute movie was made in 1906, nine years before D.W. Griffith's The Birth of a Nation made in 1915. The movie tells the story of the famous Australian bushranger, Ned Kelly (1855-1880). It was written and directed by Charles Tait. The movie's reel length is about 4,000 feet (1,200 metres). It was released in Australia on December 26, 1906 and in the UK in January 1908. The movie cost about $2,250 to make. It was filmed in Melbourne and nearby suburbs of St Kilda (indoor scenes), Eltham, Greensborough, Heidelberg, Mitcham and Rosanna. The train scene is filmed near the St. James Road crossing, near Rosanna Station, on the Hurstbridge line in Victoria. The lost scene inside the hotel has a small boy played by Frederick Crew.

The Story of the Kelly Gang
Directed byCharles Tait
Written byCharles Tait
Produced byW.A.Gibson, Millard Johnson, John Tait, Nevin Tait
StarringNicholas Brierley, Elizabeth Tait, John Tait, Frank Mills, Florence Crew, Frederick Crew
CinematographySamuel Crew
Edited bySamuel Crew
Release dates
December 26, 1906
Running time
70 minutes
CountryAustralia Australia
The Story of the Kelly Gang (fragment).

There are only about ten minutes[1] of film left. Many rolls of damaged film were found in an old barn which was once the family home of the Crews in Yarraville, Victoria. The rolls were sent to Canberra but they were unable to recover most of the footage. In November 2006 the National Film and Sound Archive made a new digital copy of the movie. This has 11 minutes of extra film which was discovered in the United Kingdom. The movie now is 17 minutes long. It has the main scene of the Kelly's fight with the police at Glenrowan (called the Kelly's Last Stand). A copy of the program book has also been found. It has stories from newspaper reports of the capture of the gang, and the story of the movie, in six 'scenes'. This told the audiences what was happening in the movie. The book and the little bit of film that is left can help people imagine what the whole movie may have been like.

In 2007 The Story of the Kelly Gang was added to the UNESCO Memory of the World Register for being the world's first full-length feature movie.[2]


  1. Hogan, David (2006-02-07). "World's first 'feature' film to be digitally restored by National Film and Sound Archive" (Press release). National Film and Sound Archive. Archived from the original on 2008-02-01. Retrieved 2008-03-25.
  2. Return of the Kelly Gang, The UNESCO Courier, ISSN 1993-8616, Issue 2007 #5, by Jo Chichester

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