The Apollo 11. Woodstock. The Stonewall riots. The Beatles playing their final live performance. 1969 was full of landmark events. Even in Palerang, where Ned Kelly was filmed 50 years ago.
Some locals have souvenirs from The Rolling Stones’ frontman Mick Jagger walking the streets of Bungendore and Braidwood. Many more have memories from being extras in the movie.
When shooting of the movie began on 12 July 1969, English director Tony Richardson hoped to make a blockbuster based on one of Ned Kelly’s letters to gain public sympathy for the bushranger. Richardson also hoped to showcase Jagger’s acting skills; however, the movie, and Jagger’s acting career didn’t take off.
While Ned Kelly wasn’t one of the notable bushrangers of the area, it was deemed the perfect location for the 10 weeks it took to shoot the film. Much of the movie was filmed in Braidwood, with scenes also shot in Hoskinstown, Captains Flat and Bungendore.
One of the many extras in the film was Bungendore resident Sally Osborne, who told Region Media the filming helped invigorate the town.
“It was quite significant for the whole area,” Sally recalls.
“We were all terribly keen to get involved and initially thought we’d just be groupies and hang around, but then we found we could all have roles in the film, and that was great fun.
“They also wanted horses and people who could ride horses. Once we realised that, we had a great old time, renting our horses and working on the film.”
Sally said it was particularly challenging to film the siege of Glenrowan, which went right through a cold, wintery night.
“I recall there was a bit of a need for liquid refreshments for that scene, but they seemed to get it done.”
Several tonnes of dirt were laid over the main streets of Bungendore and Braidwood to recreate many scenes in the movie.
Braidwood identity and former Araluen farmer Jamie Raynolds who now runs the Royal Mail Hotel in Braidwood also remembers Mick Jagger’s time in the area.
Raynolds was an extra in two scenes from the movie and recalls getting the not-so Hollywood sum of $19 a day for his work.
“I had a horse and sulky and a few dogs in the movie as well,” he said. “They paid me $10 for the horse and sulky, and a dollar each for the dogs.”
Raynolds recalls Mick Jagger coming into the hotel for a couple of green ginger wines, but he didn’t have a lot to do with the crew apart from when he was required for filming.
“Mick had his girlfriend Marianne Faithful with him and they stayed over at Mulloon on Hazeldell Road, just out of town,” Raynolds said.
“It was like a big carnival and there were heaps of local people involved. It seems like a couple of years ago now, but the film wasn’t all that memorable anyway.”
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the making of the film, Ned Kelly will be screened at the Bungendore Bowling Club this Friday night.
Bungendore resident and sculptor Keith Bender has helped bring the film to Bungendore and said the film is part of a concept known as ‘town teams’ which are pop-up events held in local communities.
Mr Bender said they have received support from the Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council and even from a local who loaned their DVD player to screen the movie which will be projected on to a big screen. Sound equipment is on loan from another supporter of the event.
Sally Osborne, another long-term resident of Bungendore was also part of the film. She will speak for about 15 minutes before the movie to present her recollections from 50 years ago.
Legend has it that the original head-piece worn by Ned Kelly is still missing, presumed stolen. The remaining body armour worn by Jagger (with his initials ‘MJ’ inscribed inside) is on display at the Queanbeyan Library.
A prize will be awarded at the screening for the best Ned Kelly mask. Who knows? That missing head-piece may show itself after all.
If you’re looking for an alternative to watching the Canberra Raiders, Ned Kelly will be on the big screen at the Bungendore Bowling Club at 6:45 pm, Friday, 27 September. It’s an outdoor screening so bring your camp chair or blanket. If it’s raining, the event will move to the Community Hall. Tickets are available online or at the door at a cost of a $5 donation to the Rural Fire Service.
Do you have memories of the filming of Ned Kelly? If so, share them in the comments below.