Petition for reprieve Petition for reprieve

Public Record Office Victoria

Public Record Office Victoria (State Archives of Victoria, Australia)

Public Record Office Victoria (State Archives of Victoria, Australia)
North Melbourne, Australia

Once the Executive Council had set the date for Ned Kellys execution, brothers David and William Gaunson (the latter Kellys defence attorney) set about organising a petition to the Governor for a reprieve from the sentence. The words below were printed at the head of folded broadsheet papers, which were then distributed at watering holes, race meetings and other congregations of people about town. One such fold has been reproduced here. It has been estimated that over 30, 000 signatures were collected for the petition, although if this is the case, not all the sheets collected have made it into PROVs holdings. It was not, however, entirely unusual for a signature campaign to succeed so well. A petition organised in 1891 by Victorian women in support of womens suffrage collected 31,000 signatures. The petition was formally tabled before the Governor-in-Council on the 8th of November, but the request was not granted.


  • Title: Petition for reprieve Petition for reprieve
  • Creator: Public Record Office Victoria, Public Record Office Victoria
  • Date Created: 1880-11-08
  • Provenance: VPRS 4966 P0 UNIT 3 ITEM 1 RECORD 1, VPRS 4966 P0 UNIT 3 ITEM 1 RECORD 1
  • Transcript:
    PETITION FOR REPRIEVE TO HIS EXCELLENCY THE GOVERNOR-IN COUNCIL, Your humble PETITIONERS (having carefully considered the circumstances of the case) respectfully pray that the Life of the CONDEMNED man, EDWARD KELLY, may be spared.N.B This list to be sent to Mr. David Gaunson, M.L.A, Solicitor for the Prisoner, so as to reach Melbourne on Monday morning next. 8th November 1880. NAMES RESIDENCE Richard Morgan 27 William Street Melbourne George Holden Spring Street Melbourne Edward brusack Flinders Street Melbourne Mary Anne Stuart Elizabeth Street Melbourne John McDonald Tumat N.S.W Ruth Denelly Albeny N.S.W Thomas Fitzgerald Albury N.S.W John Shaw from Meilton America William Fletcher from Boston U.S Samuel Adams from New York U.S William Hoffman from New Zealand Gustaf Rosengrew 21 Lonsdale St West Mrs Johnston Lygon St Carlton Mrs Monica McNabe Lonsdale St 42 Margaret reid Lonsdale St 41 Mr James Corbett Beechworth John Wright Gippsland [not readable-] 21 Lonsdale St West W.A Lasslett John River E. Preston Esq. John J Monovan Lonsdale St East M Monovan Lonsdale St East
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