In 1866, the ‘Burgess/Kelly Gang’ murdered five men on the Maungatapu track, near Nelson, in New Zealand’s most infamous case of bush-ranging.
The gang’s subsequent arrest, trial and hangings set the whole colony aflame with a mixture of morbid curiosity and righteous indignation. Prior to the murders the gang spent time in Marlborough as they headed for Picton, but only made it as far as Canvastown.
This play examines the relationships between gang members Burgess, Kelly, Levy and Sullivan as they plot and carry out the murders, are arrested, tried, then executed.
From Burgess’ repentance and remarkable death row ‘confession’, to Sullivan’s betrayal of the others in return for a pardon, to Levy’s possible innocence, and Kelly’s emotional execution histrionics, everything about this remarkable tale was inherently dramatic. Murder, mayhem, love, loyalty, betrayal, honour, comradeship, justice and injustice… this story has it all.
Written by Justin Eade, directed by Giles Burton, featuring Nick Kemplen, Cameron West, Daniel Allan and Pete Coate
Tickets from Eyes on Nature in The Old Post Office, Havelock. Or phone – 03 574 1256.