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Ned Kelly

An illustration of Ned Kelly wearing his famous armor.

© CORBIS

In light of the United States' 21st-century financial woes, the idea of a folk hero robbing banks and burning mortgage contracts takes on a whole new perspective. This particular Robin Hood, however, lived and robbed in the late 1800s -- long before any modern monetary maladies.

Ned Kelly was an Australian outlaw who took up the fight of poor colonists straining under the confines of British rule. After being accused of killing three policemen, Kelly and three compatriots took to the Australian bush. The group successfully hid from authorities for quite some time, emerging only to rob a couple of banks and light their fellow citizens' mortgage papers.

Perhaps the most notorious footnote about Kelly, however, concerns his capture. Upon realizing the police had surrounded his tree-lined hideout, Kelly lumbered out to greet them -- clad in a gigantic suit of homemade armor. The police were shocked to see bullets deflect off his steel-plated chest, but soon discovered Kelly's Achilles' heel: his unprotected legs.

Although the homemade suit of armor covered his chest and head, Kelly had left his legs uncovered. Soon he was shot, immobilized and captured -- only to be hanged on Nov. 11, 1880. His last words were, "Such is life" [source: White].

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