Doug Morrissey grew up on a dairy farm in Gippsland. As a mature age student he attended La Trobe University, where he researched land settlement in north-east Victoria and Ned Kelly. He successfully completed an Honours thesis on Ned Kelly's sympathisers in 1978 and was awarded a PhD for his dissertation: Selectors, Squatters and Stock Thieves in 1987 where he examined the social and economic history of Kelly country. The late Dr John Hirst, Emeritus Scholar La Trobe University, was a mentor and supervisor throughout Doug's university career and acted as editor for Ned Kelly: A lawless life.
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