Iron Icon is Bill Denhelds personal Kelly website, and its mostly about a quest that Bill has been on for many years, to establish the exact place at which the Police Murders took place at Stringybark Creek. However there are many other discussions about related historical Kelly matters that are also fascinating.For example he supports a suggestion that arises from the mysteries of Ned Kellys actual birth – there are no official records of it to be found anywhere – that Ned Kelly may have been adopted into the Kelly family! This remarkable possibility could be dismissed – or proven – by currently available DNA testing from Neds remains and from living Kelly descendants but I would imagine they would run a country mile from a test that could prove their claims to fame could be “illegitimate”. Good luck with that one Bill! I think he’s going to need a bit of luck with his idea that there are some yet to be unravelled connections between the Kellys and various other political leading lights in Australian history, some of whom certainly had connections with the same geographical regions of Victoria as the Kelly Gang.
Peter Fitzsimons, on his Ned Kelly book tour last year said this on ABC radio about Bill:
“I went to StringyBark Bark Creek with a guy called Bill Denheld who is a guy – he is a lovely man – but there is not enough hours in the day to go to SBC – think about SBC, read about SBC, draws maps of it, he is the SBC man, And so he showed – took me – to the site where the memorial is at SBC.” –and in his acknowledgemts page he writes –“I learned early that , on a bad day Kelly experts can be flat out agreeing it is Tuesday, let alone having a concensus on where presicely the Stringybark Creek site is – but, in my search for accuracy, I have been every bit as exhaustive as I have been exhausted by it. ( And for the record, having visited Stringybark Creek with Bill Denheld and seen the evidence with my own eyes, I am confident that he has it right.)”
Officially, the murders happened near the “Kelly Tree”, a site marked wrongly by council workers years ago who also created the nearby picnic ground. A different site was later identified by the so-called “doyen” of the Kelly world, the author Ian Jones, who concluded it was further up the creek on the east bank where the council authorities have recently directed all Kelly tourist trafic. Jones’ deserved authority derives from his life long passion for things Kelly, he has unarguably produced the best biography of Ned Kelly, and so his opinion carries enormous weight, but nevertheless Bill, and many others have prepared a very convincing case that in this instance, Ian is wrong too. It upsets them to think the public are going to the trouble of driving out into the Wombat ranges, many of them making a sort of Pilgrimage and paying their solemn respects to the fallen Policemen at completely the wrong place. Imagine going to an ANZAC ceremony and then discovering later that for years the Beach everyone was visiting was the wrong one, they should have been at the one next door! Suppose you paid money to go on a Tour of a house that you were told a former Prime Minister had lived in and then later discovered he hadn’t? You might feel cheated at the very least.
The question then becomes, well where DID these killings happen and where should the Memorials really be? Is it even possible to work it out after all this time? And this is where Bills site comes in, because Bill has taken up the challenge and created a quite remarkable website that in great detail explains how he found what he is certain is indeed the exact place. Its amateur detective work and archaeology but fascinating to read.
My own encounters with Bill happened on my original now maliciously deleted Ned Kelly Truth Forum. I began a thread on the subject of Stringybark Creek, and Bill signed up and participated in a debate that became the most hotly debated subject in the entire Forum. Essentially everyone seemed to agree that the Jones site was wrong so the debate centered around which of two other proposed sites was the most likely one. The debate was for the most part fascinating and informative – I learned a lot about such things as species of spear grass, geological formations, photographic interpretations, and the history of the area. Eventually the discussion was terminated after 25 pages because by then contributors were starting to repeat themselves, the arguments seemed to be creating more heat than light or descend into personal attacks and worse. Some posts attacking Bill rather than his arguments were obscene and I had to delete them. What impressed me was that throughout sustained vitriol and sarcastic abuse Bill remained calm and polite and attempted time and again to patiently explain with words and fascinating diagrams and photos his reasonings for picking what has become known as the Two Huts site. Occasionally, under severe provocation he lapsed into more colorful language but mostly his detailed posts were fascinating to read, as were many contributions from several other old amateur archaeologists who believed the correct site was not Bills one, but theirs, the CSI@SBC site.(The Crime Scene Invstigation at SBC) For $50 the publisher will sell you a copy of the report explaining their findings or you can read a free version of it on Bills site.
You can also read most of the SBC debate from my deleted site, as unknown to me, Bill had kept copies of it, knowing from previous experiences on other Kelly Internet spaces that my site was also at risk of being sabotaged – and so he was proved right when it disappeared one day along with hundreds of interesting posts and debates many of them a result of careful thinking and research and writing. (Others, such as the ones from “Sarah” one of the many pseudonyms used by the person who now publically claims to be responsible for this internet vandalism, were no great loss ) I am grateful to Bill for preserving and reposting them – its an enjoyable read of some wonderfully animated discussions – such a pity these core Kelly fanatics are so intolerant of diversity of opinion.
Bills site is not an easy read for the most part. It’s a place where Bills inventive and inquisitive mind is on display and his arguments are dense and detailed and require careful reading but it will reward a serious visitor who is prepared to follow the arguments closely. Enjoy!
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