Ned Kelly Dreaming : The Republic of North East Victoria

At the centre of  the modern Kelly Gang story is the belief that Ned Kelly, the champion of the poor and oppressed, planned to solve the problems besetting the selectors of North East Victoria and rid the place of corrupt Police and oppressive Government control by declaring the region a Republic.
However, as is noted on the Iron Outlaw web site “Their grand plan to derail a special police train, seize the hostages and declare a Republic of North East Victoria came to a fiery end at Glenrowan”
In fact, as I shall show, this idea that the gang had a plan to declare the North East a Republic is a modern invention rather than a scheme that was ever in the minds of the Kelly Gang. It is a myth that has evolved out of a distaste for the Gangs repugnant intent for Glenrowan, an attempt to ascribe to that “stratagem” motives more in keeping with the image now preferred of Ned Kelly, that he was a visionary and an Icon, that Glenrowan was some sort of echo of Eureka, that Kelly was an idealist in the mold of Lalor.  
For a century it was accepted that the Kelly Gangs plan had some combination of wreck a train, massacre police and anyone else who got in the way, take hostages, rob more banks, negotiate freedom for Gang, negotiate release from prison of Ellen Kelly. However, over the subsequent century, as Ned Kellys iconic status continued to grow, Glenrowan remained as a glaring blemish, and new explanations were sought to explain its “madness” as Ian Jones called it.  What Ned Kelly himself said about Glenrowan wasn’t enough, it was ignored.  Somehow the notion of a Republic was conjured up to re-cast Glenrowan as some sort of popular Republican uprising, and now Ian Jones could write  “The Glenrowan campaign is inexplicable without the central carefully obscured fact of the republic”. Problem solved: Neds image tidied up.
Ian Jones – and Kelly Republicans generally – claim it took a Century to uncover this truth because it was treasonous, the penalty was death and so the whole plot was “carefully concealed”.   In fact, according to Jones it was so well concealed thatOne Police agent broke the inner circle of sympathizers and heard about the armor being made though he failed to learn of the republic” . What we have here is Jones failing to find evidence of the republican Plot  even from spies who infiltrated the “inner circle”  but instead of accepting that as counting against the possibility that there was ever a Republican plot, he turns it upside down and says he has found proof of how incredibly secret it all was. This is approaching conspiracy theory madness. The simplest explanation of why it was that the spy didn’t hear about a Republic, is that no-one was talking about it – a Republican plot was NOT on their agenda; if it had been, it would have been front and center of everything they were doing and talking about.Sooner or later, something would have come to light. Secrets are impossible to keep for very long among a group said to number hundreds.As for keeping it secret because it was punishable by death : the Gang were already Outlaws and under sentence of death, so it could hardly have been made worse – in fact, Publicity may have rallied more people to their cause and made their job a lot easier – so I reject that nonsense about secrecy and treason. 
In fact there is nothing apart from conjecture to support the modern contention that the Kelly Gang had higher political ambitions and were planning to declare a Republic.
Here’s the first huge problem for the “Republicans”: Ned Kelly himself NEVER EVER said anything about a Republic, not a single word anywhere. Not one!  And it was not as if Ned Kelly never had anything to say : he lectured everyone and anyone who would listen, – or he could force to listen – at length and about all manner of topics, and he wrote numerous letters not just before but after his capture, when the game was up , he was interviewed at length by Lawyers and Police – but he never breathed a single word about a Republic.  And neither did anyone else, either sympathizer or informer, at the time or at any time following the destruction of the Kelly gang, ever. Not one word! This silence is more than deafening – its thunderous! And it lasted for 100 years.
Heres the next problem for the Republicans: none of the early books written about the Kelly Gang contained even a hint of a Republic. Its not in Kenneallys 1929 book, its not in Max Browns 1948 book, and its not in Frank Clunes 1954 book. These last two authors had access to the long lost Jerilderie Letter and neither of them discerned the slightest aroma of Republic within it. These authors knew about Rockets and about Sympathisers but never saw these as evidence that a republican movement was developing. Instead they reported Kellys motivation, at its noblest, to be about getting his mother out of prison and the Gang off the hook. At its worst it was about revenge and a desire to kill Police and Black Trackers. But these ideas are not guesses at Kellys motivation : they are based on what Kelly actually said.
“Ned claimed there was an alternative plan: capture the leaders of the Police and take them into the bush and allow the superintendent to write to the head of department and inform them that if they send any more Police after me or try to rescue him I would shoot him and that I intended to keep them prisoners until the release of my mother, Skillion and Williamson”
In another statement of the plan Kelly reportedly said
 “I was determined to capture Superintendent O’Hare , O’Connor and the blacks for the purpose of exchange of prisoners” (Ian Jones: A Short Life)
No doubt someone will correct me on this – I haven’t yet read every Kelly book – but I think the author who introduced the reader to the Republic idea, one entire century after the Kelly Gang had  been vanquished, was Molony in 1980. Ian Jones leapt on the bandwagon and  had lots more to say about it in his book in 1995, and every writer since then has further entrenched the idea to the point nowadays where it is an unquestioned central tenet of the Kelly Canon. But where did Molony get this idea? This is the next big problem for the republicans.
Chapter 13 of Molonys 1980 book is called ‘Captain of the Northeast’ and its here that he begins to develop the idea of a Republic:
“..and so it happened that on a Sunday in the winter of  1879, at Greta in the northeast a group of men, among them Ned met and talked of a republic….”
And later  he writes
“They recorded their deliberations in childrens schoolbooks”
The reference for this is provided in Note 4 to the chapter:
“Mr Thomas Lloyd told me that as a boy he had seen the ‘exercise books’ containing the ‘minutes’ of those meetings.”According to Molony his interest in the Kelly story didn’t start till 1976, so that was presumably when Mr Lloyd told him this.
The curious thing is that over ten years earlier the same Mr. Lloyd, then aged 56 told Ian Jones something quite different: he is reported to have told Mr Jones in 1964  that it was his FATHER who had seen the exercise books “as a boy”. This claim is in itself a problem because if the Exercise books were being filled in 1879, Mr Lloyds father was 22 at the time, by no means “a boy”. This means that if he was truly remembering something he saw  “as a boy”, then it wasn’t exercise books about the Republic: They didn’t exist when he was “a boy”. On the other hand, if he did see exercise books in 1879 but thinks he was a boy at the time, then he is confused , because he wasn’t a boy in 1879 and so his recollection of what they were about cannot be relied on. This is another huge problem for the Kelly republicans.
Its interesting to think about what happened to Mr Lloyds memory over the years between his Jones interviews – there were three – and his interview with Molony: in fact what has happened is that a false memory has been created from a story he was told by his father – and this is a well recognized phenomenon that has been demonstrated in experiments.  It’s a very nice example of how Myths are created from oral history.

The next big problem for the republicans is their fond belief that somewhere out there is a document, a declaration of the Republic of North East Victoria, possibly taken from Neds pocket when he was arrested, that ended up in London and was seen by a Journalist in 1962. I seem to recall reading that it was only later that he realized its significance. The fact is that more than half a century has passed since that day, and nobody else has seen it, despite extensive searches being made. Develop a conspiracy theory about its disappearance if you wish, but the simplest and most likely explanation for its disappearance is that it never existed. Even a “highly reputable witness” – as Jones calls his informant – can be wrong. 

Now, Chris H said that it was “absurd” for me to claim that there is no evidence for the Republic idea. He regards the talk about  a republic document, Mr Lloyds recollections and various other things as “evidence” though concedes they may not “add up to an awful lot”. I agree – they add up to almost nothing. An actual Declaration would be evidence, as would the exercise books, but I am not sure that conjecture about them is evidence. Perhaps I should have written ‘no credible evidence” or  “no useful evidence”
Kate asks me “What sort of evidence do you expect there to be Dee?”  Well, its not incumbent on me to disprove the Republican Idea. As Ive written elsewhere its  impossible to prove that a thing doesn’t exist. Its actually incumbent on those who claim that something exists to prove it – so, as Republicans say there was an actual Declaration they have to provide it, they have to find the exercise books or the Documents they say exist. I am not sure how long its reasonable to search for the required evidence before one can call time on the search, and conclude that no such evidence exists, but I certainly don’t believe anymore in Faeries at the bottom of the Garden, the Tooth Fairy, Little Green Men from Mars or the Easter Bunny. I cant prove that any of these creatures don’t exist, but I have waited long enough for the evidence and none has turned up. I am moving on and I think the same should be done in respect of the Republican Plot.
And Kate, you are absolutely right about my statement that “if something is claimed to exist but there is no actual evidence for it, its not rational to believe it” then “that would deny the existence of a number of religions” The thing that needs to be understood about Religions, and the Kelly religion is no different, is that it is NOT based on evidence or reason, but on Faith –  this is precisely why religions continue to exist, why people believe in the Kelly religion because they are NOT based on reason and evidence, but as you say, if they were, they would cease to exist. The great central evil of religions is to elevate Faith – which is belief without evidence – to a higher moral plane than reason – because once you have persuaded your devotees that Faith is everything, they are then immune to reason and evidence and can and are often persuaded to believe anything and do anything.
Here it is in Christianity : Thomas is rebuked by Jesus for wanting evidence and told that the people who believe without asking for evidence are Blessed:
“The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.26 And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.
27 Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.28 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.

29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.

I am on the side of Thomas. Here endeth todays Lesson!
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43 Replies to “Ned Kelly Dreaming : The Republic of North East Victoria”

  1. Comparing believing in the idea that Ned was planning a republic to believing in 'faeries at the bottom of the Garden, the Tooth Fairy, Little Green Men from Mars or the Easter Bunny'. Well that definitely made for some interesting reading Dee. As for there being a 'Kelly religion' I had no idea, does that make 11/11 Christmas? You anti-Kelly fanatics sure are a spirited bunch. Happy Invasion Day 😉

  2. Actually that would make 11/11 Easter …

  3. Dee, I never conceded that the evidence for the republic did not "add up to an awful lot". I was suggesting in that comment that you would probably dispute the evidence or claim it to be inconclusive.

    I find the evidence for a republic to be highly persuasive. Although I do acknowledge that it is not overwhelming and can understand that some would be unconvinced.

    From your words above, you seem to now be agreeing that there is indeed evidence, but that you do not judge it to be "credible" or "useful". This is a big change from your earlier claim that there was "no" evidence.

  4. Dee,
    I wish to refer to a book "James Wallace- 1854 – 1910 The Headmaster of Hurdle Creek."
    by Arthur Hall and Julie Stevens- 2005
    ISBN 0 646 450174 Pryor Printing

    We can assume the Jerilderie letter was written at the time the Kelly gang were in hiding in the Hut Behind the School at Hurdle Creek – Bobinawarrah. James Wallace was a friend of Joe Byrne and Aaron Sherritt. He supplied provisions for the gang and covered their tracks.

    In the book we read how Wallace was influenced by the press of the day (The Age) where political commentators like owner David Syme, Premier of Victoria Charles Duffy, and possibly Age journalist Alfred Deakin were " Beating the drum for Independence from England "

    In turn Wallace would have conversed with Kelly and Byrne while the Jerilderie letter was being written, wherein these words resonate –

    " Any person aiding or harbouring or assisting the police in any way what- ever, or employing any person whom they know to be a detective or cad or those who would be so depraved as to take blood money will be outlawed and declared unfit to be allowed human burial. Their property either consumed or confiscated and then theirs and all belonging to them exterminated off the face of the earth. The enemy I cannot catch myself I shall give a payable reward for — — — –

    I wish those men who joined the Stock Protection Society to withdraw their money and give it and as much more to the widows and orphans and poor of Greta district where I spent and will again spend many a happy day fearless free and bold — — — — –

    I give fair warning to all those who has reason to fear me to sell out and give £10 out of every hundred towards the widow and orphan fund and do not attempt to reside in Victoria but as short a time as possible after reading this notice, neglect this and abide by the consequences, which shall be worse than the rust in the wheat in Victoria or the druth of a dry season to the grasshoppers in New South Wales.
    I do not wish to give the order full force without giving timely warning but I am a widows son outlawed and my orders must be obeyed."

    Copied from Ian Jones NED KELLY A SHORT LIFE page 223/4
    " a manifesto foreshadowed in the Jerilderie Letter and probably incorporating some of its wild rhetoric."

    Dee, are these not the rumblings for political change in N E of Victoria ? The ‘republic’ word need not be mentioned but would be the only way out for many including the 30 odd selectors arrested for being sympathetic to the Kelly cause, their goaling and resulting failed crops and late payments to the Lands Department meant financial ruin for all. This was the Kelly Outbreak.

    I like to add,
    Alfred Deakin was member of the Australian Natives Association started by Samuel Winter 1871 and was owner of the Melbourne Herald. ANA was responsible for creating Australia Day and helped spearhead the move towards Federation. Ned Kelly's neighbor and school friend Emanual James Gorman married Sam Winters neice, and EJ was a foundation member of the Berrigan NSW branch of the Federation League. The first inaugural meetings for Federation were chaired by EJ Gorman at Berrigan NSW, sister town to nearby Jerilderie.

    Dee, don’t you think it all rather co incidental really !'_Association

    Chris H, I am with you.


  5. Anonymous says: Reply

    Dee your research is quite sloppy.

    Max Brown DID mention the Republic in 1948. Ian Jones was the first person to create public discussion about the Republic, years before Molony's flowery time was published.

    Leonard Radic isn't the only person who claims to have seen the document.

    Within the last decade another person claimed to have seen the minutes books when they were younger (presumably around the time of Jim Kelly's death).

    Kenneally can't be trusted anyway. Even with Tom Lloyd as his informant he made some stupid claims (i.e only one helmet!!). Maybe old Tom used Kenneally to put his side of the story on record as a 'we did nothing wrong' load of rubbish?

    Jim Kelly was still alive when Kenneally wrote his book as was Grace.

    The Republic seems fanciful and probably provided Kelly with something to distract from his years as a horse thief and killer of police.

    But that doesn't mean it's untrue.

  6. In the foreword of the 1948 edition of Max Brown's Australian Son he talks about the legends surrounding Ned Kelly and one of them is "It declares that in the hour of his capture, the police took from Kelly's pocket a declaration for a Republic of North-Eastern Victoria!" But, that is the only mention.

    Dee does mention in an earlier posting reviewing the Clune book –
    "But even though the Republic idea had been discussed by Max Brown 6 years previously in "Australian Son", unlike modern writers, Clune was obviously not persuaded that such a concept occupied the minds of the Kelly Gang.."

    so, it was clearly just an oversight that she had forgotten to mention it in the new posting. Still, it was only Brown alluding to the legend, not discussing it in full.

    Chief Justice John Phillips mentioned in an oration that the earliest written mention he could find of the Republic was in The Irish Times magazine from the late 1920s which was published in Dublin. So far, no one that I know of has actually seen this article.

    In the mid to late 1940s there were a couple of articles that alluded to the republic and in 1952 in the Melbourne Herald there is supposedly an article from Dec 2 called "Declaration of Republic found in Ned's Pocket at Glenrowan." So some were before Australian Son was published and at least one after.

    It was the 1967 Symposium paper called "A New View of Ned Kelly" by Ian Jones that talks about the Republic. This and the papers of others were gathered in to book form as "Ned Kelly: Man and Myth" and was edited by Colin Cave.

    Thomas Patrick Lloyd in his 1969 interview with Ian Jones mentioned about the handwritten copy of the Declaration being hidden away "with some letters from a girl and a handkerchief." So, where is all this stuff?
    And, yes, many of us are aware of the person still living who claims to have seen the exercise books. I just didn't want to "go there" but since you did it is good to know you are not alone in the knowledge, right? 🙂 It goes without saying that we shall preserve their anonymity, something you are well acquainted with.

    We may never get to the bottom of this whole thing and unless the proof is found, a hundred years from now when we are all dead, a new crop of Kelly researchers will still be debating these same facts.

  7. This 2009 feedback comment on Iron Outlaw is very interesting and shows the rumours regarding important letters found on Ned have been around since 1880.

    The Republic Of North Eastern Victoria?
    From: Lisa [] 17 Oct 09
    I've often wondered about a comment made by a reporter (just after the Glenrowan Siege) in one of the newspapers of the time, dated July 3 1880, which reads – 'It is rumoured that in Ned Kelly's possession was found a pocket book, containing a number of letters, implicating persons in good positions,and the name of one member of Parliament is mentioned. The authorities will give no information on the subject. Ned Kelly is said to be very anxious to see the representatives of the press, but no one is allowed to see him.' This comment is hardly ever mentioned, if at all, and I have always found it very interesting. If it was more than just a rumour (and was in fact true), then it is very interesting indeed & would be very tempting to think that one of the letters was the Republic Declaration. It also stands to reason, that had Ned's plans at Glenrowan been successful, that he most probably would have had letters with him to be sent to members of Parliament and the Police etc explaining his plan to exchange the captured Police for Mrs Kelly & the others. If these letters really did exist then they would certainly be something that the Police would want hushed up straight away you would think, especially with feelings running very high in the North East at the time, and especially if one was a Declaration for a Republic, wanting things better for the people of the North East. If this comment in the newspaper was more than a rumour ,I wonder if one of the letters in Ned's pocket really could have been The Declaration Of The Republic Of North Eastern Victoria? Interesting…

  8. Interesting, wonder if Gaunson was the member of Parliament?

  9. The finding of a half eaten cheeseburger in an empty Motel in downtown Memphis would be evidence, weak evidence perhaps but never-the-less evidence in some peoples eyes that Elvis still lives. If I was asked if there was evidence that Elvis lives I would say no, because a half eaten cheeseburger is such weak “evidence” a reasonable person would discount it. Technically though I suppose you could say it was evidence, but not credible or useful evidence. Same argument for the kelly republic idea.

    But Chris H what is the evidence for the Republic that you find “high persuasive”?

  10. Thank God you’re around Sharon to keep an eye on everything! Max Brown believed Glenrowan was about getting the police away from protecting the banks, and not about a Republic. And thanks to the other contributors as well. This discussion could go on for a while I think.

    Bill, essentially what you are saying is that Wallace would have known, from reading the papers, that “independence from England” was a topic of interest to certain figures in Melbourne and therefore he would have discussed that with Ned. This may seem reasonable but its pure speculation – there is no actual evidence for this is there? If that is evidence its very weak circumstantial evidence at best. And even if he had discussed it with Ned, where is the evidence that Ned was interested in a Republic? There is none. He never mentioned it.

    You then quote the well-known passages from the Jerilderie Letter which are said to support the notion of the Kelly Republic. The problem here is that various meanings can be attached to these statements, including yours if you wish, but there is nothing inherent in them, especially when read in context, that logically leads to the conclusion that he is talking about a Republic. Nobody reading the Jerilderie Letter and those sentences before 1980 seemed to think it contained “Republican sentiments”. Indeed, the sentences you quote are immediately preceded by a horrible threat to torture any member of the Public who he catches assisting the Police. Such threats, and indeed the ones you quote couldn’t possibly sit together alongside noble republican sentiment in the same mind, unless it was seriously disturbed. So again, if its evidence, its weak and ambiguous circumstantial evidence. To my mind, 2 pieces of weak circumstantial evidence don’t make a case for a Republic. As I wrote last year, if these statements are from the same mind that wanted to set up a Republic, the Republic would be a place where violence was king, anarchy would reign and God help anyone who got in the way of the Kelly Gang.

    The problem for Kelly Republicans is that all the major pieces of the puzzle are missing, and all they have are a few very weak circumstantial arguments. For the counter argument, that Kellys motivation was revenge, hostage taking, and an attempt to free his mother, all the big pieces are in place, they fit together and make sense, and the only real trouble is that Kelly fans don’t like the picture it makes.

  11. It's a very interesting quote there, Anonymous. If I've seen that one before, I must have forgotten it.

    The Irish Times mention is very curious… I'd love to see what it says. I would hardly have expected the first mention of a republic to be in an Irish newspaper. (Phillips refers to it as a magazine, but surely he meant the newspaper… happy to be corrected on that if I'm wrong.)

    I can't help but wonder if J.J. Kenneally might have been a link there, while at the same time deciding to keep any reference out of his book. He would have had many more contacts than the average person from Kelly Country at the time. That's my bit of wild speculation for the day, lol.

  12. Everyone adding a little something to the convo is what makes for a great forum (or in this case, a great comments section). Sometimes someone has that little piece of the puzzle that others missed. I wonder how John Phillips missed the July 3 article, even if it did not exactly say that it was the declaration of NE Victoria document? And why no other mention that we know of between 1880 and the late 1920s? Same for how the Jerilderie Letter was hidden for so long, not being published in the paper in full until 1930 and then Max Brown reprinted it in his book in 1948 (our dear Max does get big kudos for this).

    Re the Irish Times, yes, it was/is a newspaper, but, perhaps, and this is a big perhaps, he was referring to the supplemental magazine that the Irish Times put out on Saturdays? Or maybe he did mean the newspaper? Maybe someone else can shed more light on this.

    Dee I am glad that you are an attentive master/mistress of ceremonies. You keep the conversation going and make everyone except the bullies feel welcome. I am so proud of how everyone has just completely ignored (thus far) the troll on a different thread who was trashing Bill, maybe they will see they can't get a rise out of us and will give up? Well, we can at least dream can't we?
    Speaking of bullies and trolls, they hate it so much when I self-promote, so let me do so now. Go over to my blog to read a book review of a new Kelly related novel called "Bury My Mare at Glenrowan."

    Also, stay tuned because I am working on some other good stuff (if I can stop playing around here so much I might actually get around to finishing some of it!) and Brian Stevenson has promised to be more active there in the coming months.

    Ok, back to our regularly scheduled programming!

  13. Dee, you do have a habit of stating things in a very categorical way, and I think if you do that then you can expect to be called to account. I think there is a big difference between no evidence and evidence you regard as weak or unreliable.

    I've already listed some pieces of evidence in a previous post, so I won't repeat them again here. I do find the whole of them put together to be highly persuasive. However, and I hope this does not sound too confusing, I can certainly understand that some would be unconvinced, and I respect that.

  14. Sharon you terrible self promoting hustler! I enjoyed reading your Adult Book Review : I am intrigued by your ability to enjoy all the “wrong” stuff in there, when you are so well known as being someone who is so meticulous when it comes to Kelly detail. I think he could have thought of a more attractive title though ; I mean who would want to read about a dead horse?

  15. Glad you liked the review. It is not as adult as I could have made it but did not want to get in trouble with blogger! 😉

    The mare does not die until page 397 in the e-book, so she is alive and kicking for much of the story. The story is heavy on about the relationship between horse and rider.

    While I like non-fiction books to be as correct as possible (because there is nothing worse than having to "unlearn" wrong facts) when it comes to fiction, anything goes! I have on occasion pointed out wrong facts in novels, too, though because I just can't help myself at times. This book was just a wild ride and something to get totally lost in.

    Oh, yeah, and to tie it in with this thread, the Republic of Northeast Victoria is part of the story.

  16. I am more than happy to be called to account Chris – in fact I expect to be because for one thing I haven’t been reading about the Kelly Outbreak for very long, and I realise theres much to learn. So I am still interested to learn what it is about these pieces of evidence that when “put together are highly persuasive” . I don’t see how one weak argument is made more persuasive by another weak argument, or to use an analogy, how a chain with a weak link is made stronger by adding more weak links.

  17. My sincere Apologies to everyone: I made the wrong decision and should have immediately deleted that “Anonymous” attack on people who post to this Forum. So now I have, along with all the responses to it. The Kelly Fanatics have the NKF to post to, and continue to attack me if they want but I am fed up with their anonymous posting here trying to disrupt our Discussions. Again, I apologise for deleting it all but I have noted the contempt and the disgust that was expressed about these people. The debates had been developing into really interesting and enjoyable discussions, and I want them to continue that way. Sharon said the Trolls just want to derail and disrupt it, and she’s right so from now on I will delete Posts that are personal attacks rather than attempts to contribute to the debate. Thanks everyone!

  18. Ok, where were we before we were so rudely interrupted?

    I have been doing some more thinking on the Irish Times Magazine. I know that currently they have the magazine as a Saturday supplement to the IT newspaper, but did they have this in existence back in the 1920s? Right offhand I can't find info that states when the first issue of the magazine was. Surely there could not have been an Irish Times Magazine that was out back then and NOT associated with the paper due to having the same name? I just don't know.
    The Irish Times newspaper itself began in 1859 and there is a searchable archive online. You just have to pay for the full results. Putting in "Ned Kelly" for between the dates of Jan 1, 1920 and Jan 1, 1930 gives 3 returns. One for June 23, 1925 and the part of the page they show has a headline that says "Australian Bishop Dead" which of course would be Father Gibney. Perhaps his ties with Ned was mentioned? Then another date of Nov 2, 1928 and another for August 16, 1929. Could not tell what they were about from the part of teaser pages shown. They might not even be about our Ned. Not sure if the magazine has listings through the archive or is it just the paper. Trying other words like Ned Kelly republic Glenrowan Kelly Gang and so forth in different combinations with open start and finish dates did not give me what I was looking for, though the earliest mention of the gang was in an 1880 edition. Using Ned Kelly and Republic did not give me a listing earlier than 1970 and that was on an entertainment page (probably about the movie). So, we are no further along than we were before.

  19. Anonymous says: Reply

    Stand by for some very interesting news:


  20. Just warning you Anonymous, no one here is interested in your news. Contribute to the debate by all means but “outing a troll” is not going to happen here and will be deleted immediately you post it.

  21. How can this be “evidence” in the quest to prove Ned Kelly wanted to establish a Republic ?
    "It is rumoured that in Ned Kelly's possession was found a pocket book, containing a number of letters, implicating persons in good positions,and the name of one member of Parliament is mentioned”
    Not only is it only a RUMOUR, what the rumour actually says is that what was found was a notebook and some letters. No mention of a Declaration of a Republic. And then the rumour gives rise to more rumour and speculation about what would have happened to it a Declaration if there had been one…and the idea that the police would have wanted to hide it if there had been one. This is speculation about rumour based on rumour…you can’t make a case for a Republic out of that – but if that rumour was evidence it would be more honesty described as evidence against the idea of a republic because no declaration was found in his pocket.

    Chris H asks is critical of me for too often stating things in a categorical way, but the alternative is the sort of woolly thinking like the above quote from Outlaw 2009.

    And what is happening about this person who is apparently still alive who saw the Exercise Books? If such a person exists he would have to be Kelly Gold, he needs to have every memory recorded and written down before he’s gone forever. I would dearly love to know more about that one!

  22. No one said it was 'evidence'.Not in the 2009 posting or any comments now,or did you miss the question marks? Plus the quote is directly from an 1880 newspaper,not from the person who posted it on Iron Outlaw in 2009,or did you miss that too?

    Besides,you cannot say it isn't possible.Most of your theories on this entire blog are nothing more than speculation from your point of view.Who is to say the declaration wasn't in Ned's pocket? Who is to say the police didn't hide anything? Or is just what YOU say and think the truth? You weren't there.I wasn't there.Any information believing the Republic Declaration existed is just as strong (or weak if you like) as any information it didn't.

    As usual your mind is already made up regarding all things Ned Kelly.I think even if it was found and you were holding the Declaration in your hand you would still think up some excuse to say it didn't exist.

    Your blog is meant to be impartial on all things Ned Kelly? I think not.

  23. Sorry for the confusion Dee, I wasn't criticising you for being categorical. I was just observing that you tend to make very categorical statements.

    You (very categorically) wrote that there was no evidence, and I disagreed with that. If you had said that the evidence was weak (and that is not my own opinion, just to clarify) then I would have taken that as your own assessment, and probably not bothered to reply. However, a very clear, absolute statement does leave you open to criticism, unless it is completely justified.

    Yes, I know you think it was justified, lol… but I still disagree, as I'm sure you know.

  24. Sharon, I did take a look at the Irish Times archive, found the three returns you mentioned and looked at many others, but could find nothing of relevance. Surely others have checked this out before, though?

    I have no doubt that John Phillips had a reference of some sort, but whether there was an error in the article, or whether there was in fact a separate magazine supplement, or something else… I don't know, but I would love to find it, regardless of exactly how it supports other evidence.

  25. At the end of the day — no declaration; no exercise books; no Kelly letters or speeches about a republic. Nothing. Nara. Zilch. Lol.

    Nothing plus nothing plus nothing equals Nothing.

    Come back when you have the e v i d e n c e !

    Someday, Dee, you are going to have to blog about whether or not Ned and the boys were gay. I had always believed they weren't, but am no longer sure. I'll pass along details in due course.

  26. All these funny little people, like Danny and Gerry. I don't believe for one moment that they are real. C'mon Dee, put your creations away. It was embarrassing and is now far beyond that.

    I have no problem with someone posting anonymously. It's fine to choose to not reveal your identity. But the Dannys and Gerrys are like escapees from an imaginary leprechaun farm.

  27. Chris, you seem to be very enterprising and diligent in your seeking out of facts. Commendable qualities in the Kelly world. Too many other people take as gospel what is written in a book or article without even thinking of going to the primary sources (if at all possible unless it is some privately held item) to double-check for themselves or to get the rest of the story, so to speak. It is what someone else and I used to call the "baby bird syndrome." (They want you to hunt it up and feed it to them as they just sit there) You can't just say go to xyz archive for some people. And some resources, like the PROV you have to really know some of the little tricks to find certain things that a keyword search through their search box fails to. Lots of leg (or, rather, finger, work) and lots of fun to me. Just so tough to read some of that handwriting, though!
    . One really odd thing I have found at Trove when I was helping someone with some non-Ned research is that sometimes your keyword fails to pick up a certain article that you only find using a different keyword but the original keyword is in it (and not talking about newly added dates or issues, these are some of the established papers there and not new additions and usually found in the same session). Very odd that sometimes something can be missed like that.

    At least Trove is a free resource, my hat is off to them.

    I hate it when archives want you to pay, especially those ancestry type sites. I know there are associated costs to running these archival resources, but it seems like a very extremely lucrative business model.

    That said, I think that we have nearly exhausted the Republic theme, not one of my favorites to start with, along with SBC, though Bill totally loves that one. 🙂

    Maybe a "gay or nay" post might be just a little more light-hearted than the Republic or the police deaths, though it has been gone over before elsewhere just like nearly everything else in the Kelly story. Talking about hot young bushrangers in dresses and perfume and doing a bit of buck dancing (though not while in dresses) might be a nice respite!

  28. Thanks for your comments. Sorry if it wasn’t clear but yes I realised that post was something from IronOutlaw.

    As you point out, none of us was there to see it for ourselves – but even the people who were there didnt agree! So what have to do, if we are interested in working out what really DID happen is consider all the available information and evidence and draw some conclusions – these are based on probability – i.e. what is the explanation that best explains everything we can find out about what happened. Unless we do this , and draw conclusions, progress toward a full understanding won’t happen because everyone just stands about kicking theories around. You could say that “Facts” or “the Truth” is just the best available explanation, and it retains that status till a better one comes along. This is the entire history of science, and the way in which it progresses, by the development of explanations which are then tested and either strengthened or replaced.

    Why should attempting to understand the Kelly outbreak be any different?

    As an example, I have read claims that Ned wasn’t hanged, it was someone else; Ive also read claims that Dan escaped and ended up in South Africa. Why do most people reject those claims?Its because the evidence we have, when looked at carefully simply fails to support those claims – and so we reject them. If someone came up with some NEW evidence we can look at it again but for the time being, I don’t think we have to keep going round and round discussing the rejected “evidence” that Dan survived. Forget it. move on.

    Its the same for the Republic idea. Nothing new has come up to lend support to claims of exercise books and Declarations that were made over half a century ago. At present its a central dogma of the Kelly Mythology but its time to forget it, its time is over – theres no evidence – drop it . However if you want to claim that rumour and speculation and the demonstrably unreliable memory of old men are “evidence” – at the very least relegate it to the status of other unproven theories like "Dan Lives" and "Ned wasn’t the man hanged”.

  29. That got me laughing Chris :“escapees from an imaginary leprechaun farm”.

    But no, I only ever post here or anywhere as Dee. I must admit I do think there are some people who whenever they post use a different name most of the time, but I have no way of knowing who anyone is, or what their IP address is, and so on. I would prefer it if nobody was “Anonymous” but picked for themselves a name and stuck to it…but as I keep saying, identity is not a preoccupation of mine. I leave that to the neducators of this world: "This individual needs to be properly identified and It’s IP address given out to all the people that have been defamed by this disgraceful gutless low life Troll and massive hypocrite”
    oops! Someone doesn’t like me!

  30. Anonymous says: Reply

    Yet you are willing to protect the identity of a man who has harassed you and others Dee (and probably wrote that passage you've quoted)?

  31. No, I am not trying to protect anyones identity, but as nobody can be sure who writes posts that are submitted by someone using a made up name, it would be foolish to attribute them to anyone in particular on the basis of suspicion rather than actual proof. However I think we all know the identity of the handful of bully-boys associated with the NKF and the Ironoutlaw, and they are hanging out for the slightest opportunity to make a complaint and silence me once again. So I need to be careful – we all need to be careful – to argue the points, to play the Ball and not the man.

  32. Anonymous says: Reply

    That's fair enough. Let's jus say that everybody on the Kelly circles knows who has been making appalling threats against innocent people. This person is a self promoting troll hunter who secretly behaves in the same way. Well his secret is no more. This will follow him everywhere just like his criminal record. Dee you've proven to be a person who is willing to engage in real debate and that's good.
    Al De Rardo.

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  38. I have no idea what all those Posts were about but they had nothing to do with the discussion about The Republic of NE Victoria so Ive deleted them.

  39. Danny is my real name - MYOB says: Reply

    Dee, the 'Anonymous29 January 2015 at 12:59' post also needs to be removed urgently. Nobody would know if the individual mentioned has a criminal record, but even if he did it could still be defamatory. It seems we are in the middle of another raging; internecine war among the Kelly followers. With the deletion of the latest forumjar forum, there is nowhere – except here – for them to post.

    Al De Rardo is obviously Eldorado. Need I say more?

  40. Anonymous says: Reply

    Dee, take note of what Danny has said as what has been posted on NKF they will make complaints of defamation and that post by anonymous gives them all the proof they need. Probably best to delete this and Danny's post while you are at it as that also identifies where people live. Danny apologies you seem to be a descent person and that is very rare these days. As you have said Dee, play the ball not the man so stick to your word and delete anything that is not about the topic.

  41. I have no idea what you’re talking about. I lost track of forum jar months ago and don’t really care whats going on there – Ive repeatedly said nothing worthwhile ever happens there. The only place anything worthwhile is happening in regard to the Kelly story on the internet is right here.

    It seems the Kelly Republic discussion has run out of steam! I had a vague hope that someone would come up with something substantial but now I realise that the most remarkable thing about the idea of the Kelly Republic is how very weak the so called “evidence” is that supports it :
    *Speculation on a rumour from a journo that a notebook and letters were taken from Neds pocket in 1880(no mention of a Declaration mind you)
    *A mention in an Irish Magazine from the 1920s that cant be found
    *A mention in passing by Max Brown in 1948
    *A recovered memory by another journo of having seen a Declaration in London in 1962, and a claim by some other unnamed person to also have seen it
    *Contradictory claims by Mr Lloyd about minute books seen 40 or perhaps 80 years before
    *Another unnamed person still alive who also claims to have seen them
    *Elaboration of the above by Ian Jones, Molony and everyone since into a full blown exposition of Neds republican Ideology!

    In contrast to the speculation that is the foundation of the Republic idea, these facts had to be ignored to do it:
    *Ned Kelly never ever mentioned a Republic
    *No other member of the Kelly Gang or any of its sympathisers/co-Republicans ever mentioned it
    *Ned Kelly specifically stated what his motivations were but the republicans don’t accept them!
    *No early author ever mentioned the Republic
    *Extensive searches have not found the Document seen by the Journalist in 1962

    So, as I said if a claim has no evidence to support it, its not rational to support it. I don’t regard rumours, recovered memory and the demonstrably unreliable memory of old men and hopeful speculation as evidence. If I did I would have to believe that Santa might be real, that Jesus visited the Americas, that the moon landings were faked and that innumerable people with personality disorders have been taken up in alien spacecraft and had sexual experiments performed on them. Yes, categorical but how else are we going to get some reality into this discussion about a flimsy theory?

  42. Detectives Eason and Ward says: Reply

    Sounds like we are going to get more wacky misidentifications of Dee. Who is she now? Annastacia Palaszczuk?

    Dee, for Heavens Sake get rid of Anonymous, who is obviously a lunatic.

  43. In case “Anonymous” didn’t notice it at the top of the page, I wrote that one of the purposes of this Blog is to "expose the vicious campaign waged by modern day Kelly fanatics against anyone who dares to oppose them.” Well they seem to be keen to help me, now posting – anonymously of course – a threat that if I don’t do what they tell me to do, they will post online “all evidence against you” and “the Police will be contacted”.

    This is exactly what I predicted they would do this year, as the success of this Blog grows day by day, their own sites are ignored and they become more and more desperate. So they resort to anonymous bullying,harassment and threats, appalling behaviour which the Police would have a VERY dim view of. So Anonymous, the sooner you contact the Police, the happier I will be!

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