|This beautiful Stained Glass Window is in the Holy Cross Catholic Church at Moyhu. It was donated in 1874 in commemoration of his wife Catherine by James Whitty, a man the Iron Outlaw Website ignorantly describes as a “Real Villain”|
The next item on Ned Kellys charge sheet, Horse Stealing, related to the so-called Whitty Larceny, the theft of eleven horses from James Whitty. Once again, this is distinctly NOT an example of Police persecution of innocent selectors – indeed, NONE of the cases on Neds Charge sheet so far examined could be characterised in that way, and yet the average Kelly Fanatic, informed by ignorant websites like Iron Outlaw would no doubt swear black and blue that Ned was hounded and persecuted by the Police. So far, that has definitely not happened – in fact in this incident Ned Kelly himself admitted his guilt in the Jeriderie Letter
“Farrell the policeman stole a horse from George King and had him in Whitty and Farrells paddocks until he left the force. All this was the cause of me and my stepfather George King taking their horses…”
This theft from Whitty was a most peculiar thing. Ian Jones says it “seems to have taken on an almost obsessive significance for Ned” because Ned had earlier gone to great lengths to deny stealing stock from Whitty – firstly of Whittys missing bull, and later a mob of calves. Despite these denials Ned later cited these accusations as his justification for his return to “wholesale and retail horse and cattle dealing”, another of his childish attempts to blame someone else for his criminal adult behaviour. But in a quite bizarre turn-around, having denied all the Whitty thefts he had been accused of, Ned went ahead anyway and stole a mob of horses from Whitty then freely admitted it! What on earth was Ned Kelly up to?
Doug Morrissey also noticed Neds obsessional preoccupation with Whitty and provides some interesting insight into this episode in his recent book, with one entire Chapter entitled “Whitty and Byrne”. What he reveals is that Whitty was not the hated ruthless squatter and oppressor of the poor selector that Ned Kelly portrays in the Jerilderie Letter, and modern ill-informed Kelly fanatics – such as the IO writers – still believe to be the case. Morrissey shows time and again how Ned Kellys claims about Whitty in the Jerilderie Letter are factually wrong. Even Ian Jones has difficulty accepting Neds allegation that a horse had been stolen by “Farell the policeman”, because there are no known facts that support the claim, and no logic to Neds suggestion that this stolen horse was simply kept in Whittys paddock where it could easily have been seen and reported. “Farrell the policeman” was not even a Policeman but a former Policeman, who had left the force two years earlier with a clean record. ( How many people reading the Jerilderie Letter would accept, on Neds say-so that here was evidence of Police corruption – a Policeman stealing a horse – and yet this claim is simply a lie told by Ned Kelly )
In fact Whitty, also an Irish Catholic, was not a squatter but an immigrant who was illiterate and penniless when he arrived in Victoria, but by hard work and through legitimate means became a wealthy farmer and landowner. Whitty acquired status and power in the local community, and it would seem the respect even of selectors. (The Iron Outlaw site lists James Whitty as one of its “Real Villains” and among a litany of ignorant blunders and mistakes wrongly lists him as a squatter – such is the quality of the Kelly sympathiser propaganda!) Morrissey believes Ned Kelly resented the Whitty familys success and was jealous and hated him as a result, and it was this emotion that propelled him into the “Whitty larceny”. Ned really just wanted to have a go at Whitty. His stated justifications for robbing him were probably lies, but according to Ian Jones, by doing this “Ned was inviting retribution”
In fact Neds provocation of Whitty resulted in the issuing of warrants for his arrest, and for his brother Dan as well, and from there the whole thing slowly gathered momentum and spiralled out of his control. The chain of events that came to be called the Kelly Outbreak was set in motion, and it ultimately lead to the gallows in Melbourne. Retribution indeed!
The Kelly myth makers have long claimed that the trigger to the Kelly Outbreak was the so called “Fitzpatrick Incident” which was yet to come. The Kelly myth makers deny that Ned Kellys criminality and the Whitty Larceny had anything to do with the outbreak, because, like Ned Kelly they want to pretend that Ned Kelly was an innocent victim in all this. However it is an irrefutable fact that the reason Fitzpatrick went to the Kelly property was because of Dans involvement in the Whitty Larceny. And the Whitty Larceny came about because of Ned Kellys obsessional hatred of a successful Irish farmer – that is where the genesis of the Kelly Outbreak lies – the Fitzpatrick incident was the third or fourth domino to fall, not the first. The origin of the Kelly Outbreak lies within the envious heart of Ned Kelly the self confessed stock thief, and the first act of the Kelly Outbreak was his theft of Whittys horses. From then on it was all downhill.
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