|The Top Gun is the one I saw at the Vault
A few days ago I was pleased to receive feedback from the Kelly Vault, and answers to my questions. That gun without labels that the Custodian couldn’t identify the day I was there was mistakenly displayed before the Labelling had been completed. It turns out to be a prop that was made for the Last Outlaw TV Miniseries that we reviewed here a few weeks ago, a replica of the sawn off carbine that Ned Kelly killed Lonigan with. I wish I had known at the time because that gun’s a vital element in the SBC saga that we’ve discussed at length. Ned claimed to have fired it at Lonigan and killed him stone dead with a single shot to the head – the problem as we discussed is that Lonigan had wounds in his left arm and left thigh as well. This is the problem a Ned Kelly Forum spokesman boasted that he had solved, but if you look top right of this Page you’ll see how many days we’ve been waiting for him to front up with the promised solution. The only way this problem can be solved is by accepting Ned Kelly didn’t tell the truth about Lonigans death, but that doesn’t fit with the NKF’s view that Ned wasn’t a liar, so he’s gone silent! But wouldn’t it be more interesting if the ticket the Vault eventually attaches to this gun mentioned this conundrum?
As I suspected not all of the documents on display at the Vault are genuine – many are facsimiles because the originals have to be stored in strictly controlled environments to preserve them properly, facilities which are only available in large Institutions. Actually, they mention that their biggest problem at the Vault, something I also noticed at the time, is the lack of space. They’ve almost outgrown the Sub Treasury building already. Never-the-less I would like to know which is a facsimile and which is the real thing when I am looking it.
In regard to my criticisms of the Vaults deviations from its policy of being historically accurate and balanced, and in particular in its promotion of the ‘Republic’, the Vault acknowledges it as being a ‘controversial’ subject . They say they are willing to look at a rewording of those places where its mentioned and perhaps instead make the Republic the subject of a separate display in which the controversy is exposed from all sides. In fact there are lots of controversies in the Kelly story – many of them discussed here – so maybe they could refer to the others as well, while they’re about it?
They also believe that over time the Vault, and its ‘narrative’ will grow and change, an attitude which is commendable and reflective of modern views of history telling, that History isn’t necessarily a static interpretation but one that needs to be prepared to change along with knowledge, understanding and insight of the subject under discussion. Since Ian MacFarlanes incredible work was published in 2012, challenging the status quo, new views of Kelly history are now emerging and the old Ned Kelly Villain-or-Hero dichotomy is being replaced with a demythologized but complex view of the man, and of the Outbreak.
After hearing from the Vault and reading their responses to my criticisms, and of their willingness to at least think about them and perhaps even change things a little, my initial disappointment has turned to hope. As I have said elsewhere, it wouldn’t be possible or even desirable to wipe Ned Kelly off the history pages, and its never been my desire for that to happen. What I am interested in encouraging is accuracy and honesty on those History pages, and I am now a little optimistic that the Vault may be on that same path.
It will be interesting to see how they respond over the next few months, and in August, when Darren Suttons findings are fully revealed as he has promised, I will revisit the topic and report on progress. In the meantime because they’ve responded positively to my challenges, Ive decided to respond to their request to change the title of the post about Darren Suttons findings, though I was quite fond of the Pun in it, changing “Forgery” to “Controversy”. I hope this will help to maintain friendly communications between us all, as well as demonstrate that even Dee can respond to fair criticism and move with the times!
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