Ian Jones called Chapter 7 of his Kelly biography “The Fitzpatrick Mystery” because there were so many conflicting accounts given of what took place when Fitzpatrick was at the Kelly homestead on Monday April 15th1878 it became almost impossible to work out what really happened.
In the preceeding Chapter 6, titled “The Whitty larceny”, he wrote of another mystery, the “mysterious fracas with Mrs Amelia Goodman” Its another one of those events that’s been confused by so many conflicting accounts that its hard to be sure exactly what happened. It isn’t even mentioned in Peter Fitzsimons Kelly biography.
The ‘fracas’ occurred at a shop run by David and Amelia Goodman, at Winton, on the evening of September 27th 1877, when Mr Goodman was away on business. According to McMenomy “Dan Kelly arranged to deliver some meat to Mrs Goodman and pick up some groceries – an exchange which the Kellys frequently did to get supplies. Dan arrived at the shop after closing time and the Goodmans refused to open up. Dan and the Lloyds ( Tom and Jack) broke the door in and got their rations. Beyond that the details are unreliable.”
Ian Jones version says that according to Mrs Goodman when they arrived the three of them were ‘drunk and rowdy. They punched in a door panel threw some furniture around and broke windows. A visiting Jewish Hawker Moris or Moses Solomon became involved and Dan supposedly knocked him down……When Goodman returned two days later he spun a fantastic tale to the police. The Benalla Bench issued warrants charging the cousins with breaking and entering the Goodman dwelling and stealing an incredible array of goods valued at £133, including a case of boots, six coats, fourteen pairs of trousers and several watches. Goodman capped it off with an allegation that Tom Lloyd had attempted to rape his wife’
Later, Jones writes “ On 19 October Dan Tom and Jack stood trial. They were promptly found not guilty of Breaking and Entering and Stealing by the police, but police magistrate Butler was quite undeterred by the fact that the prosecution case had been exposed as an elaborate fabrication. ( Goodman eventually received three years for perjury, his wife escaped a similar charge on a technicality and Moris Solomon had disappeared ) Butler now found the three boys guilty of damaging property to the value of £10, ordered each of them to pay damages of £5.10s and serve three months hard labour for Common Assault.”
Unfortunately Ian Jones references to the original newspaper reports of the Trial (O&M Nov 20th 1877) are incorrect. McMenomys reference is for OCTOBER 20th edition, but its not there either. I have spent half the day searching the O&M from September through to December without luck, so I am unable to bring them to you, but if anyone knows where they are please tell us.
Jones lists that same November edition of the O&M as one of his two sources for the claim about the perjury of the Goodmans. The entire article from the O&M is as follows:
Cox v Amelia Goodman.
Mr Pow for plaintiff ; Mr McDonnell for defendant.
For the want of proper information on the face of the summons, the case was struck out.
This report contains almost no information so how exactly Jones links this to the Kelly case is not clear, and there is no reference that I can find anywhere to Mr Goodmans case, or his sentence of three years for perjury.
Jones other reference in regard to the allegation about the Goodmans perjury is the Cameron letter, or in other words Ned Kelly! In the Cameron letter Ned Kelly complained that “Mr D Goodman since got four years for perjury concerning the same property” McMenomy, whose book predates Ian Jones, repeats Neds claim that Goodman got four years but there is no explanation or obvious reason why Jones later claimed it was actually three. Justin Corfield in his Encyclopaedia says Goodman went to gaol for three years ‘for perjury over the evidence he gave ; his wife escaped Gaol” and lists Ian Jones : A Short Life as his reference.
So it seems this story about Goodmans perjury is based on an acceptance of Ned Kellys claim in the Cameron letter, a claim he doesn’t repeat in the Jerilderie letter, and on an allegation of Perjury against Mrs Goodman that was struck out when it got to court. The case was brought by “Cox’ a name not mentioned anywhere in relation to this incident so it probably had nothing to do with it even if it had proceeded. Is this a myth in the making?
The answer to this was provided only a year ago, by Doug Morrissey in his book, ‘A Lawless Life’. He showed that Ned was completely confused about a separate case that Mr Goodman was involved with, and the claim that Mr Goodman went to Gaol for four years for perjury was completely wrong. It never happened. The person who went to Gaol was a man named Unger who tried to defraud Goodman. Unger went to gaol for 18 months and Goodman was never charged with anything.
Heres an extract from The Argus of February 19th 1878:
CENTRAL CRIMINAL COURT.
MONDAY, Feb l8.
(Before His Honour Mr Justice Fellows)
Mr C A Smyth prosecuted for the Crown
FRAUDENTLY CONCEALING GOODS
Morris Unger was charged with fraudulently concealing goods belonging to the
estate of Davis Goodman, of Winton, hawker and general dealer. Mr Molesworth appeared for the defence.….
….The jury found the defendant guilty, and his Honour sentenced him to l8 months hard labour. The Court adjourned till next day
So can anyone show me where in all this is the evidence that the Kellys, Dan in this instance, was being hounded and unfairly persecuted by the Police? There doesn’t seem to be much doubt that Dan Kelly and his nephews went to the Goodmans and as a result there was indeed a ‘fracas’. Perhaps it was a bit of drunken hooliganism arising out of Mrs Goodmans unwillingness to open her shop up to three inebriated hoons, late in the day with her husband away. There was property damage and some sort of threatened or actual assault, and theft. Complaints were made – perhaps exaggerated – arrests were made, some of the charges were dismissed and convictions and sentences were entered for others. The case however was misrepresented by Ned Kelly as some sort of corrupt activity involving the Authorities and the Goodmans, and as ever with Ned Kelly the great persuader, he’s had everyone believing till now that this was another example of the victimisaion of the Kellys. Well it wasn’t. Once again, to quote Ian Jones conclusion about Ned Kellys version of the Fitzpatrick event, “he lied”.
This is actually yet another example of how so much of the Kelly myth is based on an acceptance of lies from Ned Kelly. The truth of this episode is that Dan Kelly wasn’t innocent or being picked on. He got what was coming to him, and I doubt there would be anyone in the Kelly world who has the courage to stick up for the persecuted and hounded Kelly myth and argue that he didnt? I will be amazed if there is.
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