A year later, the Explanation about Lonigans death that we’ve all been waiting for…

Exactly one year ago today I was described on Facebook by a well known self-promoting ‘relative of the Kelly gang’ as a “gutless faceless troll up to its old tricks again, bottom feeding like the scum it is”. This hysterical outburst came about because I was responding to a claim published the same day on the Unmasking the Kelly Gang Unmasked  Facebook page  that its Moderator had solved the mystery of how Lonigan was supposed to have been shot once but had four bullet wounds in his dead body at the autopsy.  This was a topic that was being discussed at the time on this blog.  The  Facebook claim was that Lonigan was killed as he ran for cover, and it was illustrated by the accompanying diagram:
It was immediately obvious to anyone with half a brain that this explanation was complete rubbish, and I pointed it out.  The diagram had Lonigan running to the right, which would mean the right side of his body would be facing Ned and the Gang – but he was hit on the left arm and the left thigh. The bullet in the left thigh had entered from the outer aspect  and travelled inwards, the exact opposite of what would be found if Kelly had somehow managed to hit the left leg from his position on the right of Lonigan. This explanation also contradicted Neds description of what happened, which was that Lonigan was behind a log and lifting his head up above it and aiming at him when Ned killed him.
For this explanation to work, known laws of physics would have to be suspended to enable bullets to be discharged in one direction but arrive at their target from the opposite one, and Ned Kellys testimony would have to be accepted as lies. I don’t have a problem with the idea that Ned Kelly told lies – we know he was an habitual liar – but I do have a major issue with an explanation that requires the Laws of Physics to be suspended.
Once the FB moderator had read my demolition of his nonsense, he had the intelligence to at least realize he had made a  major stuff up, but sadly not the grace to admit it publically. Instead he returned to the original FB Post and doctored it to now read at the beginning “ Part 1 : McIntyres version” , making out that part 2 would be the solution he had just devised. This was a rather contemptible bit of sleight-of-hand but I was looking forward to seeing how he was going to wriggle out of the mess he had just made for himself, given he had already announced he had solved the puzzle :
To enlighten them all …..I will explain with the help of two attachments how Ned was able to shoot Lonigan and how Lonigan was able to receive the wound to the thigh. I am surprised no one has worked this out before.’
I looked forward to reading it, but seriously doubted he would ever provide “Part 2” and Ive been proved right. I started to count the days, and record on the Blog how long we had been waiting…and today, we have been waiting an entire year! 365 days of failure to deliver means he will never deliver. He’s clueless so I will put the guy out of his misery and stop counting.

Interestingly, during this same year his FB page has declined to the point where it seems to have been abandoned – only one “post’ this year. He banned me from it, copying what the NK Forum and Ironoutlaw have done, conveniently making my  comments there disappear! But as I have noted before, interest in Kelly is declining everywhere in the Kelly world – the ‘postponement’ of the Ned Kelly Weekend for 2016 is a recent example. The Ned Kelly Forum and Iron Outlaw web sites are moribund, their facebook pages struggling to find anything to discuss apart from old photos and news items, the Ned Kelly Centre is dead and I think even the Ned Kelly Central FB page may be starting to lose its appeal, as the age of the Jones-Kelly myth continues to recede into the past, helped on its way by this Blog I have no doubt.
So, having waited all this time and only observed the ongoing decline of interest in kelly mythology, the mystery of what happened to Lonigan has remained unsolved. 

I wrote ages ago that one thing we know about the terrible events of SBC, is that Ned Kellys version of events cant be trusted – in the context of the known facts about Lonigans wounds, being behind  a log AND being shot only once is an impossible combination of events – there is simply no way Ned Kellys claim that Lonigan was hiding behind a log, AND was shot only once can be reconciled – its simply impossible. Either other shots were fired before or after he got behind the log, or else, if there was only one shot, it was fired while he was out in the open  This explains why after an entire 12 months the Kelly sympathiser couldn’t come up with an explanation of what happened at SBC because the first thing anyone trying to do so has to confront is that Ned Kelly lied about it – and no sympathiser is willing to confront that awful truth abut their hero.

The suggestion someone made on this Blog that Lonigan was somehow ‘wrapped’ around the end of the log  with his left thigh exposed is implausible, but also contradicts Neds account, that Lonigan was BEHIND the Log. 

However, as soon as Kellys account is recognised as lies, and dismissed,  the pieces of the puzzle start to come together and the solution can be found.

Read on and learn the truth as I explain how I discovered it.

One big difficulty that I had was the consistency with which McIntyre claimed only ONE shot was fired, and yet there were four wounds. I had previously suggested his memory of such a stressful event may have been faulty, and he only remembered the shot that felled Lonigan but not others. One of the hostages at Faithfulls Creek, Stephens,  claimed Ned  had told him he had fired twice. Its been suggested shots may have been fired into Lonigans dead body later, after McIntyre had gone. Someone suggested these other wounds were caused by ‘crossfire’, meaning shots fired by Kennedy at the gang which missed them and hit Lonigans corpse lying on the ground – three times! And then there is the ‘quartered bullet’ theory, which is that a single shot caused four wounds because the bullet was quartered. 

I have been inclined not to accept the ‘quartered bullet’ theory, because  I’ve thought that the parts of Lonigans body that were hit  cant be made to all face the gun at the same time. Particularly, I struggled with the description of the bullet that went through Lonigans eye, because it was said to have entered at an angle, which I took to mean from the right side, but the discussion that took place on this topic at the time taught me this could have been from above or below or even only slightly from the right. The other difficulty I had was that the quarter that entered the brain, smashed its way through the bony eye socket , and another passed right through Lonigans arm but the quarter that entered the left thigh did so with almost no force at all, barely penetrating the skin.  The quarters – if truly quarters – should have impacted Lonigans body with equal force. Its been suggested the bullet found in Lonigans thigh had lost is momentum because it was the same bullet that had  first passed through his left arm. John Phillips and others suggested something even more implausible to account for this wound – he suggested that Lonigan accidentally shot himself trying in a desperate  panic to unholster his own revolver. This would suggest Lonigan was left handed and that the gun badly misfired. Both unlikely.

Having thought  about all these dilemmas for a year, I believe there is an explanation which brings it all together. I have changed my position about McIntyres memory – I believe it was accurate and only one shot was fired.  This means Lonigan was out in the open when Kelly shot him. I have changed my position on the quartered bullet theory and now regard it as likely.  I think the bullet that went through Lonigans left arm ended up in his left thigh – this would fit with the possibility that Lonigan was reaching for his revolver, his arm down near the thigh, the bullets momentum being greatly reduced by passing through the fleshy part of his forearm – as described by Reynolds. Another quarter went into his brain, one grazed the right side of his head and the fourth missed altogether. I don’t believe what Ned told Stephens at Faithfulls creek –  about shooting twice – was anything but more of Kellys lies, just as his story about Lonigan hiding behind a log and raising his head above it to shoot at him were. I think Reynolds description of the bullet he removed from Lonigans thigh as a ‘revolver’ bullet was mistaken – it was a quarter of a bigger rifle bullet. The rest of my explanation is best summarised by another one of my exquisite diagrams :

The big blue spots are where the Autopsy found bullet wounds on Lonigans corpse
What you see here is Lonigan standing as McIntyre said, behind him to his left and logically, his body turned towards where McIntyre was standing by the fire. His left side is exposed to the Kelly gang and Ned’s gun, but then on hearing the shouted “Bail up” turns his head sharply to the left and exposes his right eye….. he has seconds to live.
When I first drew this and looked at it, I felt a kind of chill. This simple diagram explained and confirmed everything that McIntyre said and exposed Neds lies. As McIntrye said, Lonigan was shot almost immediately, right where he stood, out in the open. If he had turned to run the wounds would be on the other leg. If he had been behind a log, no leg would have been wounded. If he did make a move toward his gun, he wasn’t given a chance to get it out. It was never a fair fight as the myth makers like to pretend. He was shot pretty much in cold blood right where he was when the Gang broke cover. Exactly as McIntyre said.

If someone knows what weight bullet Neds rifle would usually fire, and if quartered if it would be of similar size to a revolver bullet I would like to know. Can anyone find out if Lonigan was left handed? These extra bits of information would help to confirm this theory, but I think my explanation accounts for all the known facts, and should now be regarded as the definitive explanation of Lonigans death.  If you have a better one let us know, but I won’t be waiting a year for it. The only thing thats prevented everyone from seeing this till now is that as usual, everyone has been hypnotised by Australias greatest conman, Ned Kelly. His lies about this event, like his lies about so many other events have once again created confusion and uncertainty about the truth of what really happened – kick all of them out of the way and the truth becomes obvious.

More of Kellys lies exposed and another Kelly myth bites the dust.

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66 Replies to “A year later, the Explanation about Lonigans death that we’ve all been waiting for…”

  1. Anonymous says: Reply

    I would like to do some further research on this myself. Can someone explain exactly what a 'quartered bullet' is? I have been around arms and ammunition for most of my adult life but have never heard this expression. Is it something like a 'dum dum' bullet, i.e. an ordinary firearm projectile (bullet) which traditionally had the pointed end either blunted or shaved and a deep cross carved into it. It's purpose was to spread upon contact thus causing a larger and more destructive wound.

  2. I know very little about guns and ballistics Spudee but I have taken the description literally, that is, a lead ball is cut into four separate pieces. Ive read about the bullet being replaced with shot, which I understand to be much smaller spheres, like those still found in a shotgun case. I had assumed the people who made this suggestion knew what whey were talking about, that quartering a bullet was a known practice that produced four projectiles that would have spread apart a little as they travelled towards the target and increase the chance it would be hit, or as in this case, hit in more than one place at the same time. If thats not what it is then my theory might have to be revised, so I too will be interested to hear from someone who might be an authority on the subject.

  3. Chris Price says: Reply

    I'm no expert either but well-read, and agree with Spudee.

    Loading Ned's old rifle that could fire around corners, according to him, with a lead ball cut into quarters would have been foolhardy. In tamping down the ball, it could have 'pointed' in any direction, especially if the ball had only been partly quartered. Those quarters could've gone anywhere, if indeed they split.

    McIntyre also said Ned had a revolver which 'The Kelly Gang Unmasked' book considered had caused Lonigan's minor thigh wound and the very similar superficial wrist wound to Const Fitzpatrick at the Kelly home earlier.

    McIntyre kept seeing that conical bullet extracted from Lonigan's thigh at later court proceedings.

    My belief is that the con artists among the modern Kally apologists came up with this mad 'quarters' or 'swandrops' explanations to make Ned look better.

    But this, of course, doesn't explain the four wounds suffered by Const Scanlon, or those suffered by Sgt Kennedy.

  4. We are talking about Ned Kelly's previously owned Harry Powers cut off old Crimean war Carbine rifle. It would be .577 calibre, or just short of 15 mm. The musket balls I found at Kellys creek average out at around 15mm- see picture at

    Average weight of 25.43, if cut into quarters = 6.35 gms each quarter. This equates to melting three or four '.22 calibre' bullets, still quite a big slug.

    Considering the rifle would be 'muzzle' loaded with the four irregular lead parts just stuffed down the barrel, then how they exited the barrel would be interesting to test for accuracy. I will give it a go myself. My prediction, on average, at the range Kelly was said to have fired at Lonigan ( 40 yards -120 feet), he would have little chance of hitting Lonigan with more than one fragment at best.

    Then also, after Lonigan was shot, according to McIntyre, Ned emptied out the bird shot from the shotgun cartridges (of the police party) and refilled with 'Swandrops'. I understand a swandrop was molten lead dropped through a sieve of a certain size to form pellets, some of which had little tails like a swans neck. These would be far more accurate than projectiles having the form of a quartered 'apple' shape projectile. Q, so why would Ned have used a quartered ball fragments when he had Swandrops available?

  5. Anonymous says: Reply

    Thanks Dee and Chris for that. So it seems that Ned claims to have used a quartered bullet which was most likely a musket ball cut into four separate pieces. This would be similar to a muzzle-loading shotgun of earlier days. In other words, Ned would have loaded his rifle with powder (if it was not the later model breech-loaded cartridge weapon) and then placed the 4 pieces of the 'quartered' bullet (or ball) into the barrel, rammed it all down, fitted a percussion cap to the hammer and fired.

    Bill has done quite a lot of valuable research into bullets found by him at Kelly's Creek, the site where the gang were believed to have been holed up just before the SBC incident. On his site he mentions that Ned's old rifle was probably a cut-down 1853 pattern Enfield rifle. This weapon is of .577 calibre, which is a pretty large projectile. If a ball of this size were cut into 4 pieces (quartered) each would be of a reasonable size. Depending on the distance between Kelly and Lonigan when Ned fired, they would indeed spread and could certainly have caused the 4 separate wounds Dee describes.

    The revolver mentioned by Chris as having probably caused Fitzpatrick's minor wound at the Kelly home was a .31 calibre Colt pocket model revolver. Lovely little pistol and I have a pair of these in my collection. I also have a very nice RIC model Webley revolver, the same type carried by the Mansfield police party at SBC.

  6. Spot-on Bill! The main thing which must be taken into account when considering the 'quartered' bullet theory, is the distance involved. If, as you say, that was about 40 yards, I would be very surprised if any of the pieces of that bullet would have hit Lonigan, let alone all 4.

    Good point about Ned not needing to use a quartered bullet if he had Swandrops available. But the only references I can find relating to the police shotgun Ned found at SBC is that he emptied out the birdshot the gun had been loaded with (to hunt for small game to supplement the police rations) and reloaded with 'shot'. As Bill probably knows, 'shot' is generally a number of ball bearing style projectiles fired from shotguns, hence the name. Shot can vary in size from small pea sized pieces up to quite large, depending on the likely target. One of the most common types used is buckshot, or double O, which usually has around 8 pieces of shot to a shell. Very nasty against a human target.

  7. A terrific useful discussion, thanks people. Its prompted me to think some more and I have an observation and a couple of suggestions: firstly I remember reading that at the Kelly camp the trees showed evidence of having been used extensively for target practice, and of the lead being dug out of the trees to be used again, presumably by being melted down and remade into usable shot. Thats my observation and my suggestions are that everyone has mistakenly talked about quarters simply because there were four wounds. But four wounds is also compatible with eight pieces of shot, or any other number, the difference being that the other fragments missed the target altogether. So Spudee and Bill I think you’ve uncovered something we’ve all missed till now: the gun was loaded with swan drops/shot of some non-standadrd ‘homemade’ size, close to revolver bullet size, and three or four of them hit Lonigan and the others missed.

  8. Colin Campbell says: Reply

    Most of Ned's guns are missing and can no longer be tested. The Colt pocket revolver was loaned by State Library of Victoria to a museum in Chicago in 1988 (USA bicentennial year) – where it was stolen. Either Ned's Colt revolving rifle or the cut down .577 Enfield was destroyed by fire at an exhibition at the Melbourne Swimming Baths early last century, Neither are available today.

    I would have thought that stuffing four quarters of a large .577 ball into an old muzzle-loading gun would have been an explosive mixture. The pieces could have wedged up against one another making a fatal blockage when fired.

    The Mansfield doctor who did the Lonigan autopsy extracted the revolver bullet from his thigh. No quarter or swandrop. A bullet.

  9. J Middleton says: Reply

    I'm enjoying this thread!

  10. Bruce Watson says: Reply

    I don't get it. Ned said his long gun was very accurate.

    Why would he load it with a quartered ball or swanshot if this was so?

  11. Don't make the mistake of starting off assuming that
    Ned was telling the truth when claiming to be a good shot. In fact loading it with swan drops would be exactly what he WOULD do to enhance his chances of hitting something and sustain a belief that he was a crack shot. Remember he didn't hit anyone at Glenrowan!

  12. Anonymous says: Reply

    I have had a look at the evidence given by Dr Samuel Reynolds at the inquiry (inquest) held into the deaths of the 3 police at SBC. The written account of the doctor's evidence is very brief and he uses the term 'bullet' when speaking about the wounds to Lonigan's body. Not sure if this was just a generalisation to cover projectiles, or he was specifically referring to 'bullets' as we know them. In the report, reference is made to Dr Reynold's later evidence at Ned's trial where he said that the bullet he extracted from Lonigan's thigh was "…an ordinary revolver bullet'. No mention is made of it being a 'quartered' bullet or anything else.

    At the trial the doctor gave evidence that he was unable to tell if any of the wounds Lonigan had sustained and in fact also those of the other officers, were inflicted after death.

  13. Anonymous says: Reply

    While Ned might have claimed to be a good shot Dee, his big problem when it came to firearms was keeping up with the changing technology of them. Up until Glenrowan he still seemed to have preferred cap and ball weapons, the old cut-down Enfield rifle and the pocket Colt .31 calibre revolver. In fact he appears to have been almost ignorant when it came to the more modern cartridge firearms in use in the 1870s. For instance, he and the rest of the gang generally shunned the state-of-the-art Spencer, 7 shot repeating rifle taken from the police at SBC because they couldn't understand its 'strange' loading mechanism. I own a lever-action Spencer and it is quite a simple carbine to load and fire. Similarly, the 4 Police Webley .45 revolvers they also took at SBC posed another problem when it came to ammunition. Apparently unable to access the correct rounds for these pistols, they shaved another type of ammunition to fit into the cylinders. This would have made the firing of these revolvers unpredictable but possibly dangerous. And to add to the picture of dead-eye Ned not being all that good around firearms, I seem to recall that while playing with a revolver, it accidentally discharged, wounding one of his hostages. Crack-shot indeed!

  14. Bill, could you direct us to the source of your statement that:

    “according to McIntyre, Ned emptied out the bird shot from the shotgun cartridges (of the police party) and refilled with ‘Swandrops’ "

    I can find no reference of him stating that Swandrops were used to date. It could be a supposition that Ned had Swandrops available. Where did McIntyre use the term “Swandrops”?

    McIntyre giving evidence at the Melbourne trial. As reported in the Melbourne Age.

    “Prisoner took our fowling piece and drawing the cartridges out of the fowling piece – he pricked the end of them – extracted the shot, threw the shot away, tore up the cartridges and replaced the charges with two bullets he took from his trousers pocket, one bullet for each cartridge.”

    T. N.McIntyre. A true Narrative of the Kelly Gang
    “Kelly was busy loading his own rifle and extracting the shot from the cartridges which we had for the sporting gun he replaced it with bullets of which he seemed to have a plentiful supply.”

    Thanks NML

  15. Anonymous says: Reply

    In his 'Cameron letter' of mid-December 1878 Ned gives his account of what happened at SBC. In this he says "I approached the camp and took possession of their revolvers and fowling piece, which I loaded with bullets instead of shot."

    Once again we have this confusion as to what exactly the 'bullets' were that Ned was referring to. I tend to believe that they were most likely musket balls, rather than how we would describe bullets today i.e. conical in shape. If that is correct, then we can assume that Ned most likely removed the lighter and smaller balls of 'shot' in the fowling piece's cartridges and replaced them with the larger musket balls (bullets). These would certainly be more effective against human targets than the smaller bird-shot.

    Giving his evidence into the inquiry (inquest) into the deaths of the police at SBC, Dr Reynolds spoke of the wounds sustained by Sgt kennedy. He stated "There is a large wound in the centre of the sternum which I believe was caused by a charge of shot fired at a very short range which passed completely through the body & out at the back my reasons for concluding it was a charge of heavy shot& not a bullet are first the size of the wound and 2ndly the appearance of the cuts through the clothes the cause of death was a gunshot wound through the chest front before backwards."

    However, I realise that I have drifted away from what this blog is about and that is what caused the wounds to Lonigan? I suppose that without exhuming Lonigan's remains, this will remain a mustery, if one of arising speculation.

  16. Anon, I will try source that, I'm not in a position to spend much time at the moment sorry. Perhaps I have mixed a few things up, perhaps others can help source swandrops in the mean time.

  17. Anonymous says: Reply

    Copied from. A closer look at the Killing of Lonigan. Anonymous12 June 2015 at 12:11
    T.N.McIntyre. A True Narrative of the Kelly Gang. Page 36.
    Described the gun used by Ned Kelly as being loaded with slugs made by quartering a spherical bullet.
    (This document can be read unedited online courtesy of the Vic. Police Museum)

    "Judging from the appearance of several bullets in my possession which were taken from the bodies of the murdered men, Kelly had his rifle loaded with slugs apparently made by cutting a spherical bullet into quarters.”


  18. THANK YOU NML whoever you are, that is the testimony we have been looking for. There is every reason to believe McIntyres testimony, and given that he actually had the ‘bullets’ in his possession, I would say the quartered bullet theory is the one that brings all the evidence together. It confirms McIntyres testimony – ONE shot – and explains Lonigans wounds. The only thing that Ned said was true was that he fired once, but the claim that Lonigan got down behind a log and came up to shoot at him was a lie. Thanks again NML.

  19. I have never been sold on the quartered bullet theory however as McIntyre stated it was a possibility it certainly requires a thorough investigation.

    What sticks out to me is that each of the 3 killed Policeman had 4 reported gunshot wounds. Was this just a coincidence? Or did the gang have a pact to take mutual blame for the killings by each shooting the Police at least once, some after they had already died? I believe this is a real possibility also.

  20. Anonymous says: Reply

    Ahh Mike! The 'theory' that no one speaks its name! I too have often wondered if there was some sort of pact that Ned and his mates embarked on after the deaths of the police at SBC. Perhaps they thought that by each putting a bullet into the bodies this would make them all equally culpable. In my understanding they had already achieved that by being present and actively involved in the murders. But perhaps that is just my wishful thinking.

  21. Yes. At common law they would all be charged with murder under the joint enterprise provisions even if they didn't shoot anyone. I would suggest that the gang would not know these intricacies of law and may have come to a pact to remove all doubt as to culpability.

    The fact that all 3 Policeman had 4 gunshot wounds seems to be a little too neat for me. Particularly in light of McIntyre's evidence relating to Lonigan and Scanlan. This question may never be resolved but the possibility of the gang shooting into the already dead Police should not be discounted.

  22. Paul Baird says: Reply

    That is exactly what Justice Barry said. By just being there when the police murders were committed all the gang were equally guilty.

    Dee, I don't the quartered bullet theory is in any way viable.

  23. Let me explain why the quartered bullet theory is absolutely viable and is still the best explanation of Lonigans death:

    1. McIntyre actually had in his possession the bullets taken from the dead bodies and described them as 'slugs apparently made by cutting a spherical bullet into quarters.’ NOTE these must be the same bullets retrieved by Reynolds and must have included the one he described as an ordinary revolver bullet. So was McIntyre, a Policeman trained to use a gun more or less likely than a Doctor to be right about exactly what they were? NOTE also the word ‘bullet’ is used as a generic term.

    2. Reynolds is reported in the Argus, Oct 30th 1880 to have said at the trial “If wounds were inflicted before the circulation had actually ceased, it would be impossible to state accurately whether they were before or after death” So Spudee, in other words he is saying it IS possible to tell if a wound was made by firing into a dead body, one in which all circulation has ceased. This RULES OUT the idea that the Gang fired into Lonigans body after death because if they did so, it would have to have been long after he had died, because he lay there dead while the Gang waited for Scanlon and Kennedy to return, and circulation by then would have well and truly ceased, and Reynolds would have been able to tell. But Reynolds didn't report them as such, as post mortem wounds, he said if they were caused after death it would have to have been before circulation ceased, or in other words within a few minutes. And that clearly didnt happen.

    3. Four wounds inflicted on Lonigan while he was ALIVE, and McIntyre ( and Ned, for what his testimony is worth! ) only ever said Lonigan was shot once. The quartered bullet theory is the only POSSIBLE explanation.

    In regard to the idea that the Gang fired into the dead Policemens bodies to share the blame around – this is an attempt to reconcile Lonigans wounds with the single shot recalled by McIntyre. However it creates huge problems because firstly because as I have pointed out Reynolds could tell if bullets were fired into a corpse or a live person and his finding was that Lonigans wounds were all inflicted while he was alive. Secondly, if such a ghoulish and weird event did take place one would expect the Gang logically to fire into the body, but instead the wounds are in places like a graze to the hip, a graze to Lonigans right forehead, one on Kennedys right cheek,the bullet in his thigh that entered from the side…. imagining how such wounds would be created by shooting at a corpse on the ground is not easy, and why they would shoot at limbs and the head but mostly miss it makes no sense at all. This is a theory that has NO CREDIBILITY and should not be continually recycled. It was probably invented to further demonise the Gang but its stupid and creates more problems than it solves. Mike Jones it SHOULD be discounted. And Paul Baird, the quartered bullet theory make sense of Lonigans death in a way that no other explanation can. The only thing that doesn’t fit with it are Ned Kellys lies.

    Part Two below:

  24. I also believe the theory about Lonigan shooting himself is another poor attempt to explain the four wounds and one shot. MacFarlane describes the pouch that this gun was in as being sturdy and buttoned shut. He points out Lonigan may have felt for it and tried to get it out but he didnt have anywhere near enough time to do that. As for pulling it out and then shooting it sideways into his own thigh with his left hand – this stretches credibility to breaking point when combined with a misfire of such an apparently powerful and reliable weapon. This ‘explanation’ still leaves the head graze and the left arm wound unexplained, so gets us nowhere.

    The idea that one of the quarters went through Lonigans arm and then embedded itself at low velocity into his adjacent thigh is a much more plausible explanation.

    I am open to any theory that explains Lonigans death in some other way but so far the quartered bullet theory is the best one by a long shot ; ) AS I said it should be accepted as the definitive explanation unless someone can devise a better one. Any takers?

  25. I don't think the autopsy report was precise enough or the ballistics evidence exact enough to absolutely rule in or rule out any theory mentioned here.

    There are several scenarios that can fit the evidence as it stands today. The only way to take this forward would be to exhume the body and re examine the wounds and/or locate the bullets McIntyre described and subject them to ballistics tests. As neither is likely to happen the exact nature of the shooting will probably remain unknown beyond competing theories.

  26. Anonymous says: Reply

    That just about sums up my thoughts on this as well Mike. We can speculate until the cows come home but a conclusive answer will probably never surface. I just like to keep in the back of my mind that Ned had once said that if ever he killed a man, Lonigan would be the first. And so it came to pass.

  27. Mike, you say there are several scenarios that fit the evidence as it stands today. Well please enumerate them so we can all have a good look at them, and see which is the BEST fit. At the moment I am not aware of any scenario other than my own which closely fits the evidence as it stands today. And Spudee, yes its speculation, but that is what all historical historical research is. Its looking for the best explanation for the known facts, and ultimately an acceptance of the best explanation as the probable truth. I say ‘probable’ because a new fact might emerge that sheds new light on the topic, whatever it is, and the accepted theory may be overturned or need modification, but thats how science works, and history is the same.

    I will say it again : the explanation developed on this thread should be accepted as the definitive explanation unless someone can devise a better one. Show us yours Mike.

  28. Actually, on reflection I want to recast this as not ‘my’ explanation at all. What we have done here is confirm that McIntyres description of what happened as being absolutely correct – it is HIS version that we have confirmed. The problem all along has been the confusion created by Ned Kellys lies, in particular the one about shooting in self defence as Lonigan rose from behind a log taking aim at him. McIntyres recollection was that Lonigan was killed almost immediately, he didnt have time to get behind a log or draw his gun, and in his later memoirs provided the key fact that brought it all together, that Kelly was using quartered bullets. In my opinion, we have every reason to accept McIntyres description of what happened as definitive.

    But seriously if someone thinks they have a better explanation then please put it up for us all to think about.

  29. Paul Baird says: Reply

    My problem is the shape of the quarters – curves and flat surfaces. Maybe that is what Ned meant when he said the old gun could fire around corners! It all depends on the distance to Lonigan. If forty metres, all the quarters would have missed. If close, there would have been one big wound with the four quarters.

  30. There is next to nothing on the Net about this subject or the spread of shot, let alone round 'bullets' that were quartered. Pirates and some artillery fired canisters loaded with quartered shot and liquid accelerant for pyrotechnical effect like setting fire to wooden ships. This suggests to me that quartered shot was found to be wildly inaccurate, but there is no documentation I can find to prove this. Dee you have presented a likable case, but what if the gang was advancing in a straight line and fired simultaneously. This could explain the four wounds. Maybe McIntyre only heard one report consisting of the four shots. This might possibly explain your single shot theory.

    Macfarlane's 'The Kelly Gang Unmasked' advocated against interfering with the police graves since none of the weapons used survive today. He wasn't considering quartered shot. But I doubt whether a court would order a new Lonigan autopsy just to solve this riddle.

  31. Thanks Josh and Paul. I also have just been searching the net for information about shot and how it behaves and learned about choke and point of impact and range and the fact that steel balls are more accurate than lead…but nothing that really gets us closer to knowing how a quartered bullet would behave. But I agree they would not have been terribly predictable or accurate from greater distances.

    I have some comments to add though – firstly,we know for a fact that Ned and the Gang spent a lot of time practicing and making bullets at their hideout. Maybe they had learned by trial and error exactly how their particular self-made bullets would behave and even refined the shapes of the quarters somewhat to enhance their accuracy?

    Second I think we can say that McIntyre definitely only heard one shot. I think it unlikely the others all fired at exactly the same time but its possible I suppose.

    Third all Lonigans injuries were inflicted BEFORE death, which really can only mean, at the moment when McIntyre saw Ned shoot at him. Perhaps others shot at exactly the same time but I think the ‘quartered’ bullet theory explains it well enough.

    Fourth, he was NOT behind a log when shot, but was out in the open.

    As I say, these facts all back up McIntyres story, and prove Ned Kellys description of events to be lies.

  32. Anonymous says: Reply

    I would have to agree with you Paul on that. The distance is the key to the effectiveness of any multiple projectile shot fired. I would think that at 30 or 40 yards there would be considerable spread and I'm not sure if any of the slugs/bullets/ or shot would actually hit the target. Even more of a problem with Ned's old sawn-off Enfield. With a sawn-off barrel, the shot woul begin to spread as soon as it left the shortened barrel.

  33. Colin Campbell says: Reply

    To compound the mystery, McIntyre does not mention the four wounds.

    I think Lonigan's thigh wound was caused by Ned's pocket Colt revolver that had caused a similar superficial wound to Const Fitzpatrick when he went to the Kelly home in April. McIntyre said Ned was armed with the old long gun and a revolver.

  34. In 1929, J J Kenneally was close to gang descendants and sympathisers up in NE Victoria, wrote about Constable Lonigan being shot – " when Ned Kelly fired, his gun had been loaded with a charge of swandrops, in place of small shot." Page 52

    Here is reference to shot making here- http://americanlongrifles.org/forum/index.php?topic=625.0 which refers to large cast shot, 'Tear drop' shaped or 'Swan drops' and how to make. The Kellys, while at Bullock Creek practiced their marksmanship on tree targets and later chop the lead out for re melting. I am sure they knew how to make Swandrops.

    It is only JJK that refers to 'Swandrops', but it is the Cameron letter Dec 1878 and GW Hall's book of 1879 as primary sources that mention bullets, suggests that because its possible the Kelly's had bullet moulds for a pocket colt of .31 Calibre pistol balls and bullets, it is mystery why McIntyre said the gun was loaded with quartered bullets.

    Image- http://www.ironicon.com.au/images/constable-lonigan-shot.jpg

    This attached sketch after the one by Dee shows by my calculations of the random pattern of the shot would be only 14% fatal suggesting it was an unlucky hit for Constable Lonigan.

    Thanks to Sharon in the USA who reminded me of the book sources.

  35. Brilliant drawing Bill. Does that circle approximate what you think may be the extent to which the swan drops had separated by the time they reached him? At 40 yards wasn't it?

    Swan drops, shot, quartered bullets….all mentioned at various times and places in respect of what Ned loaded the gun with. We may never be sure exactly what it was but can't we agree that it was some form of multiple projectiles that were fired at and killed Constable Lonigans?

  36. Dee, I don't think this is a contest to see who has the best theory. At least for me it's not. I can't really add anymore than I did in earlier posts. There is not enough definitive evidence to rule in or rule out several theories.

    I believe the quartered bullet and shots after death theories are equally plausible with the evidence I can see at this time. I don't agree with you that all the bullets fired into Lonigan were absolutely pre mortem. I don't think the doctor was knowledgeable enough nor the autopsy thorough enough to come to that conclusion.

    As it stands I'm not going to flip a coin and pick a theory just for the sake of it. However I will look at the evidence again, as time permits, and post again if I can see anything that weighs it one way or another.

  37. Dee, below is a copy of some of your earlier statements under the title header above:
    "This simple diagram explained and confirmed everything that McIntyre said and exposed Neds lies. McIntrye said, Lonigan was shot almost immediately, right where he stood, out in the open. If he had turned to run the wounds would be on the other leg. If he had been behind a log, no leg would have been wounded. If he did make a move toward his gun, he wasn’t given a chance to get it out. It was never a fair fight as the myth makers like to pretend. He was shot pretty much in cold blood right where he was when the Gang broke cover. Exactly as McIntyre said.”

    “McIntrye said, Lonigan was shot almost immediately, right where he stood, out in the open.”
    "He was shot pretty much in cold blood right where he was when the Gang broke cover. Exactly as McIntyre said.”
    Could you direct us to the source and wording of those statements?

    Beechworth Committal Hearing. McIntyre giving evidence as reported in The Age. August 6th.1880. Extracts.
    “When I first saw the men, Lonigan standing at the opposite side of the fire to me and about 10 or 12 feet from me, Lonigan had started to run towards a tree.” "The effect of the shot in Lonigan was that he immediately fell – he ran only 4 or 5 yards before he fell. I heard him fall. I did not see him fall.”

    T.N.McIntyre. A True Narrative of the Kelly Gang. Page 17. (This document can be read unedited online courtesy of the Vic. Police Museum). “Lonigan who had started to run partly towards and partly down the creek putting his hand down as if to get his revolver, he had no time to open the case and must have been looking over his right shoulder when he was shot in the right eye by Ned Kelly."

    August 11. 1880. From McIntyre’s statement before W Foster P.M. At Beechworth. "I saw the accused move his gun a little to his right from me and he fired. I heard Lonigan then fall. I remained standing I saw Lonigan had fallen down”………. “Only one shot was fired at Lonigan."
    To Mr Gaunson.
    "I never told a reporter that the accused had two guns in his hand at the time he shot Lonigan. (Witness here described the relative position of the tent, logs and fire, at the camp, his position, where the accused came into sight, by diagram) I heard Lonigan in the act of running when he was shot he fell on my left rear.”

    Re McIntyre’s diagram. (As in the one at the police museum vic) This clearly shows :
    L1. Position of Constable Lonigan at first attack. (Near the fire) L2. Place where Lonigan shot. (Some distance away)

    Re your diagram of the wounds on Lonigan you wrote:
    "What you see here is Lonigan standing as McIntyre said, behind him to his left and logically, his body turned towards where McIntyre was standing by the fire. His left side is exposed to the Kelly gang and Ned’s gun, but then on hearing the shouted “Bail up” turns his head sharply to the left and exposes his right eye….. he has seconds to live.”

    Sorry. Your version does not fit. NML

  38. Andy Jessop says: Reply

    So how to explain the several shots that brought down Constable Scanlon, and the many shots fired as McIntyre escaped. By this time Ned was probably using Lonigan's police revolver to hunt down Sgt Kennedy.

    So far, we have no conclusive proof about how Ned's old rifle was loaded when he shot Lonigan, Nor do we have proof that his reloaded shotgun shells were actually used later.

    Bill relies on Kenneally (who was an modern Kelly Gang conman in my opinion) who had little if no contact with descendants (what could people who were not there have told Kenneally?

  39. Anonymous says: Reply

    Firstly Bill, I suggest you give Dee some lessons on preparing sketches; yours is superb. Sorry Dee. And I am now of the opinion that you are right in your calculations about the spread of whatever type of bullet/shot/projectile it was that killed Lonigan. But I am still puzzled by Dr Reynold's statement that the projectile he extracted from Lonigan's leg was "…an ordinary revolver bullet." Why does he use a separate description for this projectile? And

  40. Anonymous says: Reply

    Andy, Ned may well have armed himself with one of the police Webleys when he went after Sgt Kennedy and this might be the weapon that first hit Kennedy. However, to my way of thinking, the coup de grace was probably administered using the reloaded police shotgun. This is what Dr Reynolds had to say when giving his evidence at the inquiry (inquest) into the deaths of the police at SBC. "There is a large wound in the centre of the sternum which I believe was caused by a charge of shot fired at a very short range which passed completely through the body & out at the back my reasons for concluding it was a charge of heavy shot & not a bullet are first the size of the wound and 2ndly the appearance of the cuts through the clothes the cause of death was a gunshot wound through the chest front before backwards."

  41. Andy, Dee and others,

    You need to know the Kenneallys were neighbours of Mrs Kelly at Greta. She stayed with the Kenneallys after she came out of gaol and they looked after her. Prior to 1930s the Kenneallys owned the land that Aunt like figure to Ned, 'Bridget Kelly' owned land down along the Greta west road, and also, Kenneallys had a square mile block across the road to the south east.

    So in any event, the Kenneallys were VERY much in tune with what was going on. That was the reason James Jerome Kenneally JJK was able to write the book 'The Inner History of the Kelly gang' which except for a few typos and strange contras, I believe the book is actually closer to the truth than what all the authorities wanted the popular press to publish -and push. For me the book resonates far more because I grew up knowing exceptional good people who for no other reason than being born on the wrong side of the railway line, never got a fair go. Unlike most modern authors, Jones, Castles, McFarlane, Kenneally had Tom Lloyd as his guide through the saga, so he has a far more intimate knowledge than what can be gleaned from what is recorded in the archives in black or white.

    For link to Swandrops click link next to my name above

  42. Anonymous says: Reply

    I don't think Tom Lloyd could be considered a reliable source.

  43. Andy Jessop says: Reply

    Yes Bill, but Ellen and Bridget Kelly, nor the Kenneallys and, most likely, not Tom Lloyd, weren't at SBC and couldn't have added much to this muddle.

    Spudee something fatal was fired into Sgt Kennedy's chest and passed out his back. Nobody then thought to dig this up for forensic examination as would occur today.

    This has been a fascinating discussion which, I think, has shown that next to nothing about SBC adds up properly. Its beyond dispute the gang went to SBC to cause trouble, and as a result three police were killed.

    The Devil is in the detail.

  44. Anonymous says: Reply

    Dee, you wrote
    “McIntrye said, Lonigan was shot almost immediately, right where he stood, out in the open.”
    "He was shot pretty much in cold blood right where he was when the Gang broke cover. Exactly as McIntyre said.”
    Could you direct us to the source and wording of those statements?

    Lonigan was NOT shot right where he stood, by the fire, out in the open, facing McIntyre when the gang broke cover.


  45. NML please read the latest Post . I answer your questions there. I am interested to hear your explanation of exactly what happened, because it is clear Lonigan wasn’t hiding behind a battery of logs as Ned Kelly claimed, lifting his head up above them and aiming at Ned when he was killed. The only possible explanation is that he was out in the open, and Bills diagram shows it nicely.

  46. Anonymous says: Reply

    Dee, you wrote
    “McIntrye said, Lonigan was shot almost immediately, right where he stood, out in the open.”
    "He was shot pretty much in cold blood right where he was when the Gang broke cover. Exactly as McIntyre said.”
    Could you direct us to the source and wording of those statements?

    Answer please. NML

  47. I HAVE answered. Please read the Post “Lonigans Death Decoded” The reference you are asking for is supplied there but here it is anyway : O&M 07 August 1880. Feel free to add your comments to the latest Post and continue this discussion there. In particular, given that you don’t seem to accept mine, if you have one please give us your explanation of what happened.

  48. Anonymous says: Reply

    When someone writes exactly as McIntyre said. It should be exactly as McIntyre said. Not their own interpretation. Too often McIntyre is misquoted. As in this case.

    Was Lonigan shot right where he stood facing McIntyre when the gang broke cover? Left side facing Ned?
    Was Lonigan shot after running 4 or 5 paces out in the open? Right side facing Ned?


  49. Your objection is lame NML, because firstly I did not ‘quote’ McIntyre. What I did was summarise his statements, make a précis if you like, and there is simply NO significant disparity between what I wrote and what McIntyre described. Additionally, if you are going to admonish me for misquoting when I didnt actually ‘quote’ please explain why in your own actual quotes you omitted the crucial words of McIntyre that Lonigan was shot “as soon as“ he had put his arms out? Do you have an explanation for Lonigans death or are you just fond of nit picking and misquoting to somehow stall the truth about Ned Kellys lies about his killing of Lonigan from being properly exposed? Its time for you to put up NML or else..well you know what the alternative is. I am sure there would be much interest in your alternative explanation of the established forensic FACTS.

  50. Anonymous says: Reply

    Re your diagram of the wounds on Lonigan you wrote:
    "What you see here is Lonigan standing as McIntyre said, behind him to his left and logically, his body turned towards where McIntyre was standing by the fire. His left side is exposed to the Kelly gang and Ned’s gun, but then on hearing the shouted “Bail up” turns his head sharply to the left and exposes his right eye….. he has seconds to live.”
    You also wrote:
    “McIntrye said, Lonigan was shot almost immediately, right where he stood, out in the open.”
    "He was shot pretty much in cold blood right where he was when the Gang broke cover. Exactly as McIntyre said.”

    By this you are saying that in your opinion Lonigan was shot right where he stood facing McIntyre when the gang broke cover. Is that correct?

    If so then yes. We have a problem.

  51. NML why don’t you just say what you think the problem is? I am not the Lord God Almighty whose every word is infallible and immutable, but I have qualified my statements with such words as ’pretty much’ and ‘almost’. Lonigan clearly made some sort of movement, but it was so little that he remained in the open, and didnt have time to turn round to run or to draw his weapon. That is my position. Please enlighten us all with your description of how Lonigan died if you find that description a ‘problem’ Your solution will need to solve more problems than it creates to have any credibility and so far I am the only person who appears to have provided a completely comprehensive one.

  52. Anonymous says: Reply

    Dee as you said “its not a ‘contest’ but a search for the historical truth.”


  53. Dee, Brian Stevenson and I have been waiting to see if anyone would pick up on where you said that Ned did not hit anyone at Glenrowan. In the first volley he managed to hit a pretty big target – Superintendent Hare!

    Regarding George Metcalf (who was injured in the eyes in the Glenrowan Inn), it seems to be a case of "he said, she said." Louis Piazzi claims that Ned accidentally shot Metcalf outside the inn but Metcalf says he was hit inside the Inn under police fire. This news article http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/72356435 tells about his wounding and says that he

    "attributes no blame whatever to
    the police, but considers that the shots
    from the attacking party were purposely
    fired high at the room in which they were
    placed in order that no one lying down
    might be injured."

    But, this website http://prov.vic.gov.au/whats-on/exhibitions/ned-kelly/the-police-case has another take on it –

    "It seems that Metcalf, before he died a few months later from the eye wound, made up a story that he had hidden in a chimney and that a shot fired by police had bounced off the bricks striking him. It looked as if he wanted to get compensation from the government."

    As I said, "he said, she said."

    Another correction that needs to be addressed is that the American bicentennial was in 1976 not 1988 (which was Australia's bicentennial). I suppose it is an easy enough thing to get mixed up on.

  54. Actually I also wondered if anyone would respond to that slightly provocative statement about Ned not hitting anyone. My recollection is that Hare and the Police were fired on by all four Gang members from the darkened verandah of the Inn, and so how is it known that it was Neds shot that got Hare? MacFarlane talks about Ned accidentally shooting Metcalf, though the Kelly myth is that Ned was a crack shot and couldn’t possibly have made such a dumb mistake.

  55. Before anyone starts drawing diagrams of who was standing where and what the bullet trajectories could possibly be as to Hare getting hit by Ned there was actual confirmation that it was Ned who hit Hare. According to Hare himself in his book "Last of the Bushrangers" –

    "When I was within sixteen yards of the verandah I saw a flash, and heard a report from a rifle, fired from about a yard in front of the verandah, and my left hand dropped beside me. Three flashes came from under the verandah. The man who fired the first shot stepped back under the verandah, and began firing upon us. He called out, "Fire away, you beggars, you can do us no harm." One of the men beside me said, "That is Ned Kelly's voice." "

    Hare echoes basically the same information in the Royal Commission but identifies the constable who recognised Ned's voice to be Constable Gascoigne.

  56. Sharon thanks for that reply. Again you show what an amazing talent you are and how much we need your detailed knowledge. If I may ask Sharon, do you have some sort of filing system that helps you or is is it all just what you remember? Often I remember something Ive read, or think I remember it but struggle to find where it is and spend ages sifting through my books sometimes to find it , sometimes not to to find it and then I am stuck…Whats your secret? ( I won’t tell anyone!)

  57. Sharon is just genius.
    Now I have to tear up my latest drawing and start again.

  58. No filing system. I am very extremely disorganized. I have books and papers just haphazardly piled up everywhere and have to go in search of whatever rings a bell with me. Most times I know which book or site to go to (after nearly 14 years in the game it should be second nature by now) but sometimes I have to check a few to chase up the info. Other times I go nuts when I vaguely remember something someone said or something I read but cannot find the corroborating evidence. I know a lot (or at least know where to find the info) when it comes to the Kelly saga overall, but when it comes to Stringybark Creek I take a backseat to Bill Denheld because that is his area of expertise and where he shines the most. Hey, Bill, thanks for the laugh about tearing up your latest drawing! I would actually like to see what you can come up with! 😉

  59. Peter Newman says: Reply

    I read an interesting article in the newspaper the other day about how chronically disorganized people tend to be more intelligent. I cut it out and put it somewhere. I will send you the details if I can find it.

  60. Anonymous says: Reply

    You're terrible Peter!

  61. That may have once been the case but I would think it would have been very outdated by 1878. Besides the Mansfield police party were in civilian clothes, not uniform, when they were at SBC.

  62. Jack Long says: Reply

    None of the police photos of Fitzpatrick show him wearing a sabre.

    Early Victoria Police at the time of the Eureka Stockade were militaristic but not for long…

  63. Norm Regan says: Reply

    And we only have JJ Kenneally's word that Tom Lloyd contributed. The book is full of major errors and should never have been published.

  64. Jeff Mowday says: Reply

    Can 'Unknown' or anyone else provide any references that Victoria Mounted Police had sabres in the 1870s or 1880s? Victoria Police generally were as 'modern' as possible then. They even had early British breech-loading rifles at the Eureka Stockade.

  65. In the Royal Commission Minutes of Evidence, Nicolson commented about an inspection he did in the Bourke district in 1876, which suggests mounted police still had a sword as part of their equipment:

    Q1052. You considered he was guilty of dereliction of duty; Mr. Hare, on the contrary, considered he performed his duty under the circumstances?—Yes; I am quite prepared to show that my system was the correct one. I reported: ―Mtd.-Constable Redding, 1990, general appearance clean and creditable; kit clean and in good order; the leather pad under hilt of sword worn out and the mouth of scabbard loose and requires immediate attention. He has had no practice with his Webley‘s revolver; permission given to fire six cartridges and report result.

    But police dressed as prospectors would presumably not be carrying swords! And their flap-covered revolver holsters would remain difficult to access quickly.

  66. Police, especially mounted police, wore their pistol case ( holster) behind the right hip, allowing for the sabre to be worn on the left. This didn't allow for drawing with the left hand from this position, although they were a left hand draw case (holster). Victoria police were armed and equipped as light cavalry, and pistol cases were left hand draw, in line with cavalry doctrine of sword in the right hand. left hand draw holsters, when worn behind the right hip, can be drawn readily by the right hand with practise.

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