|The Argus 29th June 1880|
Ive been waiting to see what if any reaction there would be on the Kelly sites to the anniversary of the siege at Glenowan, which took place 136 years ago on the weekend of June 26th and 27th 1880, finishing on Monday 28th when Ned was captured in the early hours and the Inn burned down in the afternoon.
I half expected it to be ignored completely, given that it was such an embarrassing exposure of Ned Kellys mad and badly thought-out plan to murder as many more cops as he could – three were not enough – his callous indifference to the lives of the ordinary citizens of Glenrowan of whom three were killed when he used them as human shields, and the hopeless impracticality of the armour that the Gang had laboriously constructed in their bush forge. And if those humiliations were not enough, theres also the tragedy of the merciless killing of Aaron Sherrit, and the suicide of Dan and Steve to complete the picture of horror, mayhem and death that the psychopathic Ned Kelly brought to Glenrowan that weekend. If it wasn’t for the bravery of Thomas Curnow the destruction and horror would have been orders of magnitude greater and nobody would be posting sentimental rubbish about Ned being a true Australian and hero on Facebook 136 years later. Everyone apart from lunatics would be comparing him with Man Haron Monis, Martin Bryant and the others in the list of mass killers and mad criminals in Australias history books. So it wouldn’t have surprised me if the Kelly sympathisers didnt draw anyones attention to the anniversary.
But heres the tally :
- Iron Outlaw : Nothing
- Ned Kelly Centre : Nothing
- Unmasking ..FB Page : Nothing
- NK Central FB : They shared a comment about the armour, and a descendant of Aaron Sherrit shared some thoughts about his murder and the 11 deaths the Outbreak resulted in, which were good, but in effect hardly anything.
- NK Vault FB Page: Two lines and a photo of a newspaper headline from the time, followed by about 10 brief comments i.e. hardly anything
- Ned Kelly Forum : A disgracefully ignorant Post lamenting the failed attempt to establish a Republic in North East Victoria, and then ‘RIP’ followed by a list of the three Gang members that died but not a single word about the innocent ones who died. Then a long list of foolish and ignorant comments by Kelly sympathisers …more about this later…
Its been interesting reading the reports coming out of the Inquest into the Lindt Cafe siege where two people died, one at the hand of the terrorist and the other as a result of the Police action to bring it to an end. What I find interesting to read is how hard it was for the Police to decide what should be done. They had all sorts of resources at their fingertips, night vision technology, high-tech armaments and surveillance equipment that probably gave them intelligence about what was happening in there that we will never be privy to, instantaneous communications between them all, body armour and anti-terrorist training and yet despite all that, there was uncertainty about when and how to react, and when they finally did, despite all that know-how and back-up, an innocent hostage ended up dead. In all of this there has been almost no criticism of the Police, either direct or implied, and thats as it should be. Nobody doubts they wanted to get the best outcome for everyone involved in the fluid and unpredictable scenario they were confronted with.
Compare that to Glenrowan! The Police are endlessly excoriated and blamed by Kelly myth makers and police haters for the civilian deaths that resulted from their actions, and Ned Kelly, the author of all this mayhem is hailed as a brave hero. This outrage was of course NOT something any of the police had been trained for, they arrived in the dark with almost no intelligence about what was happening and limited ways of finding out once they got there, no special equipment, communication by word of mouth only, and were confronted by a Gang who had already murdered three police and the day before in a chilling act of betrayal, one of their own friends. By any measure the Gang at that moment could only have been perceived as dangerously ruthless and unpredictable in the extreme, an impression instantly reinforced when they responded to being surrounded and called on to surrender, with a volley of shots from the Hotels darkened verandah and defiant shouting. Who was going to be brave enough to predict what they were going to do next?
The reality is that, as at the Lindt Cafe, its possible to imagine different decisions being made at Glenrowan that could have produced a better outcome, but I am quite sure to have really understood what was going on, and to be qualified to criticise you needed to have been there. Lazy armchair critics of the Police responses at Glenrowan are simply looking for someone else to blame for the outcomes of Ned Kellys acts of Terror, but make no mistake, just as at the Lindt cafe so at Glenrowan it was the hostage taker who was ultimately responsible for the deaths of innocent hostages. I readily accept there were a couple of incidents of ill-discipline at Glenrowan, but given all the circumstances, and the fallibility of human nature, overall I give the Police credit for bringing the Outbreak to an end, as we all do for what they did at the Lindt Cafe.
The reality is that when it comes to Glenrowan, the Kelly sympathisers are in massive denial, and if you want to see it, go to their Facebook pages where, as I pointed out if mentioned at all there is only token acknowledgement of this grim anniversary. There are scores of “Likes” – whatever ‘liking’ this anniversary means – a tiny number of “Sad”, a string of nauseating acclamations of support for Ned Kelly, and a few seriously ignorant attempts at describing what Ned Kelly represented. The most popular comment seems to be “RIP Ned”, yet he survived, unlike his brother, two other Gang members and three innocent hostages but theres no ‘RIP Johnny Jones’, no ‘RIP Martin Cherry’ no ‘RIP George Metcalf’. Just like Ned Kelly himself it seems modern sympathisers are obsessed with Ned Kelly and don’t give a toss about the deaths of ordinary people on the sidelines . God alone knows what the comment about how different it would have been if the train had derailed was supposed to mean, another wrote it would have been good if the train derailed, but if it had been derailed everyone agrees there would have been horrendous loss of life. On what planet would that have been ‘good’?? They’re much more interested in seeing another photo of the murderous psychopath than facing the truth about Glenrowan or reflecting on what a monstrous outrage Ned Kelly tried to unleash there.
The truth about Glenrowan is this: the very real hero that emerged there, and who we should be remembering this week is Thomas Curnow, but he doesn’t get a mention anywhere on any of these Kelly sites, such is their blind focus on kelly mythology. He is the man we should be celebrating, he was the true hero at Glenrowan, the partly disabled unarmed school teacher who saved countless lives by an act of genuine bravery, outsmarting an armed and dangerous psychopath with a candle and a silk scarf. That was a David and Goliath victory of genuinely mythic proportions! A genuinely heroic act of selfless bravery.
Instead the Kelly sympathisers are in massive denial about Curnow, they’re in massive denial about what Ned Kelly planned for Glenrowan, and to help with their denial that have made up a lie about a Republic of North East Victoria as a cover-up, and tried to glamourise it all as some sort of heroic ‘last stand’. They’re also in massive denial about what an absolute debacle it was for the Gang – it wasn’t a heroic last stand but a desperate and complete stuff-up : no policemen were killed, the train wasn’t derailed, one Gang member was shot and killed, two Gang members committed suicide, the armour was proven to be worse than useless, the leader ended up in captivity soon to be hanged, Ann Jones livelihood was ruined, and tragically, three innocent hostages died. Responsibility for all this wretchedness can only be laid at the feet of one person : Ned Kelly the mad mastermind, Australias most notorious liar, the Man Haron Monis of 1880.
You have GOT to be joking.