|This is the image published in the Christies Auction House Catalogue in 2002.
Ive removed the Post from “Anonymous” that James Gray and Leigh Olver objected to, having thought about their complaints overnight and seeking an opinion from a friend. Ive removed it even though in my opinion it was a valid expression of frustration, suspicion and opinion in relation to the now publically displayed “Alleged Ned” image and the long promotional campaign that the Vault has been engaged in for the last six months. Ive removed it because I don’t want the important points it raises to be submerged in an argument about politeness and the manner rather than the substance of the comment.
To that end I am going to rephrase the questions it posed and add a few comments of my own.
Essentially what this person was objecting to was that now, having seen the image, he (or she?) feels that what was delivered was not what was promised, and feels ripped off and angry. I haven’t yet seen the image itself or what the Vault has done with it, but certainly I don’t think anyone would argue that the Vault didn’t deliberately create massive expectations and ramp up the status of this Image, sensationally describing it as the Kelly find of the Century, mysterious, the most significant discovery of its type in 54 years….and so on. The promotion included Radio interviews and Press Releases, and various Posts on Facebook like the montage of several Ned Faces…
The expectations of the public were repeatedly set back by delays in the date of the Images public showing, and an air of secrecy was maintained about many of the details in relation to it, but I for one, and obviously many others also expected that once it was finally shown at the Vault, all would be revealed.
In fact what has been revealed is that much of the hype was less than accurate – in particular the claim that the Image had never been seen before : it had been published in an Auction Catalogue but didn’t sell because of doubts about who the figures were. Secrecy about where the image came from has been maintained, and access to the Image has been restricted to the Vault so it can only be seen by paying an Entry Fee ( $8 minimum )
On Facebook the other day, when searching questions were asked of Leigh Olver about his involvement with this promotion and why he could confidently assert that Elsie Pettifer was wrong to claim one of the people in the photo was her father his response was dismissive : you’ll just have to trust me on this one he said. Leighs earlier comments seemed designed to give the impression that he was not involved in this promotion in any way, but when asked about a 2003 article in the Age which quoted him discussing these very images, again he became defensive and evaded giving a direct answer. This reticence only fueled suspicions in some peoples minds that the Public was being taken for a ride – I called it being jerked around – by the Vault. There was a distinct lack of openness and transparency about the whole thing. There was a patronizing attitude to non-Kelly related people who were expected to believe Leigh because he was a Kelly descendant. The Vault itself maintained a silence that was increasingly obvious, given their failure to keep the agreement made weeks ago to answer questions posted to Facebook before the unveiling. Leigh and the Kelly bully Fitzsimons attacked a Female contributor, accused her of being me or being some other Fake person, or Sharon…In the end I was banned from the Ned Kelly Central Facebook Page for breaking a rule that didnt exist and all my comments and questions for the Vault disappeared.
So, we come to the Comment that I have reluctantly deleted because it upset some Kelly people. It was not written by me or anyone I know but I completely understand the frustration and the anger this person expressed because like me he (or she) feels dudded by the Vault and the Kelly people who are trying to extract the maximum out of this image, who say they cant be 100% sure its Ned but woe betide anyone who doesn’t agree with them, who say they had Photoshop work done on the Image but are angered by someone asking exactly how much did they do to the Image, who are clearly going to make money out of this enterprise but who from some perspectives treat the paying public with contempt, behaving as if they owe us nothing, who seem to expect us to swallow anything that come out of the mouth of a Kelly.
I really do believe the Vault and Leigh Olver have some explaining to do. They are welcome to do it here.
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