The Greatest of the Kelly Myths Part 2 : 1866-1871

Ned Kelly often robbed people at gunpoint : its a terrifying experience for the victim. 
I ended the last Post with these words “What has to be accepted, because that is what all the evidence shows, is that at least while Red Kelly was alive, his family were not the victims of Police persecution, or being “exasperated to madness by ill treatment.” I then wrote that in this post I would examine what happened between the Police and the Kellys after Red was gone: “Maybe there we will find the proof of what Ned claimed…So in this Post I am going to continue to examine what we actually know about the interactions between the Kellys and the Police, and see what evidence exists for Ned Kellys claim that it was ill treatment by Police that drove him to do what he did.

Red died at the very end of 1866. Up until then, apart from that lapse in the last year of his life, neither he nor any member of his growing family had been in trouble with the Police. However within two months of Reds death, on February 19th 1867 Ellen Kelly was convicted  of assault and fined 40 shillings with 5 shillings costs. In mentioning the case, Ian Jones reports an ominous detail about the sentencing Police Magistrate: 12 years earlier he had cut down ‘an innocent and helpless digger named Henry Powell after the  Eureka Stockade battle’So is this the person who began the Police persecution of the Kellys ?
In fact the case was mounted by Ellen Kellys sister-in-law, Anne Kelly, and was an entirely domestic issue. I wonder why Jones included the irrelevant detail about the Magistrate – was it to introduce a subtle hint of something corrupt going on and to encourage the myth to grow? A few months later Ellen was before the court yet again in yet another civil matter – this time she was convicted of using abusive and threatening language – but again it was nothing to do with Police, but a dispute with her landlord and even though Ellen was fined another 40s, (£2) the Landlord was fined £5, and both were ordered to keep the peace for six months; again, nothing here to support the myth of Police and the privileged such as landlords, persecuting and corruptly oppressing the Kellys.
Ellens next appearance was a long three years later, in 1870, at the Wangaratta Police Court on May 9th when she was charged with selling ‘sly grog’. William Thomas was a ‘Liquor License Inspector’ who told the Court that he went to Ellen Kellys house and paid 2s for a glass of Brandy. Ellen, needless to say, did not have a Licence. Surely, if there was a campaign of police harassment and persecution against the Kellys, here was a perfect opportunity to catch her out? In fact, when questioned Mr Thomas “would not swear that the woman in court was the woman who served him with liquor” and so the case was dismissed. Justin Corfield says in his Kelly encyclopaedia that ‘of the 8 people charged for selling alcohol illegally that day, Ellen Kelly was the only one acquitted’ This case can only be regarded as evidence that at least in 1870 there still was NOT a campaign of Police persecution of the Kelly family – if there had been, the informer wouldn’t have hesitated to identify her, and she would have been convicted and punished along with the other 7 who were. But no such thing happened – she went home a rather lucky and free woman, no harassment, no ill treatment just due process by a Court that treated her by the book. And yet there was no doubt someone had taken 2s off the Inspector for a glass of Brandy served to him at Ellens place. So did the Inspector mount a campaign of harassment and repeated visits till he finally trapped her again? Theres no record anywhere that he did. No harassment. No ill treatment.
By this time, May1870, her son Ned had also begun making appearances in Court.  Lets look at them and see if they are the exasperating ‘ill treatment’ that made Ned Kelly into a criminal.
The first one in October 1869 related to an altercation between Ned Kelly, now aged 14 and a Chinese Hawker named Ah Fook.  Following Ah Fooks complaint  that he had been beaten and robbed the Constabulary arrived the following day to arrest Ned, but he bolted out the back door and headed for the bush- as any innocent person would!  He was chased down and arrested. In court, the three witnesses were Neds sister Annie, a future brother in law, and an employee of Ellen Kelly! One can hardly have expected these witnesses not to back Neds version of events but because they all contradicted Ah Fooks version the charge was dismissed, though according to Ian Jones “with apparent reluctance“. Ian Jones quotes Beechworths “Advertiser” which wrote:“ It is impossible to avoid coming to any other conclusion that the charge of robbery has been trumped up by the Chinaman to be revenged on Ned Kelly, who had evidently assaulted him”. Jones than adds: “That may well have been true though it means that the Kelly witnesses also lied” Jones also quotes the Benalla Ensign: “The cunning of Ned and his mates got him off”
So just to be clear about it, this was an argument between Ned Kelly and a Chinese hawker who complained he had been assaulted and robbed by Ned, but when it went to Court, the charges were dismissed on the evidence of witnesses with a rather obvious conflict of interest.  Is there a reader who thinks anything at all about this case looks like Police ‘ill treatment’ of Ned? If anyone got a raw deal it looks to me as if it was the poor chinese hawker. (The sinister end to this story, pointed out recently by Peter Newman is that Ah Fooks body was found a few years later, ‘strangely mutilated. An inquest jury returned a verdict of willful murder’  The murderer was never identified)
The next charges on Ned Kelly’s record are three counts of Highway Robbery in the company of Harry Power, an escaped prisoner on the run. As even Kelly sympathisers agree, Ned became his accomplice in mid 1869 for a short time and then again for a few months at the beginning of 1870.  His first spell as Harrys assistant ended in humiliation for Ned when they were discovered and shot at, and as a result of Ned panicking, they were nearly caught. A clue to why Ned accompanied Harry in the first place, and why despite the humiliation he returned a few months later is provided by Ian Jones who says that after the first episode Ned “returned empty handed to the winter world of boggy tracks and swampy paddocks and the day-to-day drudgery of 88 acres”
In truth working a selection was a long, difficult backbreaking slog, there was no glamour or excitement in it, and it was almost impossible to make a living from it, especially in the early years. By contrast, Bush ranging had much to offer a young man – a glamorous wild life on horseback, easy money, short hours, travel, excitement…and of course some risks that certain personality types would be attracted to. 
In the end, after a few more months Ned gave it away for the second time. As Powers ‘apprentice’ Ned Kelly had learned how to intimidate people and take what he wanted off them by sticking a loaded gun into their faces, but he left before he had learned the subtleties of the art, of how to intimidate sufficiently to obtain submission but not so much that he would provoke retaliation and precipitate a murderous gunfight. (As a result his first attempt to put into action what he had only partly learned from Power was the disaster at Stringybark Creek) He left because Harry was too difficult a person to live with, and he returned to his mothers place.

However the police were ready for him and he was arrested in a dawn raid and  three charges were laid against him in May 1870. Does anyone think it is harassment or persecution or ill treatment for the Police to arrest and charge someone thought to be involved in highway robbery of innocent travellers at gunpoint?  And does anyone think Ned was being badly treated and persecuted when the first charge, Robbery in company at Kilfera was dismissed because the witness could not clearly identify Ned; or when the second, Robbery under arms at Seymour was also dismissed when the Police could not locate the principal witness, or when after a couple of remands the third was also dropped because it seems Ned provided the Police with information about Harry Power? Where is the Kelly sympathizer who thinks this is the sort of ‘ill treatment’ by Police that would drive a man to madness, who thinks this episode is what drove Ned Kelly to become a criminal? Later, the Police lent Ned Kelly money to pay for hotel accommodation and expenses and though he promised to repay it, he never did. In addition, according to Ian Jones an offer was made to help Ned resettle out of the district and away from the criminal environment of his extended family – on what planet is any of this harassment and persecution? Surely if the Police were engaged in a corrupt campaign of harassment and persecution of the Kellys, witnesses could have been ‘found”, deals for providing information could have been made and then broken once the necessary intel had been extracted, convictions would have been obtained one way or another and certainly free hotel accommodation and loans would not have been provided.
By now Ned Kelly might have been tempted to start thinking he could get away with anything. I find it curious that these various episodes of fair and lenient treatment by the Police are never mentioned by Kelly in the story he told of his life in the Jerilderie letter, but the next one, just a few months later in 1871which results in his first conviction is recounted in great detail as Ned tries to explain away his guilt. He was found guilty of  the assault of another hawker and handed a sentence of three months imprisonment. There was also a £10 fine or an added three months hard labour for Sending an Indecent Letter and sureties totaling £60 to pay. This incident was called ‘a grubby adolescent lark’ by Peter Fitzsimons, and ‘a silly squabble’ by Ian Jones, but both of these authors glossed over the fact that it was actually an entirely gratuitous violent assault by an impudent youth on a man whose wife he had earlier insulted in a most offensive manner. It is also an early example of the type of person Ned targeted : a ‘hawker’ is not a rich gentleman landowner, a squatter,  or a member of the upper class but a working class salesman – Ned targeted everyone.
Read my earlier post about it this ‘grubby lark’ HERE and realize yet again that there is nothing in this incident that could be regarded as ‘ill treatment’ by Police. Instead it’s the sort of thuggish behavior that Ned had been observing, and now copied as he grew up in the extended family of his mother, the Quinns and their associates. Red Kelly, Neds father had  tried to shield his children from the negative influence of these people, and it was much more likely that it was their example and their influence on Ned rather than that of the police that caused him to go ‘mad’ and become a career criminal. None of them offered to help the poverty stricken Ellen with Ned’s £10 fine, not even his uncle Jack who had recently been paid £500 for dobbing in Harry Power, so Ned had to do the extra three months.
So Ned went to prison for the first time, into the Beechworth Gaol exactly 10 years to the day before he was finally hanged for murder, and as a further sign of how much the Authorities wanted to oppress Ned Kelly and of how corrupt they were, they let him out 5 weeks early, on March 27th 1871 – and not only that, he received a genuinely friendly visit back at home, from Constable Bracken, apparently in a vain attempt to encourage Ned to mend his ways.
At this point in the Kelly story, 1871, its very plain what the problem the Kelly defenders now have in relation to their core belief about the origins of Ned Kellys criminality. They say, and so did Ned Kelly himself that the Police drove him to it, that he had to take a stand because he couldn’t take any more of their corruption, their persecution their ill treatment of himself and his family. The massive problem the Kelly apologists have in early 1871 is that up to this point, all recorded incidents were the result of acts of lawlessness deliberately undertaken by the Kellys themselves, and none of them involved any kind of police harassment or persecution. Furthermore, in responding to these acts of lawlessness, the evidence is that the Police and Judiciary were lenient and more than fair. How can any sympathizer say otherwise when he knows for a fact that Ned was Harry Powers accomplice, and DID participate in numerous armed robberies with him, and yet he went free.
The idea that Ned Kelly’s family was persecuted, so he turned to crime is contradicted emphatically by the actual historical facts that show that long before there was anything that could in any way be termed Police persecution, Ned Kelly was immersing himself in a world of active criminality and lawlessness.  There are no ‘alternative facts’; these are the ACTUAL facts, not a version or an interpretation or a theory but the actual historical reality.
Is there any Kelly apologist, Kelly descendant or Kelly keyboard warrior who reads these words who would dare to still assert that Ned Kelly turned to crime because the Police drove him to it? The only people who could continue to assert that would be people who are ignorant of the historical facts. If there are relevant facts about Kellys life up to 1871 that Ive missed, please point them out.
But there are more to come in Part Three.
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19 Replies to “The Greatest of the Kelly Myths Part 2 : 1866-1871”

  1. Regarding the John Red Kelly story, I think author journalist 'Steve Hodder' paints a very clear picture of the political dynamics of the Kelly outbreak in his- 'Ned Kelly: Villain or Victim? '

    The original story in the Dubbo Photo News is no longer viewable but I kept a copy here.
    Ned Kelly villain or victim

    I do hope readers take a look as it may add a better understanding of why perhaps John Red became embroiled in the politics of the time, and the unfortunate outcome having one of his opponents die as a result of an argument. To me Red's troubles were more to do with his allegiances than any intended crime.

    Dee, I see your compelling case (Part 1) and now part 2 and why you can knockout so many Kelly myths, but iits no use us being judgemental of times we weren't there. We all agree any crime is wrong, but the elephant in the argument seems not taken into account. The elephant was the take over of the Ireland – Irish by the Brits starting as long ago as 1000 years and a better record from anno 1613 when the biggest crimes seem to have been committed, a fact-ion that have never forgotten this. Perhaps we should question whose history books we want believe in.

    And talking of belief, I think most Kelly sympathisers want to belong to a group who only want validation from each other so they can be assured of their beliefs, and while this keeps going on that's why you keep getting so much opposition from certain individuals because you are destroying their life long romantic beliefs. Sooner or latter the majority will all realise the truth, of the story but not all.

    I note 10 years ago I had email correspondence with a prominent matriarch lady descendant who I had hoped would defend me on a forum page regarding Ned's iconic status. Her email reply to me, " Bill, Ned was a criminal " end of story.

  2. Stuart Dawson says: Reply

    Dee, this is fascinating stuff, time-lining the persecution claims and blowing them out of the water. I'm almost on the edge of my seat for the next instalments as I've never paid any attention to the internal clan squabbles and the interesting point that the license inspector did buy grog, but would not falsely swear who served him, and did not then re-visit or send another to make the case. As you say, there is no evidence of any police persecution in the story anywhere to date.

    And Bill, I know the Irish rebel heritage line gets wheeled out on a regular basis by Ned enthusiasts, largely because of the rantings of the Jerilderie letter, but here are some extracts from an article by Dr Benjamin Jones from the ANU, "Colonial Republicanism: Re-examining the Impact of Civic Republican Ideology in Pre-Constitution New South Wales", Journal of Australian Colonial Studies, vol. 11 (2009): 129-146. He shows that Australian colonial republicanism was overwhelmingly pro-, not anti-, British in sentiment:

    "Republican thought, especially civic republicanism, was a significant political force in mid-nineteenth century New South Wales (NSW), and that its impact was clearly present in the 1850
    Legislative Council by-election. Republicanism … should be conceptualised as a broad church seeking to extend both political freedom and participation. While a minority of republicans,
    often called radicals or separatists, felt this could only be achieved though complete political severance from Britain, the vast majority saw no contradiction in retaining the British connection whilst fighting for perceived British rights and liberties." (129).

    "Civic republicans in Australia did not see themselves as rebels so much as defenders of an enduring British tradition." (133).

    "The fight to secure freedom from domination, encapsulated in civic republican ideology, was the most dynamic political force in mid-nineteenth century NSW and should be considered a primary motif when examining early Australian political history." (146).

    Note that none of this broad Australian colonial republicanism is remotely connected with sentiments rooted in Irish politics or rebellion. That does not mean there were no Irish-descended folk who barracked for rebellion in the old country. But it does suggest that some professors who profess to see any kind of Irish-based political republicanism in some greedy bushrangers and their loot-sharing sympathisers need to polish their spectacles.

  3. Adam Yates says: Reply

    The Steve Hodder article kindly provided by Bill was rather nutty and brimmed with mistakes. Hodder should have updated his library to take in modern academic research. He wrongly states of a photo he presents as "Ned Kelly at age 15. Photo taken by police at Kyneton. Image courtesy Keith McMenomy's book Ned Kelly". A book cannot dispense access rights to an image owned by the actual copyright holder, in this case The National Museum of Australia. Mr Hodder shouldn't have just nicked it for his article. It is also highly unlikely that Kyneton police had a camera with which to take Ned's photo.

    Likewise the "Reward poster for the Kelly Gang. Image by Keith McMenomy", belongs to Public Record Office Victoaria. By the way, Mr McMenomy correctly attributes these images in this book – only to have Mr Hodder nick them from his book. Mr Hodder writes for the Dubbo Photo News, so you would think he knows a little bit about photogaphic copyright and attribution.

    Hodder says "A known womaniser, Fitzpatrick had his eye on Kelly’s 14 year-old sister Kate even though he had a fiancé at Frankston and had left another girl pregnant at Meredith". Where is his evidence for Fitzpatrick chasing Kate? There isn't any. This is balderdash!

    He also says "A significant amount of community support was behind Ned Kelly, which enabled the outlaws to evade the police for a further two years. But finally Kelly became tired of hiding and decided to take on the police in a bold attack at Glenrowan. Kelly was not alone; historians believe he had as many as 350 armed supporters ready to fight for a republic of Northern Victoria". If they existed at all, those supporters never showed up…

    The crossbreeding between Slaves and Irish women, alleged by Hodder, is disgusting racist propaganda. See:

    Hodder thinks "The next round of punitive measures against the Irish occurred when slavery was abolished in England in 1807. This brought about a corresponding rise in the number of Irish convicted of petty offences and transported to Australia for a minimum of seven years". Huh? HOW did the end of slavery lead to increasing transportation of the Irish to Australia?

    The article is full of non-sequiturs like this, when one wrong assertion does not support others, or follow on from them.

    I could spend all night debunking this rubbish, but won't. Dee has spent years showing most of the Kelly myths are completely wrong. Stuart is demonstrating the lack of scholarship in this kind of amateur scribbling.

    Hodder's article is a time-wasting, misleading, piece of utter garbage.

  4. Joe Walsh says: Reply

    I've delved deep down into that article and librarian Liam Hogan says after 5 of his research efforts that there is simply no evidence at all of Irish slaves in Southern US plantations ever.

    The Dubbo Photo News needs to get rid of that discredited Hodder article quick smart! Don't give him any more gigs. He just makes things up.

  5. Stuart Dawson says: Reply

    Thanks for the plug, Adam, but I was commenting on the Colonial Republicanism article only; I haven't read the one by Stodder that you are shredding. But yes, there is a lot of regurgitated rubbish passed off as "researched facts" by various Kelly writers, without any effort to investigate the historical evidence they pretend to refer to. A lot of the time they just quote some fragmentary bit of selective evidence from someone else's book. It's about the level of those 'study guides' written for lazy year 10 students who haven't read the actual books they are writing essays about.

  6. Hello Adam,
    Perhaps you should also have provided this link to-


    This site does present reference as-

    It is my hope that this article will help in some small way to change that and to commemorate these unfortunate people. NOTES)
    John P. Prendergast, The Cromwellian Settlement of Ireland, Dublin, ?, 1865(2) Ibid.(3)
    See, for example, Thomas Addis Emmet, Ireland Under English Rule, NY & London,Putnam, 1903(4) Prendergast,
    The Conwellian Settlement of Ireland(5) Richard Ligon,
    A True and Exact History of Barbados, London, Cass, 1657, reprinted 1976(6)Sean O’Callaghan,
    To Hell or Barbados: The Ethnic Cleansing of Ireland, (Dingle, Ireland: Brandon, 2001)(6) James F. Cavanaugh,
    Clan Chief Herald(7) For Mather’s account of the case, see Cotton Mather, Memorable Providences, Relating To Witchcrafts And Possessions (1689) " "

  7. Anonymous says: Reply

    Hi everyone.

    I have been trying to find books for research and wonder if anyone on here could help.

    I'm looking for anything that details social customs in 19th Australia. Preferably for the "poor class" so People like Ned Kelly.

    For example:

    How they lived?
    Social behaviour?
    And how they would have dressed?

    There seems to be a lot on the "upper class" but I'm really struggling to find anything. If someone could help me that would be great! TIA!

  8. Adam Yates says: Reply

    Bill, you are helping to propogate an international online history scam.

    Liam Hogan, who dismissed this as a myth and hoax, is a librarian and historian based in Limerick City Library. He is a graduate of the University of Limerick and Aberystwyth University and is currently working on his first book, a study of the historical relationship between Limerick and slavery.

    Hogan refers to books like “To Hell or Barbados” (2000) and “White Cargo” (2007) as “pseudo-history.”

    You can read about this racist online scam, and an interview ith Liam Hogan, here:

  9. Dave Lyell says: Reply

    You can read about the Irish girls and women who came to Victoria at the start of European history in "Historical Records of Victoria", vols 1-8.

    Anonymous: historian Michael Cannon wrote several books which detail the sort of information you seek. His "Whose Master, Whose Man", "Life in the Cities" and "Life in the Country" are parts of a series. His "The Human Face of the Great Depression" is excellent. He has written two books about Melbourne which describe social history and customs.

    Ned may have come from a poor background, but became tres rich from horsestealing and bank robberies!

  10. A hundred Colleens says: Reply


  11. Tony Clifford says: Reply

    Those refs are crook.

  12. Eric Brown says: Reply

    Gasp! This is how the Kelly Legend and myths began. Fake history and fake refs…

  13. Josh Ellis says: Reply

    The Irish were inclined towards Ether. Their villages could be smelled miles away:

    There is no evidence at all that the Kellys were ether addicts, but who knows for sure?

    Ned thought he had been 'hocussed' with marijuana at a pub before the Lonigan testicals incident.

    How did Ned know so much about all this psychedelic stuff?

  14. Stuart Dawson says: Reply

    Hi Anon, you should read Richard Twopeny, "Town Life in Australia", 1883, republished in Penguin Colonial Facsimiles 1973. Twopeny covers all social classes concentrating on Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide. He discusses house, furniture, social relations and behaviour marriage, how they dressed, religion, education, politics, business, shops and amusements, newspapers and a lot of other things of the sort you are asking about in an entertaining and remarkably comprehensive way for a 240 page paperback. It is fun to read and most importantly written by someone who lived through the Kelly period.

    The Kelly gang doesn't get much of a mention, but there is a great paragraph on pages 99-100:
    "At the time of the Kelly trial practical demonstration of the latent sympathy with crime in Melbourne was afforded. thousands of persons, headed by the Chairman of committees of the house of Assembly, actually agitated for the reprieve of the most notorious, if not the greatest, criminal in the annals of Australia, a man whose murders were not to be counted on the fingers; and all this because for over two years he had set the police at defiance, and after a life of murder and rapine has shown the courage of despair when his only choice was between being shot by a policeman or hung on the gallows." Enjoy!

  15. Some good info there Dave and more reading for me I suspect. As you say, Ned made quite a bit from his criminal activities and in particular, after his foray into 'banking'. But to me it seems that much of the £4000 taken from the 2 banks was frittered away on sympathisers. Six months after the robberies police were getting Intel that the gang had just about spent all the money and were contemplating another bank job. But the great injustice is that poor old Ma Kelly doesn't seem to have received much from the robbery proceeds and it wasn't until 1892 that she was able to make the final payment on her selection at 11 Mile Creek. Not such a good son after all.

  16. Adam, I've checked most of the references given on Google. You will find there is sufficient material dating from that time mid 1600s to support this shocking side of British / Irish history, and its not a scam. There are also numerous Youtube videos on the subject that are compelling.

    Try this one
    Presented by Prof Karl Watson University of the West Indies, Barbados

  17. Anonymous, you ask for book titles re 19th century life.

    One of my favourites is 'Diary of a Welsh Swagman 1869 -1894' (life in Victoria and goldfields)

    The swagman's g grandson William Evans found his 25 years worth of diaries in the roof loft of the old family farm house in Wales 1970s. While swaging around over the years he had to leave his diaries stored at friends houses, but when he decided to return to Wales he collected all of them and took them home.
    The diaries were selectively assembled month by month year by year, the account of Joseph Jenkins, and he also makes mention the capture of the Kelly gang. He writes " the four gang members were Irish Colonists , as most of the police are, so it was a feud between Irishmen. The ghastly affray has shocked the civilized world."

    He tells of the difficulties of everyday life, prices, poor farm management practices, the crooks who cheat him of pay. He says the Swiss, Germans and Americans are the most civilised men in the Colony, and are an example to the English, Irish and Welsh.

    The book was published by Sun Books and The Macmillan Company 1975

  18. Anonymous says: Reply

    Following on from the previous post (had to post as anonymous, but my name is at bottom of this comment):

    The following case at Avenel court of Petty Sessions, before Judge A. P. Akehurst (no issues with this judge)on 28th May, 1867:

    Case 49; Thomas Ford v Ellen Kelly (case dismissed)

    Case 50: Thomas ford v Ann Kelly

    Case 51: Thomas Ford v Ellen Kelly (abusive language) fine 40s

    Case 52: William ford v Ann Kelly assault -discharge with caution

    Case 53 Ellen Kelly v Thomas Ford assault (fine £5)

    Some history books record Ann Kelly/Ryan as being involved in these further, May 1867, Court cases, and when further evidence comes to light- Kilmore Free Press:6.6.1867, pg 23, a very hard to read issue records about one case: Case 52: William Henry Ford (son of aforesaid ford) v Ann Kelly (daughter of the said Ann Kelly??), assault, severely reprimanded and threatened to be sent to reformatory if brought before the Bench again.
    Would a judge be cautioning a grown woman with reformatory school??

    Ann Kelly/Ryan would have been seven months pregnant by this stage of the year of 1867, and hence questions should be asked about the identity of this Ann Kelly in the May 1867 court appearance at Avenel Court of Petty sessions.
    Rate records (Victoria John Ryan as paying rates in Beveridge from 1863-1877.
    We have not been able to find rate records for this couple in Avenel.
    Just straight on to Lake Rowan, after Beveridge, in 1877.

    I agree that both of these cases were not related to issues with police, and we do not wish to offend Kelly descendants when questioning recently recorded historical stories.
    When one delves into a close family history (and finds yes that a relative-Joseph Ryan was taken to Benalla Court 1881 for assaulting a neighbour accused of having police "spies" at his property during the period when the Kelly gang had been at large before the 'Glenrowan seige;, and yes in today's courts the 1881 assault would be a very serious charge, and yes, this past relative did have a bad record for paying some debts. I've looked hard, and expecting to find a lot of negative evidence against Joseph Ryan and some members of his family, the main aspects we've found is a family who worked the land very hard, and successfully, (as I think the John (Red) Kelly family may have done given different circumstances, involvement in horse breeding, a fierce loyalty to family, and joining in with other Community members of the time, in trying to make the most of their given opportunities during these fascinating pioneering times.

    Main reference: PROV- Cause List Book- Avenel Petty Sessions 20.6.1865- 2.8.1870- 86321. P0001.V2

    For the record, this book, also, made further references to Thomas Ford in petty sessions at Avenel, but in respect to his ancestors, I am not going to make further reference to such here.


    Tracey Stalker (Ryan)

  19. Anonymous says: Reply

    Hello. Just familiarizing myself with all the Kelly Family history websites, and blogs.
    Feeling I have done the hard yards now at the PROV, SLV, Trove, notes picked up from a wonderful relative's years of work in Ireland and Australia, and other sources, and not wanting to publish a book myself, I am respecting your comment on accepting varied views. Mine is certainly not Ned Kelly specialist, but family perspective.

    On the Court Case:

    Feb 19th 1867 at Avenel Petty sessions:

    (thank-you for not writing such as a big bun fight between Ellen Kelly and Ann Kelly/Ryan).

    Firstly, Ann Kelly/Ryan had 4 children by this stage with husband John Ryan, and if it is her listed in court case for some reason. as you realise, her name is not stated as Ann Ryan.
    (Birth record documents at this early stage required mother's to list their maiden names and hence such could be a reason why Ann is listed as a Kelly on this court record. A birth record of a child born 1860, in which a Mrs John Kelly, is recorded as the mid-wife, lists Ann Kelly as mother, and John Ryan as father).
    This son is buried with John and Ann (listed as Ryan) at Benalla Cemetery.

    Court Case 20 on 19th feb 1867 at Avenel Petty Sessions, lists:

    Ellen Kelly v Ann Kelly (assault to damages £10)- dismissed

    Case No: 21 Ann Kelly v Ellen Kelly (assault to charge of £10) decision (defendant)to pay damages and costs.

    As your above given item notes, if this case occurred two months after the death of Ann Kelly/Ryan's brother, John (Red) Kelly, such could be a possibility.
    Putting a family factual perspective on such- in February 1867 Ann Kelly/Ryan would have been four months pregnant, and with 9, 8, 6.5 and 2 year old children at the farm, in Beveridge, I don't think she would have been in a position to be staying around Avenel for long, even if she may have wanted to help.
    Getting involved in an assault case while four months pregnant is a very rare event in the record of her very private, family and farming orientated life.

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