What people believe about what happened at Stringybark Creek can be predicted by what they think of Ned Kelly. If they think he was a wrongly accused and persecuted selector they think killing three Policemen at SBC was self defence and they got what they deserved. Everyone else thinks differently.
But when it comes to discussing the two suggested places where this atrocity occurred, its not as easy to guess which one someone supports by asking them how they feel about Ned Kelly. Obviously, that’s because the Two Huts versus CSI debate is about geography, its about where, not about why or what happened there, and geography ought to be above partisan views about Ned Kellys politics. As a result, as expected there are Two Huts supporters from both sides of the Kelly divide, people who disagree about Ned but agree that the Two Huts site identified by Bill Denheld is the right place. I noticed on Facebook the other day that Bob MgG , a Kelly gang descendant and strident Ned defender admitted through gritted teeth that he was on the same side as me on that subject! Good on you Bob!
But I think there IS something peculiar about this subject, and please correct me if I am wrong, but I believe CSI site believers are universally Kelly sympathisers, making belief in the CSI like one of the articles of faith of the die hard Kelly fancier. Does anyone know a CSI supporter out there who thinks Ned was a villain, and Ned was the one who got what he deserved? Ive not knowingly encountered such a person, a CSI believer who is a Kelly myth believer as well. Ive been wondering why lately, asking myself what it is about the CSI site that appeals to people who see Ned as hero? I’m tempted to suggest that people whose powers of critical thought are such that they can accept the Kelly mythology are equally susceptible to the illogic of the CSI pseudoscience. Maybe they like Ned because they are attracted to the idea of the rebel who defies all the usual rules, the person who doesn’t care about how things ought to be done and for that reason likes the CSI site and the CSI team because they are defying logic and the usual way of doing things, maybe they want them to be right just because they’re on the outer?
As an example of this CSI believer susceptibility I cite one of the CSI supporters, a person who called himself/herself “Poorflower” on a Kelly forum. I have to point out that Fitzy et al never objected to that person using a pseudonym and keeping their identity concealed from everyone – they reserve their hypocritical distaste for anonymous people only if they don’t agree with them, and then they only want to know who you are so they can attack you personally – but that’s an aside. But Poorflower, in his/her attempts to discredit Bill and give support to the CSI site in an earlier debate on a now destroyed Forum, posted ridiculous comparisons of the Two Huts site then and now and claimed that in one, the trees were all leaning the wrong way and that proved Bill was wrong! Poorflower posted the Burman photos and modern day photos of the Two Huts site with all the trees marked by vertical pink lines to show how in one photo they ‘leaned’ one way and in the other photo, they ‘leaned’ the other way. The CSI Report didn’t include that wacky nonsense but as far as I know nobody from the CSI crowd ever called it out for what it was : nonsense! They’re definitely a weird mob, those CSI supporters.
Another example of their wackiness is their claim that a tree bearing identical marks can be seen in two photos taken several years apart. They call these marks ‘burls’, which are lumpy irregular protuberances found quite often on gum trees, which apparently are genetically susceptible to producing them. Given that the irregular marks are the same, they argue, not unreasonably, that the photos must be of the same tree and so the two photos had to have been taken in the same place. By this argument they link the Burman photo of the murder site to the Kelly tree shown in the Beautiful Mansfield photo. The problem with their argument is the claim that these two burls are the same. Have a look at these blown up images of the two burls and ask yourself how similar are they? I would say they are not at all similar. In fact I would say they are completely different, and therefore there is no logical way these two trees can be said to be the same one – AND YET , for the CSI report to hang together, these two marks MUST be accepted as the same. So what do you think? If you cant say these two marks are identical then you MUST reject the CSI Report! If these burls are not the same the CSI report has no way to link the site shown in the Burman photo to the Kelly tree shown in the Beautiful Mansfield photo. Its as simple as that!
|The’burl’ is the black mark on the tree trunk
|The ‘burl’ is near the top of the tree trunk
When the CSI report was published way back in 2011, the CSI believers all immediately hailed it as definitive and a wonderful production, but there was never anywhere a single critical discussion of its claims, no questioning of any of the mad fruitcake arguments about leaves and burls and assumptions about maps huts rocks and so-on, except by Bill Denheld, and to a person the CSI people just rejected Bills criticisms out of hand. You can read his analyses on his website HERE.
What needs to happen is for the CSI report to be much more widely exposed, and Heritage Victoria and DELWP officials who may have seen it be asked if they have actually read it and if so to comment on it. They must be asked to say whether they accept it as a credible piece of science, if they agree with the methods used to locate the supposed site, if they accept the photographic interpretations, if they think the burls are the same, if they have had actual archaeologists and the like review it, if they have read MY critique of it and so on. I am certain the more it is exposed and the more it is subjected to critical scrutiny, the more it will become discredited. It cant be allowed to become an uncritically accepted ‘proof’ of where the Police camp and the murders took place.
You can read my detailed critique of the CSI Report HERE but the following is something I should have added to that Post – a summary of the summary! This shows how little actual substance there is to the CSI report which, if you happen to feel like getting one for $50 – if theyre still available that is – you will find looks like a real report and like actual research.
What you get is a 93-page document – but more than half of it – 51 pages – are the Bibliography and notes and Appendices. The 42 pages that make up the actual report are divided into 8 sections, and I detail the content of each one in the Critique. So heres a summary of the summary:
Section 1 Introduction : a bit of history and a sort of Mission statement
Section 2 Irrelevant stuff about the route the Police took
Section 3 Irrelevant stuff about a site on the East bank that nobody defends anymore
Section 4 This is the actual case for their site – the pseudoscience about burls, photo interpretation and other things about maps
Section 5 The rest of their argument for their site – the ‘seasonal soak’ they say is a spring, and a pile of rocks supposed to be remnants of the hut near where the police tent was.
Section 6 Irrelevant stuff about the murders
Section 7 “Findings” – a summary of what they think they showed in Sections 5 and 6
Section 8 Conclusions – another version of Section 7 really!
So, as you can see, there are only two sections that are the real ‘meat’ of the Report. All the rest is padding and irrelevant, though at times interesting reading, which might give the report some sort of illegitimate credibility. Its like fancy packaging which creates a false impression something great is wrapped up inside. Theres nothing but pseudoscience inside.
That doesn’t mean of course that the Two Huts site will be recognised by default. No, the Two Huts site has to make its own case, but in stark contrast to the CSI reports meagre two sections out of eight that are their argument, Bill Denheld has published huge stacks of his own research. He has made reconstructions and models, checked maps and charts and created diagrams and photographic analyses, all sorts of ingenious approaches to identifying the site from many different directions, and they all fit together into a coherent whole. Further more he has made everything freely available on his site and has taken notable Australians such as Peter Fitzsimons and Professor Tim Flannery to the very place, and it seems everyone who sees the Two Huts site agrees with him. Read my assessment of the Two Huts site HERE then let us all know what you think, and answer this question: Are the burls identical?
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