Book Review : “Ned Kelly Iron Outlaw ” by Brad Webb

“Tenth rate” is probably the best synonym for execrable when it comes to describing this book and I should probably leave it at that! But I know people will say of me, as Mandy Rice-Davies said of Lord Astor when he denied even knowing her “(s)he would say that wouldn’t (s)he”. So, I will now explain why this is the worst Kelly book Ive ever read.
The first thing to say about this book is that there is almost nothing new in it. It’s a small pocket sized paperback that you can read in one short session – an hour should do it. It consists mostly of a very superficial recitation of all the well-worn Kelly myths, beginning at the myth of police persecution of the Kellys, and ending with the myth of the Kelly republic of North East Victoria. All  these myths are merely stated as if they are facts, and no attempt is made to identify topics that are contested or controversial, they are all accorded equal status, and no attempt is made to justify any of them. In between myth-making, the police are routinely vilified, the criminal record of the Kellys and their extended family  is glossed over or ignored, and known facts are ignored or misrepresented where they conflict with the authors fixed view about the Kelly story. One of the earliest erroneous claims he makes is that there are ‘tens of thousands of modern day Kelly sympathisers’. One of the last ones is the error that Ned Kellys trial was rushed – this idea was debunked over 50 years ago at the Wangaratta Kelly symposium by a Law Professor , but Brad Webb seems to know better. Along the way he screws up the sequence of events at Glenrowan, saying that the plan to remove tracks was devised after hostages had been confined to the Inn and had a few drinks! He repeats the Kelly myths about body straps, that the search party was in disguise and they were planning to kill Ned on sight. He says Red Kelly’s problem with drink began in 1865 after his release from prison. He goes way out on a limb to claim that Ned Kelly married Ettie Hart (p176).  He quotes Paul O’Keefe as saying “all the evidence points to Ned and Ettie being childhood sweethearts” –  what he is referring to there as ‘evidence’ is a line in a sentimental poem addressed to no-one in particular. This claim is as preposterous and as unsupported by anything resembling evidence as his  earlier claim (p122) that at Glenrowan Ned Kelly “could have easily roused his troops and led a rear guard action that would have wiped out the Police” The ‘army’ is a myth – it never existed, just like the Declaration of the Republic which he says is ‘missing’ – it never existed either. And like many Kelly apologists before him he misquotes Nicholson in constructing his claim that the Kellys were persecuted : the quote is from 1877 when Ned was 22, by then a self confessed ‘wholesale and retail’ stock thief with a charge sheet as long as his arm. Webb ignores the bit where Nicholson orders that Police avoid “oppressing the people or worrying them in any way”. Later he recycles the distasteful Kelly myth that the Royal Commission was ‘possibly Ned Kellys greatest Legacy’, saying that ‘Neds stand against police corruption helped modernise the Victorian Police’. This would be as true and as offensive as claiming  the Royal Commission into child sexual abuse is the greatest legacy of paedophile priests, and thanks to them the Catholic Church is a better place. It’s the same juvenile ‘argument’ as the one from the bogan who tosses all his rubbish out the car window saying if he didn’t, cleaners wouldn’t have a job. 
The thing that repels me most about this book is how cynically and dishonestly Brad Webb has gone about creating this piece of outdated Kelly propaganda while pretending its something else. On the back cover he is described as a historian who has written ‘the essential guide to the Kelly legacy’ – but he is not a historian, but a propagandist from way back for an extreme unhistorical quasi-religious view of Ned Kelly, and this book is not an ‘essential guide’ but a tract exposing the dogma. If Webb was an actual historian he wouldn’t misquote sources, he wouldn’t ignore inconvenient facts or make things up, he would make use of the latest Kelly historical research and opinion, he would provide the evidence or at the very least references to the claims he makes, and the bibliography would be comprehensive. Instead in his short bibliography he lists the usual suspects – Ian Jones, Kenneally, Max Brown, Corfield and a few others, but no mention of McQuilton or even Fitzsimons, and as expected nothing of MacFarlane, Morrissey, Kieza or Dawson. 
The thing is, Brad Webb almost certainly knows of and is probably very familiar with all these authors and their new thinking about the Kelly story, about the debates that are still being argued on this site and elsewhere, of the counter-arguments to the ones he advances in this book. But he has deliberately chosen to ignore them all and cynically produce a book that he may have been able to get away with in 1980, but in 2017 there’s no chance. This deliberate cover-up of the enormous progress that’s been made over recent years in understanding Kelly history is deliberately calculated to deceive, and can only be condemned. Where is the respect for truth telling in Australian history? Last year I came down hard on a publication called “Ned: Knight in Aussie Armour” by Eugenie Navarre, an obvious rank amateur. It was badly done research and a collection of personal anecdotes from old-timers in the North East. However, she at least had integrity, as well as being original, enthusiastic and completely genuine in her approach. None of those things can be said about Brad Webb. 
I am left wondering what on earth he thought he was hoping to achieve in publishing this pointless piece of polemic. Was he just too lazy to do the work and make it meaningful? Does he think this lightweight effort is going to return his failed webpages to their glory days of 15 years ago? Does he really think this is a ‘contribution’ to the topic or was it just something he always said he would do, and now having thrown it together he can get on and do something useful for a change?

Having said all that, Kelly apologists will just love this book, which is clearly aimed at misinforming the pre-teen market. It’s like a Catechism of the Kelly Doctrines, and it could almost fit in the pocket. They could carry it around with them and read the verses to one another in times of need. Each chapter begins with a quotation from Kellys sacred writings in the Jerilderie letter. It includes cute little question and answer break-out boxes that recycle all the Kelly fairy tales in a way that will make their spines tingle, dispensing as it does with facts or any inconvenient referencing and balance. One they will love is “Did you know Fitzpatrick was an unscrupulous Policeman?”  Another comforting one is “Did you know Ned had a name for his favourite gun?” Every few pages there’s a black and white image of the saints and demons of the Kelly legends to pay homage to, and illustrations of the outbreak that everyone is already familiar with. Theres also a picture (p155) of three WW1 soldiers in armour –  Brad Webb thinks thousands of lives were saved by this armour, and if it hadn’t been for Ned Kellys armour they would never have thought of it and those lives wouldn’t have been saved. Wow Brad you’re amazing, I hadn’t realised that Ned Kelly was the first person ever to think of using armour! Oh wait….
(Visited 260 times)

59 Replies to “Book Review : “Ned Kelly Iron Outlaw ” by Brad Webb”

  1. Sam Goddard says: Reply

    Worst of all there is NO INDEX – another example of laziness and penny pinching.

  2. Brad Webb: "Did you know Ned Kelly's Jerilderie Letter was nearly 7,500 words long?" page 101.
    Dumb-arse: I thought it was only 4,000 words long because that is what Carole Wilkinson's book has.
    Smart-arse: Yes, but the other 3,500 words were complete shite.
    Troll: Ned Kelly is a hero and an icon.
    Unsympathiser: Put him on a pillar with a stick up him.
    Spectator: Who, Kelly?
    Bystander: No, the Troll.
    Standerby: Don't speak like that about dumb animals.

  3. This is by far the worst Kelly book ever produced. Brad is a drongo!

  4. Alec Robbie says: Reply

    Fitzy is going to be mighty miffed he didn't get a gong in Brad's book acknowledgements. Fitzy has been echoing Brad's daft pronouncements and death threats for years. Brad claimed over 8 million hits on his IO website (which I very much doubt) before colluding with Fitzy to help drive up his facebook likes to over 1400.

    Facebook should immediately investigate.

  5. Josh Verdana says: Reply

    I'm thinking Brad wants to make a killing before the whole Kelly junket goes up in smoke.

    He says: "Motivated by Matt Holmes's effort to get his Ned Kelly movie funded, and my upcoming book, I've launch a new page to promote the upcoming Kelly-inspired comic book epic 'The Iron Outlaw'. It's time Australia had it's own superhero!"

    "The script is well underway, the story boards are being drawn up, and the characters brought to life. I'm picturing action figures, board games, merchandise, even a TV series akin to 'Cleverman' – a bloke can dream can't he?"

    Meanwhile, a stupified, shocked silence from the pro-Kelly handful. They haven't seen anything this crass in decades.

    Brad's going to regret his dumb book big time.

  6. What was Brad thinking? His book is woeful, recycled garbage. No scholarship. No insights. Nothing new. If you have already bought pro-Kelly nonsense books, you already have Brad's book.

    I was expecting some new research and thoughtful conclusions, and not something this bad. Brad has been in the Ned business a long time, and his IO site occasionally turned up new info and posts from descendants of participants. He has used none of this. He has just relied on his own pre-conceived notions wrong as they are.

    Relying on The Neducator was just the first of many pratfalls.

    Brad has wasted a great opportunity. That's all his own fault.

  7. Index implies content

  8. Anonymous says: Reply

    You guys are all so adorable. Anybody who challenges your beliefs you have to hate and make it personal. Isn't the idea and benefit of living in our society the freedom to choose. If you don't like Brad's opinions don't buy it or listen to it. But appreciate that it is his opinion and one shared by a lot of people. Why all the hate? Nasty troll people:…

  9. Stuart Dawson says: Reply

    To read a lot of this book go to the Iron Outlaw site If you scroll down the page, you’ll find a lot and maybe all of the book text, and many of the photos. There’s more here, A chunk of it appears on Yahoo answers from 2008,

    The only part I am going to comment on is Chapter 4, the Fitzpatrick Incident. Most of this text is also on another site, The chapter starts with the quote from the Jerilderie Letter about Fitzpatrick, “the deceit and cowardice is too plain to be seen in the puny cabbage-hearted looking face”, then calls him “disreputable young police officer” and a “weak-willed man”. Fitzpatrick’s Record of Service shows this is wrong. The book then says Fitzpatrick “called at a tavern on his way to Mrs. Kelly’s place to fortify his intent. … The trooper found Dan at home with Mrs Kelly and the girls, Bill Skillion, … and … ‘Bricky’ Williamson. Not long after the lone trooper entered the homestead violence erupted. Fitzpatrick made a drunken pass at Kate Kelly. Dan knocked him down and, in the ensuing scuffle, the trooper’s gun went off and he cut his wrist, most likely on the door-latch. Mrs Kelly was full of concern. She bandaged his wrist and he was invited to have supper with the family and ‘let bygones be bygones'.” For the rest, look at the website.

    What is strange is that this version of the story has no source reference. It is not from Ian Jones or John Molony, who do not have Skillion and Williamson present. Kenneally has them all having supper together afterwards, but also has Ned shooting Fitzpatrick. Max Brown rejected the story of any assault or pass at Kate. Corfield’s Kelly Encyclopaedia is different again. So where is this version from? And why has it not been updated in the light of my “Redeeming Fitzpatrick” article that anyone can download by Googling? The version of the Fitzpatrick Incident given here has not been supportable for at least the last 3 years… Ah, well, such is life.

  10. Can we just stop misusing the word "troll"? A troll goes to other people's sites and posts deliberately provocative comments. It's not trolling for me to express MY opinion on MY Blog!

    I like having my beliefs challenged. What I don't like is people claiming to be historians and "neducators" who publish books that misinform.

  11. Totally agree Dee, and apologies for my dumb use of the troll reference – playing to the audience I guess. If only everybody could have a fair and honest conversation on all topics – this included. There is no need for hate or vilification in any way. You are an intelligent person who obviously likes there opinions challenged as you have confirmed. Everybody makes claims, one true, some false. Isn't that part of the challenge? I like communicating with you, intelligent difference.

  12. Keeping up the research today, as we sometimes do, following the life and community networks of past relative, JR, (whose Carte de Viste is also featured on the Sympathiser page of the IO website- mind you- we have evidence that JR was one of the chosen few who was allowed a visit of his relative during his final days at Melbourne Gaol- Nov. 1880). Our evidence denotes assistance with shelter and food guided by Tom Lloyd junior and Maggie Skillion. We have no evidence that JR was anywhere near Glenrowan during the events that evolved in this space. Others disagree, as we have read.
    JR had long term emotional affects of the horrid events that evolved at SBC, Glenrowan and Melbourne Gaol, After a long period of sticking nearby and supporting his parent's family he finally partnered and moved to NSW, (about the time that Maggie Skillion departed this earth).

    Anyway, back to today:

    Researching a Yarrawonga newspaper of 1901, these adverts kept popping up:

    Stewart Dawson and Co. (different spelling)
    Jewellery, Watches, Silverware etc.
    The fountainhead for value. Write or call.

    Won't let us post picture here, but will post on Ned Kelly True Story website.

    No offence Stuart, but in every issue!

    B, T, and T, Ryan

  13. Len McLeod says: Reply

    Stuart, I think I have seen that paragraph before because I remember the "to fortify his intent" wording. Perhaps it is in one of the Dagmar Balcarek books?

    I bet the book gets a great review in The Border Mail!

  14. Ashleigh Broad says: Reply

    Re Body Armour in WW1: "First tried in battle in 1915 body armour was, as far as British usage were concerned, used mainly on an individual basis as it never became a universal issue (it is understood that only enough body armour was available to equip 2% of the army). Of the types used by British personnel, there were three main categories: Rigid ‘hard’ armour (often comprising of metal plates sandwiched between fabric and worn as a vest or waistcoat); Intermediate armour (various forms of small square plates of metal attached to a canvas support to form a protective waistcoat); Soft armour (made of layers of silk/cotton/tissue & linen scraps sandwiched in fabric waistcoat)".

    The Jerries produced 500,000 sets issued to men on the Western Front.

    See this website:

  15. neil montague says: Reply

    Victoria Police have never been Victorian Police. Everyone know this. Except Brad. Gasp. OMG.

  16. Stuart Dawson says: Reply

    Hi Len, you can also find a large amount of the book text on the Ancestree site dated May 1998
    There are a few minor wording differences, but a lot of it is identical, which means much of the content is heading for 20 years old. The only reason I looked, by pasting the sentence about "fortifying his intent" into Google, was that the story does not match Ned Kelly's version in his Jerilderie Letter, so I wondered where it came from. If it is just opinion, that's fine, as anyone is entitled to their opinions, as someone said below on 15 July. Still, as it is a history argument or presentation, it would be nice to know what specific sources it is based on.

  17. So I suppose Brad Webb will expect the "Jerries" also to be grateful to Ned Kelly!

  18. So Stuart do you think the person who wrote those articles was Brad Webb or is his book plagiarism? He really should be pretty embarrassed at your disclosures, which confirm the book is most definitely tenth rate as is the integrity of its author, if all he did was fiddle around with other peoples work, and then claim to be an historian and the work his.

  19. Stuart Dawson says: Reply

    Dee, there is no reason to think that the articles are by anyone other than Brad Webb. I never suggested any such thing, and it is a totally unwarranted suggestion. I simply assume he has been promoting his own text widely for a long time. My point is that a lot of his content is not new to this book, but stuff he apparently wrote nearly 20 years ago, as can be seen from the 1998 text on the Ancestree site, which says it was provided by a third party, presumably Brad Webb. It is quite wrong to raise any suggestion of plagiarism about it.

  20. Neil Finn says: Reply

    I got my copy of this yesterday and am very disappointed. All the pictures are just black and white and a lot of them are the same photographs everyone else uses and sections of drawings from newspapers and the Australasian Sketcher. There is a photo of a 'petition for reprieve' for when Ned Kelly was going to be hung and you can see that most of the 22 signatures are by the same three of four people. Buyer beware

  21. I hear what you're saying Stuart but we don't know for sure that the earlier articles were by Webb so plagiarism is possible surely? But I accept its just as likely the earlier writings were by him – but isn't it extraordinary that he seems to have had his eyes and ears shut to everything that has developed since then in the Kelly world and refused to acknowledge any of it?

  22. Stuart Dawson says: Reply

    Dee, plagiarism is a very serious charge. Please do not try to involve me in any such discussion or I will be taking a long leave of absence from this blog. It is quite wrong to raise any suggestions of plagiarism about this book, and I again ask you not to link me in any way to such a terrible idea. I am really pissed off that you keep raising this with me, as it is totally uncalled for. Take it up with some one else if you want, but leave me completely out of it. Thank you.

  23. Len McLeod says: Reply

    Stuart – Don't think the Dagmar Balcarek books have been digitized, so you won't find much online. I have some of her books. If I have a chance over the next few days I'll have a look.

  24. Sean Johnson says: Reply

    Many of Brad's lightweight book reviews on his old Iron Outlaw website were contemptible too. He ferociously attacked any anti-Kelly authors like Alex McDermot:

    "In an effort to bump up the page count Mr McDermott even rolls out the same old supporting photos that have been on the Kelly merry-go-round since the turn of the century (and I’m talking 1900 not 2000)".

    This is exactly the same criticism now being aimed at Brad's "new" book by the few buyers that have purchased this poorly-presented drivel.

    "The Kelly Gang Unmasked" was accorded a repugnant review by a woman only identified as "Lisa". Her's was a laughable amateur attempt at a review. Many books were besmirched there. But pro-Kelly books always got 'five stars' even if they were complete rubbish.

    Amateurism ruled at Iron Outlaw website. You've got far more enemies than friends Brad. Eat it up, you deserve everything that's coming to you.

  25. Anonymous says: Reply

    Hey Sean, the Iron Outlaw book review of Brad Webb's own book says Addendum: On page 113 under the title ‘Ned Kelly’s brother, Jim, lived until 1946’ the author’s original content was incorrectly altered to read, ‘Fortunately for Jim, he was in gaol when the siege at Glenrowan occurred.’ Earlier in the paragraph the author writes that Jim Kelly ‘was released in January 1880’ which was five months prior to the siege. It is the author’s hope that this error is corrected prior to any subsequent reprint.
    He can't even get his story right in his own book!

  26. Stuart Dawson says: Reply

    Hi B,T and T, unfortunately that is no relation, as they were famous jewellers according to this site – whereas my great grandfather was a goldrush immigrant who didn’t strike it rich and then lived in a bark hut in NSW as an odd jobs man and rabbit trapper, apparently.

  27. Len McLeod says: Reply

    Stuart… Had a quick flip through Dagmar's "Ellen Kelly: an historical novel as told by Ellen Kelly", and couldn't find the "fortifying his intent" quote. Can't find "Ned and the Others" with Gary Dean. It'll turn up one day…

  28. Imagine if someone published a book this year called "Rolf Harris, Australian Icon" and claimed he was a totally amazing singer and entertainer. And that was it! The Author would be a exposed as an ignoramus and become a laughing stock. "Ned Kelly – the iron outlaw" is in precisely that same class – way out of date!

  29. Frank Middleton says: Reply

    And he loves a good boast : "In 1995, Brad Webb launched ‘Ned Kelly: Australian Ironoutlaw’ which today has grown to be one of the largest history related web sites in the world. With nearly 500 html pages, the site attracts over 350,000 visitors a year (that’s 8.5 million hits). It has become a valuable resource for both teacher and student, as well as a sounding board for many Kelly related themes and ideas. It can be found at

    As a graphic designer and typographer with over twenty five years industry experience…

  30. Brian Tate says: Reply

    I don't wish to sound harsh but what are you talking about and who was JR?

  31. Stuart Dawson says: Reply

    Hi B,T and T, that company is famous
    The Portland Guardian of 1898 gives their address as 97-99 Swanston Street, Melbourne. Unfortunately no relation – my great great grandfather came out from America in the gold rushes and didn't make money. We gather he built a 2 room bark hut up in NSW and was a poor odd jobber and rabbit trapper. As they say, such is life.

  32. Stuart Dawson says: Reply

    Hi Brian, JR was a lead character in an old TV series, "Dallas". The other JR was Jack Ryan,
    It says, Red Kelly's sister (Ned's aunt) Ann married Jack RYAN and while in Avenel Jack and Ann RYAN rented a farm from Thomas FORD. In April 1867 Ann RYAN charged Ellen KELLY (Ned's mother) with assault and Ellen countersued. Ann won the case and Ellen Kelly was fined £2 for abusive language and threatening behaviour after the disagreement between the sister-in-laws. On the 28th May 1867 Ellen was charged with using threatening language against Thomas FORD (Ann RYAN's landlord) when he came to collect Ann's rent. According to Ellen, he demanded the rent and she defended her sister in law. Ellen once again countersued saying that Thomas had assaulted her and was back before the court. That was the last straw for Ellen, so she packed up the family and went off to Greta after her fine had been paid. The Police magistrate Arthur Akehurst had found them both guilty, with Thomas being fined 5 pounds or 6 weeks in Jail, Ellen was fined 40 shillings which was paid with the help of Ann and the Sheldons (whose son had been saved from drowning the year before by Ned).

  33. Not a single word about Brad's book on the FB hate page against 'that' book. Brad probably wouldn't was his book mentioned there because the fellow who runs is a bit careless with facts.

  34. Josh Verdana says: Reply

    Arthur Akehurst became notorious in Ballarat during the Eureka Stockade – it's in Macfarlane's "Eureka: from the official records" thrice printed. Unfortunately mine is third edition. But a great read!

  35. Hello Mr Dawson. We did respond yesterday, but not published. Now, in response to your 19.7.17 comment:
    WE have read that "Fords of Katandra" post,a dn while we initially found it very interesting, our research did not correspondent with all of this story.
    Firstly, we have seen John Ryan (Edward Kelly's Aunt Ann Ryan's husband) referred to as Jack Ryan and to some people maybe he may have been known. In all written B. D. and Marriage documents he is always John. His obituary- John, in all his correspondence to the Lands Department-John (some written and witnessed by a Mr Houston, or earlier when in Beveridge (mid-1860's- 1877)-written by teacher and publican Thomas Wall who wrote John Ryan, as John Ryan could only make his mark). Ann Kelly/Ryan could write her name though.Owning to the documents John Ryan gave to he and Department, he wrote that he had spent approx 12 years in Beveridge, so, the Avenel period of this Jack Ryan partner of Ann Kelly/Ryan is a mystery to us
    Our Government record research has the Ellen Kelly v Ann Kelly case as Case 20 on 19.2.1867. We are not sure if this is our Ann Kelly/Ryan, as rates in Beveridge were being paid during this period. And the other case, we have as:28.5.1867-Thomas Ford v Ellen Kelly and Thomas Ford v Ann Kelly (not clearly written, and the newspaper item of this court case does not link with this Ann Kelly as being a grown woman- describing the person as daughter of… In May 1867, Ann Kelly/Ryan would have been very pregnant, and not sure if she would have been wealthy enough to be paying rent in two locations- both Beveridge and Avenel.

    Two of us are old enough to have love Dallas, though Dynasty was better!

    B.T. and T.Ryan

  36. Anonymous says: Reply

    Sorry, a bit late. Meant to write-
    Owing to the documents
    John Ryan gave to the Lands Department.

    B. T. and T Ryan

  37. Brian Tate says: Reply

    Thank you Stuart and yes I was aware of the J T connection to that appalling TV series Dallas. I was just a bit mystified as to the identity of the JR mentioned by B.T. and T.Ryan and also the research they are carrying out. All a bit cryptic to me.

  38. Stuart Dawson says: Reply

    I'm sure the family histories are interesting to those involved and to some of those descended (although I have practically no interest in my own beyond the ones I have actually met and their immediate parents), so will bow out of this area at this point!

  39. For anyone who might be interested.

    Mr Edward (Edmund) Kelly, John (Red) Kelly's slightly younger brother had some land in Beveridge in October, 1863. His obituary-1901, stated that he had made some money in the Goldfields, before he lost it all again speculating. Maybe he supported some of his younger sister, Ann Kelly/Ryan's, mobility to visit her sister in law in Avenel. Maybe, he supported his sister in law, Ellen, at some stage as well? Though we have no evidence of this!

    Mr.Edward/Edmund Kelly, however, was living with the Ryan's at Lake Rowan when their stable burnt to a crisp in 1886 (with two beautiful horses involved). Edmund's obituary noted that he had spent a good many years living in the Lake Rowan area, and that he was a farm labourer. (Anne Kelly/Ryan, and John had a farm there for many years). Joseph Ryan and his partner had cared for uncle Edmund for his last year of life in NSW, after he went to visit and ended up staying.

    The two names mentioned above, (Mr. John Houston-JP, and Mr Thomas Wall- school teacher and farm selector),as supporters of John,and Ann Kelly/Ryan's correspondence to the Lands Department were also the two citizens who organised and sent the two petitions in January 1879 to pray for the release of Joseph Ryan as a gaoled sympathiser under Section 5 of the Outlawry Act. Mr.Thomas Wall taught Ryan children in both Beveridge and Bungeet.

    B. T. And T. Ryan

  40. Dave Blake says: Reply

    I'm gonna demand a refund from Brad. His book isn't as described. The illustrations are old hat. So was his narrative. What a rotten farce. I don't want him to have my honestly earned money.

  41. Hello B T and T,
    Thank you for the interesting information.
    Its obvious there are always angles that official history fails to mention, yet its always to be in black and white, but true history is never quite like that.

  42. Agreed Bill. There is stuff in the Kelly Gang Unmasked book about the Ryans of Lake Rowan. Standish report unfavourably about young Joseph Ryan, not long in the district but "a known associate of the outlaws" who had deliberately committed perjury st the trial of Mrs Kelly by denying his family connection to the Kellys "which he subsequently admitted under cross-examination".

  43. Anonymous says: Reply

    Appreciated Bill. Many angles. The one's we have chosen to focus on we have tediously resourced, documented and time-lined Joseph Ryan and how he was beginning followed while supporting his relatives at a desperate time. And he and his father, John, went to court in Benalla of a matter related to defending them in 1881.
    The police, and police trackers assisted the Ryan's in 1886 when their stable burnt down. The Ryan's got on with their own Community and Pastoral business for most of their lives.

    B. T. and T. Ryan

  44. That equals 350,000 visitors a year fed total cr*p by amateurs and dribble brains

  45. Dave Blake says: Reply

    New Holland Publishing should ditch this hopeless krap before it mangles their brand forever.

  46. Jim Ledbury says: Reply

    Brad is already in deep damage control over his pathetic new book:

    Scroll down to see this nonsense:

    Like most Australians, I know about Ned Kelly and his gang’s exploits without really knowing too much of the detail about what drove him to do what he did. And, probably like most Australians, that’s about as far as I’ve ever delved until I came across Brad Webb’s book.

    I found this to be a thoroughly enjoyable and easily readable book, with a large number of photographs and illustrations that certainly I’d never seen before adding to the overall telling of the story.

    This is an approachable book that provides some in-depth detail but at the same time doesn’t get bogged down in that detail, allowing the book to move along at pace and to keep the reader engaged. The ‘Did you know…’ breakouts in the book are particularly enjoyable and add colour and rounding to the overall story of the Ned Kelly and his gang.

    To be sure, Kelly is a polarising figure. A quick look at the comments areas on websites such as Brad Webb’s and others devoted to Kelly show that he’s clearly revered and reviled in equal measure by those on either side of the argument with little middle ground. As a largely disinterested and uninvested observer this has always amused me; that there’s a sub-culture of people who’d seemingly happily have their very own shoot-out to settle things once and for all.

    I see this book as an excellent overview of Kelly that allows for the Kelly Gang novice to reach a decision point, to create a lauchpad for more detailed reading on Kelly or to allow the reader to be satisfied that they now know much more than they did before they opened the book. I’ll admit that I’d always leaned on the ‘horse thief’ side of the argument but after having read the book I find myself leaning a bit the other way now. And isn’t that what good books are supposed to do, make you think and address your own preconceptions?

    Barry Daddo

    (Barry sounds like a desperate Brad trying to save his book. Go on, Brad, introduce us to the r e a l Barry Daddo).

    Dee, your blistering review is now up on the web too.

  47. Anonymous says: Reply

    Yes Bill. We have tediously worked towards professional practice when sourcing references for our family history focus that we chose to explore.
    And there have been "back tracks" along the way when a new piece of information directed us to re-assess certain periods.
    There are always gaps that only those who lived during that period would be able to explain. The gems along the way have made it all worthwhile.

    B. T. and T Ryan

  48. Anonymous says: Reply

    We realise this is a late edition, but there has been a reference to the ancestor we are researching, and the "Kelly Gang Unmasked" book, and we have not commented on this book before, and we frequently take note of any material from published books making references to our ancestor. So, we have needed to take out time, even though this blog has moved on to another topic.

    In case anyone is interested, firstly, we respect Mr McFarlane's book, and we have read some of the resources that he references.
    We acknowledge that they are fascinating resources, and agree that there are gaps in letters and documents.

    In relation to Joseph Ryan not long in the district, as mentioned above. This aspect was true. Land Record notes record that this Ryan family had resided in Lake Rowan since 1.8.1877, and not Glenrowan as Mr Mc Farlane records on page 163. They were n Beveridge before that time.
    Which takes us to another area of the book where-'There is evidence that a deliberate migration from Melbourne to the north East had taken place..'
    Our understanding was that larger acre allotments had just been released at Lake Rowan. Such would be most appealing to growing families than the smaller allotments that were available to them at Beveridge.
    In relation to cattle and horse stealing- we have evidence of crops grown at Beveridge and wages earned from contacts gained from the Wallan Wallan Road Board, by John and Joseph Ryan
    Names of contract winners are some of the names listed as of bad character on the Secret List of persons (belonging to criminals classes) holding selections in secluded?? parts of North Eastern Districts- April 1877- Correspondence between the Secretary of the Lands Board and Police Department. Some of these persons may have had crops in as well. The Ryans had had no police record.
    In regards to the highly efficient organised crime network for the re-distribution of stolen livestock: Speaking just in relation the the family of the ancestor we are familiar with on the border of Lake Rowan, not Glenrowan: farmers of that period worked hard. Improvements on the land had to occur as part of the lease arrangements.
    By 14.10.1878: 70 chains of chock and log fencing had been erected, and 112 chains of log and brush, with 35 chains for dog lead
    70 acres were ploughed and cultivated. A 3 room house was erected,and a dam, plus a garden, fenced and cultivated.
    then, there was another family property nearby to improve:
    And by 30.8.1880 fencing had developed to: 191 chains of log, and 135 chains of chock and log, and 60 acres under cultivation, two dwellings and a stable. There was much to do on the land.

    B, T and T. Ryan

  49. You seem like a nice mob, but I cannot find in my copy of the book any mention of the Ryans living at Glenrowan on page 163. It merely says that 2 petitions from about 55 Glenrowan residents for Joseph Ryan were sent in.

    As you must know, the author on page 43 records that the Ryans were from Lake Rowan. So he does not say they resided at Glenrowan at all. I'll bet that signatories of the two petitions could have included people outside Glenrowan but close enough to it to know of the petitions. I'm familiar with the area. Lake Rowan, in my opinion is very close to Glenrowan.

  50. Adam Yates says: Reply

    The Baumgartens had vineyards but were buyers of stolen horses from Ned too. I'm not following the logic of the partly anonymous Ryans at all. Crooks often fabricate an honest living to hide their criminality.

    I am NOT suggesting for a moment that the Ryans of Lake Rowan were criminal in any way. But despite all their extensive farming and fencing endeavors, they were among several families, neighbours of the Quinns at Wallan, who suspiciously had moved as a group to the North-East according to Morrissey. Their son Joseph was a "known associate of the outlaws", according to police.

    I'm wishing the modern Ryans the best in their research but also wish they would be a bit less cagey here.

  51. Anonymous says: Reply

    Thanks Horrie, no doubt your're a decent fella as well. The names on the petitions are names that correspond with selectors at the Karrabumet/Lake Rowan, Bungeet, Broken Creek/Devenish, St. James area during this early 1879 period. The citizens wrote their name and where they came from on the petitions, and we did not see a name with Glenrowan written beside it on either of the two petitions. Some of the names on the petitions were selectors that the Ryan's had known from Beveridge/Wallan Wallan area, who had moved like they did, but not many. Further studies of Community life in this area, from a range of sources, saw these same names come up from time to time, (i.e. Agricultural shows, country horse race meetings, farming matters etc), but we've mainly been researching Joseph Ryan and his parents. The Public Record Office reference records the petitions as being from Lake Rowan, and some newspapers of the time that made note of this development. But, there are other important things in life. We agree that these towns are all quite close to each other.

    B. T and T Ryan

  52. Stuart Dawson says: Reply

    Hi Adam, with respect I don't think the Ryans are being "cagey" here at all; I read it as simply following up their family history, which they can do however they like. There is no implication that I can see that they are pushing any kind of barrow. At some point they will inevitably be investigating the links to the Kellys, whatever they were, and may choose to put their findings on the blog. That's the bit that I am hoping to read one day if it happens.
    In the Fitzpatrick Incident, farmers Hearty and Ryan equally swore Skillion was 4 miles away horse dealing with them in Winton from 5.30pm (O&M, 10 October 1878, 5); but Williamson saw Fitzpatrick speak to Skillion near Kelly’s on his own way back home (around 6pm), VPRS 4969 Unit 1 Item 52.
    (At the Beechworth Assizes, Ned’s cousin Joseph Ryan swore he had bought a horse from Ned for £17 cash on the 15th. He produced a receipt which he said was written that same evening, thereby placing Ned in the area (Ryan deposition, O&M, 10 October 1878, 5.) That sounds like Joseph was telling porkies in court…

  53. What good books are supposed to do is inform. Barry Daddos review is a prefect example of how a person who admits he knew bugger all about the Kelly story can be fed lies and misinformation in a book such as this one and think he has got the basics of the story. This book is not ' an excellent overview" but a propaganda piece which ignores everything thats unpalatable about Ned Kelly, and has had the desired effects on Mr Daddo who now leans " a bit the other way"

  54. "JR had long term emotional affects of the horrid events that evolved at SBC, Glenrowan and Melbourne Gaol,"

    This sentence interests me. Can the Ryans elaborate on what they mean by this?

  55. So I guess the petitions did come from Glenrowan post office after all, eh?

    When's the book coming out Boys!

  56. Anonymous says: Reply

    Cagey- We actually think that we are being brave posting on this site as we are very selective if we disclose anything about our research or small link to this period of Australia's past. Some people really do not like this whole subject. There are a couple of Joseph Ryan's grandchildren still living, and they never met him, though knew his partner as a grandmother. Selected information, only, was presented to the family about Joseph Ryan, under his direction before he past. It was only that a grandchild of his saw a picture of Joseph Ryan in a "Kelly History book" and worked it out and approached Joseph's second youngest son who reluctantly disclosed.
    JR did not regard being locked up as a "Kelly Sympathiser" as a bragging point.
    A line in the royal commission, relating to the gaoled sympathisers' notes: "Several persons were taken into custody against whom no evidence could be obtained"
    Evidence from our research depicts a man who got on with his life as best he could, and had many happy times and became respected for his work, but he went into a type of "shutdown" about that period of his life. The fact that this "shutdown" or blockage of discussion could last for so many years, even way after his passing, indicates to us the strength of the impact on him of these events, the respect that the family had for him, and that the events must have been devastatingly tragic, and overwhelming.
    JR spoke only briefly to his eldest son about the effects the whole saga had on him and the impacts of the whole hugeness (our words)of the events.
    So, it is really our words that are saying SBC, Glenrowan and Melbourne Goal were horrid events, but something had a big impact on him. We do know that JR and his father wanted to stand up for Ned Kelly in 1881, and went to court for it, and police files that we have read have shown that JR,and the family home was/were sometimes being watched while the outlaws were at large, and were destitute.
    JR made a reference to a home stable fire of 1886 in some correspondence that he had with a professional board when they asked him why he had not applied for a position earlier-this was many years after the 1886 suspicious stable fire.

    JR's youngest sons described him as a very holy person!

    In regards to the Quinn's, we don't recall the Quinn name being listed as living right in Beveridge, or Lake Rowan at the time of our research, but some other's may know more. (Earlier researcher's had Joseph Ryan's mother as being a Quinn?).
    When trying to buy land some of the recorded sympathiser's were warned that they had to stay away from each other and hence people made their own way in life.
    We have enjoyed learning more about the early pioneering days of Australia.
    We have learned more than we expected from exploring this blog and some other sites
    With controversial topics it works better for us to write as a small family group.

    B. T and T. Ryan

  57. The Quinns went to Glenmore in the King Valley and had a peacock as a watchdog. The police erected a station nearby to keep an eye on them.

    Thanks for sharing all that info with us. Appreciated by all I should think. Best regards!

  58. Phil Philander says: Reply

    Book buyers will remember Mr Webb as the biggest non-contributor to the Ned story ever.

    Silly fellow!

  59. Anonymous says: Reply

    Thanks Horrie

    B. T and T. Ryan

Leave a Reply