At last, a movie that will reveal the true story about the brutality of the Kelly Gang killings at Stringybark Creek

I wonder if Ben Head and Ben Thompson realised what they were getting themselves into when they decided to attempt a movie about what happened to a party of four police at Stringybark Creek in 1878. I wonder if they realised that saying they were going to tell the story from ‘the police perspective’would make them the targets of the blind police–hating Kelly mafia that patrols cyberspace defending their fond fairy tales about the murderous psychopath Ned Kelly?


But whether these young students expected it or not, they have already become the subjects of abuse and belittlement on the pro-Kelly Facebook pages, with such comments as this misspelled vulgarity from  Aidan Phelans Bushrangers FB page : 


“Wats this Ben heads problem? I guess his a descendant of one of the corrupt coppers? Fitzpatrick was a drunk an alcoholic a womaniser n a liar nothing but a trouble maker Ben head check ur facts before running ur mouth.”


Almost every word in this two sentence post is either abuse or factually wrong – corrupt coppers? – Fitzpatrick a drunk alcoholic and womaniser? – and yet it was “Liked” by six people, one of whom was a prominent contributor of opinions to Iron Outlaw. What I thought was specially revealing, and sad, was that this ignorant hateful outburst was ‘Liked’ by Matthew Holmes, the film maker who last year attempted to crowdfund a Kelly movie that he claimed was going to be historically accurate, free of opinion and based on the evidence. His ‘Like’ of such a rotten post betrays the  truth about what he thinks the  true story is, and confirms my suspicions from last year about the sort of ‘true story’ he was hoping to make. His commitment to the Kelly fables seems to be greater than his commitment to truth or to the craft of movie making. Other posts in that thread were equally abusive and just as inaccurate but no attempt was made by Phelan to correct any of it or defend these students against such bullying. 


But I am here to defend what they are going to try and do, which, according to their video is to tell the true story about what happened at SBC for the first time. I have no inside information to share about exactly what they are planning to do – Ive no idea – but I don’t think they should be saying they are going to tell the story from the ‘police perspective’ – I think they should just say they are going to be telling the true story of what happened. Saying they are going to tell it from ‘the police perspective’ might suggest to  some that there is also an equally valid ‘Kelly’ perspective – but as I will argue,  an equally valid ‘kelly’ perspective simply doesn’t exist. But talking about the story from ‘the police perspective’  plays into the hands of the Kelly mythmakers who for years have been peddling this false dichotomy of ‘Kelly perspective vs police perspective’, ‘hero  vs villain’ as if they are equally valid choices – they are NOT, and this tactic is designed to confuse the discussions and maintain a feeble viability to their defence of Ned Kelly.


The point that needs to be understood is this : I am not saying that there is no such thing as a Kelly perspective – of course there is a Kelly perspective – its in the Jerilderie letter, and many other places, and the pro-Kelly bloggers and writers and commentators express it all the time.  But think of this analogy : the people who believe the moon landings were faked have a perspective, and so do the people whose perspective is that the moon landings actually happened – but no reasonable person is ever  going to say they are EQUALLY VALID perspectives, that there is an equivalence between the arguments for the landings being faked and being real. On the one hand there are the conspiracy theories and fake ‘facts’ about the ‘faked’ moon landings, and on the other the actual facts, the tons of hard  evidence and the documentation that shows that what actually happened was that men landed and walked on the moon.


Equally, we have the ‘police perspective’ which, to put it simply is the true story about what happened, and up against it there is the so-called Kelly perspective. 

Here’s what’s wrong with the ‘Kelly’ perspective : it’s a conspiracy theory and its full of lies. And here’s a list of some of them :


  • Police were NOT in disguise- they were out of uniform
  • Police were NOT armed to the teeth- they borrowed one extra rifle and one shotgun, that’s it!
  • Police did NOT go there with a plan to murder the Kellys but to arrest them.  
  • Police did NOT have body straps they had handcuffs
  • Lonigan did NOT get behind logs
  • Lonigan did NOT get his revolver out
  • Kelly shot Lonigan while he was out in the open, and lied about it for ever afterwards
  • Kelly fired ‘swan drops’ or a quartered bullet – nothing ‘crack shot’ about that
  • There was never a ‘fair fight’ or a gun battle : Scanlan may have fired once, if at all.
  • Chasing Kennedy half a mile through the bush and then killing him is not ‘self defence’


What actually happened was that Ned Kellys only experience of armed hold-ups  to that point was of innocent ordinary people on the road with Harry Power. He foolishly imagined he could bail up armed trained police and they would behave like frightened travellers. Going to the police camp was about the dumbest thing Kelly ever decided to do. And the instant police didn’t react the way he imagined they would ? – the only option left to him was to shoot Lonigan almost exactly where he stood, with a load of swan-drops. Ned Kellys claim that Lonigan got behind a pile of logs and came up from behind them to shoot at him is bollocks as was brilliantly illustrated in the Lawless movie last year.  

Why Kelly lingered on at the camp, thinking he might have better luck in disarming Scanlan and Kennedy when they returned is something we will never know. Despite his botched attempt to disarm two men that ended up with one  killed, he stupidly decided to try again even though he had already acquired two extra revolvers, a shotgun and any ammunition the police had bought with them, two horses and  any other police supplies that they wanted.  Why wasn’t that enough? It makes almost no sense to wait around risking another confrontation in the hope they might get two more revolvers and a rifle –  but then, why would we expect sense  from a psychopath?


My hope is that Ben Head and his crew will demonstrate that Ned Kelly forever lied about the murder of Lonigan, who was out in the open when he was shot, as Ive described elsewhere on this Blog, that he will show Scanlons death as being a cold blooded murder and not a gunfight, and that he will show Kennedys murder as a mob killing, four armed men chasing down a single fleeing, soon to be wounded policeman, a decent catholic Irishman with a loving wife and children. I hope Ben Head will show the Kelly gang robbing the dead bodies of the police, vision of a revolting  act of disrespect that  exposes another Kelly lie – that they showed respect for the police by covering Kennedys corpse with a cape. 


And I hope Ben Head will stop calling this story the police perspective and start simply calling it the truth, the sickening violent and ghastly truth about what the Kelly Gang did to four good men at Stringybark Creek.

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16 Replies to “At last, a movie that will reveal the true story about the brutality of the Kelly Gang killings at Stringybark Creek”

  1. Stuart Dawson says: Reply

    It's pretty sad that some of those involved with a past Kelly film project have descended into becoming online bullies pulling down another budding film maker. I used to have across the board respect for all people involved with any creative arts project no matter what their perspective (as long as they are not harming anyone in it), but if your write-up about what was said and the Facebook likes is correct then this is a new low, where creative arts people slag off someone else's project and perspective just because it's not the same as their own. Pathetic. I loved Holmes' Ben Hall movie and pledged $500 towards his Kelly film, but I would not do so again after this. I will never support bigoted put-down merchants. I hope I am wrong and that these people realise what they are doing, retract their comments and apologise. I would then regain my past respect. I realise that people often put stuff online without thinking before they hit "send" or "post" or whatever, but for the generation that has grown up with computers this is pathetic and shows that many of them have a totally callous disregard for others' feelings. How do they know what that other guy is like? They are publicly judging and hanging him solely on the basis of one creative arts project he said he wants to do. Instead, they could have emailed or written to him with suggestions about information or source material relevant to the announced project so that it could be possibly be incorporated into it. They could have offered their expertise to help him make a better movie. But no, they want to play online bullies against a 19 year old. Unreal.

    As for the 'police perspective", with having seen only a short news article announcing the project that someone sent me, I have no idea what that might mean, but logically it would mean telling the story from McIntyre' perspective as related in his memoir. So what's the problem with that, if that's what it turns out to be? There is no general "police perspective". The last that was ever heard of such a thing was that sergeant from the Police History unit that wrote the "police perspective" chapter in Colin Cave's "Man and Myth" book from the 1967 Wangaratta Kelly conference. Hardly something to get excited about now. I welcome and applaud the new film project, just the same as I welcomed Holmes' attempted Kelly venture, and look forward to seeing the film of Peter Carey's book. It is all interesting stuff regardless of one's perspective. And only an un-Australian bigot would see it any other way.

  2. Thats a thing these Kelly sympathizers can never explain. Why did they rob the bodies, was it for souvenirs of their deed?

  3. Anonymous says: Reply

    "we have the ‘police perspective’ which, to put it simply is the true story about what happened" heh

  4. Anonymous says: Reply

    With due respect to the team; I will offer my sincere best for their success in this venture. I doubt the team will be able to do what the experts could not.
    Dee I doubt your hope of Ben Head and his crew will demonstrate that Ned Kelly forever lied about the murder of Lonigan. If McIntyre's memoirs are drawn into play; we stand a very good chance of a truthful tale being told.
    It would appear to me the students selected an iconic subject matter and due to the Kelly myth and popularity it was an easy choice to make. However, I fear the pair is doomed for failure. A budget of 15k, and a support team of amateur actors is the core of the production. How did the team obtain the material? Is it historically correct? Who is the research team? How will they deliver the facts? How will Head and Thompson present us with the truth? It would be a remarkable tale if they pull this one off.
    I wish them every success.

  5. Lots of questions! But they are not planning to tell the entire story just Stringybark which makes sense given the budget. I remain hopeful on the basis of what they've said publicly so far.

  6. Anonymous says: Reply

    Lots of question and rightly should be asked. Yes I understood the concept is based purely on stringybark. Though 15k to re-tell the true events consisting x amount of hours. I truly hope it can be done. It may even educate a few of us

  7. Stuart Dawson says: Reply

    RC Q.12602. Commission to Constable Ernest Flood: "Is it a fact that Kennedy and you were continually after one or other of what was known as the Kelly mob?" — Flood (that famously relentless persecutor of the Kellys who never gave them a break): "Kennedy and I arrested two or three men for stealing a horse from the Kellys themselves, at the Falls River".

    Oops. Ya mean the police prosecuted someone who did the Kellys wrong? Like they treated them the same as any other wronged citizen? Rooly? Not in any of the Kelly books! Wunda why they missed it…

  8. Stuart sometimes I barely read the things that get posted, and Ive just read that post of yours again and suddenly the penny dropped! Thats a startling comment from Flood! The police actually helping the Kellys! So much for the persecution conspiracy!

  9. Will they use Bill Denheld's authentic police camp site?

    1. Sorry Mr T Bill Denhelds site is NOT the correct site. I was a long time supporter of this site but no longer. I also don’t believe the CSI site is either but is closer to the real site than Bills location.
      The Lawless site I believe is closer to the real site but not quite the correct location.
      I discussed this with Leo Kennedy shortly before the official opening and gave him my thoughts on how he must have felt in being part of the Lawless program. Those discussions remain private as they should be.
      A lot of people involved in the SBC site search like Ian Jones, Bill Denheld, Linton Briggs CSI Team,the, Lawless team and a lot more that have been involved deserve a lot of credit.I have thanked both Kelvyn and Bill for all the time that they have put into their valued search but does anyone know the real answer? I changed my mind after viewing and reading all the evidence. And now have a better idea of where it is. Can I prove it? I believe if we had photos of the picnic area before the works were started might provide the real site.
      On all the evidence that has come forward to-date I don’t think the correct site has yet to be proven. The same applies to the Michael Kennedy killing location as Bill like others has changed his opinion on this site just as I have done with the shootout location.
      Mr T if you think Bills site is the correct one then stick to your guns just as I am with the location I have chosen.

      1. Gee whiz Bob are you sure by coming here you’re not giving me oxygen and making it possible for me to carry on pointing out what a lot of nonsense your version of the Kelly story is? Haven’t Greg and the other toads advised you to ignore me and wait for me to disappear? Oh dear!

        And while I am at it Bob these are some words of yours from last month, referring to me that I would like you to explain :

        “If he is back there I would pay him a visit and he would leave there a second time if I had my way.”

        Sounds like quite a nasty threat, but I think you were just trying to impress your fellow toadies with some loud- mouth posturing. Fat Greg must be seriously annoyed that you outed him! Here’s another bit from your conversation with the toads last month you could explain for me:

        ” If I had the inkling he was there again I would be there in a flash and broadcast it to the world with no guilt.”

        You know I used to think you were just a harmless old fool whose word cannot be trusted, but now I realise you are also gutless and nasty. After all the filth and abuse you’ve heaped on me in collusion with the other toads , and those threats above, still out there on facebook, dont ever think you can come to this site and get a warm welcome.

        And as for the idea that Bill is wrong : put up or shut the hell up. You could start by showing us the photo from your preferred site that resembles the Burman photo. I already know you won’t.

        1. Bob McGarrigle says: Reply

          I have already shown a photo of the spot where I believe the incident occurred to my friends and you are certainly not one of those. It is in the picnic area and the slope IS there despite Bill saying the slops is not steep enough. Bill has done a lot of good in his researching but after taking everything on board I believe he is simply not correct. Doesn’t mean I am correct either but it is my preferred location.
          On the subject of being gutless I believe that is totally describing yourself David. . I put the challenge out there to debate you on many occasions in the past and what did you do David deleted everyone including me for disputing your falsehoods. Everytime you have declined my challenge to debate me. Why should I debate you on here and you’re laughable facebook sites after the way you have treated so many fine people very nastily.As you have mentioned several times before I broke our agreement to be more civil with one another. You blamed me but it was the terrible way you treated the fine gentleman Michael Beattie that ended that agreement. We both failed that task not just me.
          The challenge is still there for a robust debate on our site where nobody I’s actually banned not like your totally censored sites David.
          There is my reply from the so called gutless one.
          Have a nice day Bob

          1. The agreement we made was broken by you Bob. I dont care what excuse you want to make for doing so, but it had been honoured by me to that point. I also made a similar one with Jager, and honoured but he broke it too. I guess Ive learned my lesson now : people like you who venerate a notorious liar, a bully and a crazed killer should not be trusted.

            Michael Beattie made the ridiculous assertion that Nicolson visited an abandoned hut on the Kelly property, and got it all wrong when he said Mrs Kelly and her children were living in “poverty and squalor” at the exact same time Ned Kelly was boasting about living the life of a “rambling gambler”. I called him out, politely.

            He also said he would recognise me if I ever came to Beechworth but he didnt, even though I had a conversation with him in the Courthouse a few months later!

            Like Steve Jager, Paul O’Keefe and the Toad himself, it seems you’re another Kelly fruitcake who isn’t prepared to ‘put up’ when it comes to providing the evidence for your claims, so, as I keep reminding everyone, claims made without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.

            As for your threats a month ago, about going to where I might live ‘in a flash’ and broadcasting ‘it’ – whatever ‘it’ is – and seeing to it that I would leave, they reveal the truth about your character Bob. Horrible.

      2. Bob,

        If you have ever attended a Bill Denheld presentation at his Police camp site – and been shown the Burman photo – there it is, the IDENTICAL slope in the background. My wife and I, and others, were completely convinced. So were John Doyle and Prof Tim Flannery earlier. Bill’s site is the correct one! Absolutely no doubt about it at all.

        Go to Specsavers and discover the real site.


        Mr T.

        1. Anonymous says: Reply

          Hi Mr T I am in no way denigrating Bills work at all or anyone else’s for that matter. As I said previously I thanked both Kelvyn and Bill on the telephone. Please ask Bill it was in December the year before last maybe 2017. I am sure Bill will confirm. Yes I keep records like he does.
          My original choice for the site was in the picnic area and then visited the Ian Jones or easternside site, which to me wasn’t the one. I then took note of the two fireplace site and Bill kindly sent Peter and I a copy of a map and how to find the spot amongst other things. This was via the back track and a forked tree which Bill can also confirm. It was on about my 3rd or 4th trip there that I thought Bill and Gary’s site was the correct one and thought so for several years. There is a spot T in the picnic area that to me does resemble the slope in the Burman photos and not too far from where the new works are now but a little further away a bit closer to the creek.
          This is just my own opinion and not aiming to influence other people’s opinions at all. The truth is Mr T nobody can declare 100percent they are correct and I don’t. You like Bills site, I like the picnic area and CSI and Lawless have their preferred sites as well.
          Thanks for your advice on spec savers, have been there twice already. After 9 visits to SBC I have a pretty good idea of the area now and have an opinion on it as many others do .

  10. Stuart Dawson says: Reply

    A "historical note" to a fiction book generally means there is some factual basis for its narrative. So while the storyline and dialogue is invented, the characters, setting and general background to it follow the understanding presented in the historical note. It means that it is creative fiction based around some real event or events. That means that the historical note in a novel set in olden times is based on whatever historical sources the novelist has used to understand that time in history. In other words it is claiming that there is a plausible historical basis for the purely fictional story.

    I examined today the historical note in a fictional novel that appears on many primary and lower secondary school recommended reading lists. It says in 'The hunt for Ned Kelly': "The police employed dozens of informers and sent out many search parties, but they did not handle it well at all and made many mistakes. They also harassed and persecuted the Kelly family and supporters as well as a good any other people; at one stage you could be arrested on the spot and flung into gaol without charge just for having perhaps once met Ned Kelly and his friends." (p. 199.)

    The historical sources for this book are listed as Kenneally's Inner History; Jones' Short Life; Corfield's Kelly Encyclopaedia; Molony's Ned Kelly; and McMenomy's Illustrated History (p. 200).

    "flung into gaol without charge just for having perhaps once met Ned Kelly and his friends." WTF

    No wonder school kids have no fn idea about Australian history.

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