The Fitzpatrick Conspiracy : Part V

Two farmers , a builder, a carpenter a contractor and a blacksmith : six of the two hundred citizens of Lancefield who signed up in support of Constable Fitzpatrick and against the blackening of his name and reputation by police hierarchy determined to blame him for the Outbreak.

In the last few posts I’ve been discussing what we actually know about Constable Alex Fitzpatrick. We know that up to the time of the infamous ‘incident’ he had an unblemished record of service in the Victoria Police. We know that contrary to popular opinion, there is not one shred of evidence that he had a drinking problem or was an alcoholic. We also know, having seen Fitzpatrick’s death certificate that Justin Corfield’s Ned Kelly Encyclopaedia got it completely wrong, claiming he had alcoholic cirrhosis of the liver when he died. The death certificate recorded that he died from Liver sarcoma that was disseminated and had begun invading his stomach. Sarcoma of the liver is a completely different an unrelated disease to cirrhosis. Anyone who knows anything about the way malignancies spread in the abdomen will know that this dissemination is almost always accompanied by an accumulation of fluid called ascites, which was also recorded on the death certificate.
I’ve also written about the complaints that were made about Fitzpatrick’s conduct in 1879 and 1880 that led up to his dismissal from the police in late April 1880. As far as I have been able to discover, only two charges were proven against him – one for laughing in a hospital after ‘lights out’, and the other for missing the train in Sydney and arriving late for work. He was eventually dismissed from the force by Police Superintendent FC Standish on the advice of Senior Constable Mayes, who admitted to the Royal Commission that from the moment he began working with Fitzpatrick he was looking for an excuse to get rid of him.
This week I want to continue the discussion about Fitzpatrick’s dismissal and show that he was absolutely right to complain to the Royal Commission that he was harshly treated.  
After the “incident” at the Kelly house in April 1878, Fitzpatrick was transferred to Beechworth and soon after, was sent to Richmond, in Melbourne, apparently for his own safety. However, because he knew what the Kellys looked like he was then sent to Sydney to keep watch on the docks in case the gang tried to escape by sea. This turned out to be a good move because he discovered that Jim Wilson, a violent convicted horse thief sentenced to five years in Darlinghurst Gaol, in Sydney, was none other than Ned Kellys brother Jim Kelly. 

Last week I wrote that the charge of ‘neglect of duty’ that he pled guilty to, related to him ‘missing the train’. I thought this meant that he arrived late because he had not caught the train that brought him to work, but I’ve re-read those documents and realise I misinterpreted them. “Missing the train” referred to the fact that he was supposed to have been at the Station when the Southern Train arrived to he could scrutinise the passengers as they got off, and look for any members of the Kelly Gang who might have arrived on it. He arrived at 7.15 on the morning of April 30th1879, quarter of an hour late, missing the train that arrived at 7am and wrote, in explanation, that his own watch was at the Jewellers getting repaired and he was using a watch lent by the watchmaker which ran late. In the PROV file there’s a report from a detective who was sent to the Jeweller to check out Fitzpatrick’s story – and it did. Unsurprisingly the Jeweller said of the watch that he lent Fitzpatrick, that it was “considered a fair time keeper”. 

There was also a complicated story that arose out of a complaint by a hair dresser in Sydney about Fitzpatrick and a woman he knew called Edith Graham (elsewhere named as Edith Jones), an employee of  Kazimany(?) Thomas Pogonowski, a hair dresser.  Pogonowski maintained that on the very same day that Fitzpatrick had ‘missed the train’, April 30th1879, Fitzpatrick engaged him in conversation in his shop to distract him, while Edith stole jewellery , ‘wearing apparel’ and money to the value of seventy pounds (£70). However when Senior Constable Edward Reatingye(?) interviewed Pogonowski he was told the value of the stolen goods was £50.  Edith later claimed that the jewellery had been given to her by Pogonowski “under the pretence of marrying” – which sounds suspiciously like a payment or an inducement for ‘services rendered’ by the servant girl to her employer. The report of the incident tendered by Fitzpatrick says that Inspector Rush told Pogonowski that ‘it was not the second or third time he had been troubled with him and the woman he keeps”. Fitzpatrick directed police to the place where Edith lived, he recovered the supposedly stolen items and in the end no charges were laid against anyone. However, as a result of this incident the police hierarchy decided to recall Fitzpatrick to Victoria. Reports were sent from Sydney to Standish in Benalla, and after reading them he wrote, on May 12th1879 :

“I concur with the inspector general’s opinion that it is no use in keeping Constable Fitzpatrick in Sydney any longer. He not only neglects his duty for which he was especially told off but he has evidently mixed himself up in a matter calculated to raise grave suspicions of his honesty. He is I fear a worthless and useless young man”
On May 25thStandish forwarded the reports he had received about Fitzpatrick to Superintendent C H Nicolson, along with a Memo which included an unwarranted mischaracterisation of everything that happened :
“It will be seen that Constable Fitzpatrick’s conduct has been most unsatisfactory while on special duty in Sydney.  He was on several occasions absent from duty at the Railway station where his services were urgently required and the attached file shows that he is in the habit of associating with persons from whom he should stand aloof. In short I fear he will never be a good constable.”
Standish goes on to write :
“The following entry will be made in his record that :
“Constable Fitzpatrick while on special duty in Sydney conducted himself in a most unsatisfactory manner; he was lazy, neglectful of his duty and associated with improper characters. In fact his whole conduct drew down the (indecipherable) of the inspector general of police and was calculated to bring discredit to the Victorian police”

But let’s be fair here: Fitzpatrick came to work late once – or possibly twice – and he was mixed up in a dispute between a dodgy employer and his employee, but neither he nor the alleged thief was ever charged let alone found to be guilty of anything. And that was it. On the positive side, the record shows he worked 12 to 14 hour days and he had very usefully identified Jim Kelly in disguise, but he received no credit for that. Standish claimed on the basis of the Edith Graham incident that he was ‘in the HABIT of associating with persons from whom he should stand aloof’ and for that, and perhaps twice being late for work his ‘ENTIRE conduct’ is branded as being ‘calculated to bring discredit to the Victorian police’. Where is the evidence that Fitzpatrick was in the HABIT of associating with the wrong sort of person, or that his ENTIRE conduct was unacceptable? These are gross misrepresentations.


It’s interesting to compare Fitzpatrick’s treatment by Standish with his treatment of another policeman the Kelly supporters love to hate: Constable Edward Hall. Hall was the one who tried to arrest Ned Kelly for horse stealing and when Ned was about to escape, drew his gun and pulled the trigger three times – but it misfired each time. Ned then attacked Hall but once he had been subdued, Hall bashed Ned’s head in with his revolver, and had to get a doctor to come from a nearby town to stitch up the mess he made. Later still, in Court, Hall lied about documentation that hadn’t actually been issued when he claimed to have seen it. So how did Standish respond to this obviously dishonest and violent policeman? He described him as ‘hasty and injudicious’and transferred him out of the district. Fitzpatrick, on the other hand for what, by comparison, were minor incidents was roundly condemned and kicked out. How can that be fair?


So, Fitzpatrick was recalled to Victoria in late April 1879. Not long after getting back to Victoria he sustained a leg injury which must have been quite severe because he was in the Police hospital for almost four months. That was where he broke the rules by laughing out loud after lights out and was fined 5 shillings! In September 1879, now recovered, he was transferred to Lancefield and the supervision of the already hostile SC Mayes. As I recounted last week, at the Royal Commission Mayes admitted his determination from the outset to get Fitzpatrick out of the force, and so he complained about an incident involving Fitzpatrick, saying he had neglected his duty. However as I also detailed in the previous post, when this incident was investigated, according to Fitzpatrick’s unchallenged testimony to the RC, he was “exonerated of all blame”.
Never-the-less in April 1880, without making any attempt to ascertain the particulars that supported the sweeping condemnations of his character supplied from Sydney, and by SC Mayes at Lancefield, and without giving Fitzpatrick an opportunity to defend himself, Standish dismissed Fitzpatrick from the police. 
In July 1881 Fitzpatrick told the Royal Commissioners what happened: 
“I was instructed by Senior-Constable Mayes to proceed to Melbourne from there. The late Sergeant Porter had my voucher made out to be stationed at Romsey, temporary duty for a few days. That night a telegram was sent to the police depot, stating I was to be discharged from the police force to-morrow. That was Tuesday. I asked Captain Standish to tell me the reason why, and he just explained that he had received this communication from Mayes ; and I understood from Captain Standish that was the sole reason I was discharged from the police force ; and I think, as against that, those 200 petitioners ought to go further than Constable Mayes. It is hard my character should be blackened. I might have erred in small things. There are many constables in the force who have done more serious things than I did, and have remained in the force and got promotion.”
In reference to his dismissal he was asked :“Had you any opportunity of reply ?
ANSWER : I never had the slightest opportunity at all. I applied for a board of enquiry, and the Chief Secretary (Mr. Ramsay) declined, as he had left all power with Captain Standish. Notwithstanding that, there were two petitions got up on my behalf by the residents of Lancefield and Romsey, asking that I might be reinstated.
12894. You think you were harshly treated ?
ANSWER : I did, indeed.
The petitions that Fitzpatrick mentions are a pair of remarkable documents that, to their shame, the Kelly story tellers have almost universally, and deliberately ignored. Ian Jones doesn’t mention them in the supposedly greatest Kelly biography ever written. Peter Fitzsimons doesn’t mention them either and neither do sundry other lesser Kelly story tellers like Paul Terry and Ian Shaw, all of whom condemn Fitzpatrick in the usual way, as a drunk and a liar without restraint. However, Ian MacFarlane discussed them in his landmark work from 2012, and so does Grantlee Kieza in his excellent 2017 biography of Ned Kellys mother. 
The reason the Kelly myth-makers like Jones and Fitzsimons have ignored these two petitions, and why nobody anywhere else wants to talk about them is because they represent an almost complete rebuttal of the Kelly myth about Fitzpatrick, that he was a disreputable drunk and an incompetent and useless policeman. What they show, in an extraordinary display of support for Fitzpatrick is that the ordinary people of Lancefield held him in high regard.  On one side you have a few senior police who appear to have made use of a series of minor infringements to smear the reputation and rid the force of a policeman they disliked, perhaps for personal petty reasons, – and on the other side, two HUNDRED respectful citizens of Lancefield who regarded Fitzpatrick as a perfectly good policeman. 
Here is part of what they said”
“We, the undersigned inhabitants of the Lancefield district of Victoria, venture to address you on the subject of the removal and discharge of Mounted Constable Alexander Fitzpatrick who was stationed for nine months in this district. We deprecate the slightest idea of any desire to interfere in the slightest manner with the discipline of the force nor do we desire to question the administration, but on hearing that Mounted Constable Fitzpatrick was discharged on a  report from a superior officer that he did  not do his duty, could not be trusted out of sight and associated with low persons we felt constrained to give our free testimony to the fact that during the time Mounted Constable Fitzpatrick was in the district he was as far as we could see, and we came in contact with him every day, zealous, diligent obliging and universally liked.”
Later they wrote“He made several clever captures and appeared to us as one of the most efficient and obliging men in the force”
Unfortunately, as Fitzpatrick told the Royal Commission, the Chief Secretary had left decisions about Appeals and Enquiries in the hands of F C Standish, the Police Commissioner. Nowadays we would not allow a person with such a marked conflict of interest to adjudicate on Fitzpatrick’s request for a board of  Inquiry, but things were different in 1880. Standish exercised his power to deny the request for an enquiry that would have resulted in indepndant scrutiny of his decision to sack Fitzpatrick. Why would he want that? He might have been embarrassed at being found wanting ! – which was of course what the Royal Commission DID indeed find the following year. His conduct of the police operations was, according to the 1881 royal commission on the police, ‘not characterized either by good judgment, or by that zeal for the interests of the public service which should have distinguished an officer in his position’. His response to the Lancefield petition was equally dismissive of the possibility that two hundred citizens of Lancefield may have seen something in Fitzpatrick that he had missed. His reply, on May 10th1880 was as equally self-serving : “In reply I beg to state that the ex-constables conduct during the time that he was a member of the force was generally bad and discreditable to the force. I cannot hold any hope of his ever being reinstated to the position of constable on the Victoria police”
The irony of this remark is that it shows how blind Standish was to the evidence  right in front of him that completely contradicted his belief that Fitzpatrick was “generally bad and discreditable to the force” – the petitioners are attesting to the fact that he was GOOD and in their eyes he was a CREDIT to the force! Standish and the others didnt want to know – thy just wanted him out!
Remarkably, a year later the citizens of Lancefield were still concerned about the treatment handed out to Fitzpatrick by the police hierarchy and a second petition was presented, this time to H M Chomley who had replaced Standish. Chomley also declined to offer Fitzpatrick an opportunity to argue his case, and instead relied on the unsupported opinions recorded on his file, but added “I have always heard him described as a liar and a larrikin”. In fact it was the Kellys who promoted the view that Fitzpatrick was a liar – it isn’t recorded anywhere in his Police file that he was a liar, or ever charged let alone found guilty of perjury. So not only did Chomley deny Fitzpatrick the opportunity to defend his reputation, he trashed it further by adding his own unsubstantiated claim that he was a liar. 
There would seem to be more to Fitzpatricks story than is made clear from the surviving documentation, and I suspect it was something about Fitzpatrick’s personality and style that got under the noses of police hierarchy. He seemed to be able to relate to ordinary working-class folk but not to the rigid disciplinarians of the police hierarchy. There’s no evidence that he was an alcoholic, but if there was, I think I could understand why he might have become one because whichever way you look at – and unfortunately for the Kelly story very few people have even tried to look at it, so blinded are they by their unfounded hate for the man – Fitzpatrick was treated disgracefully by all sides. The redemption of Fitzpatrick started by Stuart Dawson, continues.
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46 Replies to “The Fitzpatrick Conspiracy : Part V”

  1. Stuart Dawson says: Reply

    Dee, you wrote above that "Standish wrote to Sydney requesting [Fitzpatrick] be sent back to Victoria because 'he has evidently mixed himself up in a matter calculated to raise grave suspicions of his honesty. He is I fear a useless and worthless young man'." Having read that PROV file about Fitzpatrick's dismissal, the strong impression from the correspondence is that Fitzpatrick embroiling himself in some kind of unclear affair in Sydney was taken by Standish as "calculated" to bring the Victoria Police into disrepute. Fitzpatrick's recall to Victoria seems to have been an action to eliminate what Standish percieved to be an interstate embarrassment to his force, far in excess of a reasonable response to Fitzpatrick being late for duty a few times and whatever the mysterious affair was. Standish seems to have done what most organisations do at the first hint of embarrassment, and discipline the person involved rather than properly investigate any alleged matters by due process. This is what Fitzpatrick's main complaint to the Royal Commission about his dismissal seems to be, that he was not given any chance to give his side of the story. The fact that he stuck to his story much later in life (in Cookson 1911) further suggests that he was wrongly done by.

  2. Stuart Dawson says: Reply

    (Continued from last paragraph.)
    With this in mind, it is possible to see Fitzpatrick’s statement under cross-examination at Benalla, that he “had no instructions to go to Kellys [and] was acting perhaps as an amateur constable on the occasion”, not as some confession of irresponsible or unsanctioned behaviour, but straightforward testimony that he was not specifically ordered to go to the Kellys to arrest Dan, but did so on his own initiative. This is directly compatible with Whelan’s testimony that the visit was known and sanctioned, regardless that it was not directly ordered. It did not set Whelan against Fitzpatrick, and no black mark was made in his record of service. The reason his visit turned out to be a miscalculation is revealed in O&M, 10 October 1878, 4: “The arrest [of Dan] would have involved serious consequences to [Ned Kelly] and others”, specifically the break-up of the Kelly’s horse-stealing gang linked to the Baumgarten case. The police were closing on the gang, but had not yet certainly identified Ned under the alias of Thompson as a key figure. As more interest focuses on the Baumgarten business, I think attention will shift further towards that as the central background of the Kelly outbreak, as Morrissey’s first book (Ned Kelly: A Lawless Life) made clear.

    So as time goes on and the Fitzpatrick incident is re-examined from a new perspective that his testimony adds up, as I proposed, what is interesting is that revisiting the historical records finds more and more that corroborates the perspective I put forward and is directly compatible with it, and less that supports the long-held "bad Fitzpatrick" view beloved of old-generation Kelly buffs.

    I have just got hold of a library copy of Trudy Toohill's 2015 book, "The Reporting of Ned Kelly & the Kelly Gang". It is a collection of newspaper articles about the gang in their day. The back cover makes the point that "Today, Australia's bushranging history is often 'romanticised' and Ned Kelly is considered one of Australia's greatest folk heroes. However at the time, the media painted him in a very different light." While the articles in it are all from Trove, it is very interesting flicking through them in a compact compilation to see how the gang were seen back then. Anyone short of a quid can at least check it out in a library.

  3. Stuart Dawson says: Reply

    Hi Ian, the other day you raised three interesting points: first, that Fitzpatrick’s going to the Kelly home alone to arrest Dan Kelly for horse theft showed courage; second, the question of whether it was remiss, in that he knew warrants were out for Ned as well as Dan, and therefore might or should have suspected that he could potentially be outnumbered; and third, whether his visit was an “undisciplined miscalculation” in some way.

    On the first one, Fitzpatrick was confident before he went that Dan would not resist arrest, and considered that he was quite capable of taking him away if he did resist. Dan consented as expected, including telling his mother to ‘shut up” when she objected (Fitzpatrick, Benalla deposition, VPRS 4966 Unit 1 Item 4; cf. RC Q12822). Ned also said later that Dan had consented to be arrested (Age, 9 August 1880, 3). Additionally, Fitzpatrick believed that Ned would not be home as the police were then searching for him on a warrant related to an ongoing horse-stealing investigation (RC Q12819-20). So I think we can say that Fitzpatrick did consider these possibilities, and did not go there naively. We know that on a previous occasion Dan had surrendered himself to Fitzpatrick and, considering that Fitzpatrick believed Ned would be away, he had no reason to think Dan would offer resistance. Further, the time when Dan had previously surrendered to Fitzpatrick it was at Ned’s instigation. Based on that fact, there is a further reason for him to think that even if Ned had been home, the arrest would not have been interfered with by Ned. On that basis it seems reasonable to suggest that his visit to arrest Dan was not remiss, but reasonably considered, and displayed a level of courage that could reasonably be expected of a constable conducting his duty. Many constables of that time made arrests single-handedly, and there were quite a number of one-man police stations when constables acted alone of necessity. There is no evidence that I know of to suggest that Fitzpatrick lacked courage in the performance of his duties, and there is nothing on his police record of service to suggest that ever occurred.

    On the third question, whether it is fair to suggest that Fitzpatrick’s visit was an “undisciplined miscalculation”, I want to separate the “undisciplined” from the “miscalculation”. It certainly turned out to be a miscalculation, but we know his superior, Sgt Whelan, agreed with Fitzpatrick’s intention to arrest Dan en route to Greta, despite some misgivings about his personal safety, and said nothing to oppose it. He advised Fitzpatrick only to be careful, as the Kellys were thought dangerous and likely to resist (Fitzpatrick, RC Q12817-8, Q12837-41, Q12847, Q12850; Whelan, RC Q5950). As I showed in my “Redeeming Fitzpatrick” article, the arrest attempt was clearly known and sanctioned, and no order or regulation was breached in the process. So nothing suggests that his visit was undisciplined, and indeed, the Royal Commission Second Progress Report p. x RC2, x, found no breach of duty, though it said that his visit was “unfortunate in its consequences”.

    I have been receiving increasing numbers of Comments for posting which are from anonymous and other people with actual names in regard to discussions going on at a Facebook place nicknamed the Hate site and the Hate-book site. The comments are from people who support and from people who oppose the discussions and the people who post there. The people who regularly post to and inhabit that site are notoriously rude, disrespectful and abusive.

    I have decided that ANY post that refers to ANY of those people, or indeed the Hatesite itself in any way , or the discussions they might be having there, will NO LONGER be posted here. I dont care how good the point is you are making if it refers to that place or those people I will NOT post it. If you want to attack them or argue with them go there and do it. This Blog is not a proxy site for discussions about the rubbish and odious abusive postings that are almost all that ever appears at that site, and from now on I think the best way to deal with these ignorant morons is to ignore them entirely.

  5. Ian MacFarlane says: Reply

    Thanks a lot Stuart for examining my earlier comment. But FitzPatrick certainly underestimated his reception at the Kelly homestead. There were armed men there. Ellen Kelly bashed him over the head. Ned shot him. FitzPatrick was very lucky to get out alive.

    I will go back and re-read your excellent paper on this subject. I will be surprised if FitzPatrick accurately predicted what might happen to him to Sgt. Whelan. I stick meanwhile with my “undisciplined miscalculation” scenario.

    What we are all after is why FitzPatrick got stiffed by Police Command later despite petitions from most of Lancefield's most prominent residents.

  6. Stuart Dawson says: Reply

    Hi Ian continued –
    What the petitions to reinstate him show us later enquirers is that he was shamefully treated by his superiors, who were too quick to believe gossip and rumours. Also, the force was undoubtedly embarrassed by the press coverage about him which the Kellys and their various lawyers had managed to manipulate by publicising factually incorrect pro-Kelly false tales about the April incident, accusations of drinking and perjury, etc.

    So I think that regardless that he seems to have done his duty well at Lancefield – hence the petitions – he had become an embarrassment perhaps largely because of the false tales spread about him in Victoria, and some doubts about what he did in NSW, and was dismissed as the fall guy regardless of his competence and efficiency at Lancefield. Mayes said he was out to get Fitzpatrick from the start, so maybe that is the place to be looking for the move to get rid of him. But there is nothing to suggest that anyone high up had anything against him as regards his policing work from his first posting to the north east in 1877 to his transfer to NSW in February 1879. Throughout that entire time there is nothing against him that anyone has found except unhistorical Kelly myth.

    One of the biggest finds was Dee's recent publicity of his death certificate that showed that he did not die of cirrhosis from alcoholism. There was no cirrhosis, it is all a myth. Until a few weeks ago I too had accepted that he died of drink-related problems, and assumed that his life had gone downhill and turned to drink after his dismissal and erratic work as a travelling salesman. Nom that all goes up in smoke. He had a stable marriage with kids. He apparently held down long term work as a travelling salesman. Cookson interviewed him in his apparently comfortable home in Hawthorn, not at all giving then impression of a failing drunk. So the whole post-force life of Fitzpatrick is now up for review. How much of that too is simplistic Kelly myths? We don't know until someone looks at it.

    I noticed that right near the end of Doug Morrissey's new book he says there were 2 Fitzpatricks of the same name Alexander, and that the man imprisoned for fraud was a different man from the ex-constable. I know this has been discussed before, and I too have long accepted that it was the same man, but held that that had nothing to do with the Kelly outbreak 16 years previous to that gaoling (which is obviously correct). But what if Morrisey is right? What if there were in fact 2 different men? Then the Kelly myth has to change again, and Fitzpatrick be further vindicated…

  7. Stuart Dawson says: Reply

    Hi Ian, yes Fitzpatrick certainly vastly underestimated the situation at the Kelly home; as you say, there were armed men there (which I temporarily forgot about in my note above) – these included Joe Byrne who Fitzpatrick mistook for Skillion at the time of the attack. He walked into the thick of a horse stealing gang, not just a home visit as he expected. It seems like Mrs Kelly initiated and led the attack on Fitzpatrick, which he undoubtedly would not have expected. So yes, totally agree that Fitzpatrick was miles off in predicting what might happen when he went single handed to collect Dan on the way to Greta police station.

    Then we have the great time distance between that incident on 15 April 1878, then the fact that Fitzpatrick was marked on his record of service as "an efficient constable" a few months later, then the fact hat he was out with search parties for about 4 months before being sent to NSW to watch the trains for the Kelly gang (shown in the Muster Rolls). So he was actively doing his job properly right through to Feb 1879.

    For me, that's what kills of the conspiracy theories about his being set up as a fall guy back in April, and also kills off the idea that there were any thoughts of getting rid of him before his transfer to NSW on special duties. If there had been any such intentions he could have been gotten rid of after the Beechworth trial and convictions of Mrs Kelly and associates. Even if he was no longer in the force, he could have been summoned as a witness to give sworn testimony if any of the gang had been caught and sent to trial after his dismissal, if he potentially had relevant evidence to give.

    So again, I have doubts that higher command had anything against him, apart from Standish's moral objection to his early refusal to get married (which he did at Standish's assistance). But nothing suggests that Standish or anyone else in senior ranks had anything against him on police duty grounds before he was sent to NSW.

    Some police turned on him – Mayes being the classic example – who blamed him for what they saw as triggering the Kelly outbreak. Putting him under Mayes, who felt that way from ten start, and was further hostile to him re whatever happened in NSW that resulted in his transfer back to Victoria, was certain to end badly as Mayes was a notorious disciplinarian, and not just to Fitzpatrick as his comments that I collected in my article show.

    So I suspect that the decision to get rid of him is due to early personal dislike (for things nothing to do with his duty), combined with what was taken as bringing Victoria Police into disrepute over his NSW posting. He was a dead duck from the time his dismissal was decided, and that's why the Lancefield petitions were disregarded.

  8. Stuart Dawson says: Reply

    Great news about Fitzpatrick for those who don't like him much! I was just sent a Trove link to the Argus, 28 August 1883, p. 10, which has the following short article: "POLICE INTELLIGENCE. At the Flemington Court yesterday, before Messrs Davis Swan Wilson, Puckle, Parsons, and Bellair, ex constable Fitzpatrick, of "Kelly gang" notoriety, was charged with making use of obscene language and smashing a window in the Lincolnshire Arms, at Essendon on the 17th of June last. From the evidence it appears that the defendant and another entered the hotel and had drinks for which they refused to pay; they then made use of obscene language, and the defendant smashed a window. The Bench inflicted fines amounting to 27s 6d, with 3s 6d damages cost of window."

    So three years after his dismissal from the police force he had a very bad night out. I always thought he went through a bit of a rough patch, which I think makes it more likely that he was the same Fitzpatrick who was gaoled later for passing dud cheques. I suspect that a review of the case, that it was the same man, will find out that this is right. Still, it remains true that there is nothing about him being drunk while still in the police force, as far as I know. Even his negative reports from Sydney don't say drunkenness was an issue there. It would be good to find out if this is correct, so we would have a fuller picture (excuse the pun). But so far no evidence about him being drunk while still in the force, and that is the only issue relevant to the Kelly outbreak which started this discussion.

    We have the evidence of two separate petitions from the Lancefield area, the second led by Alfred Deakin, endorsing his character and efficiency from people who had seen him on duty for months there. All this adds weight to my previous suspicion that he went downhill after his dismissal. He appears to have put his life back together at some point after the gaol episode, assuming that that was the same Fitzpatrick as seems to be the case from what I found so far. So the mystery continues about his life after the police force, for what it's worth.

  9. Theres more to this story Stuart. Heres a report from The Argus from a month before the one you quote thats interesting : ( From 1883 Argus July 24th page 5)

    "At the Flemington Court on Monday, before Messrs Filson (chairman), Parsons, Bellair, Puckle, and McLean JPs, William Burke was charged with using obscene language in a public place. Mr Cutts, licensee of the Lincolnshire Arms, Essendon stated the defendant came to his house on the 17th July, had drinks, and then became very violent, breaking a window and kicking a door in. Mrs Cutts gave corroborative evidence. The defendant stated that a man named Fitzpatrick had done all the mischief while he himself was perfectly innocent. The Bench inflicted a fine of 10s with 2s 6d costs"

    So it seems the publican and his wife both identified Burke as the culprit but he denied it and said it was all Fitzpatricks fault. And yet, Burke was fined, as was Fitzpatrick the following month. Its a shame the Court report doesn't say exactly what Fitzpatricks plea was, or what his explanation of what happened was. Why

    Interestingly, no charges related to being drunk in a public place or anything like that – so what does that mean?

  10. Anonymous says: Reply

    Hello Stuart,

    How are you?

    Just following up from your post above, that you could be of the opinion from your research that William Skillion may/may not have been present at the time of the fracas with Mr A. FitzPatrick at the Kelly home in April 1878?


    B.T. and T. Ryan

  11. Stuart Dawson says: Reply

    Hi Dee, it sounds like the bench held Burke responsible for some of the misbehaviour, but not the bulk of it, as Fitzpatrick was hauled in and fined much more severely the following month, including for the damage to the window. Bad Fitzpatrick, very very bad!

  12. Stuart Dawson says: Reply

    Hi B.T. and T., yes, what I got from it was that Fitzpatrick spoke to Skillion at the Kelly's fence before the incident, and that this was later corroborated in Williamson's prison statement. Fitzpatrick saw Skillion again a bit later, riding past the house at dusk. During the fracas shortly after dusk, Byrne came to Ned's side at the door and was mistaken as Skillion by Fitzpatrick. This is set out with the evidence for the misidentification on pages 76 to 79 of my "Redeeming Fitzpatrick" article. The corroborative references from Williamson are also given there, and the discussion continues for another page or so after that. I hope that answers it as best I can, Regards, Stuart.

  13. Hello Stuart,

    And thank-you for giving us, also, a good reason to re-read your ‘Redeeming Fitzpatrick’ paper.
    Having recently read another widely published author on the Ned Kelly events, where the verse progresses along the lines of not putting Skillion any where near the Kelly house at all on the early evening in question, and the wide variety of interesting posts on Mr Alexander Fitzpatrick of late, it has been good for us to get back to what we consider to be a notable reminder:
    The mis-identification, by Mr Alexander Fitzpatrick, please correct if we are astray here, of the Kelly associate at the doorway of the Kelly home on the early evening of 16.4.1878, standing next to Mr Edward Kelly, both fellows with weapons, is a reminder of why so many regard this fracas, (not saying Constable Alexander didn’t have a right to be there, Dee), with quite significance.
    A reminder that it had significant consequences across a number of sides of the ledger, soon after the event, a few years later, and in the longer term.
    Thanks Stuart. You break down the events in this paper very well. And you seem willing to update as new information arises.
    B. T and T, Ryan

  14. Stuart Dawson says: Reply

    Hi B.T. and T., yes, that is what led to a huge dispute as to whether Skillion was there or not. He denied that he was present during the fracas, and that seems to be correct. But he was still close by (out in the yard or somewhere) at the time of the actual fracas, and it seems to be that Fitzpatrick, who had seen Skillion just prior to the fracas, thought that it was Skillion who came armed to the door and stood just behind or with Ned. But in fact it seems to have been Joe Byrne who appeared next to Ned, not Skillion. The key to the whole thing is Williamsons' prison statement, and he says Skillion was there just before the fracas. It is a horrible mess of testimonies, but there is enough there to place Skillion on the Kelly property on the late afternoon of the 15 April, so Fitzpatrick didn't lie about that, contrary to what many authors have insisted.

    I think that maybe historians have paid insufficient attention to Williamson's prison statement, which is the key. The other thing, which is surprising, is that for almost 140 years no-one ever bothered to see if Fitzpatrick's various statements could be put together and tested, as it was just assumed by everyone since Keneally 1929 that Fitzpatrick was a compulsive liar. So the challenge was to see if his bits of testimony could be pieced together and if they made sense. Some other people have failed to see the connection because they used shortened versions of the reports of his testimony from different newspapers, so it would be impossible for them to put it together the way I did, because they never had all the material to work with.

    The main thing I discovered was that different newspapers often would get the same wire (Morse code) news items, then sub-editors would cut them down whether for reason of space, or because they thought some bits weren't important or interesting enough to bother with. That means people who want all the details have to try to find the longest report available. But even then I had to compare what was printed in different papers line by line, as a couple of papers left a line or two out here or there that was retained in a different paper.

    The same thing happens in the two long reports of Ned Kelly's trial in Melbourne. There are a few sentences in the Age report that are not in the Argus, and vice versa. All very interesting.

  15. Hello Stuart,

    During the fracas in the Kelly home in the early evening of 15.4.1878, please correct if we are astray, but we guess Constable Alexander Fitzpatrick may have been subject to one or more unfamiliar persons in the entrance doorway, and possibly some low visibility in the space that he was in?

    B. T. and T. Ryan

  16. Stuart Dawson says: Reply

    Hi B.T and T., sorry, I don't understand the question. I put as much as I could find out about the April 1878 incident into the 2015 Fitzpatrick article. It would seem, as you ask and the article suggests, that Fitzpatrick was familiar with Skillion but not with Byrne, and seems to have (from looking from inside the kitchen towards the doorway into the darkness) mistaken Byrne for Skillion. That is what the assorted evidence suggests, but I can't give any more clarification unless someone comes up with even more evidence that has not yet been put forward. We seem to be potentially heading towards speculations that lead from evidence into possibilities, but I am aiming not to go beyond the evidence available to date. It may be that there are some or many things we will never know about what happened in the past, including this!

    The best I have been able to do to clarify this issue is to work through the reference material that was put forward by many others, and the extra evidence I found that bears on it, then throw it all up in the air and see what fell out. The article is the result of that experiment. Beyond that I simply can't go! What I think it shows is that Fitzpatrick's testimony, when pieced together from the available sources, seems to have been pretty consistent over time, including under cross-examination, and much of it can be externally corroborated. That then provides a reasonable basis for understanding what happened on 15 April that triggered the Kelly outbreak. At that point my interest in Fitzpatrick mostly ends, and the next question, about the Baumgarten horse stealing ring that led to the warrants against Ned and Dan which in turn led to Fitzpatrick swinging past to arrest Dan on his way to Greta, begins. But it is unlikely that I will be able to find the time to go further back to look into that for at least another couple of years if ever. Someone else might take it up!

  17. Hello Stuart,
    Insightful discussion proceeding before us and it is of interest. My grandparents were neighbors of the FitzPatricks. My pops would often talk about the times he sat on the porch with trooper FitzPatrick. He would recall the darkest hours with a deathly low pitched voice, he could barley be heard if he were not paying close attention. He enjoyed the occasional whiskey as did my Pops. Trooper FitzPatrick didn’t have to walk far if the need to quench his thirst arose. Mrs FitzPatrick a dear old lady would quickly whip the ex-trooper and pops in line. This would happen more often than not. She wouldn’t have any of it.
    Throw a shrimp on the BBQ, no not this trooper. Twice a year my Pops and many of the Trooper friends would feast to all hours of the night on a scrumptious feed of freshly slaughtered Deer. Mind you there was no shortage of beer either. Pops would always say, you could always tell when the ex-trooper was happy, His eyes would sparkle and he became more engaging.
    One hot evening Pops invited the FitzPatricks over to his house for refreshments. All went fine until Pops received guests. As pleasant as the evening was, the conversation had a dramatic turn of events when the Trooper stormed off after being asked about the Kelly business. Pops always said that he had never molested any of the Kelly girls. As for the shooting at the Kelly home, it was Ned Kelly. Trooper FitzPatrick, always maintained his innocence.
    The passing of the trooper changed the dynamics of the whole neighborhood. Pops forever cherished the only photo and memory he of his best mate.

  18. Wow this is a sensational piece of oral history if true. Ron have you ever told this story before? I would so like to hear more from you and I think every person interested in the Kelly story needs to as well. If it's at all possible can you email me at Be assured I will protect your ID with my life. Please please please.,😉

  19. Stuart Dawson says: Reply

    Hi Ron, I love the one about Mrs Fitzpatrick whipping them into line on occasion if needed, she sounds like one of my now long-gone aunts. Nothing wrong with an occasional glass, but behave yourself! It is especially interesting that you say that he kept in touch with some Trooper friends, which suggests that they didn't see him as a bad egg. I can see why he would have walked out of a social gathering when asked about the Kelly days, after the slagging he had over the years during his own lifetime.

    There is no doubt that Ned Kelly did the shooting; the collected evidence is clear. It is also clear that Fitzpatrick didn't molest Kate, despite Molony's selective and malicious mangling of the evidence both in his "I am Ned Kelly" book and even more savagely in his 2011 National Portrait Galley interview video. I once found a Fitzpatrick-related descendant (with a different surname) on a genealogy website who wrote that Fitzpatrick had been wrongly maligned, but the contact info was redundant and I was not able to get in contact, either while finishing my article or since.

    I am hoping that a descendant might have the grand prize, Fitzpatrick's police notebook in which he wrote down at Ned Kelly's direction, the story that Ned wanted him to tell. Apparently such notebooks were the property of the policemen once they had become redundant and were no longer needed by the officer for official purposes. We know the notebook was produced and read from in court in Beechworth at the trial of Mrs Kelly and associates, but that is the last that was heard of it. If it ever surfaced, it would be great to see if it added any further corroboration to what has been able to be done so far. The other thing that is missing is the Occurrences Book from Benalla Police Station, that would cover his movements in the week prior to and the week of the "Fitzpatrick incident". The books recorded movements of men and horses, so we would be able to get corroboration of the days and times he went to and returned from Cashel during the week prior, as well for the day of incident and the rest of that week. It is a pity it seems to have vanished. It would also be great if a photo of Fitzpatrick in his later life was able to be published somewhere, as I suspect it would count against him being a disreputable drunk. You mention that your grandfather was good mates with him, and knew him and his wife well. I suspect that would not be the case if Fitzpatrick was then the horrible man he is always made out to be. They would simply have ignored him as a bad neighbour, the way people generally do when they don't approve of particular neighbours.

    I think it is fair to say that before I did that article, the state of play was that no-one gave Fitzpatrick any credibility at all, and many didn't bother to even try to investigate his role, but just said it's all too hard and we'll never know what really happened in April 1878, regardless of its huge historical significance. This is what got me interested – the commentary was obviously total rubbish to suggest that his Record of Service was in any way negative during 1878. The commentary was factually wrong. That meant re-looking at all the available evidence, which took over 18 months in dribs and drabs.

    I can't answer every last question, and indeed I answered all I can in that article; but it is abundantly clear that most or all of Fitzpatrick's testimony stacks up and makes sense, and that quite a bit can be independently corroborated. So if I could do that, why didn't anyone else ever bother?

  20. The Kelly Legend; and Kelly legendeers:

    "Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it." — Adolf Hitler

  21. Purple Bricks says: Reply

    Suddenly a pathologists's convention on your FB page, Dee, and on another site which must now forever remain nameless. All totally unqualified of course. What part of Fitzpatick's death certificate didn't they get? Most of it, it seems! What a pathetic joke! The bland leading the blind…

    And so much anger that they've been found out!

  22. Loyal readers, Stuart and Dee,
    My Grandson is the custodian of our family’s most prized possession, the family journal. Pop was a journalist and an avid reader; he meticulously kept a scrapbook and never faulted keeping them up to date. The scrapbooks have been professionally bounded in recent times.
    The contents are astounding; the journal covers major events, family gatherings, Newspaper clippings of the Great War, dates, times and who’s who with impressive drawings of our extended family members and one of trooper FitzPatrick sporting a thick moustache at one of the BBQ’s.
    Stuart the false and unpleasant derogatory remarks are best ignored.
    Trooper FitzPatrick always took pride in his appearance. Pops and the good trooper made a fine pair. Pops was a handsome fellow standing at 6’2, deep blue eyes and fair complexion, they both stood out in the crowd, they would draw a crowd where-ever they went. One evening the devil spoke to the trooper, He had been drinking alone and the inevitable would behold him in a drunken altercation. At this time the family resided in Oxley Street, Hawthorn.
    A little less than a mile away saw the passing of the ex-trooper. It was a sad affair; friends and acquaintances from miles around attended the funeral. The untimely loss of his mate was too much for the old man and he drank himself silly. Pops was blessed with the grace of the almighty and the devil was no more. This could not be said for the trooper. The Devil had sunk its claws in from a young age.
    Pops kept in touch with the Widow until his death in 1935.
    Trooper FitzPatrick commanded respect; he was a man of integrity, a spirited man and loved by all. He had his faults, we all do. A Gentleman like no-other. Never was he seen without the tidiest pair of shoes, polished to mirror perfection. The sickening hatred for this man is appalling.
    It’s all lies, the Kelly girls weren’t molested my Aunty could bear witness to that.
    Stuart, Dee, you have given trooper FitzPatrick a voice. Sleep well my dear friends.

  23. Stuart Dawson says: Reply

    Hi Ron, I am glad that my article has had a positive effect (and on a number of others I might say), and I am glad to hear further corroboration that Fitzpatrick largely bore himself well in later life. From 1878 to 2015 all we have had is the rather inconsistent Kelly side of the Fitzpatrick story and the biased, simplistic half-baked Fitzpatrick-hating "research" of those who wanted to paint Kelly as a hero, but found it necessary to go far beyond the evidence, and to twist and distort the evidence to paint Fitzpatrick as far worse that he ever was. The historians could have still found things to admire about Ned Kelly without maligning Fitzpatrick far beyond the historical evidence. But fairness and historical accuracy was never the game. As for people trawling the records for fragments – typically taken out of context – to paint Fitzpatrick negatively from birth to death, that's not doing history. It's just being a dill, pretty much at a Year 10 level.

    Historically, the significant thing about Fitzpatrick in the Kelly outbreak is the April 15th incident at the Kelly house, and mostly everything else is peripheral. Even if Fitzpatrick turned out to be a cave-dwelling Otherkin it doesn't make any difference to our clarification and understanding of what happened on that particular day. And what happened is exactly what Fitzpatrick said happened as best he could remember. That's what the corroboration shows – his story bears up and he remembered pretty well, considering he'd just been shot at three times and wounded – and he didn't lie in court. I think it is fair to say the bar has been raised significantly in regards to what should be expected of persons debating the Fitzpatrick incident and its place in the Kelly outbreak. I hope your family continue to treasure your scrapbook and history, as I'm sure from the above that they will. Cheers, Stuart

  24. Anonymous says: Reply

    Hello Ron,
    We. just as general members of the public, would like to comment with a ‘thank-you’ for sharing your information about your ‘pops’ and his mate as well.
    We would, also, like to forward a verbal kudos to our “Academic type” friends who we have actually observed consistently working really hard in their professional positions, including such as researching and publishing papers, travelling vast distances to present at conferences, preparing and facilitating Course content, including updates, assessments and other required, and extra curricula as well as volunteer input. (sometimes in the general community as well). We have witnessed many ‘Academic types’ earning every penny of their wages for the clever Country!
    Hope the hard -working teachers and educators out there have some time off from the reports, assessments, curriculum research and documentation that often flow into their Spring break. Cheers!
    B. T. and T. Ryan

  25. Ron your Pops scrapbook and the things he passed on to you are vital pieces of Kelly history. Ive not heard or read anywhere before of anybodies recollections of Fitzpatrick after the Outbreak, or anything about or from his children and no doubt by now grand children and probably great grandchildren. I think its absolutely vital to correcting the disgraceful vilification of Fitzpatrick by Kelly 'historians' that as much of your story as possible is authenticated. Until something of that kind is done all we have at the moment is a claim by an essentially anonymous source, yourself. So I repeat my earlier plea to you : please contact me by email at I promise to protect your identity and respect any terms and conditions that you may want to impose – all I think that needs to be done, as a minimum anyway, is verify your identity and perhaps if possible have a look at your scrap book. That would be incredibly exciting! Ron, please get in touch with me.

  26. Ron, that is a spellbinding narrative you have woven. I could almost
    see your grandfather and Fitzpatrick sitting together sharing a
    special moment in the twilight. I would like to hear more!

    Dovetailing with the Fitzpatrick discussion, the recent passing of Professor John Molony
    ( to mind this 2006 interview Dave White conducted with him via email correspondence that had been on Dave's glenrowan1880 website. He makes mention of the Fitzpatrick incident and how he thinks that Ned was not there on April 15, 1878.

  27. Stuart Dawson says: Reply

    Hi Sharon, thanks for putting that up. What Molony says there about the Fitzpatrick incident is, "I believed Ned when he wrote in the Jerilderie letter that he was not in Victoria when Fitzpatrick visited the Greta home on 15 April 1878. All the evidence proved that Fitzpatrick was both a scoundrel and a liar and it was inconceivable to me that Ned could have stood within a few feet of the constable, shot at him several times in a room half full of women and children, missed his target but hit him in the wrist. It sounded like a stupidly foolish concoction to me, which Fitzpatrick had to make up to explain why he was at the home in the first place as well as to cover his tracks in case he was accused of attempting to rape Kate. In other words I believed Ned and there is evidence for my belief. I find it incomprehensible why anyone would accept the word of Fitzpatrick rather than that of Ned about an incident bearing all the hallmarks of a lie." So he bases his view on two key things; first, that Fitzpatrick was a scoundrel and liar, and second, that he cannot conceive that Fitzpatrick’s story of the incident is plausible.

    His first belief is based on the longstanding negative view of Fitzpatrick's character in the Kelly literature, and on his review of the collected negative comments in the files relating to Fitzpatrick's dismissal for insubordination, i.e. that Fitzpatrick was always a bad egg. It is a one-sided view which as we are learning was not shared by the numerous citizens of Lancefield who petitioned on his behalf. Most telling is that his book does not mention those two petitions at all, which are in the very same small file of papers from which he quotes negative comments about Fitzpatrick from correspondence that relate to his dismissal! What ludicrous historical bias is this? (Rhetorical question.)

    His second belief is based on taking Ned’s words, that the room was half full of women and children, at face value, which is shown wrong in my reconstructed testimony that shows that was not so. The young children had left the house, as both Fitzpatrick’s evidence and Williamson’s statement make clear. In other words, the research was wholly deficient, and all this and the rest of it is covered in my article.

    The rationale for the approach Molony took in his book is also given in that interview: "In all that I wrote about Ned I took his own account of his life as my starting point. In other words I believed what he said of himself and continued to do so unless I found evidence to the contrary. I never caught him out in a lie." The reason is pure bias, as what he does is repeatedly ignore or explain away historical facts that he doesn’t agree with. He had read extensively in the vast amount of evidence and statements available, and selected those which conform with his outlook. So when Ned said that he was there at the Fitzpatrick incident, and did shoot at him, that quote simply doesn’t appear in Molony’s book. The evidence is cherry-picked in line with what he previously believes.

    In many places – not least his support for the Republic myth – his argument rests on selective pro-Ned evidence and the silencing (by not mentioning or addressing) contrary evidence. This selectively glorified view of Ned is stated again in a different way in his introduction to his book, where he sees Ned as representative of a people rather than an exception, a notion that has been well put to bed by Morrissey’s recent book (Selectors, Squatters and Stock Thieves).

    What people sometimes miss is that his book was never intended as a biography of Ned in the style of Ian Jones; it was intended as a vindication of Ned pure and simple, attempting to do so from his reconstruction of what he thought to be Ned’s own perspective. See also his additional preface to the 2001 reissue of his book, now called “Ned Kelly” rather than the 1980 giveaway title “I am Ned Kelly”. It is a very readable book, but it is a psychological justification of Ned, not a history.

  28. Hi Sharon, I hadn't noticed the passing of John Molony – that once great cohort of Kelly scholars from last century which has been silent for a long time is now thinned almost to non-existence. Thanks for those two links – the Dave White interview was especially interesting, and particularly the admission that after writing his Kelly book Molony didnt really follow the Kelly story. But that interview by Dave White was also extraordinary for the admissions by Molony of how partisan he was, saying he accepted Neds story unless he found evidence to the contrary and that he never caught him out in a lie! He was totally taken in by the Kelly and the Police vilification of Fitzpatrick and promoted a highly romantic version of the Kelly story, seeing it all as the classic struggle between the poor and the powerful. Some of his answers were ridiculous if you ask me : how could he say that Ned Kelly abhorred injustice and thirsted after justice – Ned stole horses from the poor, sanctioned the murder of Aaron, planned the murder of dozens of innocent policemen…

    I am afraid I think Molony was so blinded by his emotional attachment to socialist visions of society that he completely misread the kelly outbreak. His claim on that Video that Fitzpatrick tried to rape Kate Kelly remains an enormous black mark against his credibility.

  29. Stuart youre right that Molonys intent in writing "I am ned Kelly" (1980)/ "Ned Kelly"(2001) was not to tell the objective history of the man but to tell the story entirely from Ned Kellys perspective. He said as much in the Preface to both editions, declaring that it was his 'brief' like that of a Lawyer, to make th case for his client, who being dead cannot speak for himself: “The historian like the lawyer, holds a brief but his is for the dead whose lips are sealed. He is not compelled to pick up the brief but, once done, his task takes on its own sacredness”. I wrote a couple of Blog posts about Molony – one was about that video biography of Ned that he made, and the other my review of his book. They can be found by inserting Molony into the search box top left of the page.

  30. Keith McDonald says: Reply

    Dee what is up with you? There is a time and place to make such demands. Can't ya tell Ron is the real McCoy? You’re pushing him into a corner.
    Ron, we’re grateful of you for sharing your family history. It adds new light to the mysterious character. The pages of the scrapbook would help explain many unfortunate events and the unexplained tales. If it is at all possible, please continue sharing as it would redeem and restore Fitzpatrick’s honour once and for all.

  31. Keith I understand exactly where you are coming from. You have no idea how excited I am about what Ron is telling us – I feel I want it to be true too much, so much that I just want to ignore caution and through away my usual scepticism. But this family history is too important to ignore caution and throw out the usual checks and balances. This news is so important that if its source can be verified a new chapter on the Kelly saga can be written, Fitzpatricks reputation can be restored and the circle closed on the Fitzpatrick story that Stuart began with that brilliant article of his.

    On the other hand of the story cant be verified somehow, I think its wise to proceed with caution. Kelly fanatics are capable of anything, and I don't believe would stop at anything in their determination to cling to thier hateful prejudices.

    I do also understand the concerns that Ron might have, given the toxic nature of the Kelly version of Fitzpatricks history and the still virulent hatred that is directed against his memory. Who would want to involve their family in that swamp of lies and slander? Equally, given the affection Rons Pop had for Fitzpatrick, Ron might feel the time is now right to set the record straight. My interest is not in challenging the family history but in simply verifying Ron is a real person and the bound scrap books exist. I would love to see that photo of Fitzpatrick. Once thats been done I'll go all out for Ron and for his Pop and for Fitzpatrick, like you wouldn't believe! And absolutely protect this families privacy and identity to whatever extent they want.

    So Ron, how about it? ( )

  32. Peter Newman says: Reply

    Ron, please make the information about Fitzpatrick that is in your Pop’s scrapbook available to us. After all the vilification, it is great to know there is another side to the Fitzpatrick story. The fact that the Police Force itself (or at least the hierarchy) had it in for Fitzpatrick makes me think that maybe we shouldn’t white-wash him just yet. But we should also recognise that he was only 22 years old at this time. He had his whole life ahead of him and it is great to hear that he went on to become (and probably always was) a pretty decent kind of person that had many friends. If his friends included many old “trooper” friends then this indicates that maybe the rank and file viewed Alex in a different light to Standish and Chomley.

  33. Anonymous says: Reply

    This Kelly business can go and get stuffed as far as I’m concerned. Hello Josh here, Ron is my grandfather. It is disturbing that grandpa is expected to verify his accounts. We believe though you have made a valid point and therefore arrangements were underway. However late this afternoon the family were notified of a sickening attack on grandpa. This is not on and therefore I ask that you remove grandpa’s account (in full). Its clear grandpa’s account isn’t believed particularly by the lesser minority of jokers on the Face book page. Which brings me to another point, who is that baboon mouthing off? You can all thank that spineless twit. We’ve decided not to make further comments on the details of the scrap book. (I can hear it now, how convenient)
    Final statement we were in talks with a certain government agency to donate a scanned copy of the relevant pages. All is lost. This is owing to the joker who just couldn’t wait. Farewell, amen, goodbye.

  34. Peter Newman says: Reply

    I understand exactly where you are coming from Josh. I had a look for that "attack" and managed to find what I think you are referring to. It is quite disgusting really and I am sorry that your grandfather was subjected to that. Try not to take it personally. Best wishes to you all.

  35. Stuart Dawson says: Reply

    Hi Josh and Ron, I was also forwarded a copy of derogatory comments about your family album made on a facebook page, which is no doubt the same one on which I am regularly insulted and abused, along with anyone else who says anything in favour of Constable Fitzpatrick. That's why I didn't express any wish to see your album but simply wished you well. There are a few others out there who also have positive descendant memories about Fitzpatrick and don't come forward for the same reason of online abuse. I don't use facebook as it is a highly toxic environment. So from me again, I hope your family continue to treasure your scrapbook and history, as I'm sure from the above that you will. Treasure the truth, forget the haters, they are nothing. Regards, Stuart

  36. I smell a rat! Ron's comments don't really add up. And he and Josh have scarpered after discovering disbelief on a pro-Kelly FB page. This is really weird stuff.

  37. Anonymous says: Reply

    Mr T. Any chance of josh agreeing to share with us is now ruined. well done you idiotic scumbag. Did it not occure to you that ron gave us an edge into fitzpatricks drinking habits. Josh if your reading this ignore please all negative comments. The culprits concerned have a vendetta agaisnt Dee. Mr T. thinks your Dee and vice versa. It's madness within the kelly circle.
    By all means continue negationing with the agency for the sake of history. The ball is in your court.

  38. Despite your gross rudeness, Anonymous, I'm sticking to my guns. I think this is an elaborate scam.

    "Loyal readers", "Sleep well my dear friends", "the Kelly girls weren’t molested my Aunty could bear witness to that", says Ron – an Aunty older than Ron?!? Huh! Go figure.

    I have a prime suspect. But Dee wouldn't allow me to pin the tail on the donkey!

    In the meantime, try to be a little less rude!

  39. Despite your gross dumbness Mr T, I’m sticking to my guns. I don’t see this is an elaborate scam.
    This how I read into it and I was being sceptical
    “Loyal readers” so whats wrong with addressing you and I and the wider audience ? the old fella is being courteous
    “sleep well my dear friends” HELLO, what is your problem? Jealousy? I think dee and dawson have done a top job giving Fitzpatrick a voice. I commend them both. so yeah they can sleep well.
    “My aunty could bear witness to that” HELLOOOOO wake up HELLOOOO the old fella I think meant to say great aunt. What exactly he meant by that is a missed opportunity “Go figure”
    In the meantime, try to be a little less sceptical

  40. An Update from Dee : I asked Ron to contact me by email in relation to his claims about Fitzpatricks interactions with his grandparents. I think we all want to believe they are true, but as I stated at the outset, some sort of validation of those claims, indeed all claims about historical events, needs to be provided before they should be accepted. This request wasn't in any way an attempt to discredit Ron or Josh but is a necessary part of the process of gaining credibility for their claims.

    Unfortunately a week later I haven't heard from either Ron or Josh, and my original scepticism about those claims remains. I cant think of a reason why, if the claims were genuine, that they wouldn't want to verify their identity to me privately. I gave my word publicly that I would totally protect their identity and privacy. Becasue thy havent contacted me I am inclined to the view that these claims are a hoax. We all know there are some very toxic and dishonest people out there in the Kelly scene, and I wouldn't put it past some of them to make a fake posting like that in order to muddy the waters, to try to undermine the credibility of this site and its readers. If that was what happened, its failed – you're busted!

    So, I don't think there is any further point in discussing these claims, or the motivation behind the posts made by Ron and Josh unless we get some sort of proof that those two people are who they say they are. I have my doubts. We will move on, but if I get anything back from 'Ron' and 'Josh' I will let readers know.

  41. Stuart Dawson says: Reply

    Hi Dee, I disagree when you say that "I can't think of a reason why, if the claims were genuine, that they wouldn't want to verify their identity to me privately." You still haven't told me who you are, for example, and I don't care about that myself as it's totally irrelevant to any contributions I make, plus I find it funny; but with the amount of aggressive flack that goes on about many Kelly topics, and no-one knowing for sure who you are (even though some people have made hints), even I would have doubts about disclosing who I am to some unknown person if I had any private information about something controversial. As for the potential release of any journals etc., I think that the owners of any such material will make their own decisions in their own time, and if they have something they would like to release publicly, they will do so when they are ready, and in the manner of their own choosing. Remember that various Kelly enthusiast descendants have sat on photos and memorabilia for many years too, until they were ready to release it. So yes, high time to move on. (Perhaps to Morrissey's book?)

  42. The difference between me and 'Roy" and 'Josh' in this context is that I haven introduced any new claims about anything that rely on me being anyone in particular. My identity tis irrelevant to what I have been writing on this Blog – as you say! But Roy and Josh are making claims about things that only THEY can know, things none of us can verify independently even if we wanted to, unless of course we know who is making those claims. But I agree its not impossible they are who they claim to be, and have thier own reasons for staying silent but it seems odd to me that if Roy and Josh support our attempts to correct the erroneous history in the Kelly books about Fitzpatrick that they wouldn't want to accept my offer to add credibility to their claims by letting me know who they are. The way it is at present those claims cant be verified or refuted – so I think they should be ignored.

  43. Hear, hear to that Mr Dawson

  44. Dean Mayes says: Reply


    Thanks for pointing in the direction of this post from your other great post, on which I’ve commented.

    Now that you’ve totally caught my fascination, I’ve been reviewing the testimony of my great great grandfather, Joseph Ladd Mayes and Alexander Fitzpatrick – along with Stuart Dawson’s work.

    I’ll make one observation, which I picked up from Alexander Fitzpatrick’s testimony to the RC on July 6th, 1881, regarding the petitions calling for his reinstatement.

    From his testimony;

    “12910. Did you ever hear of that before? — No; that is the first I heard of it about the Inspector-General of Sydney. To the contrary of those reports of Senior Constable Mayes, there are petitions of 200 respectable citizens of *Mansfield and Romsey*, and nine justices of the peace; asking for my reinstatement.”

    (where * are my additions).

    It is interesting to note that Fitzpatrick himself states that the petitions did not originate in Lancefield, therefore one can argue that the townsfolk of Lancefield were less concerned about Fitzpatrick’s dismissal than were the Romsey townsfolk – some 9km away or the Mansfield townsfolk – 162km away.

    The more I think about these petitions, the more I’d really love to see them.

    Food for thought…?

  45. Hi Dean, Ian MacFarlane’s 2012 book, “The Kelly Gang Unmasked”, is where I first heard of the petitions, and his book is worth chasing up , not just for that, but a whole lot of points about things that many have got wrong about the Kelly story. You have “Mansfield and Romsey”; I think it is Lancefield and Romsey, regardless what the RC printed. If the picture I have just tried to upload works, it shows part of the cover sheet of the 2nd petition, which was forwarded to the CCP by Alfred Deakin. You can see it says the petitioners are from Lancefield. I’m guessing the RC scribe misheard him and recorded Mansfield instead of Lancefield; or maybe under pressure he mistakenly said Mansfield, who knows. But Lancefield it is.


  46. Dean Mayes says: Reply

    Hi Stuart,

    What a find! Well, that certainly adds to the evidence and does throw a new spin on the idea that Fitzpatrick misspoke at the RC – or was miss-heard.

    Appreciate this. I’ll be re-working my entries on Fitzpatrick and Mayes to incorporate your work in more detail. It’s too good not to…

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