Until Stuart Dawson published his “Redeeming Fitzpatrick” article in 2015, the Fitzpatrick story had been more or less unchallenged and unchanged for most of the preceding 140 years. The story up till then focussed almost entirely on Fitzpatrick’s time in the Victoria police, which ended in less than three years when he was sacked in April 1880.
What Dawson showed in 2015 was that the universally accepted view, promoted and supported by Ned Kelly and his apologists ever since, that Fitzpatrick was a drunk and a womaniser who then became a corrupt lying policeman, was not supported by a detailed and critical review of all the evidence, and that up to the time of the incident, he had an unblemished record. A month before the ‘incident’ an entry in his Police Record Sheet reads: “A young member of the force, likely to prove acceptable” (Morrissey 2018, p270). Dawson showed that Fitzpatrick’s testimony about the so-called ‘Fitzpatrick incident’ itself also stood up to intense scrutiny, and was consistent and reliable, something which could most certainly NOT be said about the testimony provided by the various Kelly clan witnesses for the defence at the trial.
However, two years after the incident, Fitzpatrick was sacked, an event which Kelly apologists claim proves their point about him. In fact, Fitzpatrick was never charged let alone convicted for any alcohol related offences or for lying or for perjury, his sacking was not for being a drunk, or for being a ‘liar and a larrikin’ as they often assert, but for ‘inefficiency and insubordination’, a description that arose out of some quite trivial charges laid against him by senior police who had an openly admitted hostility towards Fitzpatrick. The outbreak and the murder of three police colleagues after the ‘incident’ led some police unfairly to hold that Fitzpatrick was largely to blame for it, and they wanted him gone. Despite his protestations and requests for an independent investigation into the charges against him, and the support of two petitions signed by a couple of hundred reputable citizens of Lancefield, the last town he was posted to, Fitzpatrick was sacked and that was the end of his police career.
In 1881 Fitzpatrick was vindicated somewhat by the Royal Commission of enquiry into the outbreak, the Report offering no direct criticism of him and saying that his conduct ‘was justified by the rules of the service’. They had much harsher criticism of Standish, the Police Commissioner who sacked him.
In recent weeks, Kelly apologists have turned their attention to the rest of Fitzpatrick’s life in their search for support for their now disproven attempts to discredit his character and performance as a policeman. It had long been claimed as proof that he was a drunk, that his death certificate registered one of the causes of death as cirrhosis of the liver. This claim can be found in Justin Corfield’s Ned Kelly Encyclopaedia, but it’s wrong. The death certificate actually says he died of a disseminated liver sarcoma, it was invading his stomach and there was ascites, an almost universal accompaniment of disseminated abdominal malignancy. Despite the known facts regarding the pathology of disseminated malignancy, Kelly apologists like Bob McGarrigle, a Kelly gang ‘relative’ and former bank officer continue to insist on Facebook that the ascites proves Fitzpatrick was an alcoholic, and that I am a liar. What these people are refusing to accept is that disseminated sarcoma and cirrhosis both cause ascites, but what the doctor who did the autopsy found was that the cause of the ascites in this case was not cirrhosis but sarcoma. Sarcoma and cirrhosis are two very different things, but in this case the sarcoma was the cause of the ascites. Bob I hope you’re not going to go around telling every terminally ill patient dying of disseminated abdominal malignancy and ascites, like Fitzpatrick did, that they’re all alcoholics! But that’s what you’re saying of Fitzpatrick. Pretty nasty if you ask me.
So that attempt to prove Fitzpatrick was a drunk also failed.
In the last few days, still looking for an opportunity to vilify Fitzpatrick, they have resurrected the old news that someone called Alexander Fitzpatrick, listed on the charge sheet as a farmer, went to gaol for cheque fraud in 1894. Some but not all of the newspaper reports claim this Fitzpatrick had been drinking heavily. I mentioned this in my post a couple of weeks ago, and accepted the possibility that this man was ‘our’ Fitzpatrick, even though he was said to be a farmer and there were other details in the police record that didn’t match ‘our’ Alexander Fitzpatrick, such as that he was single and had dark hair.
However, reasonable doubts remain; the cheques, for amounts of only one or two pounds were drawn on the bank at Orbost, which is a very long way from where Fitzpatrick was thought to be living, in Melbourne, in 1894. Adding to the doubts, Stuart Dawson made the surprising discovery that in 1891 an actual farmer named Alexander Fitzpatrick was approved for a lease of land at Murrungower, a few km further east from Orbost. As yet, no link has been found between ‘our’ Fitzpatrick and Murrungower, so perhaps he is in the clear after all? However, newspaper reports of this case, and even the Police Gazette mention of it, link this man with the Kelly outbreak. So, does that settle it?
Well no, not quite.
Dawson reported in a comment to this Blog the other day that Fitzpatrick told Cookson (p. 94), about a number of cases of mistaken identity: “A man was arrested for drunkenness or some other minor offence at Korong Vale, in the Bendigo district, and he said he was ex-Constable Fitzpatrick. A Bendigo newspaper printed a paragraph, reflecting on my character, and I issued a writ for £1,000 damages. My legal advisers, however, said that I would have to show that I suffered some loss in consequence … before I could succeed, and reluctantly I had to abandon the action. Every now and again, for years afterwards, I had to stand up and defend myself against unjust accusations”. So, we know that identity mix-ups DID happen, and thus it’s possible that the newspaper reports and even the Police gazette got it wrong this time too, mislabelling the farmer from Murrungower as the former policeman from the Kelly outbreak.
Yesterday, I came across yet another intriguing twist in the tale : a post to Facebook that urges caution in the rush to judgement with news that there were two other police constables from that time called Fitzpatrick! One was Patrick and the other Charles! More opportunities for confusion and misidentification!
Lastly, we come to the prison photos of Fitzpatrick. In his recent book, Morrissey confidently dismisses the idea that the man sent to gaol was ‘our’ Fitzpatrick and says that the prison photos of the ‘farmer’ look nothing like ‘our Fitzpatrick’ – but others swear the opposite, saying it was definitely him. As we all should know, it’s easy to get it wrong – to anyone claiming certainty in their identification of the Police photo, I have two words: Gentleman Ned! Who wants to be reminded how the foremost Kelly biographer and all round expert on Kelly matters Ian Jones went way out on a limb and declared his absolute certainty that the photo named Gentleman Ned was undeniably Ned Kelly, at the same time lampooning the doubters – only to be proved wrong! The man who had spent thousands on the photo at auction, relying on Jones assertions got his money back.
In the end though, the reality is this – even if he was an alcoholic in later life, and even if he did go to gaol for cheque fraud, these incidents cannot be used against Fitzpatrick’s unblemished record from years earlier as a young Policeman, to claim they prove that all the innuendo and lies that were spread about him back then must be true after all. The claims against him need to be justified by evidence from the same time, not by ‘evidence’ dragged back from the future.
The most likely reality, if these charges against him being an alcoholic and a petty fraudster in later life were proven to be true, is that they were a result of the outbreak, not a cause of it. There is ample evidence in modern society of the way in which the traumas of police and armed forces service can give rise to the disabling psychological injury now called PTSD. Enormous energy is now given to supporting men and women with PTSD because of the high risk that it leads to alcohol and drug abuse, marital breakdown, depression and suicide. Its entirely possible that after his harsh treatment in the police and what he regarded as unfair and summary dismissal, Fitzpatrick suffered with PTSD, and struggled to maintain his equilibrium.
To continue to abuse and vilify the memory of a man likely to have been suffering PTSD would be contemptible – but then, look at how the Kelly apologists have been talking over the weekend about Kelly gang murder victim Michael Kennedy and his great grandson, the newest Kelly author Leo : contemptible! But of course, bullying abuse, lying and vilification was the stock-in-trade of their criminal hero Ned Kelly, so why wouldn’t they follow his example?
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37 Replies to “Fitzpatrick Realty Check, and PTSD.”
There are further problems with trying to identify the farmer Fitzpatrick who was gaoled for passing valueless cheques, with ex-constable Fitzpatrick. The Geelong Advertiser, 23 November 1880, 2, reported, "We learn from the O. and M. Advertiser that ex-Constable Fitzpatrick – who, it will be remembered, was nearly murdered by Mrs Kelly and her son, the recently executed bushranger, at Greta, when on a visit to their domicile, with the object of securing Kelly's arrest on a charge of horsestealing, and who was subsequently dismissed from the force for inattention to his duties, and failed to secure reinstatement – is now engaged as a carter on the Lancefield railway works." This is supported by an article in The Armidale Express and New England General Advertiser, [NSW] 31 December 1880, 3, which reports, "Ex-constable Fitzpatrick, whom Ned Kelly blamed mainly for his being a transgressor of the law, is now a carter on the Lancefield (Victoria) railway works."
So if ex-constable Fitzpatrick was working in Lancefield as a carter in November-December 1880, he is not at all likely to be the same Fitzpatrick mentioned in the Bairnsdale Advertiser and Tambo and Omeo Chronicle, Tues 20 January 1891, p. 3, under "Gazette Notifications. Applications for Leases, under Section No. 2, Land Act 1890, Approved. – …. Alexander Fitzpatrick, 228a, Murrungower." Murrungowar is some 40 m north-easy of Orbost, where the valueless cheques were drawn by the man charged as Fitzpatrick, "farmer", in 1894.
The onus is clearly on anyone who wants to say against all logic and the above evidence, that the farmer is the same man as the ex-constable, to dig out the land record and prove it; or dig out the court records and prove that a link exists.
The ex-Constable became a commercial traveller (salesman) living in Hawthorn, as Corfield states, not a failed farmer living way out past Orbost. I used to think from lack of further research that they were the same man, but the dates of all this don't correlate at all. They are clearly two different men. Likewise, the extract from the 1894 Police Gazette I was sent, that shows the police were looking for ex-constable Fitzpatrick on 18 June, simply shows that this is who they thought they were looking for at that point; the well-known ex-constable; but the man who actually ended up in court and was sentenced for passing valueless cheques turned out to be farmer Alexander Fitzpatrick, a different man only two years different in age, with different scarring, etc., as noted in my comments under the Morrissey book post of last week. While farmer Fitzpatrick was slurping his porridge in gaol, ex-constable Fitzpatrick was out and about flogging encyclopaedias or kitchenware or something, while putting up with all sorts of idiotic slurs against his name. The fact that he consulted a lawyer about suing a paper for libel over a published misidentification (see the Cookson interview for details) also counts in his favour.
Why do you give opinions on things and then make out your opinions are facts, when really you don't know for sure? Fitzpatrick proving to be a drunk in his later years does not mean that he wasn't a drunk in his police years either, just because there is no proof. He wasn't kicked out of the police force for nothing.
In 1930 someone named Thomas Andrew Fitzpatrick claimed that he was
THE Constable Fitzpatrick that was in the Kelly hunt. Since this was
after the real Fitzpatrick's death in 1924, others who claim to have
known the real Fitzpatrick wrote in to newspapers with all sorts of "proof." One was a
schoolmate who said that they called Alexander Fitzpatrick "Snowey" at
school because he was so fair haired and fair skinned. Another said
that he knew of him working at certain places up until around 1893
when he had later heard that Fitzpatrick had gone to Alaska as part of
the Yukon gold rush there and that he had made his fortune and
returned to Australia.
"Mr. Alfred Falkingham says that
he knew Fitzpatrick from the time
when he left the force until he died.
'Nearly 48 years ago," he says.
"Fitzpatrick was given employment
on the rail construction between Caulfield
and Mordialloc. He was guard
on the ballast train there and at
Whittlesea aqueduct for eight years.
He was on a station near Cranbourne
till about 1893, when he joined the
gold rush to Klondyke. There he had
a lucky strike, and came back early
in the century & comparatively
wealthy man. He died in May, 1924."
No mention of farming. Not sure about the gold rush, but many
Australians did head that way but that rush did not start until around
Also saw where Anna F. Fitzpatrick had been made Deputy Registar of
Births and Deaths at Frankston in 1886 and that Anna F. Fitzpatrick
around 1900 was the first telegraph operator in the new post
office/telegraph building in Frankston. Susannah Savage had been
running the old one for many years according to a website after her
husband moved to Fitzroy. So, is this Fitzpatrick's wife (who was
Susannah's daughter) or is it quite the coincidence? Were the
Fitzpatricks living in the area during those time frames?
I also found this interesting article regarding Fitzpatrick and drinking from 1883.
"Alexander Fitzpatrick, whose name as a
constable during the Kelly scare was more than
once before the public, sued Thomas Melbourne,
the landlord of the Union hotel, for
the recovery of a certain quantity of luggage.
Fitzpatrick stated that since he left the police
force he had been at different jobs, hie last
position being timekeeper on the Mirboo line.
The contractor, he added, owed him money.
Mr Melbourne, deposed that the complainant
owed him £6. or £7. His bill however,
showed that a large number of drinks were
included, and the bench ordered the luggage
to be restored."
I agree he wasn't kicked out for nothing but we DO KNOW what he was kicked out for, and it wasn't anything to do with being a drunk. Thats not my opinion – those ARE the facts. But you are correct that proving him to have been a drunk in his later years – which, by the way hasnt been done yet – 'does not mean that he wasn't a drunk in his police years ' Thats true but neither does it mean that he was. So, if you want to prove that he was a drunk in his earlier years you will have to provide evidence from those earlier years. So far Ive seen none and Ive been waiting for the likes of Bird and Crichton to post some – those two and the rest of that mob are the ones whose opinions – based on gossip – are being promoted as fact. Are you going to be brave enough to go there and have a go at them?
Hi Anonymous, not sure if your comment is for me or Dee, but assuming it is a reply to mine, my views are based on facts as best they are known at the time they are formed. When new facts come to light, and are given due consideration and assessment, then my views must change accordingly. In other words I personally couldn't care less if Fitzpatrick was good, bad or indifferent. But since there has been some discussion of the question as to whether he was gaoled in 1894 for passing dodgy cheques, it seems sensible to examine the evidence that has emerged either way and see if there is enough to support a conclusion.
Before this was recently re-examined, I had thought the evidence enough to accept that it was the same man, i.e. that ex-constable Fitzpatrick was gaoled in 1894 for passing dud cheques. Doug Morrissey's new book challenged that by asserting that it was a different man also named Alexander Fitzpatrick. This caused me to re-examine the evidence that had been put forward, and to search for new relevant evidence. This showed that there was a farmer Fitzpatrick who passed dodgy cheques, and an ex-constable who worked as a travelling salesman. The question is whether these might actually be the same man or not.
It is not a matter of my opinion, but of what the evidence shows, the same as any other historical investigation. Now that this additional evidence has been produced, it seems clear that there were two different Alexander Fitzpatricks, one who was gaoled, and one who wasn't. And again, all this 1894 stuff is irrelevant to the question of whether his testimony about the April 1878 incident stacks up, which is the only point of interest in regards to the Kelly outbreak from my end. As to whether he was a heavy drinker or not, I leave that to others. But as farmer Fitzpatrick appears now to be a different man to the ex-constable, it is farmer Fitzpatrick who the newspaper references to being "fond of the flowing bowl" must apply to, not necessarily the ex-constable as well – but Dee was discussing that, not me.
And yes, the ex-constable wasn't kicked out of the police for nothing; he was kicked out for gross insubordination as his police files show. But unlike Corfield and others' error, he wasn't kicked out for drunkenness and perjury! That is simply unhistorical fiction.
More fun and games! Dee’s deceased notice above has Fitzpatrick dying at his home, “Mount’s Bay”, in Liddiard Street, Glenferrie.
Back in November 1889, “Mount’s Bay” in Liddiard Street was owned by the Rodda family – see ‘Marriages’, Argus, Sat 2 November 1889, p. 1, https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/8567822
Mount’s Bay Villa, Liddiard St. Glenferrie, was advertised for sale in the Age, Sat 29 March 1890, p. 7, https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/197016585
If ex-constable Fitzpatrick and family bought the house then, he is absolutely certain not to be the farmer Alexander Fitzpatrick who applied for was granted a land lease east of Orbost in January 1891 and who was subsequently gaoled for fraud in 1894 after passing valueless cheques drawn on the Orbost bank.
Great finds Sharon!
My view is that a reporter or editor assumed Alexander Fitzpatrick the farmer was ex-constable Fitzpatrick. In those days news was distributed by telegraph, which was why the mistake was repeated by several different newspapers. But The Argus of 19 July 1894 did not repeat the mistaken identity in a report of the sentencing. There is no conclusive proof either way so far, but it is looking increasingly likely the man passing bad cheques was not the ex-constable.
Hiya Shaz –
I swooped on that article when I first came across it RE: Fitzpatricks mates talking about him – a beaut indeed. However, if Fitz did end up going he didn’t stay long…. just a theory I have.
When I (phone) interviewed a family member they confirmed about his Gold seeking adventures. BUT, as I said I have doubts on his success. When the Fitzpatrick’s lived at 11 Oxley Street they were renting from the early 1900's – so did he strike big? Perhaps he did & somehow lost it between his return & F/ston.
On another note when Fitzy died he left a small fortune to his wife Anna – food for thought.
Stuart – good to see we can move on from Farmer fitzp 😉
The Cancelled Title for Fitzpatrick's property (described as part of Crown Portion 67, Parish of Glenferrie) shows he and his wife Anna purchased the property on 6 May 1911. Alexander died at the property on 8 May 1924, which was then sold by Anna on 13 August 1924. The property (then known as 68 Liddiard Street) was subdivided and redeveloped many years later (i.e. the original house is no longer there).
The Title shows that prior to his purchase of the Liddiard Street property, Alexander lived at 11 Oxley Road, Hawthorn. He is described on the Title as a Commercial Traveller. (11 Oxley Road is now a commercial property).
Why would former constable Fitzpatrick have had an account at the Colonial Bank in Orbost – closed – which is why the cheques bounced. The guy who went to jail, who had DARK hair, who lived in the Orbost area, obviously wasn't the former constable. Obvious!
Hi Peter, that's great sorting out the property dates. The Fitzpatricks must have got a reasonable amount of money together as the house was described in the 1890 sale ad as "Handsome four roomed brick villa, new, bath, pantry, dresser, copper and troughs."
The Leo Kennedy 'Black Snake' book's description of Stringybark Creek is a vivid description of the heartless, wilful murder of his Great Grandfather. It's revolting stuff. The police didn't get off a single shot until Sgt. Kennedy got out his revolver. By then two policemen had been killed.
The remaining handful of Kelly cop-haters are already rubbishing the book, which they haven't read, and its author.
They can all be safely ignored. Buy it!
So far all the Fitzpatrick furphies have bitten the dust. He didn't molest Kate Kelly; was shot in the wrist by Ned; had the support of Lancefield people; wasn't a drunk; didn't die from cirrhosis of the liver – and most likely was not the dud cheque thief… etc., etc.
Alf says he wants to go to the Crighton anti-Fitzpatrick lecture next year to nip at a few heels.
I'm not so sure. Alan and Marita seem to be a bunch of Duds.
ps: When are the Kelly descendants going to apologise?
Thank you for your replies to my earlier statement re opinions and facts.
Hi again Peter, is thee any simple way of checking out the property title mentioned in the Bairnsdale Advertiser and Tambo and Omeo Chronicle, Tues 20 January 1891, p. 3, under "Gazette Notifications. Applications for Leases, under Section No. 2, Land Act 1890, Approved. – …. Alexander Fitzpatrick, 228a, Murrungower." (Murrungowar is some 40 m north-easy of Orbost.) If there is , it might show details about that Alexander Fitzpatrick, such as his prior address, occupation, spouse, or some other definite identifying characteristics.
Good on you Mr T, I am getting it from Booktopia for $26.25 a bargain discount
This may be a red herring, but looking under Trove for "Alexander
Fitzpatrick" and "Obost" there was an article in an 1891 paper in
Obost that had someone named Alexander Fitzpatrick having a visitor
and saying that he (AF) sometimes goes as long as 13 days without
seeing another human being (making him single it would seem). Says he
had started clearing his 60 acres 16 months previously. There is
nothing about his age, so we can't be sure if he is the later prisoner
A. Fitzpatrick, but I found it interesting that someone of the same
name was living in the general area then. If it was him what could
cause him to leave the area, close his bank account, and head to
Melbourne? Just something to throw into the mix.
Wrong again Mr T. I am one of the people you have criticised for rubbishing the book.I did no such thing and totally refute your statement.I am looking forward to Leos book to see what he has to say.He has the absolute fortitude to publish a book on his family and good on him and wish him success.I am related to the Kellys and and have no qualms on this book being written at all.So Mr T stop tarring all of us with the same brush because you are totally wrong.
Anonymous99 I dont quite understand how it is that you know Mr T was criticising you, because he said the people criticising it were 'the remaining handful of Kelly cop haters'. Is that what you are? A 'kelly cop hater'? I hope once Ive had a chance to read the book and post a review of it that you will return and tell us what you think one you've had the chance to read it as well. Your views will b most welcome, cop-hating or not.
Hi Sharon, that further confirms that an Alexander Fitzpatrick was farming out past Orbost, which correlates with what we already had about him leasing land at Murrungowar. What we still don't have is certainty that this is the same man as the ex-constable, but only some newspaper mentions linking the ex-constable with the farmer Alexander Fitzpatrick who was gaoled for passing dud cheques. That may be correct, or it may be gossip and speculation. Some things that might turn up and solve it are (1), the title or other info about the Murrungowar lease; (2) charge sheets or court records from the gaoled Fitzpatrick case with positive identification details; or (3) more info about Fitzpatrick's movements between 1889 and 1895. It seems that without something definite to refute the possibility of two Fitzpatricks (based on discrepancies in the prison record and some newspaper extracts concerning farmer Fitzpatrick – sorry Joey) then it is still open… And when one considers how much extraordinary speculation has been created around the Kelly story – such as the disproven Republic nonsense – it doesn't hurt to keep an open mind on this until certain proof emerges…
It is written …
178 VICTORIA POLICE GAZETTE JUNE 20, 1894
Alexander Fitzpatrick is charged, on warrant with obtaining 1 16s. by means of a values cheque from Hannah Ryan, licensee Saracen’s head hotel, Bourke Street Melbourne, on the 20th ult. Description – Ex Constable about 45 years of age, 5 feet 10 inches high, medium build, dark complexion, dark moustache, and black boxer hat. Supposed to be about Melbourne
0.5280 18th June, 1894
Checked Alex’s (2867) service file VPM:
Height: 5’ 91/2 inches
Age: 38 (1894)
I guess the key here is “Ex-constable” your thoughts?
I just noticed it's very appropriate that this blog page is titled "Fitzpatrick Realty Check" as we are discussing his realty… Was that a deliberate pun or a typo, Dee?
Trying again as the first one did not seem to go through…
One slight correction, in the previous article about FitzP and Orbost it seems that after the author left Mr Fitzpatrick's homestead he went on to someone else's place who said they had not seen another person in quite a while. Thanks to Stuart for pointing this out to me in a recent conversation. We both agree that the way the author wrote was a bit jumbled and confusing. Still, it sounds like the Mr Fitzpatrick near Orbost was alone with just his dogs, too.
Hi Joey, no question that that is who they were looking for on 18 June; but is that who they ended up hauling in? There is a possibility that they went and said "hullo, hullo" to the ex-constable, established that it wasn't him, then went off and hauled in the failed farmer Alexander Fitzpatrick who was subsequently gaoled for dud cheques. There has been much past enthusiastic discussion pro and con comparing the details of ex-constable Fitzpatrick from his Record of Service with the details on Prisoner Fitzpatrick's prison record. 4 things match but 5 don't – I posted the similarities and discrepancies on Dee's last week's blog. So is it the same dude? Maybe it is, and my revised opinion of differences based on the discrepancies is wrong; and maybe is isn't and there were two Alexander Fitzpatricks, meaning my revised opinion is right…. As before, I don't care either way, but it still hasn't been resolved with certainty. Hopefully some compelling evidence will turn up to settle it beyond doubt, maybe from one of the sources suggested in my post immediately above this post of yours?
Hi again Joe, I have been advised that in the index to the 1894 Police Gazette there are two page references for "Fitzpatrick, Alexander, false pretences, 178, 185". You have quoted from p. 178 by the look of the start of the heading of your quote. Do you know what is on page 185? The person who emailed me a scan of the F part of the index doesn't have the Gazette itself, but was able to access the index somewhere. Maybe there is something else relevant on p. 185?
Oh well spotted Stuart!
I would love to say the pun was intended….but no, its a typo – but I am leaving it like that becasue as you say its quite appropriate!
I am still laughing!
In the index fo the Victoria Police Gazette 1895 online here http://www.unlockthepast.com.au/sites/default/files/samples/AU7103-1895s.pdf it lists in the index of "Prisoners discharged in the quarter ending June 1895", "Fitzpatrick, Alex., 8th June". Unfortunately the online index is an ad for a CD of the 1895 Gazette, and does not include the pages listing descriptions of each discharged prisoner. If anyone has access to this, it may be worthwhile comparing the physical description upon discharge with the description in the actual prison record, to see if it adds or varies anything.
Horrie and Alf (if you really exist and not a made up imagination of Dee). The Kelly descendants have absolutely no reason to apologise. But maybe you do for stealing oxygen.
Thanks to the finds of Sharon, we know ex-constable Fitzpatrick, known as "Snowey" at school because he was so fair haired and fair skinned (as shown also in the carte-de-visite photo of him as a constable), was NOT the dark-haired, dark complexioned, dark mustached prisoner Fitzpatrick who passed the dud cheques.
Stuart and Sharon have shown that there was a farmer Alexander Fitzpatrick near Orbost who was definitely not ex-constable Fitzpatrick. This was the man who presented the Colonial Bank at Orbost dud cheques, who did time.
Unless there is conclusive evidence to the contrary – it is Case Closed!
Hi Ian, I must confess that a couple of years ago I took a couple of leads, including a sheet of news clippings from the Old Melbourne Gaol that linked ex-Constable Fitzpatrick with Prisoner Fitzpatrick, and found further news articles supporting the view that they referred to one and the same man, therefore contributing to the growth of that belief. Around 2016 I sent my expanded list of news articles to the OMG, as further corroboration of their case that the ex-constable was the man that was gaoled. That was about the time that there was a lot of discussion here about whether the prison record could physically be the same man, despite several discrepancies. So I contributed to that identification, as that was what several newspaper articles of the day said. As we have seen, there are over a dozen articles that say the man charged with passing dud cheques was the ex-constable, and he is also listed as such in the Police Gazette. However, the past couple of weeks of re-investigation seem to have established the strong possibility – indeed, almost certainty – that ex-constable Fitzpatrick and prisoner Fitzpatrick are two different men, the prisoner being a farmer. As was mentioned in another post above, it seems likely that it was a case of mistaken identity in the press based on the name alone. But I agree with you that the onus now falls on anyone who wants to say that the ex-constable was gaoled for dud cheques, to prove that the farmer out past Orbost was actually the ex-constable gone off alone to start a farming venture with no background in it; without his family and wife that he stayed married to until death; and with significant discrepancies between the prison record and the description in the ex-constable's police record. Plus there are couple of newspaper articles that specify the dud cheque passer as a farmer, as well as the other points put forward here in the past three days. In addition, we know that Prisoner Fitzpatrick was transferred to Castlemaine Gaol after his first 3 weeks or so in the Melbourne Gaol, so he spent nearly a year in Castlemaine nick. It seems inconceivable that he would not be recognised or known in Castlemaine Gaol if he was in fact the ex-constable; or that his existence could remain a total secret for most of a year, never once being mentioned in any north-east regional newspaper, nor being written up in the press upon the prisoner's release. For these several reasons, based solely on the accumulated evidence to date, I have swung around to thinking that there were indeed two different Alexander Fitzpatricks; and as Ian says, unless conclusive evidence can be produced to the contrary the ex-constable must be exonerated of the accusation of having been imprisoned for passing valueless cheques, and that belief put down to more incorrect Kelly myth.
Leo Kennedy and his new Kelly book 'Black Snake' are turning up everywhere on commercial TV programs and ABC regional radio. His credentials as great grandson of murdered Sgt Michael Kennedy are impeccable. Sock it to them Michael!
It is all so confusing, we may never get to the bottom of things, but it is fun to research and discuss things despite the incessant mocking from the peanut gallery (probably including this statement…sigh!).
One article said he was a 36 year old farmer, which would jibe with the prison record date of birth (1858) and another article (the flowing bowl one) says that ex-constable Fitzpatrick had been a former resident of the Orbost area and that the bank manager was on his way to Melbourne to give evidence. Too bad we don't have those court records.
Also, Joe, I see where you are doing research into Fitzpatrick's father and family. Do you have anything on the brother(s) who were mentioned in one of the articles linked earlier? One was said to be a retired senior-constable from Brunswick and the other was living in Heyfield, Gippsland at the time. See in Corfield that one brother was named Charles (named after their father) and trove shows that he retired from the police force in 1907 after a 30 year career. That would have put him and Alexander as joining the force in the same year (1877). The other brothers Corfield listed were John, whom he said had died at Heyfield, and Samuel. Corfield must have missed the other brother, Robert, you had mentioned over at fitzy's fb page. Does Corfield have the proper family info listed overall? No worries if you want to hold off and save any information for you own site or future book.
I have just discovered this blog and have skimmed through a few pages to gain an insight into the general feel of it.
Having been brought up on the "old" stories of the Kelly gang, I am quite amazed at the new telling of matters – am I now lead to understand – no sarcasm intended – that Fitzpatrick was "almost an angel" or at least innocent of most things that legend claims he did and that Edward "Ned" Kelly was just a police killing, horse thief and all around "murdering bastard"? I would appreciate some comments to help me here please.
Hi Eagle One, I am an occasional contributor to this blog, but have contributed quite a bit on Fitzpatrick and a couple of other specific topics. I have written four academic articles on Kelly topics, all in plain English but with plenty of source references, so anyone can check any part of them. If you are interested in this, just google the following short titles, and you will be able to download the PDFs free of charge. Google as follows and without the inverted commas: "redeeming Fitzpatrick"; "ned kelly's last words dawson"; "ned kelly's shooting of George Metcalf dawson"; and "ned Kelly and the myth of a republic of north-eastern Victoria". All good, controversial stuff. P.S I did not argue that Fitzpatrick was an angel, just that his testimony over the "Fitzpatrick Incident" adds up, can be independently corroborated, and therefore vindicated. Regards, Stuart
Eagle One you have placed quotation marks around "almost an Angel" and " murdering bastard". I am just wondering who you're quoting there. I dont recall anyone making such claims about either person on this Blog.
Its an old debating trick that youre implying here to create a 'straw man' who is easy to knock down, a standard technique of Kelly apologists who for years have been playing the same trick on the Australian public with their disingenuous question "Ned Kelly, Hero or Villain?" Its easy enough to establish that not everything about Ned Kelly was villainous ( he rescued Richard Shelton, for example) and then from there its a short hop to accepting that he must therefore have been a hero!
But can you please point out where those quotes came from?
I do apologise – those quotation marks were merely to imply a colloquial or implied phrase and they are in fact my terms in quotes. I assure you my interest is genuine and quite innocent – I am not a Kelly apologist but was honestly born in an era when we were told and taught a history based on a hero kelly vs corrupt police. I more recent evidence has come to light since my youth then I am interested. My Grandfather for instance knew of the man in Ipswich Queensland (Ryan I think) who claimed to have been the survived Dan Kelly which I know this blog definitely disagrees with.
Hi again Eagle One, that's fantastic that you had someone in the family that actually met the man who claimed to be Dan Kelly. I think there was more than one such man, but the one you are talking about from Queensland is probably the most famous. There was one in South Africa too. You can still find people who sear black and blue that Dan and Steve Hart escaped from the inn at Glenrowan; some of them are mentioned in Eugenie Navarre's Kelly book (hmmm), but it is total nonsense as the place was well surrounded when the last of the prisoners were released around 10am on the Monday morning, and Dan and Steve were definitely still in the Inn as the prisoners corroborated. The Inn remained surrounded until it was fired at about 3pm, and it burned down completely. The heat warped and twisted the roofing iron, as the photos show. Anyone hiding in a claimed cellar would have been without oxygen under the fire; and spectators moved in after the bodies were got out and it cooled off, hunting for souvenirs. People continued to fossick through the burnt debris, again souveniring anything they could find, as was well reported in the papers. Any cellar would have been pulled open too, but there was nothing reported despite the intense interest of the papers in the wreckage and scouring. So yes, no chance whatsoever of Dan and Steve escaping, but the Queensland guy probably got lots of free meals and beers for his story telling over the years. It's a bit like the Kelly republic myth – people just can't get enough of well-told nonsense… (Now I'll be in trouble again for self-promoting. What a cheek, celebrating pulling down 50 years of delusional garbage…)