Exhibit Two: PC4 where are you?

The KTG case is that things that can be seen in the Burman photos from 1878 can be seen at Stringybark  Creek in 2019. But when it comes to the tree they’ve called the Starburst tree, or PC4, they are seeing things in the photos that nobody else can see. Thats why in the two images they post of it in their Report, they have had to colour it in so you can see what they’re talking about. On page 2 of their report PC4 is beige (reproduced above, with the same view without markings beside it for comparison) and on page 10 its red, ( shown below with two white text boxes added by me). Remarkably – given the fuzzy nature of the images – they have identified the genus and species as Eucalyptus viminalis and in both images they’ve drawn a trunk extending straight up from ground level past the first major branch which projects towards the right. They say that the canopy of this tree ‘bends back towards the west and opens up creating a starburst effect’ but the trunk, lower down is ‘obscured by pixelated shrubbery’ or in other words cannot be seen. So, instead of drawing what is actually seen in the photo, which is glimpses of a possible PC4 trunk much higher up – which would be consistent with the usual understanding of this scene, that there is a slope there, and PC4 is a tree that emerges near the top of the slope – they’ve drawn it going right down because they think the slope is a bush. This is really poor practise, and bad science, to draw into a photo the evidence that you want it to show:



The tree that the KTG have picked out at SBC is surprisingly different to the tree they’ve drawn in red and beige on the Burman photos. I think they must have picked it because it fitted in where they needed a tree to be, and it was old enough. But it doesnt seem to qualify in any other way. In the photo above Ive drawn attention to the fact that the KTG have drawn the trunk that starts on the ground close to the man, continuing straight up past the first branch. However, the actual tree at SBC , the Starburst tree the KTG say is the same tree, doesnt continue on straight up after the first branch but has  an extreme bend at that level. This is Jim Fogarty’s photo of it , taken from the same direction as the Burman photo:


According to Jim Fogarty the radical bend must have been the result of damage ‘in its formative years, possibly by strong winds’. But according to Jim  this tree was almost 100 years old in 1878  – is a 100 year old tree still in its formative years? yet according to Jim it was after this that the trunk was bent sideways – does that even happen? Can strong wind bend the trunk many meters above ground? Snap the trunk in two maybe but bend it? 

The point is that the Starburst tree looks nothing like the tree they’ve drawn on the Burman photos so I wonder how they can be so sure that the 1878 PC4 and the 2019 Starburst tree are the same tree? They are not at all alike. 

But there is another claim they make about PC4 which is equally hard to understand : the KTG believe that PC4 is not standing there right beside PC1  as it appears in the photos and in their own diagram, but is over SEVENTY yards away to the south. If you look at the next photo (below) , notice that  branches they say belong to PC4 in the canopy above the man are of almost identical calibre to branches of an adjacent tree , the one with the whitest trunk on the left which is clearly only a few yards from the man. How on earth have they managed to convince themselves that in a photo of  two trees 70 yards apart, the branches just happen to be the same size? 


Now lets look at the ‘fences’ and the area that the KTG say isn’t a slope but a photographic illusion they’ve called a ‘pixelated buffer’  made of Cassinia aculeata. Here again in close up is the unaltered region of that photo:



Have a good look at another close-up image of that area (below)  this time taken from the other Burman photo: its the same area that PC4 is supposed to be, but viewed from a slightly different angle. Again, no trunk visible anywhere – perhaps the KTG can draw it in for us ?



IN fact this close up doesn’t only confirm the absence of a trunk of PC4 descending in front of the ‘post-and-rail’ fences, it also very clearly shows the slope, and exposes the true nature of what have been misinterpreted as post-and-rail fences.. Trees of various sizes are seen receding up the slope, their trunks decreasing in size the further back up the slope they are. Also clearly seen are the scattered bits and pieces of bush debris that litter the slope, and  the so-called post-and-rail fences are seen to be  random saplings that have fallen sideways onto the slope, with what appeared to be the posts of the fence in fact being upright saplings that extend well up above the ‘rails’. Ive taken a leaf  – pardon the pun – out of the KTG book and coloured-in this same image to show what I mean : the green coloured elements are the vertical trunks of trees and saplings, that appear higher and higher up the slope the further back they are, and the yellow elements are the fallen branches, saplings and general forest debris lying on the slope. Toggle back and forth between these two images to see if you agree:


SUMMMARY : The case for the Starburst tree is just like the case for the Teapot tree : deeply flawed. The KTG claim there is a tree trunk in the Burman photos which nobody else can see, and they have nominated a tree that  doesnt look anything like their own drawing of how they think it looked in 1878. The baffling suggestion that this tree is over 70 yards away from the site doesnt accord with what is seen in the photographs, which show the foliage they say belongs to PC4 is indistinguishable from foliage of other trees which are clearly right beside the camp.This analysis of the site  adjacent to PC4 also suggests that what appear to some eyes to be fences, are in fact fallen saplings intersected by innumerable vertical trunks of slender trees and saplings, and confirms the reasons why for decades people have believed that immediately behind the police campsite there is a steep slope, rather than a massive shrub.

CONCLUSION : The idea that the Starburst tree is seen in the Burman photos has very little if anything going for it. There IS a slope, and there are no post-and-rail fences.



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50 Replies to “Exhibit Two: PC4 where are you?”

  1. Hi David, colouring the vertical trees green makes it quite obvious that there is a slope rising back from the clearing. So whatever else might be argued, this is compelling visual evidence for that. As you said, toggling between the two photos – before and after your green colourisation – makes the point certain. There is no deception, and the photo is clear enough to establish beyond doubt what looks pretty clear at first glance – the ground rises back from the clearing. Why this was ever questioned in the first place is beyond me.

    1. Thanks Stuart. Its good to hear from somebody who hasn’t been involved in the debates about SBC , offering an opinion on the photos.

      Its interesting to think about what the process was that was going on in the minds of the KTG members when they were working up their case : was it a kind of group-think that had them all agreeing with one another that they were seeing things everyone else had missed? I think that might be a big part of the explanation of how they ended up where they have : perhaps the best illustration of that is in their suggestion they can possibly see a hut in one part of the photograph: if you’ve not downloaded their reports you wont have seen this but I will make it part of a post to this Blog in the next few days.

      1. Hi again David, there seem to be different versions of Burman photos being talked about. One is apparently labelled No. 1, another is called No. 2, then there are people talking about B&W vs sepia photos. Looking in Google images, there don’t seem to be many uploaded photos of SBC that have a decent resolution – most are below about 400 or 500 dpi. I read someone’s reference to Ian MacFarlane’s “Kelly Gang Unmasked” pp 83-83 where the photos are discussed, and he mentioned 18 photos of scenes relating to the Kelly outrages. from the Wombat Ranges to Glenrowan. In the VPRO file VPRS 4966, Unit 2, Item 9, which can be viewed online, there is one of the photos labelled No 1 of the series, showing where the Troopers were shot. The other 17 are listed on the pack of the photo, but only that one and No 2 (the finding of Kennedy’s body) are about SBC. But that photo No 1 is in very poor condition and obviously not the one from which images posted here and elsewhere are taken. Is anyone willing to post links to where good high-resolution copies of these photos can be found?

  2. Bill Denheld says: Reply

    Hello Stuart,
    The original glass plate Burman photos may still exist, but my search ended in the UK at the Captain Cook museum collection where nobody knew what I was on about. This was because of a ref in Kieth McMenomys books to the source of the images- Burman 1 and 2. Another lead was the name of a person that led nowhere.
    Its possible the police defense at Ned’s trial had large contact prints of the Burman photos, but it was Ned lawyer William Gaunson that produced a ‘post card’ version of N01 Wombat Ranges where the troopers were shot, and a note later attached by the magistrate saying about the photo ““ Doubts as to the accuracy of the scene (leading to reconstructions) perhaps been stimulated by a sense that this is a fairly unusual piece of evidence to Introduce”.
    Yet from McIntyre, we can read the Burman photos were presented, as FC Burman signed an affidavit to that affect and that McIntyre swore –“Both photos were taken from the direction of the bottom left hand corner” of McIntyre’s map.

    With this statement Ned Kelly had been gazumped with no convincing argument or chance in court to use the postcard to show from where the four men came, as from the centre left in the photo, BUT McIntyre had stated –“Both photos were taken from the direction of the bottom left hand corner” of his map which meant the Burman photos were accepted as looking North East instead of Ned’s south. That in itself shows that Ned was given a raw deal and not given the chance the explain- which he did say to the magistrate.

    The higher definition copies of the Burman photos are in McMenony’s books until the original glass plates are found.

    For that reason alone I attach a 800 pixel scan from MY book page showing each raster dot- and that there is no post & rail fence in the Burman photo.


    1. Hi Bill, many thanks for that. I have just been enjoying your video presentation about the post and rail fence (or lack thereof) which our American friend sent me the URL to. I’ll leave it to you to post that link if you choose to. Two things stand out:

      First, your video demonstration of the effect of changes in image due to pixelization and rasta during photo size reduction, and the way the pixel lines change orientation to affect the impression of horizontality in the image, is compelling. The fence claim is clearly not supported by the McMemony higher-res photo you present and discuss in the video.

      Second, if there was to be a post and rail fence there, there must be a slope behind the clearing, or the fence would be up in the air somehow! The fence claim cancels out that “no slope” claim. As far as I can see the claims are mutually exclusive and have not been thought through.
      It’s a great video explanation and photo demonstration which anyone interested in this topic should see. It’s amazing what is claimed about photos that have been altered in any way.

      I remember incidentally how preciously secretive the Kelly Vault were and still are about the enhanced “woodcutters” photo which the Vault still refuses to let anyone take a photo of in it’s cutsie little display box. And they are profoundly dishonest in not showing a full poster-size view of the enhanced restored photo in the Vault, obviously because it never shows what they try to claim it as, a photo of Ned Kelly as a timber cutter. The good professor from RMIT claimed no more than an 80% likelihood of it’s being Ned, but we know that it wasn’t because of the Christie’s Catalogue provenance comments that the Vault deceptively do not acknowledge ever existed. Plus, the promised publication of the professor’s findings for review by interested persons never happened. That’s not doing history. That’s having a Secret Seven Club like primary school kids.

      Also, the Vault has at least 6 information posters that continue to present total horseshit about the Kelly republic myth as though there was anything to support it, a year and a half after that fictional nonsense was blown out of the water. They are too gutless to even acknowledge the existence of my free “Ned Kelly and the myth of a republic of north-eastern Victoria” book that blew that away forever. They keep spewing that 1960s nonsense to thousands of visitors a year, and repeating in in their Tourist Centre Kelly walking tours. I was there recently and did the whole thing, and was amazed at just how stupid these people are recycling that utter crap to innocent tourists. They spread Kelly myth horse shit thicker than mosquitos in a wet spring which would bog a duck up to its neck in the maroo…

  3. Stuart, judging by your remark you have a limited published knowledge regarding the provenance of the “alleged” Ned Kelly photo at the Vault (referring only to Christie’s Catalogue), and you are obviously frustrated by its presentation. However I suggest you do a bit more authentic research before you claim the “cutsie” little box is hiding something “dishonest”.
    A disappointing comment from an otherwise competent researcher!

  4. GJ: I don’t think the woodcutter photo is Ned either…

    But you have not addressed the central part of Stuart’s criticisms of the Kelly Vault. This was that the vault continues to mislead visitors about Ned’s ‘republic’ aims, and continue to foster disproven Kelly mythology.

    To make the Kelly Vault credible, these faults need to be fixed – and soon.

    Ian MacFarlane

  5. Ian, now that you have put your hand up as a doubter of the “alleged” Ned Kelly photo, I must admit I haven’t been convinced in any way that yourself, Stuart or even Bill Denheld have provided any solid or convincing argument disproving the photo’s authenticity.
    So Ian how do you side step around the facts that the “alleged” Ned Kelly photo has solid provenance, historical and scientific analysis (as per Matt Shore’s interview from The Vault) and was also owned by none other than Mrs Kelly herself. The ‘against’ team seem to base their opinions on light weight and inaccurate claims rather than factual analysis and authentic research (a criticism that is often directed by the ‘against’ team at others).
    Again I’m disappointed with the instant bias displayed here from obviously competent historians and researchers.

    1. BTW the fact that Mrs Kelly owned the photo suggests only that she knew one of the persons in it, or possibly both. The same can be said for most anyone’s collected photos from the days before digital when photos cost money to shoot and to print. Think of how many of your grandparent’s photos contained only one person in a group shot that they were related to or were friends of in some way. Some of one of my long-deceased uncle’s photos from WW2 show him in a group of soldiers; some show some of his mates without any blood relationship; some just show a mate posed somewhere and a couple show just him. Why no standard studio portrait of Ned, then? There is one of Dan Kelly, for example, and of Aaron Sherritt, and of sundry others of the day. The answer is, we’ll never know. And that’s fine.

  6. The identities of the persons in the woodcutters photo were much debated at the time. The report of the forensic analysis was never published. All there is, is an opinion that there is an 80% likelihood that one of the men in the photo is Ned Kelly. Not a certainty by any means. And the basis of that analysis remains unknown. Maybe it is Ned, maybe it isn’t. But the Christie’s Catalogue comments in the image below certainly cast serious doubt on it.

    The Kelly Vault signage states that the photo “could show Ned in March or April 1874, just weeks after his release from Pentridge… At that time, Ned was working for Messers Sanders and Rule [railway timber contractors].In November 2016 Professor Gale Spring of RMIR University forensically examined the photograph. In his expert opinion, the photograph is very likely to be Ned Kelly.” Note that it does not say 80% likely. It says “very likely”. There is a considerable difference.

    The sign then challenges the viewer to ” Look into the viewfinder and back into time. Decide for yourself. Is this the face of Ned Kelly?” Well, I’m not convinced. That’s OK, according to the Kelly Vault. Visitors don’t have to agree, do they? Based on several comparisons with photos of Ned, I don’t think it looks much like him at all. Remember all the people who rushed to say the two woodcutters were Ned and Dan? Well, it sure ain’t Dan, as the Christies Catalogue makes clear. So that’s one down. Now, is the other one Ned? There are opinions either way. and it is clearly not settled. Move on, then, and let doubt continue. I’m happy with “the photo alleged to show Ned and another man cutting wood”, the other man being unquestionably identified by his daughter. Note too that according to the Christie’s text the photo does not appear to show the men as one would expect if part of a commercial operation – the Saunders and Rule claim is also somewhat vague, and seems to be based only on Ned’s claim in the Jerilderie Letter. Maybe Ned had some quiet years; or maybe he was busy rambling around a thievin’ and a drinkin’ and a gaddin’ about.

    Anyway, as Ian pointed out, this is all a minor distraction from the issue raised here that the Kelly vault continues to mislead visitors about Ned’s ‘republic’ aims, and continues to foster disproven Kelly mythology. To which we might add its woefully misleading representations of Fitzpatrick. Both need to be fixed if cultural tourists are to get their actual money’s worth. The Courthouse also continues the nonsense in one poster about the “Chinese” armour in the Burke Museum, which is actually a Japanese Samurai suit. The Burke Museum itself continues to sell the old postcards calling it a Chinese suit of armour, even though they have been long aware that the postcard text is wrong! She’ll be right might, what’s it madder… Still, a fantastic museum there for everyone who likes the 19 Century glorious mix of stuff style of presentation like I do.

    And all that too is a digression from the question that started this off, about the post-and-rail fence claim. Inspection of the two Burman photos in Keith McMenomy’s 2001 (revised ) Authentic Illustrated History p. 90 makes it very clear that the upper claimed post-and-rail fence is a single sapling lying sideways, that if the lower claimed image was to be of a fence it is the worst unevenly built and spaced such structure ever, and that there is a slope rising up to the right on which tree roots can be seen growing from the ground in various places up the slope.

    The several people who are saying that one really needs to go to SBC to check out the surrounds also need to deal with the issue raised in Bill’s excellent 24 minute You Tube video, “Google Earth SBC tour”, where we learn that Bill’s preferred SBC site was vandalised by DWELP bulldozing some years ago, as was the Linton Briggs CSI site. Curious that in both cases the sites were bulldozed for no reason – nothing was built there; they were not bulldozed for making car parks, fire roads, picnic areas, or anything else. Fortunately we have the massive amount of discussion and visual evidence that Bill and others have posted over the years to support their arguments about the true location of the SBC site where the Burman photos were taken. Not that the actual site itself concerns me at all; it is just a point of interest. I’m only concerned with what happened there, and the testimony and evidence about that, not the exact spot. But since all this has come up for discussion, it is certainly interesting to see what is claimed about the Burman photos and what can or can’t be seen in them. And anyone can have a look at them and see the slope, surely.


  7. Anonymous says: Reply


    With respect, I don’t think it is our task to disprove the photo. The Vault is making the claim it is of Ned, and charging for viewing the photo. Not us.

    Surely it is the responsibility of The Vault to amply prove its authenticity and provide proper provenance, respond to criticisms that it is not Ned, and properly respond to Bill Denheld’s claims.

    Ian MacFarlane

  8. Firstly Ian you have obviously missed much of the online information that was around during the time of the launch of the “alleged” Ned Kelly photo, as you wouldn’t have made the recent comment …..(it is the) “responsibility of The Vault to amply prove its authenticity and provide proper provenance, respond to criticisms that it is not Ned, and properly respond to Bill Denheld’s claims”….. I believe Ian that The Vault have well and truly provided that information – you have perhaps missed this during the time?
    As for Bill Denheld‘s claims in relation to the “alleged” Ned Kelly photo I believe they have been dismissed by the grandchild of Walter Knight….I need not say anymore!
    Secondly Stuart, I can understand your reliance on the Christie’s Catalogue in relation to proving the “alleged” Ned Kelly photo isn’t who it is, but the entry description for the photo has been deemed inaccurate and misquoted.

    A rather mediocre and ill informed effort to prove your claims guys, but I guess this is what happens when we really don’t have all the facts at hand and authentic research done.

    Maybe your common efforts to discredit and shame The Vault should be reconsidered given the bias and the moral high ground you seem to hold in relation towards this museum. Especially when you are demonstrating with your comments that you are both not the experts on this photo, however you assume the position here that you are.


  9. Hi GJ, the woodcutter photo is only one of many things in the Kelly Vault which one might comment on. But one might note that many have taken the Vault’s claim that the man on the right in the photo is “most likely” Ned as dictum and repeated it as unquestioned fact. For example, Grantlee Kieza’s book “Mrs Kelly” describes the photo on page 522 as follows: “A photograph of Ned Kelly believed to be taken during his days as a woodcutter in the mid 1870s and displayed by the Ned Kelly Vault”. The authority for that text is clearly the Kelly Vault’s representation that the photo is of Ned. The factor of doubt is absent from the book’s description of the photo, and the statement that the photo shows Ned is presented as certain fact. Houston, we have a problem. Think of all the certainties which have attended claimed photos of UFOs and the Loch Ness Monster, for example. Many people are convinced absolutely in both cases. So, is the man on the right in the woodcutters photo actually Luckless Ned? Nope, doesn’t look like him. Wrong stance, wrong face, wrong clothing for the time, etc.

    As for Ned’s claimed “quiet years”, that was all built around an old opinion-piece article by Ian Jones, in Walkabout 28, no. 6, June 1962, pp. 15-18. What’s the evidence? Dubious to say the least. Well worth a revisit by sceptics.

    But we digress (again). The issue here is, is there a slope in the Burman photo? Yep, no doubt about it. David’s green colourisation of where trees are growing out of the ground on a rise are proof positive that a slope is there. I don’t know where that spot might be, but that slope ain’t a camera trick from no bush covered UFO taking off.

    And most excitingly, the Kurzel film of Carey’s fanciful and not remotely historically accurate “True History of the Kelly Gang” is coming up in January; at a few cinemas for a couple of weeks, and then on Stan subscription TV. It sounds like a hoot! Absolutely ludicrous nonsense about practically every aspect of the Kelly story. Who will be first to review it for this blog?

  10. Anonymous says: Reply


    I don’t think anyone here is trying to “discredit and shame The Vault”. Our quarrel, or at least mine, is about the questionable Woodcutter Ned photo, its strange presentation, and the hoo-ha (an uproarious commotion) The Vault has created about it.

    It is only my opinion but the woodcutter doesn’t look a bit like Ned.

    Ian MacFarlane

  11. I just want to add-
    At this webpage – http://www.ironicon.com.au/ned-kelly-photo-maybe.htm
    I wrote , Third point,
    “At this stage there is no reason to believe a ‘Carte de Visite’ or earlier photo of the men ever existed from which this copy was supposedly made. The lack of quality mounting suggests the time for finely crafted brand Cartes had passed.
    I mention this on the basis that a ‘Card of the ‘Visit ‘Carte’ usually has a proportion of height to width ratio higher than this copy which is 1 high to 1.36 wide. If an original photo was to be re photographed, I would think the photographer kept the original proportions. This idea can’t be proven because the original is not or may not be in existence. However Matt Shore tells us on NKCentral (no longer on line) ” a second variant is known to be with the Kelly family”, so with this mention of another (Photo) taken on the same day with the men near a large log at the sawmill, then perhaps if it turns up, both photos need to viewed together and examined by photo experts for very close analysis. Unless this can be done, doubts as to the identity of the figures will remain. ”
    Also an expert in photo history told me that if his group could see the photo they could tell the date of the photo just by the type of paper it was printed on. Its all on the above link. Bill

    1. Anonymous says: Reply

      Your ‘expert in photo history’ is in fact the bloke from the Croydon Camera House, yeah? You seriously expect us to compare your ‘expert’ opinion to that of Gale Spring?

      Your expose of the photo is wrong. Please answer this question: have you seen the high resolution photograph yet, and have you compared the high resolution images of Ned (in this new photo) and Walter Knight?

      1. Hello Anon,
        I have not been privy to anything other than the Christies Catalogue which I have.
        The blow up that I made of image ‘123’ is in my opinion good enough to come to a conclusion. However, if it can be shown that I am wrong I will happily concede I am wrong as I think it of great importance to get history right.

        I am not anonymous like you and GJ, so why hasn’t anyone in the past 3 years even tried for getting other photography experts involved as I had suggested. The group I mentioned would be more than happy to provide their expertise. It so happens that the man I spoke to a Camera House is an active member of the group of which Gale Spring is probably a member as well.

        Mr Spring did not say it was Ned, just that it could be. For the family who own the photo I hope it is Ned, but why not make a concerted effort to get rid of any doubt. I would like to be able to change the title of my web page ‘ Is This Ned – maybe’ to ‘ This is Ned’.

        What do we need to do to get all parties together instead of always this argie bargie.

        1. Anonymous says: Reply

          Get the ball rolling Bill.

  12. GJ are you saying this photo is unquestionably Ned Kelly? 100% ? – because if you are then youre going beyond what even Matt Shores prepared to state publicly about it.

    Heres a link to my original post about this Photo in which I discuss all that ‘hoo ha’ but also say that in my opinion its Ned. But I wouldn’t be prepared to die in a ditch defending that claim. I just think the balance of probabilities favours it being Ned Kelly, but I fully accept that in the judgement of many others, it isn’t. http://nedkellyunmasked.com/2016/11/the-unforgotten-photo-of-ned-kelly/

    So now can we move back to the current hot topic which is the Kennedy Tree groups reports? I am going to make my next Blog post about the Slope. Its a vital question because the KTG dont have one at their site, and this I think will be the factor which consigns their claim to the dustbin where Ian Jones site has been gathering dust for quite a long while. But can we please save comments and discussion about THAT issue till I get my next Blog up?

  13. Anonymous says: Reply

    The photo shows Edward and Daniel Kelly cutting timber possibly for the construction of the second Kelly house on allotment 57A c1877-78.
    An amazing image. We still get chills every time we view it. Magnificent.
    Sorry Dawson, Mr Mcfarlane and Den Held. You’re wrong!

    1. You better go tell Matt Shore you know something about the photo that he doesnt. Otherwise, youre entitled to your opinion about the photo, as are others who have a contrary one. Nobody can be sure whose right and who is wrong.

    2. As the Christie’s Catalogue noted, and is evident to anyone, the bearded man on the left is too old to be Dan Kelly, who died at 19. The catalogue is just stating the obvious.

  14. Anonymous says: Reply

    It matches his death mask!!!! Who else can it be???????????????????????????

    1. Just remember how, according to Ian Jones, Australias foremost Kelly authority, absolutely everything in the Gentleman Ned photo proved it was Ned. No doubt about it.

      So do I need to remind you how well that all went?

      1. Anonymous says: Reply

        True, David. But that has nothing to do with the present photo at the Vault. You at least can see it’s Ned Kelly.

    2. No, the whole physiognomy is wrong. And if you are the same Anonymous that posted at 6:22pm above, no-one still maintains it is Dan Kelly on the left. A Mrs Pettifer identified that man as her father, Walter Knight, back in 1995, an identification accepted by Ian Jones. She would certainly know her own father, so that identification is undebatable. The issue is where was Mr Knight in the relevant period, how old was he then, and how old was Ned then; also, the issue of the clothing being a decade out. So that first Anonymous comment is not correct. As to the current Anonymous comment, it could be lots of people, but it is extremely unlikely that is it Ned. As for the so-called forensic report, no-one has published it for public review despite all the learned proof it allegedly carries. More Secret Seven childish games pretending to be historical research. The Vault and others have made no case at all, just presented wishful thinking and hearsay with a phantom report. The red display box seeks to lend credibility to the idea that the photo shows Ned by claiming a photo date around the time when Ned claimed that he worked for a timber merchant, again with no evidence; but again, the clothing does not suit that period but is a decade later according to Christie’s experts. I am not wasting any more time on this non-Ned photo nonsense until it is published. The report is the only thing that is claimed to present all the arguments in favour of the photo showing Ned. When it is made public, there will be something to review. Until then, there is nothing but unsubstantiated Kelly propaganda. Now time to go out and do something more productive… Happy upcoming New Year!


  15. Wow!…..the whole team has come out batting in defence. (Sorry just my humour here).

    Stuart I don’t believe the photo is a distraction to this SBC, NK republic and KTG thread. Remember you are the individual that first raised the “alleged” photo as an example of deficiency with the museum. You are the one that has added in the ”distraction”.

    Bill, its great that you continue your reassessment of the photo.

    Ian, I appreciate what you have said about the photo’s presentation, but I have read that The Vault are restricted by some constraints placed on them by the owner/s of the photo.

    Thanks for your all your comments, but I must admit the photo is very convincing, but why would I say it’s 100% Ned Kelly Dee? Especially when there exists much mystery about it and I believe The Vault were the first to call it “alleged” anyway.

    I believe there is great value in other ways of knowing about something, and we need to be careful also asserting claims with dogma and bias dictating. I suppose, the whole point is that we are at the mercy of the information that we have available, but it is fair to connect possible conclusions or scenarios from evidence we have.

    Furthermore it appears in this thread that many who have commented are presenting traits of what they are only too quick to criticise with in others and The Vault.


  16. Anonymous says: Reply

    It was a list of coincidences and the fact that the Gentleman photo had come from Tom Lloyd that helped convince Ian Jones!


    Horrie and Alf

  17. Anonymous says: Reply

    More provenance that isn’t.

    Provenance is the chronology of the ownership, custody or location of a historical object. The term was originally mostly used in relation to works of art but is now used in similar senses in a wide range of fields, including archaeology, paleontology, archives, manuscripts, printed books and science and computing.

    Provenance is not that someone owned a photo and therefore must have known who it showed or was related to that person.
    That is just idle supposition and proves nothing.

    Fiona Bruce and Philip Mould in their BBC series Fake or Fortune hint at how provenance is established only by exhaustive, painstaking research. It is great entertainment.

    The Vault’s provenance of woodcutter Ned, and Ian Jones’s coincidences about the Gentleman Ned photo, are alarmingly low-level guesswork.

    Lift your act people!

    Cam West

  18. Hmmn! I think we’ve been infiltrated by the timewasting Kelly losers yet again, David.

    They are here here every few months with increasingly sophisticated nonsense.

    Bullsh*t baffles brains — but only for so long!

    Time to get back to the KTG timewasters.


  19. Stuart, in relation to your last comment (before you had to rush off and do something far more ”productive”) I wasn’t aware that you had facial physiognomy expertise or skills in this area.
    Please tell us more about your physiognomy findings in relation to this “alleged” Ned Kelly photo. How would you rate your skills compared to Gale Spring?


    1. I wasn’t aware that a high level of physiognomy skill was needed to see that two photos are of different people. The skill might lie in presenting n argument for two apparently different photos being of the same person. But since the report has never been released, all we have is its attributed finding that there is maybe an 80 percent chance of the right hand woodcutter being Ned, based solely on a visual comparison of one old photo with other quite different photos and a death mask. We don’t know if that report looked at any of the other issues raised at the time – the clothing style discrepancy issue, the alternative suggestions as to who else the right hand woodcutter might be, the rationale for the forensic comparison used, the reasons given by many to doubt the alleged likeness, the movements of Walter Knight (the left hand woodcutter) over the general period and his age in relation to Ned and Ned’s known movements, etc. It is clear that some people have read the still unpublished report and make claims based on it. It is equally clear that this is not how historical research should proceed. Please release or lobby for the release of the report for public scrutiny and review. Only then will there be any hope of assessing the physionomical claims that it apparently makes, and putting these claims in the context of other historical considerations. In the meantime, it seems pretty clear from the death mask photo I uploaded yesterday next to the part of the woodcutter photo showing the right hand man, that there are several reasons to outright reject that the two photos are of the same man. They look quite different to me, feature wise and head shape wise. Come on someone, post the report.

      1. So Stuart you are telling us that it’s not Ned Kelly because you personally don’t think it looks like him, and you don’t believe the science of physiognomy (or detective facial analysis) is important or relevant to make your claim?
        Well then, all I can say is congratulations to The Vault for showing the courage and credibility to release a known experts findings (Gale Spring) on this matter, which is far more valuable and authentic than what you can provide us all here with. Don’t you think Stuart?

        I think making demands and attempting to shame The Vault into submission (for what appears to be the purpose of disseminating your systematic theories and academic propaganda – with a noticeable degree of ‘against’ bias). This isn’t really the way to make “new friends and influence people’.


        1. But GJ, my whole point is that the known expert’s findings have NOT been released. Unless you can provide a link that no-one has disclosed yet. The physiognomical evidence MIGHT be important in conjunction with other relevant evidence, but we don’t have it. On the other hand, it may be but one element of a case – as many historical questions consider multiple pieces of evidence – but may turn out to be not as convincing as other evidence either way. The same can be said for the long running debate about body straps at SBC.
          Furthermore, I am not attempting to shame the Vault into doing anything. They might not even have the report, as it is not on display. I am speaking broadly to any of what seem to be a number of people who have had access to the report to release it. Then anyone else can see what weight they give it within the whole context of what the photo might or might not show.
          Lastly, I am not fussed whether the photo does or doesn’t show Ned, despite a couple of people clearly trying to pigeonhole me. What does it matter to you if I don’t think it’s Ned? Why should you care what I think either way? At this time I don’t think it is. I’m happy to be convinced otherwise if there is good evidence for it. So far there has not been compelling evidence in my view. The physionomical case has not been presented. If it is, I and others will check it out. It’s not like there’s any urgency BTW.

  20. Anonymous says: Reply

    Too much emphasis has been placed on the catalogue caption. You’ve taken it as gospel.
    Rest assured the two faces Bill has tried to compare are completely different men. They are nothing alike and his case is built on sand.
    The left hand wood cutter is not Walter Knight either. There is a very strong case for the photo showing both the Kelly brother’s, just as the inscription says. Sometimes the simplest explanations answer questions such as this one.

  21. Here is the Vault’s woodcutter photo launch from the Wangaratta Chronicle, 14 November 2016, page 7. Up on the screen is the large digitally enhanced copy of the photo showing the man alleged to be Ned. But all you can see in the Vault as a paying tourist is a small copy of the photo inside a viewing box. Why no large display of the enhanced photo, or more to the point, why at least no enlargement of the enhanced portion claimed to be Ned, as can be seen in the newspaper photo below? The answer seems clear enough from what we can see of the projected image. It is no more than a “maybe” argument, with a 20 percent chance against it being Ned, even to the forensic expert. I am not the only one who thinks the whole body posture is wrong – compare the full view of the woodcutter’s posture and musculature with the boxing Ned photo, or even the stance and posture in the sketch of Ned at his Beechworth committal hearing. Similar doubts result from comparing the teenage Ned prison photo with the woodcutter in question. The whole stance looks different. We don’t even know if the RMIT report compared these things as well. But it is the costuming of the bushmen that create the greatest basic doubt. The clothing analysis by the Christie’s expert suggests that Ned was buried nearly decade before the woodcutters photo was taken. Again, the Vault’s display expressly invites visitors to decide for themselves whether the photo shows Ned. I don’t think so. Maybe if the so-far secret report is ever published it will be possible to meaningfully revisit this topic, but until then there is no reason to accept anything claimed to be based on it, as the case and evidence has not been put forward.


  22. GJ:

    You and others who can see Ned in the woodcutter photo are simply expressing personal opinions also, based on no established facts. You may rely on Prof Spring’s study (which we are not privy to) which doesn’t help your pontifications because we can’t see it.

    Stuart keeps on asking for it to be produced. No response from anyone…

    Ian MacFarlane

    1. Ian and Stuart,
      It’s interesting Ian that according to your book, you are against the findings of the Ian Jones discovered ‘George King’ photo as well. Dare I say it (without getting my head bitten off) but another example of a biased judgement made because you couldn’t access all the background information and details related to it – crudely speaking a professional dummy spit, maybe?

      Like Stuart it appears that you are both distrusting of others judgements or findings unless they are your own, or fit your agenda. Furthermore it seems you are both quite prepared to be difficult, demanding and contrary to others informed opinion when it suits your myth busting ‘famous five’ boys club’.

      My suggestion is to stop demanding to see ’The Report’ as if it’s some holy document to scrutinise for the myth busters blog, and be a bit more respectful and sensitive of others efforts, research and privacy.

      I wonder what the family who owns these photos would think of all your biased, opinionated discussion and banter? I suspect you might be embarrassing yourselves with some bad manners.

      Is arrogance built from distrust or ignorance?


      1. Good morning GJ, I have no agenda as regards the photo. As I said yesterday, I don’t care if it shows Ned or not. And there is nothing “boy’s clubbish” about myth busting. Many of the world’s best myth busters are women scholars. The point is simple. To the extent that debate about the photo relies on the RMIT report, the report needs to be produced, just as with any other evidence-based historical claim. Otherwise it is just an opinion claim. This has nothing at all to do with trust or distrust! It’s basic research principles.
        Maybe the photo does show Ned. Maybe it doesn’t. Again, I don’t care either way. The issue is the way it is presented in the Kelly Vault and taken on that basis by others as an established certainty. Do you not see why that is a problem? If the text read that the photo was thought by some to be Ned, the whole problem would disappear.

        1. And of course, the reasons pro and contra that have been raised by a range of persons would have to be given, along with the evidence and references for those reasons. It would easily fit on a poster or information sheet. That way, anyone interested could follow the debate and evidence, and make up their own mind in an informed and reasoned manner. That is the only way meaningful historical discussion can proceed.

  23. Sharon Hollingsworth says: Reply

    This statement was made above – “I wonder what the family who owns these photos would think of all your biased, opinionated discussion and banter? I suspect you might be embarrassing yourselves with some bad manners.”

    And, to that, I say this –
    Pulling the “oh, dear, but what would the family think?” card is akin to pulling the “race card.” A total distract from having folks debate the actual facts/assertions.
    I will also put a quote below, which can apply in many cases. Even maybe over on facebook at times?

    Poet Thomas Overbury made this great quip–
    “The man who has nothing to boast of but his illustrious ancestry is like the potato – the best part under ground.”

    Oh, yeah, list the five! Does Alf count or is he just the mascot?

  24. Sharon and Stuart
    Sharon, in case you were not aware the “famous five” refers to Stuart’s rather provocative and derogatory comment directed towards many who have been involved with the alleged Ned Kelly photo (especially the so called Report) he refers to them like the….”secret seven”. (Enid Blyton).
    Not sure I understand your “race card” reference, except if you mean it’s in relation to the noticeable “boys club” that appears to hound The Vault – like ‘us’ versus ‘them’ – similar to racial integration issues.
    The ancestors underground as potatoes quote is an interesting. thought, hiding in the dark and yet boasting about ancestry – blindly and immodestly.

    Stuart, so does meaningful historical discussion include the so called ethical based harassment of The Vault for further information, and then making judgements about a photo by distrusting others and also disregarding the science of physiognomy?

    Thanks all for your replies.


  25. A skeptic says: Reply

    ok ok why don’t you get back to the topic of importance – the real question of the claim for the latest site of the Stringybark Creek affray ??
    I have a couple of questions I think are worthy of considering and needing an explanation.
    1. What happened to the speargrass that the boys emerged from when assailing the police – at least the CSI team have shown that there was (and still is!) speargrass to the south of their claimed site. No such claim emanates from the latest group that they have found any speargrass.
    2. And if Dan was sent to the spring mentioned by the latest group – which would have to be a few hundred yards to the south of their site ?? how did he get there (walk, horse or perhaps an Uber) and get back to the scene of the sticking up of Serg Kennedy and Const Scanlan who came from the North. So how did Dan know they were approaching to get back in time for the shooting of Scanlan and the gunfight with Kennedy . I’m sure a looking at Const McIntyres very detailed layout placing the protagonists in-situ shows Dan being there.

  26. Anonymous says: Reply


    You are reading far too much into things I actually haven’t said.

    You are mis-interpreting me in a way that is rude and arrogant, exactly what you accuse me of.

    Your contribution and preaching here has been very lightweight – and hasn’t added a single crumb of information about the disputed photo.

    Thanks for nothing!

    Ian MacFarlane

  27. Ian, I believe I have been very fair, but questioning with my comments, however I’m sorry if you feel I have misinterpreted you – “rude and arrogant”….etc.
    I guess though you haven’t addressed the George King photo and a possible potential bias against this discovery?


  28. Sharon Hollingsworth says: Reply

    I must have missed/skimmed right over the famous five quote, thanks for the clarification. What I mean about playing a card is someone trying to use something to deflect from the issue at hand. Not that the issue at hand is all that interesting/intriguing or as Mark would say, “worthy.” Is beginning to get rather tedious. I will sit out the rest of the conversation. But had to add in that potato quote which I have been using to make many people laugh and agree with through the years. It finally needed to surface in the mainstream.

  29. Anonymous says: Reply

    GJ seems to have become a burdensome buffoon here. Here is what MacFarlane says about Jones’s personal identification of a photo of “George King”. [The Kelly Gang Unmasked, p. 45]

    A photograph of George King has been identified and included in
    some modern books. Details about the identification of the photograph
    were provided in an auction catalogue in 2002:

    “The portrait was unidentified for many years until a family
    member noted a resemblance to Joe Byrne, lieutenant of the
    Kelly Gang, and inscribed with Joe’s name on the back of the
    mount. Aware that the police had confused Joe Byrne with
    George King in 1878, Ian Jones suggested to descendants
    in 1995 that this could be in fact a portrait of King. After
    comparison with several portraits of King’s children, family
    members accepted the identification.

    In a major embarrassment for the auction House, the cover photograph
    of this catalogue, described as a new portrait of Ned Kelly, was
    demonstrated to be not of him ‘but of some other person’. Senior
    lecturer in geomatics (measurements) at Melbourne University, Cliff
    Ogleby, thought the photo on the catalogue cover ‘looked wrong’,
    and showed why — a conclusion that was accepted by Christie ’s.
    Christie ’s said the firm relied on Jones’s opinion in authenticating the

    Horrie and Alf

    ps: Alf says Ggggrrrrr to GJ!

  30. This is going to end in tears.

    Ian Jones “suggested to descendants
    in 1995 that this could be in fact a portrait of King. After
    comparison with several portraits of King’s children, family
    members accepted the identification”.

    It seems unlikely that Ellen King or Alice King were the daughters of George King. Ellen King was born when George King was still in gaol.

    Brickey Williamson may have been the father of Alice. Superintendent Winch stated: “I believe that the secret of the
    power which Williamson has over Mrs Kelly, is, that he is the
    father of the child which she has with her now”.

    If so, it is hard to understand how descendants could have seen similarities between King and those children?

    What was Ian Jones thinking…


  31. To the Hive,
    It looks like the Bee Hive is getting agitated, so thanks to all the worker bees for a little bit of honey.
    The queen bees can now continue with their drone rule.
    Bye for now (before I get stung).


  32. I am calling time on this debate about Photos. Its going nowhere because unless that forensic analysis of the woodcutter photo is released all we can do is speculate. Some say its Ned and others doubt it. I agree with criticism of the Vaults handling of picture and the bizarre way they’ve presented it, but in the end its their call. I plan to make another review of the Vault at some time in the near future so maybe then this debate can be resumed but for now please dont post any more discussions about photos as I wont publish them (unless theyre sensational new discoveries or something )

    What I would prefer to see instead is a debate about the Kennedy Tree Groups claims, which after all was the subject of this Post. A further post about the KTG goes up later today, to finish the year with a bang – as some their balloons are popped!

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