The Actual True Story of Ned Kelly : Part one

One good thing that Justin Kurzel’s crazy fantasy movie about the Kelly Gang might have done is make people ask what the genuinely true story really is. And it’s a good question because there are so many versions of the story out there, all claiming to be definitive, so anyone could be forgiven for being confused. But we are now getting much closer than ever before to the genuinely true story, thanks to the availability on line of so much of the documentation from the time, at the Public Records Office of Victoria. This has enabled fact checking like never before., and as a result, especially  in the last ten years, the Kelly story has been transformed.

 

What follows is a brief account of the true story as we now understand it to be in the 21st Century. I would like to hear from people where I’ve got it wrong and from people who think I’ve missed important things out.

 

So to start with, an update on Ned Kellys father, John ‘Red’ Kelly, which is where the entire saga begins. The old story was one that painted the Kelly story as dominated by injustice and oppression right from the start : it says  that Red Kelly was transported merely for stealing a couple of pigs but it’s much more complicated than that.  For a start he didnt steal them off a well-to-do Landlord or landowner but from a poor farmer, one of his own people – a bad look! But much more disruptive of the old story, the one that hid all the important detail – is the disturbing revelation that Red had also acted as an informer in a police sting that went wrong – one of the people he betrayed ended up dead. We don’t know if he was paid for being an informer, but its possible his transportation in 1842 saved his life, because if it became public knowledge in his home district that he was a police informer he may well have been murdered.

 

 

Even in Victoria it was a shameful incident, to have conspired with police against people of his own class, so that he kept the truth secret from everyone, and perhaps tried to dull the memory with drink. He was mostly a well-behaved convict, was released in 1848 and married Ellen Quinn in 1850. He tried hard to make a go of life, and made a very promising start by buying a block of land at Beveridge, and the Kellys became known as poor but respectable people. Ned Kelly was by all accounts a good kid and his school reports were positive. This was the time when Ned saved Richard Shelton from drowning in the Hughes Creek at Avenel, and was rewarded with a green and gold sash. The old and now discarded view was that Reds eventual downfall was a result of police harassment and persecution. In fact, sadly, he was brought down not by the police but by drink which sabotaged all his efforts to make a decent living as a farmer, and finally killed him.  There’s not one shred of evidence to support the old story that he and his family were harassed and persecuted by police,

However because of Reds deteriorating health the Kellys slipped deeper and deeper into   poverty, and towards the end of his life, in desperation he butchered a neighbours’ calf. The neighbour complained, Red was caught, convicted of a lesser offence, spent a few months in gaol and was released early for good behaviour. A few months later he was charged with being drunk and disorderly and fined, but those were the only two interactions that Red Kelly had with police  from the time he gained his freedom in 1848 until his untimely death in 1866, at a mere 46 years of age.

 

 

During those years when Red Kelly was alive and staying out of trouble, the same could not be said of his in-laws, the Quinns and the Lloyds, or of his own brother Jim. Long before the Outbreak and right through it these people were in and out of courts and prison on a frequent basis for various crimes, most involving stock theft and also for serious violence and drunkenness, but there were also sexual assaults, animal cruelty and arson. The old story is that all these charges were trumped up by corrupt police persecuting the Kelly clan, and this unjustified  harassment and provocation was what Ned Kelly reacted to when he took up arms against the police a decade or more later. In fact, the records now available show quite clearly that  what drew the attention of the police to the clan was not a desire to persecute Irish catholics or former convicts or selectors but serious law-breaking and criminality. It  had nothing to do with persecution or harassment. It didn’t happen.The evidence is that acquittals and discharges were not signs of charges being faked but of the laws of evidence and a fair trial being applied correctly, often with the Kelly clan accused receiving the benefit of considerable doubt. It seems clear that Red Kelly deliberately kept his distance from the clan, protecting himself  and his family from police attention, and staying within the law.

 

 

However that all changed when Red Kelly died. His poverty-stricken widow, Ellen Kelly (nee Quinn) took herself and Ned and all his siblings right into the midst of this clan of recalcitrant law-breakers in the north east, and moved into an old pub with her two sisters and their children. Her sisters husbands were both in gaol for stock theft, and not long afterwards, following rejection of his drunken sexual  advances on Ellen, her   brother-in-law Jim Kelly burned the whole place down. Luckily no-one was killed but her poverty was now absolute because she lost everything, thanks not to police or squatters but to a continuation of the drunken violence and immorality the clan was becoming known for. Under new law, Jims death sentence was automatically commuted to a long gaol sentence. 

 

The old story was that the Kellys were typical of poor selectors in the region, enmeshed in the local community of selectors who were more or less united in an agrarian struggle with harsh conditions and the rich landowners and the police. In fact, the new story, as Doug Morrissey’s exhaustive research has shown, is that the Kelly family were not in the least typical selectors of the north east.  The majority of selectors in the north-east were law abiding and God fearing church-goers who supported the rule of law and disapproved of the criminal associations, the drinking , the immorality and the ‘shanty’ lifestyle of the Kelly clan. The Kellys found themselves on the fringes of society though Mrs Kelly, soon enough had her own selection. For a long time almost no attempt was made to farm it, and under the conditions of the lease she ought to have forfeited it, but the authorities treated her leniently.  She had lovers and remarried, had more children, was taken to court and took others to court, and she became known as a ‘notorious woman’ because her home became a place where at the very least, illegal alcohol could be bought, and where a known prostitute once stayed. There’s no evidence, only rumour that she herself provided sexual favours as depicted in True Story of the Kelly Gang.

 

In the midst of all this chaos, criminality  and  desperate poverty on the fringes of society, Ned Kelly entered adolescence without the guidance of his father, and very much under the influence instead of his mother and her unruly family.

 

At this point, many ask “What chance did Ned have?”

 

Thats what we will look at next time when we examine Ned Kellys decline from a good kid into a violent criminal, and his own claim that it was all the fault of the police.

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22 Replies to “The Actual True Story of Ned Kelly : Part one”

  1. Hi David, you have left out that Ned, Jim and Dan as primary-age youngsters were involved in stock theft; knocking off local horses and returning them when a reward was advertised. Ian Jones acknowledges that Ned stole Dick Shelton’s father’s horse and returned it for the reward at around the time he rescued young Dick from Hughes’ Creek (in Short Life 2008: 23). Dan’s name appeared aged about 6 in a Police Gazette notice, but it may have been Ned giving his brother’s name, the same way he gave Dan’s name for the police to write to contact him in the Babington letter.

    Also their cousins were similarly involved in theft from a young age. They were what we might now call juvenile delinquents; and with family associates like the criminal Goulds it is hardly surprising. I look forward to part two in which Ned and friends play leading roles in the Greta Mob, stock-stealing, larrikanising, and generally making opportunistic criminals and public nuisances of themselves instead of helping out on their family farms.

    Doug Morrissey has added a lot of economic and social background the to the Kelly story, and his second book, Selectors, Squatters and Stock Thieves, was recently favourably reviewed in the Irish Times, https://www.irishtimes.com/culture/books/ned-kelly-selectors-squatters-and-stock-thieves-review-busting-the-myths-1.3702054

    His third book didn’t come out last year as expected, so will presumably surface this year. If we are lucky it will have full references to his source material. That was the only annoying thing about his first two books, which apparently resulted from the major reorganisation of VPRO file in the time between when he did his PhD thesis in the early 1980s and now. Chasing up all the renumbered references would have been a massive task, although Latrobe probably should have managed to stump up for a research assistant grant, at least for the first book of the trilogy while Prof Hirst was still there and alive.

  2. More on Dan Kelly, here from Obituaries Australia, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/kelly-daniel-dan-13578
    “Dan Kelly was seven years younger than Ned, having been born in 1861, but from the time he was able to sit upon a horse he was more or less associated with his elder brother in criminal pursuits. The boy “lifters” were the terror of carriers and drovers who had to pass through the district in which they resided, and it is said that persons in charge of stock not infrequently went many miles out of the direct course in order to avoid Greta, fearing that some of their cattle would miss their proper destination if they attempted to pass through the “Kelly Country.” Night and day young Dan would prowl about looking for “game,” and, knowing the bush intimately, he could at any time get away with that “game” when he found it, to some spot where it would be beyond reach of the proper owners. It will thus be seen that he was well qualified to act as his brother’s lieutenant, and, indeed, it was through him that the outbreak occurred…..”
    (Original source: Kalgoorlie Western Argus (WA), 6 October 1903, p 4 .)

  3. Thanks Stuart this is exactly what I want people to do if they are interested – fill in some of the detail. My intention, as I said at the start was to provide a brief account, an overview of the main elements of the story, and so obviously therefore I am going to leave out lots of detail and some of the minor incidents.

    In regard to the theft of the Shelton horse, I was not aware that it was anything more than a suspicion that Ned had stolen it.

    What I am going to do for the next two parts is include links back to Blog posts that cover in details the things I mention.

  4. David and all.
    While there will always be disagreement how history is interpreted, I thought I’d point out that perhaps we should not judge 18- 19th century behavior by our times when few people today are confronted
    by brutal political take over that caused great divisions in Irish society revolving around peasant farmer ‘land clearances’, people who had for centuries occupied the land by a system of ‘stewardship’ to be replaced by ‘title’ ownership appointed by the British crown, and in resistance to that change, many thousands of peasant farmers were killed. For those that survived the ‘divides’ half the population were seen as traitors. These things are not easily forgotten by following generations that settled in the new colony of Victoria and NSW. Most if not all Bushranger stories revolve around people who felt marginalized by those traitors of their same class.
    Google Irish land clearances 19th century

    1. Hi Bill
      Ive done as you suggested and googled Irish Land Clearances, and refreshed my memory of the horrors of life in Ireland in the 19th century. Theres no doubt is was appalling and oppressive and a huge injustice that no Irish descendant would want to forget in a hurry.

      I think I know the point youre making, which is that Ned Kellys lawlessness and hatred for authority and police can be explained at least in part by this ghastly truth about what happened to his fellow irishmen back in Ireland.

      I can certainly imagine that a person could be motivated by that history to strike back at the authorities, and even plan to murder a score of police like Ned Kelly planned to do at Glenrowan.

      The problem is finding evidence to support the idea that this what motivated Ned Kelly. When he mentioned what he was hoping to achieve at Glenrowan he didnt mention anything about Irish oppression and genocide. He just talked about freeing his mother, or robbing banks.

      For all the years he was a stock thief living the life of a rambling gambler he isn’t known to have ever mentioned Irish oppression. How was robbing innocent travellers when being Harry Powers assistant anything to do with Irish oppression? And wasn’t Whitty a poor Irish immigrant who worked hard and made a success of himself? You would have thought an Irish patriot would have applauded his success but in fact Ned hated him, he was jealous of the mans success. Why would an Irish patriot defend Gould, an Englishman?

      The thing is Bill, having an Irish background doesnt automatically mean what you do is motivated by noble sentiment, or a reaction to British oppression – even Irish descendants can be just plain crooks. The Republic idea was an attempt at dropping Ned into the noble rebel category but thats now debunked so I think we have to accept he was just a crook!

  5. David, It is very easy to dismiss my rough outline of the sentiments when more than half new immigrants coming to the new colonies were virtually refugees. Most were dirt poor and were needed by the more wealthy class who had grabbed all the best land.
    A potential social uprising ‘or a revolt’ was brewing that forced Govts to allow poor settlers ‘SOME’ land rights, ie useless land nobody wanted.

    Kelly had grown up knowing the old and new politics from both his father and mother. They were not horse or cattle thieves like you try to portray them but when reading the Jerilderie letter supposedly written by Ned, or by the hand of Joe ‘and others’ not long after the SBC shootings and the Jerilderie bank robbery , the purpose of which was to show there was opposition to the elite- they even burnt mortgage documents of poor farmers as an act to relieve them of mortgage stress.

    The Jerilderie letter was not even allowed to be submitted in Ned’s trial even though Ned asked for it to be read, – because it was ‘his’ explanation for what had happened. You mention good old Whitty who accused Ned of stealing his bull, but this was a lie, because Ned was descended from convict, he was always to be tarnished as tens of thousands convict children were. The stolen bull of Whitty was an example of accusation of a crime that tarnished the man, a situation I myself have seen during my childhood friend.

    In the Jerilderie letter Ned gives explanations how Kennedy was shot by ‘bullets’ in the first instance, but then the Doctor Reynolds gave evidence that there was a fatal wound caused by ‘shot’ at close range which was the final shot to put Kennedy out of his agony. This shot would still be in the ground, but as far as Ned was concerned his letter was not allowed to be submitted on the grounds, it was not his hand writing. Well woop de do, the accused man’s life hung on the absence of evidence that was hidden from view for more than 50 years. I ask, was this fair judgement?

    1. One important correction if I may Bill : you write that Ive tried to portray Neds parents as horse thieves, but I havent – In fact I have tried hard to make the point that for almost the entire time that Red Kelly was alive, when Ned was growing up, they engaged in no criminal activity at all. They were NOT thieves , they were law abiding citizens. The only charges laid against either of them were at the very end when Red killed the Morgans calf.. He was treated leniently by the Police who could have thrown the book at him for all sorts of things such as lying to them and for stealing that calf and killing it, for cutting out the brand, but in the end they simply charged him with being in possession of a hide that he couldn’t account for. And then, he was released a couple of months early for good behaviour.

      To me, these facts don’t fit with the idea that the police were out to get him.

      One other thing : at his trial, the prosecution WANTED the Jerilderie Letter to be submitted as evidence, but Ned Kellys OWN TEAM objected to it being introduced. If not being allowed to submit the Jerilderie Letter at his trial was unfair, it was his own team that made it unfair, not the Crown.

      To be honest I think Bindons decision not to let the Jerilderie letter be admitted into the trial was a wise one. If the entire thing had become public knowledge, exposure of all its many lies and hateful blood thirsty threats against police and anyone who dared help them would have seriously ruined Ned Kellys reputation as a hero.

  6. The Ned Kelly Centre continues happily mythmaking in its 10 February post claiming for the 10th of February 1879, ‘On this day, in the Riverina town of Jerilderie NSW, Ned Kelly handed-over an 8000+ word missive that became known as the Jerilderie Letter.’ How did the 7,000 word Jerilderie Letter grow to over 8,000 words? The Pinocchio factor? Anyway there are more words in a lot of small childrens books. And they usually make more sense.

    1. Bill, Ned Kelly could not give evidence on oath, BUT he could make an unsworn statement, which he refused to do.
      Not much difference between a letter and speaking himself is there?

  7. Bill, I know your thoughts about how the Irish had been the victims of oppression and how this caused some selectors of Irish descent to mistrust and even hate authority. I don’t disagree. But the oppression wasn’t all one way.
    Poor old Jacob Wilson (they called him old, but in 1880 when he appeared at the Royal Commission into the Kelly Outbreak he was only 57 years of age) had the misfortune to own the selection next to Tom Lloyd. He knew Ned Kelly and had seen him in the months after the police were murdered. But he didn’t tell anyone because he feared the sympathisers (the Lloyds) would have a “down” on him.
    Because he was living next door to a known sympathiser, the police naturally enough called in on his property to question him. He didn’t exactly cooperate with the police, just gave them very basic information. He also sold them some hay for their horses, having first told them he didn’t want to do this. From that time on though, the sympathisers made his life hell.
    James Quinn and John Hart (apparently no relation to Steve) threatened him and he was chased by Tom Lloyd and Dan Kelly and a group of other sympathisers and forced to spend a night in a cherry tree to evade them. When the Commissioner’s asked him if he was frightened of the Kellys’ friends, he answered in the affirmative. He said he lived in a lonely place and was concerned they would come and murder him there.
    The victimisation from the sympathisers was amplified after Ned’s capture. Jacob had three sons, one of whom rented a farm at Glenrowan. However after the Glenrowan siege, the outlaw’s friends went around to his son’s place every night for about a month and he had to rely on his neighbour’s for assistance and to keep watch for him. Eventually his son had to flee the district as well.
    Jacob told the Commission that the Lloyds and the Kellys never worked their land. He said they never did anything but ride about. He knew they were into horse stealing because they had told him so. By contrast, Jacob had worked his own selection of 55 acres for five years and met all of his rent commitments over most of that period. However once the victimisation started he was no longer able to properly attend to his farming and he fell behind in his rent and fell into debt to Charles de Boos who ran a series of hotels in Euroa. He only owed de Boos 17 pounds, but because he was unable to repay this debt due to not being able to work his land, de Boos took possession of the land in return for writing off the debt debt being written off. There was no premium paid for the 106 pounds of improvements Jacob had made to the land, or for the 20 pounds he had spent for clearing the land.
    When the Commissioners asked him about his loss, Jacob said that not only was it a very great (financial) loss, but he had also lost his living and his liberty. He said he was now getting to be an old man and was not in a position to make a new start. He died aged 60, only two years after giving evidence at the Commission.
    Poor old Jacob Wilson and his sons were oppressed, not by the authorities, but by the outlaws and their friends.

    1. Peter this is an amazing piece of the story , and not the sort of thing the Kelly mythmakers have ever dared mentioned in any of their books and Facebook pages, so no wonder I have never heard of it before. Is this all from the RC minutes? It really seriously undermines the rubbish about Kelly being the champion of the people – and adds to the mountain of evidence that they were antisocial bullies and thugs. A really sad story .

      Thanks for posting this. What other stories have you unearthed? We need to hear them!

    2. Jacob Wilson’s evidence to the Royal Commission can be read here.
      http://nedkelly.info/Royal-Commission.pdf Question 4403.
      Shoots a lot of the mythical nonsense down.

  8. Sharon Hollingsworth says: Reply

    It would seem that the 8,300 Jerilderie Letter word count comes from Max Brown’s book. Then Ian Jones took him at his word without verifying for himself and echoed it in A Short Life. 

    1. Good to see the Ned Kelly Centre are on the ball as usual – not. And that Ian Jones believed any old rubbish that was doing the rounds, like the body straps myth and the wrong location of the Stringybark camp site.

  9. The failing Ned Kelly Centre still haven’t fixed their Jerilderie letter clanger – do they believe their own beeswax? It looks like they only got as far in primary school as Ned himself (level 3 reading and writing, not tested in maths). And they are going to “neducate” people about the Ned Kelly story? LOL

    Attachment

  10. Below an extract from Irishecho journalist Ray O Hanlon speaks up-
    He talks of modern ‘fault lines’ including climate change, political divides and social fissures-

    “ There are older fault lines in Australia too. The brutal treatment of the continent’s aboriginal peoples is a wound that bleeds still.
    Less obvious is the cultural fault line in white settler Australia that has the Anglo version of the country on one side, and the Irish on the other.
    The Scottish and Welsh version would appear to have been largely merged into one or the other.
    Regardless, roughly one third of Australia’s 25 million people can claim a link to Ireland, often one that can be traced back to the transportation of “convicts,” who were all too often political prisoners, or simply impoverished Irish men and women trying to survive in a ravaged land.
    The “convict stain” was long a mark of shame in Australian society. These days, for not a few, it’s a badge of pride. The shame versus pride phenomenon is a fault line that runs through the Ned Kelly story.
    Ned Kelly as villain, bushranger, cold-blooded killer, is one version.
    Ned Kelly as Robin Hood, political revolutionary, and misjudged man is another.

    All the versions have been presented in official records, newspapers, books and movies, and in the opening ceremonies of the 2000 Sydney Olympics no less. And now there is a new movie based on a book. ( by Peter Carey)

    Back-a-ways, when Peter Carey spoke to the Irish Echo he said of his first encounter with the Kelly tale: “I was twenty-something, just beginning to write and just beginning to read. I had just read James Joyce, so when I stumbled across this uneducated Irish voice, I woefully misread it as a literary artifact but never forgot it.” Carey was referring to the “Jerilderie Letter,” which many interpret as a political tract penned by Ned Kelly that amounts to a virtual declaration of an Australian republic.

    Extract from-
    https://www.irishecho.com/2020/02/would-the-real-ned-kelly-please-speak-up

    1. Hi Bill, Mr O’Hanlon is relying on a very dated notion of Kelly myths. No-one can possibly maintain now that “many interpret [the Jerilderie Letter] as a political tract penned by Ned Kelly that amounts to a virtual declaration of an Australian republic”. This is so 1967-1990s Ian Jones that it’s laughable. The same with the claim that Kelly might be an Australian Robin Hood. No; he stole almost always from the poor; just like his father did in Ireland. He lagged on his comrades to the police, just like his father did in Ireland. (He lagged Harry Power.) He was not “misjudged”; he was a juvenile delinquent and larrikin who grew into clinically assessable psychopath. We have been treated to 60 years of pure selective mythmaking by Ian Jones and John Molony, but their myths started collapsing since 2012 especially,. Now people who write such dated nonsense simply show their ignorance of recent historical research; or their determination not to recognise it; or their inability to grapple with it. Certainly they haven’t managed to .respond with any validation of the increasingly challenged myths. They can’t, of course, because the evidence from the police files is overwhelmingly and voluminously against them. Not because it was written by police; but because it came from what their victims so frequently reported. For another example I thank Peter’s contribution above. I agree Ned Kelly is an ongoing source of fascination and debate, but the debate is now “how bad was he?”; there is little of the hero myth left to defend, and it is fading fast. Villain, that’s what it is all about now; just how villainous is the question.

  11. Hello Stewart, I read what you say, and your comment that everything ‘Ned’ – changed after 2012 may well be true, however that’s because more and more researchers having access to material that mostly was not available from police and public archival records, and those records would always be in favour of one side of his-story. Ian Mc had said or I read when researching Ned in the PRO of Vic, many files were not to be found, – due to either being taken and never returned, or simply destroyed because named associations within those missing documents would implicated families in a negative manner.

    When I met Bill Stewart of Mansfield in 1985, (he was the man who had helped built a sawmill over Kelly camp), he told me nearly everyone he knew had a positive view of the Kelly gang but this was never to be spoken about in public. ‘Say nothing’ . It is in this atmosphere that history is written by the winners.

    I’ve been reading the history of the Gorman family that had the land next to where the Kelly kids grew up at Wallan East. Author Justin Moloney’s grandfather was Edmond Gorman, a son of John who was just 9 when they landed in Port Phillip.

    They had came from Ireland, Tipperary – Limerick – area on the flank of the Galtee Mountains and were peasant farmers just as the Quinns and Kellys under a ‘Ascendancy’ – meaning ‘ Occupation of dominant power of influence’ by the appointed Anglo-Scot Protestant land lord the ‘Third Earl of Kingstone.’

    I won’t go on, but readers need to understand why the Kellys were not the only horse traders, because everyone in the upper or lower classes were trading in lost or stolen livestock, and the worst cases were in the paddocks and pockets of the authorities and this fact hardly gets a mention in the Royal Commission.

    But if you read the Jerilderie letter pages 14 to 21 penned by Ned , Joe and other, you will see a counter argument to show it was more a class divide going back centuries based on religion and ethnicity.

    Readers read the Jerilderie letter here pages
    https://www.nma.gov.au/explore/features/ned-kelly-jerilderie-letter/transcription

    This letter of explanation was not made public 50 years after the Kelly outbreak because the authorities considered it a threat to their political stability, so it could be argued if it had been made public the outcome from it could have been entirely different.

    1. Hi Bill, yes Ian noted that many Kelly documents had gone missing from the old VPRO files, before they were cataloged. Another problem is that there may well be still more files buried in the archives still unknown. That is likely, as for example when the previously unknown McIntyre map was unearthed in the Police Museum a few years ago by its then manager. Still another major problem is that no one is allowed to access some documents that we know exist, because they are classified as fragile. These include warder’s rosters for the Old Melbourne Gaol where Ned was kept and hanged. I tried to get access to these back when I did the Last Words article, and was told no due to fragility. But even then they could not tell me what volumes they actually had packed away in there.

      I am not surprised that many people up north could have a positive view of Ned in 1985, but I would be very surprised if that was so in 1885, before 100 years of subsequent Kelly myth. Overwhelmingly the impression back then was of almost universal loathing outside of the gang’s extensive family connections and circle. Ned became popularised especially by Max Brown 1948 and later editions, and Ian Jones and like minded associates 1967 seminar and 1968 book, and then of course Jones’ historically problematic 1970 Mick Jagger film script and equally problematic 1980 Last Outlaw miniseries. I think the Jagger film is awful, but still enjoy the Last Outlaw every year or so for entertainment, even though it has wildly inaccurate historical bunkum every few minutes.

      We agree I think that there were many instances of English vs Irish antagonism in colonial Australia, but I think after reading Morrissey that these have been considerably exaggerated by often partisan historians. He gives many examples of close cooperation between the communities in NE Victoria. Britishness embraced Irish, Scots, Poms and Welsh in the new colonial environment in ways impossible in the old countries. Together with the gold rush influx of Americans, Canadians, Europeans, Chinese, and others with no background stake in old English/Irish quarrels.

      It is hard to take anything in the Jerilderie Letter at face value. Much of it is simply factually wrong – lies if you will – as per Morrissey’s list of demonstrated falsehoods at the back of his first book. and that is not a full list of wrong statements in it. I agree that it was not made public for 50 years which looks like suppression. But was it? Most of it is just a more rambling version of the Cameron letter, which was printed almost complete in Kenneally’s 1929 Inner History. The JL text was also part printed and part summarised in the papers of the day. I am inclined to think the 50 years gap was due note to an almost total lack of interest, but happy to be shown wrong.

    2. Bill, your comments about the Jerilderie letter “of explanation” were answered by David yesterday:

      “One other thing : at his trial [1880], the prosecution WANTED the Jerilderie Letter to be submitted as evidence, but Ned Kellys OWN TEAM objected to it being introduced. If not being allowed to submit the Jerilderie Letter at his trial was unfair, it was his own team that made it unfair, not the Crown”.

      You are much revered here as THE Police camp at SBC expert!

      Let’s leave it at that!

      Roy
      PS: loved the story today that a Melbourne Dentist has forced Google to reveal who defamed him online.

  12. I had the opportunity to view this film today.
    As you said David, I would not like it.
    I would describe it in one word.
    WEIRD
    I shall leave it at that.

    1. Wham Bang thank you Mam, Sam !

      I love one word reviews which say it all!

      I did theatre reviews for the Wellington Evening Post (not all of which were popular) but I can claim that I was a fully paid-up theatre critic.

      Not everyone here can say that!

      Ian MacFarlane

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