Bill always maintained that he was entirely within his rights to do what he did at the so-called “Kennedy Tree”, but the people who were annoyed that he had done metal detecting at the tree they think is a sacred site went ballistic and made all kinds of hysterical claims about it being destroyed and damaged beyond repair and vandalised.


One of the KTG team called Bill a criminal in a comment that was later removed. Aidan Phelan published a sustained and incendiary piece that he admitted was a personal attack on Bill, an attack that Facebook immediately removed. Brad Webb promptly and gleefully reposted Aidan’s emotional outburst on his web site and Aidan thanked him for doing so. Leo Kennedy went to the press and with his support they published a grossly inaccurate and misleading article that was another attack on Bill, and the KTG immediately reposted it to their Facebook page. I politely challenged their decision to repost such an inaccurate and directly personal attack on Bill, and when later asked to justify my claims about that article being hyperbolic and inaccurate, my response was deleted along with the original enquiry. Just recall that this was the group who when they first entered the Public arena made a great show of having nothing to hide and wanting to be open and transparent. Their spokeswoman, dismissing my concerns said to me they can post whatever they like on their page.

Frankly, it was a display that reminded me of a fox hunt, with trumpets being sounded by the leaders of a bloodthirsty pack that charged wildly forward barking and baying for innocent blood. It was quite horrible, and shameful.

So what happened to their many strident complaints about vandalism, criminality, desecration and digging up the site and destroying it? 


The answer is out now, on Bills page.


The answer is that DELWP watched the Video, interviewed Bill, had a meeting with him and sent him a letter that declared he hadn’t done anything wrong. No fines. No imprisonment. No nothing. 


But surprisingly, and to Bills credit, he told them about a 0.31mm lead Ball he and Leo Kennedy had discovered years earlier when they detected a tree that bares at least as many resemblances to the tree in the Burman photo as the Kennedy Tree groups tree ( see photo above). They told him the ball had to be handed in, which he did, and it’s going to go on display at the State Library alongside objects unearthed at SBC by Adam Ford the archaeologist! Well done Bill!

It also seems Heritage Victoria indicated to Bill that the KTG tree isnt going to be investigated by them. If the KTG want something more than metal detecting at the site, they will have to develop a proposal, get Heritage to approve it  and fund it themselves. 


So Aidan and Brad, Jim, Steve, Paul, Noeleen, Jack, Michael, Bob, Greg, Brendan, Leo and all the other members of the pack whose complaints and vilification of Bill have been dismissed, who is going to be big enough to admit they were wrong and apologise to Bill?


I am sure he realises he hurt your feelings but that’s not a crime either.

(Visited 1,323 times)


  1. The pack attacked and smeared Bill because his metal detecting proved that the KTG tree is not where it happened. Time to forget about those amateur nobodies “reports” that are full of holes and don’t match any of the historical evidence. The only two contenders for exactness are Bill vs the CSI group. All the others, Ford, Jones and KTG, are miles off and everybody except themselves knows it.

  2. I was not aware of David’s second FB page here-

    David notified me yesterday of the conversation he was having with Brendan Cooke, – who demanded to see the DELWP- HV letter.
    After having read David and Brendan’s comments myself, I have no problem for anyone reading the entire HV –DELWP letter here –

    1. That guy doesn’t deserve the respect you’ve offered him Bill, in the face of all the abuse and hostility he and the rest of that mob have directed at you. You’re a decent man.

      But the KTG seem to have gone into total lockdown, with complete social isolation from anyone who doesnt agree with them, and the people who do agree with them haven’t got much to say.

      They’ve completely reneged on their commitment to openness and transparency and have not followed through with their promises to answer the various questions that I have posed to them, every single one of them reasonable, every single one of them asked politely. Some of my comments have been removed or hidden becasue they pose questions that the KTG have no answer for, and I am not the only contributor to their page who has suffered that fate. Instead they’ve permitted Bob to blunder along making a fool of himself as some sort of spokesperson.

      His latest foray was a disastrous attempt to defend the KTG belief that contemporary references to the distance between the camp and the Kennedy tree are not references to the police camp but to some other camp.

      Heres an extract from one of the reports made at the time that completely refutes that idea:

      “They headed for the vicinity of the scene of the late encounter when the party formed themselves into an extended line, and scoured the country until they reached the place where the murders had been committed. After consultation it was decided to scout for a mile in the direction of McIntyres escape tracks. Half a mile had scarcely been searched when a cooey from Mr Sparrow brought the party together and it was then found that the body of the unfortunate Sergeant Kennedy has been discovered ”

      Given that theres no doubt the measurements were taken from the Police Camp, the KTG have an insurmountable problem because their Tree and their Site are much too close together. This means they either have the wrong tree, or the wrong site – or both are wrong, but both cannot be right.

      I wonder which place they will dump first?

    2. A total demolition job of KTG by THE ONLY REAL SBC EXPERT Bill Denheld.
      Brilliant work as usual, Bill !
      Sock it to them !

      Ian MacFarlane

    3. For the past week or so the service provider for Iron Icon webpages has been on and off line, so if this link does not work now please try later. Bill

  3. Anonymous says: Reply

    Bold and disrespectful statements from one who should know better Ian.
    The only real SBC expert (your opinion) appears to have demonstrated his metal detecting abilities on the wrong side of the tree. Focussing his attention primarily on and around the eastern side of the tree.
    Henry Sparrow’s sworn deposition (VPRS 4969 Unit 1 Item 24)
    “…..We then proceeded in a north westerly direction from the camp. At about a quarter of a mile from the camp I discovered the body of Sergeant Kennedy, he was dead and lying on his back with a police cloak spread over his head and body…He was lying with his head towards a tree about six yards off. The tree was between deceased and the camp….,”The tree was between the body of Sergeant Kennedy and the camp when found. Lying with his head towards a tree about six yards off.

    I would have thought to be accurate the Burman the photos of the site should be looking towards a S/Easterly direction towards the police camp. Regardless according to Sparrow’s deposition, the body of Kennedy was most likely found on the N/W side of the tree.
    During my recent trip to SBC, I looked around at the proposed Kennedy tree. The ground on the N/westerly side of the tree appears to be undisturbed by the recent metal detecting and digging around.
    Unless of course the blackberries and other plant life have made a remarkable recovery.

    1. Thats a good point Glenn, and I should note that when I posted this very thought to the KTG Facebook page they deleted it! Its yet another of the flood of contemporary references that contradict many of the claims made by this group, and which more or less completely undermine the case they’ve been trying to make not just for the tree but for their police campsite as well.

      The problem this quotation from Sparrow creates for the KTG is that the resemblances that this tree has to the Burman photo are not on the northwestern side of the tree , the side seen in the Burman photo if we are to accept Sparrows claim. If we took a photo of that side of the KTG tree the resemblances between it and the Burman photo would disappear, and so would the KTGs case because its based entirely on physical resemblances between the two.

      However, I think your criticism of what Bill did misses the point : what he did was detect at the site that the KTG themselves claim is where Kennedys body was found. It wasn’t Bills claim that this is the sacred site where Kennedy was murdered but the KTG’s. He and Leo Kennedy found a much better candidate tree on the other side of the creek, where what appears to be quite casual metal detecting made the exciting find of a .31mm lead ball which could conceivably have come from Ned Kellys own revolver, the ball that Bill handed in to DELWP the other week.

      The KTG are stuck between a rock and a hard place Glenn – if they concede your point about the body being on the northwestern side, the side that Bill didn’t detect, then they have to abandon their claim based on physical resemblances. On the other hand if they insist they have the right tree and the right place beside it where Kennedy was found, then they’ve added yet another contemporary eye-witness report to their growing list of eye-witness reports that they reject simply because it doesn’t fit their theory.

      What they ought to have done is develop a theory that fits the eyewitness accounts, but theyve done the opposite and as a result their claims are now almost completely discredited in my opinion.

      1. Anonymous says: Reply

        David, much of what you are saying is based on the assumption that Burman took his (2) photos at the site accurately. And that the locations shown of Kennedy’s body are correct. The man lying on the ground is in a slightly different position behind the tree in each photo. And is not 6 yards behind the tree. It is also highly unlikely any bloke would want to lie on the area where Kennedy’s body was found.
        The KTG team have shown what they think are resemblances between that tree and the one in the Burman photo from the direction it was taken. That is open to ones own opinion if they match or not.
        The point being that the N/Westerly side has yet to be detected so there is the possibility something of relative importance could be found in that location.
        Regardless of my opinion on which side the creek the tree ought to be. Bullets could still be in the ground near the KTG tree.


        1. Yes, quite true Glenn! This entire debate about the Kennedy tree is based on an assumption that Burman photographed the correct tree and the correct place in front of it. But other than your suggestion that an actor would not want to lie on top of a gory blood-soaked piece of ground I dont know of any reason to doubt that he did, do you?

          It goes without saying that if it was determined Burman had simply reconstructed the scene in front of a random conveniently sited tree then the KTG case is dead as a dodo!

          Are there any other descriptions of how far away the body was from the tree?

          1. Anonymous says: Reply

            I have nothing further to add at the moment. David.

        2. When Ned was firing at Sgt Kennedy, its unlikely he was firing at the ground near his feet. Kennedy was firing back.

          Ned Instead of loading the shotgun with shot, had loaded it with large round balls. It was with one of these that Ned dispatched Kennedy to Kingdom Come.

          It’s possible that is still there (underneath where the Sgt was killed).

          Ian MacFarlane

          1. I appreciate your interest Ian. You suggest the lead ball detected at the Leo tree may have been fired from a shotgun. I think you are correct as in the photo here below, it has impact indentations all round suggesting a number of similar sized balls all impacted each other within the gun chamber just before being blasted out at explosive speed. I’m not saying this lead ball came from a gun held by Ned, but it is interesting the ‘mean diameter’ of the ball is 0.31 inch which fits a Pocket Colt revolver that’s said Ned Kelly had at SBC. Its found location near the Leo tree makes interesting speculation. In terms of shot size this ball is graded between No ‘0’ and No’1’.


          2. Anonymous says: Reply

            Here are some refs to the fowling-piece loaded with bullets, and Ned’s underpowered .31 Colt pocket revolver:

            [Ned Kelly] They got up, and one took a double-barrel fowling piece and one drove the horses down and hobbled them against the tent… I approached the camp and took possession of their revolvers and fowling piece, which I loaded with bullets instead of shot.

            The Kelly Gang Unmasked p.72

            Lonigan’s thigh wound bore striking similarities to the one suffered by Constable Fitzpatrick at the Kelly home earlier. That revolver bullet had entered Fitzpatrick’s wrist, merely travelling under the skin. When extracted, it too had a conical point. It is more likely, therefore, that the small Colt .31 calibre revolver used at the earlier Fitzpatrick affray was the one used to wound Lonigan at Stringybark Creek. It is possible, even likely, that Ned fired his underpowered revolver into Lonigan’s thigh after killing him with the head shot.

            The Kelly Gang Unmasked p.79

            Ian MacFarlane

          3. Anonymous says: Reply

            Royal Commission. Fitzpatrick. Q. 12857. What really did occur afterwards?—After I got up Ned Kelly examined my hand and found a bullet in my wrist, and said, “You must have it out of that”; and I asked him to let me go into Benalla to let the doctor take it out, and he refused; and I saw he was determined to take out the bullet. He wanted to take it out with a razor, and I took out my penknife and he held my hand and I took it out. It was not very deep in; it was a small-sized ball.


          4. Anon, you posted a picture of what looks like a bullet mould. Can’t quite see how it works but can you explain. Here is one I metal detected in early 1980s around Dunolly Victoria.


          5. Yes Anon, I get it now, the lead is poured in and the elongated slot allows the surplus lead to slid off the end of the bullet or the ball.
            Hope this comment ends up under your last picture.

  4. Glenn is correct the wrong side of the tree was detected and I knew that as well. But now that everyone understands it’s not an offence to metal detect on crown land, I would highly recommend the Kennedy Tree Group, Adrian and Tony get permission from DELWP to chop out the Blackberries and weeds, Jim and Noeleen get permission to mark out all those spiky orchidy tufts with little wooden garden stakes around their K tree, and I’ll lend Brendan Cooke my old Garrett detector so he can detect the correct side of their tree as Glenn suggests, and I also that they do this ASAP well before they nominate the area to Heritage Victoria, as after that, nothing will ever happen there again and all will be lost forever and a day !!!!!

    The attached image will show what might still be detected there-


    1. The KTG will have to think very hard about acting on your suggestion Bill because a negative result is the most likely outcome, and it will leave them with nothing to back up their claim.

      Its interesting to realise that even though you detected the place where they reckoned Kennedys body was, it was probably the wrong part of the site!

      If its more likely that the body was further away from the tree , or around on the northwestern side this means you didnt disturb the site at all and as you point out there is nothing stopping them doing their own detecting in that area. If they were afraid of disturbing the deeper layers they could do their detecting and make a map of the places where they got a signal and then get an archeologist – probably at considerable expense – to explore the spots they identified.

      SO theres the challenge for the KTG to put their money where their mouths are : all you have at the moment is a tree – its not a protected site or in a protected area and theres nothing to stop you at least doing some preliminary investigations on the 85% of the area that Bill didnt survey for you!

  5. Ian there are a few problems with the suggestion in your book that Ned Kelly fired his underpowered Colt into Lonigan’s thigh after killing him with the head shot, the first and most difficult one being that neither Kelly nor McIntyre ever reported a second shot. The problem with the idea that it might’ve happened after McIntyre had fled the scene – and Kelly kept quiet about it – is that Reynolds said all wounds were inflicted before circulation had ceased, which it most certainly had done by the time McIntyre left. If a second shot had been fired into Lonigan’s thigh it would need to have happened very soon after the first one., so I think Reynolds descriptions of the wounds rules out the possibility something happened after McIntyre had gone.

    In fact, as only one shot was fired, all Lonigan’s wounds must have happened at the same time , and the only way that could be possible is if Kelly fired a load of swan drops or a quartered bullet – multiple projectiles in one charge, one of which lodged in his thigh and was thought by Reynolds to have been a revolver bullet. Saying it resembled a revolver bullet doesnt mean it WAS a revolver bullet.

    This explanation is the only one that fits all the known facts and doesn’t leave the necessity to invent crazy possibilities like Ian Jones did, that Kennedy firing back at the Gang as he fled, missed the Gang members every time but hit Lonigan’s body lying on the ground, three times.! What nonsense!

    1. Anonymous says: Reply

      Quite so, David. But I am struck by the similarity of FitzPatrick’s and Lonigan’s wounds. Both were caused by bullets with conical points that travelled under the skin and not a great distance.

      If Ned’s .31 Colt revolver was underpowered due to several possible reasons, it may have sounded different… but this just guesswork on my part.

      Ian MacFarlane

      1. In July 2007, questions about this gun were laid before the International Ammunition Association forum on the internet. Some members of the forum are experts. In addition to the various possibilities about this gun suggested in this book, some of the respondents (though not all) felt that the gun might have had percussion caps but no charge for the bullets. Some respondents claimed percussion caps by themselves could ‘fire’ a bullet and that such bullets had been known to penetrate nearby objects. But there was by no means general acceptance of this solution. The more likely answer for the behaviour of the weapon, respondents stated, was that the powder was wrongly measured, inferior or damp.

        The Kelly Gang Unmasked, p. 85

        At the 1963 JFK Assassination many witnesses heard firecrackers rather than gunshots:

        Ian MacFarlane

  6. Thomas Whiteside says: Reply

    Fascinating discussion. New to this blog but becoming a regular. Proper grounded intellectual debate. Used o\to be very much in the ‘pro-Kelly camp’. Very much an agnostic these days…

    1. HI Thomas, good to have you visit and keep coming back! Next time hopefully you will give us your thoughts on the topic under discussion. Cheers!

  7. Thomas Whiteside says: Reply

    Thanks David.

    I don’t think I have much worth contributing at this point. Tree is too small, probably on wrong side of the creek. I’m also pretty convinced Bill has the right location for the police camp and I can’t work out why so many remain unconvinced.

    I probably have a similar view of Jones to you (admire the man, his dedication and his original research but feel he let his conceived view of Ned impact his analysis and also hate the ‘guru’ status) and am not as scathing as Stuart, but I recently watched a video of Jones on youtube apparently visiting various Kelly sites including SBC and was pretty disappointed. His main point is his choice of location has ‘the right vibe’ and ‘speaks to you’ (or words to that effect). Not exactly convincing..

  8. David — There is a problem with the swan drops or quartered ball you have devised for the deaths of Lonigan and Scanlon. Ned had no idea that the police were armed with additional weapons — Rev Sandiford’s fowling piece and the Spencer repeating rifle.

    It is possible, I suppose, that Ned brought swan drops or quartered balls to use in his own rifle with the bent barrel, then decided to use the fowling piece instead.

    The problem here is that when Ned shot and killed Lonigan he had not yet obtained the fowling piece, which he then loaded with solid shot.

    On scouring the Net last night, it seems swan shot generally was unpopular and quartered shot seldom used. There is and was no mention this ammo was ever used by the Kelly Gang.

    Why would they have used ammo that spun off in unpredictable directions the further they went.

    All that is not to say you aren’t right, David!

    Ian MacFarlane

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