The Actual True Story of Ned Kelly : Part VII – The murder of Scanlan and Kennedy at Stringybark Creek

As recounted in the previous post, the Kelly Gang of four armed men bailed up two policemen at their Camp beside Stringybark Creek, killed the one who was armed almost immediately – Lonigan – spared the life of the unarmed one – McIntyre – and then laid in wait for the other two policemen in the party to return.


Kelly later made contradictory claims in the Jerilderie Letter about why the Gang confronted the police. He wrote in one place that “If they (the police search party) came on us at our camp they would shoot us down like dogs” and later“I was compelled to shoot them or else lie down and let them shoot me”, comments which seems to imply that because he believed the police had come to try and kill him and his brother – which would have been illegal –  he decided to kill them pre-emptively and claim it was self-defence. There was no history of Victoria police ever having done what Ned Kelly suggested they would do to him, to deliberately and in cold blood murder suspects, and the evidence from the time provides not a single fact to support that idea. To me, this explanation of Kellys seems more like a retrospective attempt at creating a justification and a potential legal defence for what ended up happening, the shocking multiple murder of policemen.


In spite of those words of his, I don’t think Kelly planned to assassinate the policemen at Stringybark Creek, because as he said himself, he could have done so without confronting them : “We could have shot those two men without speaking but not wishing to take lives we waited” .  Elsewhere in the Jerilderie Letter Kelly wrote something which to me seems more likely to be the truth: “We thought it best to try and bail those up, take their firearms and ammunition and horses and (then) we could stand a chance with the rest.”



Bailing people up and robbing them was what Ned Kelly had observed the older and experienced highway robber Harry Power doing several years earlier when 14-year-old Kelly was his so-called ‘apprentice’. Harry Power made it look easy and Kelly no doubt thought he would be able to do it just as easily, that he would confront the police, teach them a lesson, take what he needed and send them on their way, disarmed, embarrassed and humiliated. Why else would the gang have dressed up in the Greta mob outfit of brightly coloured sash and hatbands under their noses, before heading out to confront the police?  They were planning to show off. But Ned Kelly was a failed apprentice. Given how things went at SBC its apparent that Kelly failed to learn important lessons that Harry could have taught him, skills Harry had no doubt learned along the way, such as being selective about who you confront, about the difference between a coach-load of travellers and a party of armed police, about being able to command instant obedience with your voice and never firing a shot!


As a result of Kellys foolhardy overconfidence coupled with his ignorance of the subtleties involved, he blundered headlong into a confrontation that he lost control of almost immediately. Within a few seconds an attempted robbery turned into murder and Kelly would have known immediately that not only had his plan failed disastrously, but if he was ever caught he would probably be hanged. He probably started working on his ‘self defence’ claim right then, knowing it might be his only hope of escaping the noose, should he ever get caught.


However, though a policeman was dead, none of the Gang had been injured and they had acquired all the police ammunition, two police revolvers, a shotgun, four horses and any other items of police equipment they wanted. By waiting for the other two policemen to return they must have decided that the opportunity to steal two more horses and three more firearms was worth the risk of having another disastrous confrontation and more deaths, maybe even their own. Ned Kelly hadn’t learned anything.


So, inevitably, when Scanlan and Kennedy made their way into the camp later that afternoon, once again Kelly lost control of the situation almost immediately, panicked again and started shooting again. McIntyre had been ordered by Kelly to approach Kennedy and Scanlon and persuade them to surrender, but McIntyres account is that before he had even opened his mouth, Kelly emerged from hiding and shouted “Bail up, hold up your hands”. Kennedy initially appeared to think it was a prank and put his hand on his revolver, whereupon Kelly fired, just as McIntyre was saying they were surrounded and had better surrender.


Once again there are major differences between the accounts given by McIntyre and by Ned Kelly in the Jerilderie letter of what happened. Kelly claims the Gang only fired in response to police firing first – Kennedy, according to Kelly leaped off his horse and fired from behind a tree, and Scanlon, his rifle still slung over his back “fired at me with the rifle without unslinging it and was in the act of firing again when I had to shoot him and he fell from his horse”


We know Kelly lied about how Lonigan was killed, so we have no reason to accept as honest his self-serving descriptions of how Scanlan and Kennedy were killed. This is what McIntyre remembered seeing when Scanlan was shot:  “He let go his hands before he had reached the ground to seize his rifle which was strapped over his shoulder; in doing so he fell and in his efforts to scramble to his feet and at the same time disentangle himself from his rifle he fell again and both his hands and knees were upon the ground when he was shot under the right arm. I saw a large spot of blood appear upon his coat…”


As McIntyre said of Kelly “He incurred no more danger in shooting Lonigan or Scanlan than he would have done in shooting two Kangaroos; he simply gave the men no chance to injure him, and might have shot them down without challenging them, as they scarcely had time to realise their danger until they were shot”


The death of Kennedy was the most horrifying and pitiless killing of them all: like McIntyre he attempted to escape, but unlike McIntyre who had a stroke of luck when Kennedys horse came to him and he grabbed it and took off, poor Kennedy was on foot, and his only defence was a six-shot revolver: a six-shot revolver, and possibly enough spares for one reload, against four heavily armed men, intent on killing him. Ned Kellys is the only written account of what happened but given the lies he told about Lonigan and Scanlans’ murders, there’s no reason to believe it to be anything other than more lies and another self-serving attempt to deflect blame away from himself. Kellys claim that he mistook a blood clot for a gun is laughable, and his crocodile tears about being forced to shoot Kennedy dead at point blank range are contemptible: if he hadn’t wanted to kill Kennedy why did he chase him half a mile or more into the bush, peppering the trees along the way with bullets that missed him? But by the time the Gang chased him down, Kennedy was wounded and unarmed – so brave Ned Kelly put the rifle against his chest and fired, executing him on the spot. One forensic opinion was that Kennedy was standing upright at that moment; if true, Kennedy was exhibiting heroic courage at the moment of his death, but it also means he was nowhere near terminally wounded as Kelly claimed: terminally wounded people are collapsed and barely alive, not standing upright. It also was not a killing in self-defence. Arguably, if he could have been taken to Mansfield, Kennedy might have survived long enough to see his wife and children again, and conceivably recovered completely. Kelly took no chances and ruthlessly made certain we will never know.

Much is made by the Kelly crowd of the fact that when Sergeant Kennedys decaying corpse was found after a three-day search, it was covered by his police cloak. Ned Kelly claimed he was the one who placed it there, and his followers claim it was done as a mark of respect – speculation which is undermined by the fact that Kelly then ransacked Kennedys body, taking his watch, his wedding ring, and his notebook which was later found back at the campsite with pages torn out of it. Kelly was reported later to have told hostages at Faithfuls Creek that the pages torn from Kennedys notebook had been used by Kennedy to compose a farewell note to his wife and family, and that Kelly was going to deliver it – but the note disappeared without trace. Such was the measure of Kellys ‘respect’ for the doomed policeman.


It’s common to read comments from Kelly supporters that what happened at Stringybark Creek was a fair fight, the police lost and they got what they deserved. Not one single fact supports that sickening allegation: four armed men surprising two, only one of whom was armed could be accurately described as a fair fight in no known universe, shooting dead a man who had fallen onto his hands and knees and who never fired a shot is not a fair fight in any known universe and neither is four heavily armed men chasing a single fleeing man with a six-shot revolver a fair fight in any known universe.

The horrible truth is that it wasn’t by any standard a fair fight – it was an unholy massacre by an out-of-control gang of four murderous thugs, who from that evening on, were known as the Kelly Gang. However, their fate was sealed: death by hanging if they were ever caught. For the rest of their lives they were on the run.

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99 Replies to “The Actual True Story of Ned Kelly : Part VII – The murder of Scanlan and Kennedy at Stringybark Creek”

  1. My understanding of the weapon Ned Kelly used to murder Sgt Kennedy was a shotgun, not a rifle. You are correct that every one of those policemen were murdered in a cold-blooded way.

  2. Thomas Whiteside says: Reply

    Another good piece Dee!

    One small issue, I think you make it sound as though Ned executed Kennedy as soon as he found him. ‘But by the time the Gang chased him down, Kennedy was wounded and unarmed – so brave Ned Kelly put the rifle against his chest and fired, executing him on the spot.’

    In fact, the gang stayed with Kennedy for something like two hours in an effort to get information out of him. That’s a much bleaker and crueler scenario than the usually depicted immediate ‘mercy kill’. Also more support for the suggestion Kennedy was not as badly wounded as Ned said and possibly could have survived with medical attention (or lived long enough to say goodbye to his family).

    1. Thanks Thomas, I was aware as I wrote that sentence that it is not the accepted truth but we only have Ned Kellys word for it that he lived a couple of hours before being executed! I cant imagine he was standing up for two hours though.

      I once speculated that the reason the coat was thrown over Kennedy was because he was alive and they were going to leave him there alive, but then had second thoughts, pulled it back, shot him on the ground and threw it back over him again. Its possible – but of course we will never know. Whatever happened it was a sickening and inexcusable act of cold blooded murder…..

      And this is the man the north East are about to make the Centrepiece of their attempt to revitalise Tourism up there… I am not sure we should allow that to happen without some very loud protests. Its not the north-easts private history to tell travellers whatever lies about it they want, but all of Australias.

  3. The death of Kennedy is not known only from Ned Kelly’s self-serving ramblings, but also from a detailed description in chapter 11 (pages 50-54) of GW Hall’s 1879 book, “The Kelly Gang, or The Outlaws of the Wombat Ranges”. This is the first book (as opposed to some short pamphlets) written about the Kelly gang, while they were still on the run.

    This is the source of the hour and a half interrogation of Kennedy after the gang chased him some 30 chains (600 metres) into the bush before shooting the badly wounded man despite his pleas to live. Ned Kelly “placed the muzzle of the [shotgun] to the left of the victim’s left breast and fired the shot”. The Kellys [presumably meaning Ned and Dan] then turned out the dead man’s pockets while his corpse lay blasted apart, taking anything of value including his watch and the ring from his finger. The entire country was outraged by that barbarity.

    Hall’s book is available as a free PDF download from Bill’s site (this one includes Bill’s excellent facsimile of the original title page), and from Project Gutenberg which for some unknown reason didn’t include the front cover facsimile illustration. Here are the links:

    What are the north-east tourist people doing? I haven’t heard anything new for ages.

    1. Oops, Hall’s book says Kennedy was chased 22 chains, which is just over 600 metres. I typed 60 metres in my above comment. Big fingers, little phone buttons…

      1. I fixed it for you Stuart!

      2. Incidentally Stuart, that quote from Hall is another nail in the Kennedy Tree groups coffin. According to them, Kennedy was killed only 200 yards from the Police campsite, so if their tree is the right tree then their campsite is wrong its too close. On the other hand if their Campsite is right, the tree is wrong. Actually its quite clear to me after investigating their claims – which they are now no longer defending by the way – that the tree and the campsite are BOTH wrong!

        1. There is no reason to doubt the 1879 source document about the distance Kennedy was pursed and killed. Remember, people went there and retrieved his body.

          1. The problem is that different people gave different estimates of how far it was from the police campsite to where they found Kennedys body, and it varied from 400 yards at the minimum. The Kennedy tree groups claim is that the true distance was only 200 yards, half the minimum estimate made by people on the ground at the time, most of whom guessed it to be considerably more than 400 yards. You’ve got to be pretty sure of your facts if youre going to insist that your are right and everyone else is wrong by at least a factor of two.

  4. Anonymous says: Reply

    Nearly 30 years ago I was involved in a bank robbery. I was working in a large branch of the CBA in Sydney. 9 tellers. 50+ staff. Half of those staff saw the guy as he robbed every single teller. My personal sighting was brief. I was an examiner, I heard raised voices while I was on the phone. We had partitions for those staff who were back office staff so that customers would not feel frustrated that that person wasn’t serving customers. The person on the other end of the phone could hear shouting. I dismissed it as yet another customer complaint and rose to my feet to see where the commotion was. Walking towards me was a man in dark baseball cap and a shotgun. What else was he wearing? Not a clue! I turned to walk to an alarm point. Automatic pilot. I was told later that the gunman turned and saw me walking away. Unbeknown to me had told everyone not to move. My supervisor dragged me to the floor and told me to stay. Half a minute later he fired the shotgun through a plate-glass window and made his own exit.

    The next day we all talkied about our experience. Some saw a tall guy, some said he was short. Some say he had a blue hat, some said it was black. The gun had 2 barrels for some and one barrel for others. 25 staff all saw differing details. Include the 25+ customers and you would most likely get another 25 differing opinions.

    My point obviously is that the record of events from McIntyre and Ned Kelly were most likely inaccurate in various ways. From shock, or a mis-conception, or just plain wrong. From what I have read……and I apologise for the vagueness… that McIntyre changed certain elements of his version of events. He may have legitimately forgotten something when he was first asked to record the events and included it at a later date. He may have talked himself into believing something happened afterwards that didn’t. I can’t blame him! He was in an incredibly stressful situation. He may have felt guilt about being the only survivor. The same could be said for the four bushrangers.

    I’m not trying to justify anyone’s version of events or ridicule another’s. It just may not have happened the way we perceive it to have happened. David asked if it was a fair fight. I told him I would put forward my understanding of why I think it was. His assumption is, Lonigan was shot before going for his gun. 4 against one. Doesn’t sound fair. Ian Jones assumption is Lonigan was attempting to defend himself. 4 against 2. Still not fair. But you can hardly pause the fight and organise what and what isn’t fair before recommencing. Does fairness come into it? I don’t think that entered either Lonigan or Kelly’s minds before Lonigan was shot. Except maybe when Kelly was in the bush and able to work out that there were possibly only 2 officers at the camp. Possibly more in the tent. He may well have hoped they would surrender without incident. He was very wrong. Was it still a fair fight? All depends on how you perception. If each side engages is that not an agreement to terms? Trained police may think 2 against 4 is fair odds. The Kelly gang may feel that 4 against 2 was not. Later on at Glenrowan 4 men went up against bigger odds.

    At the end of the day, 3 policeman were killed. Indisputable. Unjustifiable. It was an horrific outcome. No disagreement there. Killed. Murdered. The result is the same. To argue over events that may or may not be the way they happened seems pointless to me. 25 years prior was the Eureka Stockade. Men fighting against the police for what they believed in. Was Ned Kelly not doing the same thing? Does that make him right or wrong? Were the gold miners wrong? Different times to how things are now. I know David will disagree with that comment but I think its true. One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.

    I’m fully aware I have not backed up my arguments with any factual information. (It’s more a long-winded query.) I have been open and honest when I have said most of what I have read is via Ian Jones. I am more than prepared to be proved incorrect. I just ask for proof. Not personal attacks. So far, I have been treated well here. I hope to continue the discussions. If I am treated with respect I will do the same. If I am proven wrong I will admit it. Sounds fair?



    1. Thanks for your comments Neal. You make many good points and I am still thinking about many of them. Your comments about what happened at the CBA and how different people remember different things and some are contradictory are excellent observations. They are examples of the challenge every historian faces in trying to work out and understand history, which is about things that happened in the past that usually none of us was there to see for ourselves. This I think is the puzzle which makes history a fascinating subject, and the reason many of us are intrigued by history – many facts and many possible ways to connect them all together.

      This same thought is sometimes expressed on Kelly pages by people who write “Opinions are like arseholes, everyone has one” by which I think they mean that all opinions are valid. Certainly as none of us was there at SBC in 1878 none of us can afford to be dogmatic about everythng, or about exactly what happened down to the tiniest detail, and its also true that we are all entitled to have an opinion and to defend it however we see fit. But its not true – and this is the mistake so many Kelly followers make, in my opinion anyway – its not true that that all opinions are EQUAL, or equally valid. Simple illustration : My opinion about how to skin a rabbit is informed by having seen it on you tube. Would you prefer my opinion or that of a hunter who has shot and skinned hundreds of them? Two opinions, both ‘valid’ but one based on better knowledge and experience than the other, so NOT actually EQUAL. A better description of opinions would be they are like brains – we all have one – but some are pretty useless!

      So when it comes to reconstructing history , its rational to be inclined to accept opinions based on greater knowledge and understanding than those based on less. But all we can do is reconstruct to the best of our ability what seems like the best explanation of what happened, and be prepared to change our view if more and better information comes along.

      Another commonly seen and related approach in the Kelly world is the statement that “well you weren’t there so you couldn’t possibly know”. This is true of all history learning. None of us was alive during the Kelly Outbreak or the Reign of Henry the Eighth – but people WERE there and they were our eyes and ears. So we find out what was said by observers at the time, as many as we can find and then use their accounts and other evidence from the time – such as autopsy findings, or weather records or official records and so on – and again do our best to reconstruct what took place.

      So back to the Kelly story and Stringybark Creek. My training is in science and medicine and I am a huge fan of the scientific method : it relies on the gathering of observations and the use of reason to construct and then test ideas about reality – and there has been no more powerful tool in the search for truth and knowledge than the scientific method, ever. Its also the way Historians approach their subjects, and the way I approach the kelly story. I like to focus on the problem, find the best answer to each puzzle and put it out there. It can then be tested and challenged and if its found wanting improved or chucked out and replaced with a better explanation. Its no help in my opinion to have a narrative that refuses to make claims, said it could be this or that maybe this or that, this but on the other hand that…no, I say make the best claim you can out of whats available and put it out there, test it in all conditions and see if floats!

      So in this Post the big question was Fair fight or not? Ive gathered all the evidence I can find, and in my opinion it says it wasn’t.

    2. I think you are off beam somewhat with your comment that the Eureka rebels were fighting the police. They were fighting government policy that had raised the cost of a mining licence to such a high level that it was nigh on impossible to live. Bear in mind that many of the miners would mine for weeks without getting even one small nugget, while a few others struck it big. The police were required to follow government policy and laws and enforce the law. The police essentially had no choice. Damned if you do and damned if you don’t.
      It should also be noted that most of the men and woman at Eureka were good, decent, hard working and loyal to the crown. They were not essentially criminals, other than they refused to pay an exorbitant fee to mine.

  5. Hi Neal, the problem is that Jones gave some credence to Kelly’s claim that SBC was a fair fight. This ignores extensive evidence that has been discussed by a lot of people on this blog that no such thing as a fair fight happened.
    First, a party of 4 armed men With rifles and a couple of revolvers strode from cover to ambush two men, one armed and one not. The one armed man (Lonigan) was shot and killed the arvo he began to run. No fair fight so far.
    When the second pair of police came back to the camp site, Scanlon was killed right after McIntyre said they should surrender, before he could undoing his rifle. No fair fight there,
    McIntyre saw the gang were now going to kill him (unarmed) and Kennedy, and fled on Kennedy’s horse when it came near him.
    Kennedy did dismount and may have got off a couple of revolver shots before being pursued and killed at the murderer’s leisure. No fair fight there.
    It all comes from Kelly’s boasting.

    As to the Eureka comparison of men fighting for what they believed in, how does that connect with the Kelly gang? I can’t see any connection at all.

  6. Thomas Whiteside says: Reply

    I think the point Neil is making is both involved violence against police / soldiers in the name of ‘the cause’.
    However, the differences here are also fairly stark.
    1. The diggers at Eureka had a fair degree of political sophistication (Lalor went on to serve in parliament, J.B. Humffray was an active Chartist , Carboni was an Italian nationalist etc – although admittedly neither of the latter two were in the stockade).
    2. The diggers’ cause itself was viewed by a great many as ‘just’ (against the license which was designed to control the shortage of labour in the cities which had resulted due to the gold rush, and also the brutality and corruption of its enforcers).
    3. The diggers’ cause also began peacefully, initially, with the Ballarat Reform League.
    4. The battle of Eureka was instigated by a raid of troopers / soldiers not the diggers themselves and also followed a high profile murder trial (though admittedly the diggers also burnt down the hotel and took up arms – but still different ‘look’).
    5. Despite taking up arms in the stockade, the leaders were not found guilty of treason and do not seem to have harboured any real hatred towards Britain or were for the most part not even republicans (the Union Jack was reportedly also flown with the Eureka Cross) (Lalor wasn’t even a democrat).
    6. Post the Stockage and Treason trial, the Diggers pursued their agenda via the parliament and essentially won the argument.

    Ned on the other hand, as Dawson argues well, was not driven by such high minded ideas (unless homicidal hatred of police counts as political conviction).

    1. Anonymous says: Reply

      Alf thinks it went to a fifth or sixth Ed.

      Horrie and Alf

      1. That book was prone to split in half because of faulty binding. The quick fix is to get a binder and pop the book in there. Otherwise be careful opening it.

        By far the best Eureka book ever.


  7. As one of the Kelly descendants (Griffiths) said and is quoted in Leo Kennedy‘s book, Ned “didn’t have a political bone in his body”.

    Nor was anything remotely political claimed for him or any of the gang in Kenneally’s 1929 Inner History. The politics myth was started by Max Brown in his 1948 book and pursued to idiotic proportions by Jones from 1967 onwards with much twisting, distortion and omission of any evidence to the contrary.

  8. Replying to David at 5:38pm on 25 May – it won’t allow any more follow on replies there, so I am down here.
    Re the distance from camp that Kennedy’s body was found, I am most inclined to go with Hall’s 22 chains. While various distances have been said, you said that all of them are more than 400 yards. I assume the distances are from various reports of the time. Unless McIntyre gave a distance otherwise, Hall is likely most reliable as not only was he around at the time but he went to considerable trouble to write an objective account that would be seen as such. A chain was a standard unit of measure, universally known and easy to both estimate and check. 22 chains is a definitely stated distance that could readily be corroborated by those who knew the area and where the body was found both in October and subsequently. Hall published in early Feb, not long after the event and had followed the story closely with sources on all sides – Kelly associates, police, officials and civilians.
    22 chains is 484 yards (google) so that is in line with what you were saying about the distances given at the time all being upwards of 400 yards. Any modern writers claiming a much lesser distance than the sources from back in the day are wrong.

  9. Anonymous says: Reply

    McIntyre said: “Const Scanlan was carrying the breech loading rifle, but before they could use them Const Scanlan received a ball under the right arm which I feel assured has caused his death, Sergeant Kennedy I am unable to say anything about, he was advised by me to surrender, he said it is all right I will, but as the desperadoes continued shooting at the Sergeant and me, I seized his horse which he had abandoned and made my escape upon it I was fired at repeatedly and I believe the horse must have been wounded as he knocked up after two or three miles”.

    The Kelly Gang Unmasked, p.70

    Cam West

  10. Anonymous says: Reply

    Here’s a hoot – Mick Jagger as Ned!

    Cam West

  11. Anonymous says: Reply

    Oops, this is much better and will give Stuart a good cackle!

    Cam West

    1. Hi Cam, that clip is hilarious, so stupid it’s fall about laughing stuff. Weedy Mick toasting the Republic of Victoria – note, not north-east Victoria – and of course that was Ian Jones co-scripting back in 1970 when he thought that maybe a republic of all of Victoria was a possibility for the Kelly gang to aim at (in the 1968 Man and Myth essay). Delusional then and laughable now. Thanks for linking that clip, it’s referenced in footnote 218 in my magnificent masterpiece, NK and the MYTH of a republic of NE Victoria, download free from the picture link at the top of the page. Now even more people can have a cack at the idiocy. What a great start to the long weekend!

      And don’t forget to toast Queen Victoria on Monday! Ned’s family would have, as anyone can see if they read the last page of Joseph Ashmead’s The Thorns and the Briars. The republic crap doesn’t withstand even half an hour’s scrutiny or a bit of common sense, but it still took a lot of time to research, document and expose as total BS.

  12. Anonymous says: Reply

    Stuart, Can you elaborate on last page of The Thorns and the Briars please.

    Otherwise I’ll have to go all the way into MS at SLV. At least PROV is providing some online records.

    Cam West

    1. Hi Cam, I’ve attached a screenshot of the last page for you. Even better, you can download the whole thing yourself here,

      I hope this helps make it obvious to anyone how Jones, who drew heavily on Joseph Ashmead’s manuscript for his ludicrous purple prose about Fitzpatrick having a crush on Kate Kelly, was so selective and duplicitous about what he took or even acknowledged from most historical source documents. He only ever quoted what he liked (or could quibble and reject, often by manipulating the evidence) based on his extraordinarily simplistic and biased view of Kelly. That’s why he never pursued what young Kelly was doing when in gaol; glossing over the obvious – standard prison labour – to imaging Kelly being taught stonemasonry to the level needed tod build a stone house a few years later. Stonemasonry was a skilled trade that took years to learn. Ned couldn’t even build his mum a decent bush hut. It was a squalid dump repeatedly patched up badly. He didn’t have half the skills of his father, and not just because his father died when Ned was young. He never learned in the first place. He wanted and led a larrikin life – Greta Mob. Thieving, drinking and throwing his weight around was all he was ever good for. A short life made shorter by his own freely chosen bad choices, mostly at the expense of others.

      Incidentally here’s a bit from the Ellen Kelly biography, “after moving her family into the far north-east of Victoria to stay near relations, she leased a selection of 88 acres (35.6 ha) there and sold ‘sly grog’ to make ends meet”,

      Yet here’s an article about 76 acres as the optimum size for a self sufficient farming lifestyle,
      OK, they might not have had the best land – but they did nothing with it, while many of their surrounding neighbours made a go of it, paid off their selections, and went on to have relatively prosperous lives. The Kellys were nothing – a pack of thieves stealing from fellow selectors and townspeople, just a gang of thugs. Even Ian Jones acknowledges the Kelly boys stealing horses from surrounding farmers and returning them for the advertised rewards. People who keep apologising for this – like Jones, based on fantasies of police oppression – ignore that the Kelly clan lived a criminal lifestyle and preyed endlessly on their surrounding community. That’s why no-one was sad to see the gang get their comeuppance.

      As I documented in the republic myth book, there were at best a handful of so-called Kelly sympathisers at Glenrowan, and they kept well out of the way. The few family and clan members begging for the gang’s bones after the siege had no sympathy from the crowd except insofar as they felt sorry for the family grieving. No-one was sad to see the gang finished, and the entire state, especially the north-east rejoiced, as anyone can see in Trove online library from the papers of the day. People fantasizing about how wonderful the gang were are reading history with blinkers on.


  13. Anonymous says: Reply

    Very many thanks, Stuart!

    Cam West

    1. You’re welcome. I just re-read the last 2 short paragraphs in Ashmead – and I can’t remember why it is signed off Glendon – and it is clear that back in the early 1920s when this was written, well before Kenneally wrote his Inner History, that the Kellys and rellies wanted to leave the past behind them and move on.

      Kenneally did no one any favours with his book. The bitter divisions he stirred up have plagued the north east ever since, as people continue to grapple with the idea that the was any good in a gang of thieving police killers. There wasn’t, and those whose twisted logic seem to find anything heroic in the criminal saga are at odds with everything written about the gang at the time as well as with common sense. That’s why it makes no sense to want more so called Kelly tourism. There is nothing to celebrate, only pain to forget.

  14. As above, the Kelly family were never republicans. As Ashmead wrote in the early 1920s, “These people are loyal. Of course they are loyal, for had they not proven it with the blood of their own kith and kin?” He was speaking of Kelly descendants who died fighting for King and country in WW1.

    And back in the day (1870s-1880s), not a word of Kelly republicanism anywhere in any published or referenced source of family or clan history, or anything that Ian Jones ever found mentioned by a descendant anywhere in any of his work on the Kellys, relations and associates from his 20 years of interviewing. It is nonsense for Jones to claim no-one said anything because of treason, a stupid claim that was picked up and supported by many who should have known better, including Harber Phillips. Everyone knew of the claims of the Eureka rebels in the 1850s. No-one knew of even one political claim for anything from anyone connected with the Kellys anywhere in the nineteenth century. That is the glaring anomaly that stuck out like a sore thumb when I first encountered Jones’ Kelly republic theory. Not one shred of evidence anywhere, including newspapers of the day, oral tradition or police files. It was just so obviously nonsense that it begged to be myth busted. Gullible with a capital G.

    Happy birthday from the Kelly era, Queen Victoria – here’s a sly grog (home brew) toast.


  15. I tend to agree with Neal how individual memory accounts differ between those that were there.
    Years ago I started a new page “ Ned duded by McIntyre”. I have not published this as yet, but seriously conclude McIntyre was either hoodwinked by his government lawyers, or he was totally confused by Burman’s photo, and later the map he drew for the court case trial.

    This is what I had put together- regarding the Burman photo

    Syd Kirkby confirms with me that the light comes from the right behind the photographer and generally face-on to the logs and trees. Meaning, the photos are looking southerly.

    We now show the map McIntyre produced for the court trial against Kelly.
    This is a photo of the McIntyre Map.
    The map clearly shows two logs and rectangle for the tent.

    The map also shows North – top of map.

    Anyone comparing this map with the Burman photos will jump to conclude the two logs face on in the photos and the map are the same logs.
    THEY are NOT the same logs.

    McIntyre failed to show the third log altogether, the one behind which Lonigan was to be shot.
    This omission gave McIntyre a huge advantage that made it very difficult for Kelly to use the Burman photo POST CARD to prove the gang did not ambush the police camp.

    The Post Card would show from where they came, from the south, but by McIntyre’s map, the photo looks like it was taken looking North east, as the illustration below shows. We know the Burman photo was presented by F.C. Burman, he signed an affidavit to that affect and McIntyre swore –“Both photos were taken from the direction of the bottom left hand corner” of the map. With this Ned had no convincing chance in court to use the postcard.

    Google link to Sydney Kirkby

    With that out of the way I would like readers see the latest SBC article in the Benalla Ensign by Simon Ruppert.
    He interviewed me about the farce at Stringy Bark Creek. Also the No Respect for History article in the Herald Sun where Leo Kennedy lashes out to me for running a metal detector over and around a tree which the KTG group reckon is for real. Please visit my webpages
    Comments welcome .

    1. Hi Bill, how much weight would the Burman photos potentially carry in regards to whether it was an ambush attack in this context? It seems that regardless of the map direction of the gang’s advance, McIntyre and Lonigan were not aware of the gang advancing on them until the call to bail up. That suggests that ambush may still be an appropriate word for the attack?

      1. Stuart, In general terms, l understand that four men walking into someone else’s camp site all together in a line from one direction with instructions to those at camp to Bail Up is not an ambush but a takeover command. An ambush is where men lay hidden in various places in wait for someone coming by as in a surprise with little chance of escape.
        During the second incident when waiting for Kennedy and Scanlan to return, some will say was an ‘ambush’ but even then as they approached they were warned by McIntyre Sergeant “we are surrounded and you have to surrender. This warning from McIntyre was also not an ambush, but for the sake of their safety a warning command from McIntyre.

        1. Hi Bill, that an interesting argument that the call to bail up was a takeover command as distinct from an ambush. I’m thinking that a parallel with a highway robbery (where the bail up call originated, obviously) could maybe take place in some different ways. One would be the type of hold up where the robbers stood in plain view in the path of an approaching coach, wagon, or cart typically where it could not turn around or divert, and demanded it halt and bail up. Another would be where robbers surprised a coach by rushing from concealment by the side of the road and demanding it bail up, which there are examples of in sticking up gold escorts. In both examples the call to bail up could be called a takeover command, yet the second seems to have more of an ambush character about it. Anyway it is interesting to think about.

    2. I am not au fait with either the location of the police camp or the alleged spot where Sgt Kennedy was killed. A great deal has been written about those suggested locations and it will take me more time than I have at present to lift my knowledge to enable me to make an objective assessment. I will however, say that the suggestion that Sgt Kennedy was killed only 200 metres from the police camp defies logic and common sense. If that were the case his body would have almost certainly been found on the first day of the search, or at the worst by the end of day two. The fact that it took some 5 days to find him indicates to me that he was found some distance from the police camp. Looking at this logically, a distance of at least 22 chains and probably more, seems to be far more realistic than the KTG suggestion of a mere 200 metres.

  16. Here is link to Benalla Ensign 10 July 2020
    Kelly Gang sites disputed by local historian
    And image of the Benalla paper article-


  17. And to fill the gaps, read this parody to Leo Kennedy’s swipe at me in the Herald Sun 16 March 2020. Journalist Sharon McGowan’s and Leo’s head-line story ‘No respect for History- Ned Kelly’s murder site dug up’ , could / should also have been reported as ‘Police murder sites Stuff Up’. And that’s more like it as you will read.


  18. NE Factcheckers says: Reply

    BILL you are loose, with the facts as is usually your MO, We made a visit to the KTG’s tree soon after you and presumably others with you, had made a pretty good attempt to disturb the immediate ground in your running of a metal detector over and around a tree; If all you did was some running who then disturbed in some spots the ground so markedly??
    The map you talk about presumably is the detailed one done by Macintyre which was found by staff at the police museum between the pages of one of his scrap books, This map was displayed for the first time at Beechworth some years ago. IF this map had been used at the trial of Ned it would be identified as an exhibit and it was NOT and it was NOT used at Ned’s trial. So your wildly innacurate statement about its omission and the difficulty of Ned to use the Post card is bunkum, apart from the fact that Ned (you mean his barrister) did not present any evidence nor did Ned take the stand to explain anything, is yet another example of loose and inaccurate writings (of which you seem to have become very proficient at over the years).
    And Burman did not present anything at Ned’s trial. He simply endorsed the POST CARD and it was presented as an exhibit (actually Exhibit A) but there is no close examination of it by either the prosecution or the defence. There is absolutely no evidence that Burman appeared for the purposes of an examination!!
    And would you be able to enlighten me and I’m sure many others where the words of McIntyre swearing as you state the direction that both photographs were taken and made reference to the map?

    1. Dear Factcheckers, you are wrong. There are 2 McIntyre maps, the one found in the police museum (the detailed one) and the sketch shown in court, the sketch Bill referred to. Check your facts before commenting and attacking others.

    2. NE FACTCHECKERS- By reference to the K.T.Group tree I would conclude you are one of them. That’s fine and welcome your comment.
      Firstly, you are correct I was there with ‘others’ and family. May I draw you a cross section of the ground I metal detected.
      When that landscape at SBC was formed millions of years ago the base ground material was sediment of an auriferous time ( gold – ‘AU’ ) The ground below differs greatly from the loose vegetation composted material lying on top and is just lightweight detritus from tree debris-bark, leafy material which at that site is about 6 inches deep lying on top of hard red dirt.

      Amongst this spongy forest debris some bits of wire from the old telegraph line was detected. Please note that tree had served as telegraph pole as ceramic insulator is till up there.

      In order to metal detect the ground base the top 6 inches of forrest litter needed to be raked off to expose the underlying ground. That is why it looked like I had dug it all up, but it was not. The ground was not dug up – only metal detected for anything below ground level.
      If a shotgun was fired at close range into at the ground, the shot goes straight through the top forest debris and penetrates the firm gritty-sandy soil as I demonstrated in the video. Only half the shot 14.2 gms was recovered at around 5 inches into the ground, so the other half of the shot went even deeper.
      Some of any lead shot fired through a body would have gone deep into the ground buy none was detected in front of that KTG tree where they reckon the body of Kennedy was photographed.

      1. The Kennedy Tree Report Team says: Reply

        Bill, It would be incorrect to conclude that ‘NE Fact-checkers’ is a pseudonym for one of our team.

        We only ever publish and/or comment under our own, individual names – or as a collective known as ‘The Kennedy Tree Team’.

        We have no need to use fake names. Why would we? We like our own just fine.

        We can assure you that no member of the team has ‘gone rogue’.

        We have no interest in debating you here, but wanted to clear up any misconception to anyone reading this blog, that you might be ‘debating’ or speaking with us about our/your/their…. sites/maps/diagrams etc.

        You are not.

        Kind regards

        Adrian, Tony, Jim & Noeleen- The Kennedy Tree Report Team.

        1. Why are you still calling yourselves the Kennedy Tree Report Team when you didn’t find the Kennedy tree? Your claim has been completely dismantled by several people here and elsewhere. Shouldn’t you be called the Kennedy Tree Search Team? Because you need to go back out and keep looking. For one thing your tree is much too close to your claimed campsite for it to be the Kennedy tree. Nice try but no.

        2. KTRT,

          You sure are a big bunch of DUDS…

          Mr T.

          1. Anonymous says: Reply

            They’ve provided zero, zilch so far!

            At this stage all they are providing is a nasty attempt to rubbish Bill – the only real expert on the SBC Police camp and the location where Sgt Kennedy was dispatched.

            Horrie and Alf

  19. NE Factcheckers says: Reply

    We say again. Bill uses the word map to describe McIntyre’s drawing(s). There is no marked exhibit of a map, nor indeed a sketch used at Ned’s trial, and the sketch you refer to Spud did not have any direction like a compass point indicating north as bill claims. The only map with the compass points shown (as well as pointers to some of the NE townships) is the very detailed map found inside one of his scrap books.
    So lets get the facts right!

    1. Both McIntyre sketches of the crime scene are in The kelly Gang Unmasked book. Order it at your local library and youse can join in here.

      I am a long time supporter of Bill. People who don’t support him often seem a bit daffy. NEFC (below) does’nt seem to know much about Law. Exhibit A at Ned’s murder trial was certainly not a “postcard”.


      1. Anonymous says: Reply

        A citation for the Burman photo is given in The Kelly Gang Unmasked book. Another Burman photo was presented on an earlier blog here (front and back) showing that one too is not a postcard. Bill mentioned they are high res photos. When Public Record Office Victoria (the State Archives) reopens, interested researchers can go there armed with The Kelly Gang Unmasked citation and (hopefully} get access to them…


  20. NE Fact checkers- re MAPS sketches.
    You refer to maps made by McIntyre. Mr Spud is correct pointing out there was a crude sketch and a detailed one. The first sketch only showed ‘two logs’ and a four men line up. No North, no tent, no creek. The sketch was used at Ned’s preliminary trial and later at Beechworth. According to Keith McMenomy’s 1984 book Ned Kelly (Illustrated) shows that sketch with notation to compare the logs with the two photos- “ both were taken from the direction of the bottom left hand corner (39) ” Source ‘ From Police Dept correspondence op,cit- accompanying McIntyre’s sworn statement.

    PHOTOS. Considering the above statement, there is no reason why the police prosecution did not have in their possession both clear views of the 2 Burman photos of the camp ‘where Lonigan was shot’ taken only days after the shootings. At the trial there was a sworn statement made by FC Burman to say he identified the ground where Lonigan was shot “ I took it myself” it goes on to say McIntyre identifies the photo. ( Not a post card)

    The postcard version became available within a month and perhaps hundreds were produced at that time.
    Perhaps Ned’s lawyer Gaunson was not privy to the high res photos and settled for the publically available postcard?

  21. NE Fact checkers-
    Regarding the detailed McIntyre map, it was around 2009 when I had put together a team now calling themselves as the CSI@SBC team. It was team member Kelvyn Gill who through his research had spotted reference to a detailed map made by Thomas. McIntyre.

    I have ref to McIntyre’s files being handed over to the Police Museum Historical Unit (2004-5) by Mr and Mrs Hookey. Kelvyn went to PMHU to see if he could find the files- but he was frustrated by having little or no access. After months of trying PMHU appointed a curator, a Ms Elizabeth Marsden who shortly after came across the map. Kelvyn was excited, but this map while detailed only showed the position of the tent but was still disappointing in that it did not show the creek nor the third main log or the positions of the two huts. But it did show where Lonigan fell in relation to a big log fire after being shot. With this information and the high res Burman photos showing the background terrain, we were confident of the actual police camp location.

    With further research we could see why there was so much confusion with photo’s orientation – primarily because McIntyre had associated his sketch to the two logs relating to HIS perspective from where he stood when bailed up. Later when the Burman photos came available he confused his two logs as looking easterly with the two logs in the photos which are looking southerly.

    This lack of basic understanding, led Linton Briggs to turn his location around ‘overnight’ and convince the other team members I was wrong and he was right, and– Kelvyn Gill with Glenn Standing followed Linton from his west of the SBC road site now looking at the Kelly tree site.

    While it was agreed the CSI@SBC team would not publish anything unless we all agreed, this agreement was broken and I was told by Linton he would publish his take on it at the July 2009 Siege Dinner to which I objected. He then told me if I did not like it, then I should publish on my own report, which later I did.

    It was all very disappointing the other CSI members did not back up on the strong primary source evidence.

    We can be sure that in time the two huts will be recognized as the true site where Lonigan and Scanlan were shot.

  22. Strong primary source evidence exists in the CSI team report. There is a copy still available at the souvenir shop in Glenrowan run by Mr Dean as we were there very recently and saw it on display.
    That report when thoroughly examined which we have indeed done not only gives primary source evidence in spades but also adds very interesting additional material such as that teams work to obtain a professional survey which clearly delineates the ground and which identifies the ground as it was described by the visiting newspaper reporter whose very compelling narrative reproduced in the report from its primary source matched the surveyed profile.
    The team has produced a compelling argument about where the police made camp and which stands our scrutiny unlike the so called two huts that Mr Denheld pushes as being the site. Any person who examines this place and the teams place will no doubt come to a conclusion that it would have been madness to camp in the clearly restricted area of the two huts, or was it just one hut with two fireplaces?.
    We can be certain that in time Bills folly will become overgrown with the creeping blackberry bushes now taking over the country and that the site of the camp made by the police will be identified as being further to the north where the team has identified (or perhaps the Kennedy Tree Group has) the place.
    PS THe Kennedy tree people have categorically denied they are the NEFC, and that is absolutely correct.
    We are a small mob committed to work to see that history is not distorted by dogged inaccuracies.
    Yes the words from McMenomy are correctly reproduced BUT this is not primary source material Bill which you so fondly insist must be used. Police Department correspondence accompanying McIntyre’s sworn statement does not of itself put these words of direction etc into McIntyre’s mouth.
    You insist on primary source s so please now go to the source quoted and tell us all where we can view the correspondence within the papers so to referred.
    And we have contacted Mr Gill to ask him about how he spotted reference to a detailed map and his alleged frustration about the “files” and “having little or no access”.
    He has said that he didn’t spot any reference, nor did he have little or no access nor that he was frustrated, and that there has never been any files handed over that he knows about.
    So it seems as you seem to do make claims unsubstantiated by fact.
    We have invited Mr Gill to make a response to your nonsense.

  23. I cant let that one go unchallenged NEFC : AT the end, after saying the CSI teams site is supported by all the primary evidence you say the real site is further north than the Two Huts site where the CSI team locate it , “or perhaps the Kennedy Tree group” (site)

    Well make up your mind please : if the CSI team argument is correct then it cant possibly be the KTG site.

    The starkest difference between the CSI and KTG claims is their interpretation of the Burman pictures. One particular tree in the photo is called the CSI “Burl tree” and the KTG “teapot tree” and are both central to their arguments but both cannot be correct.

    Most importantly is that the orientation of the Burman photos is 180 degrees different between the CSI and KTG group.

  24. Bill’s Two Huts site has the exact same background as the Burman photo..

    How can Bill be wrong? Duh!

    Ian MacFarlane

  25. Hello David, Yes it was a poorly constructed set of words we used about it being the CSI or the KTG sites.
    The CSI site seems to us to be the most likely site that will eventually be acknowledged as being correct BUT as the KTG site has not yet been eliminated from consideration it may ultimately be the acknowledged site. What is important is that the decision of the many Government and Municipal bodies with a stake in this ever long matter is guided as much as is possible by the amateur sleuths of both claimant theories with their evidence well presented.
    Our position is certainly aimed to see that these two sites are given all the appropriate consideration to come to a decision; and that the fanciful claim about the two huts is dismissed as a fantasy not worthy of further consideration as we say it does not meet the clearly available source evidence which is certainly presented in the CSI report.
    We also note that in the CSI report’s diagram the positioning of the camera operated by Burman is to the South West of the camp site – a direction that conforms with the quoted words “ both were taken from the direction of the bottom left hand corner (39) ” in a Bill reply above.
    We wait with anticipation that Bill will give us the details ( an appropriate reference point) cof the primary source police dept statements (allegedly) which were accompanying McIntyre’s sworn statement.

  26. Well we must add a little more to our recent comments.
    First our apologies to the KTG – Bill seems to have got the notion that you are we, but we see you made a suitable rebuttal to the insinuation.
    Now let us turn to matters of the Wombat Ranges.
    To quote Bills own utterance made recently – it goes on to say McIntyre identifies the photo. ( Not a post card).
    WRONG – it was a postcard and it is the one that was discussed by Mr Ian McFarlane in this very blog – its marked Exhibit A and that exhibit is the Burman “post card !!
    WRONG – Two huts claimed by Bill. We refer you to the papers of the Crown Solicitor Henry Gurner which have detailed records of the witnesses statements made and the x-examination of them at Ned’s Beechworth Preliminary hearing of August 1880. These papers were prepared for use at the Central Criminal Court proceedings of October 1880 : The Brief for the Prosecution no less.
    McIntyre’s words – “The Photograph produced represents the place at Stringy Bark where we camped”. Beside these words is a notation “Exhibit A”
    he says that “When we reached String Bark we found the remains OF A HUT there & the country thickly timbered where we camped there was an opening – a few logs lying about”.
    A basic understanding of the Queen’s English means that a hut is equal to ONE HUT.
    The papers we refer to can be found in the Melbourne University’s Gurner Collection.
    Now that is really good PRIMARY EVIDENCE straight from the horses mouth as we would say.

  27. NEFC, you’re just not getting any of this. Bill’s two huts are old fireplaces (go check his site properly). There in the background is the exact same Burman scene.

    Why is this so hard for you and many others to accept?

    It’s there for all to see…

    Blind Freddie

  28. We understand NEFC are not K T Group but a member of the CSI ‘mob’ (their word)

    On this page, 23 June at 8 pm NEFC wrote- see
    2nd Para – referring to a visiting Newspaper reporter as a ‘very primary source’.
    We all agree, and the reporter also wrote- “ At the top of the slope and overlooking the police tent,” means he looked down from the little hill – So, if this is primary source, where is this little hill near the CSI Kelly Tree site or even the KTG supposed site? Yet NEFC say they are committed to see history is not distorted.
    Re the Herald Sun reporter
    Please Ref Page 37 –

    NEFC also asks where he / they can read McIntyre’s statement re the Burman PHOTOS – see page 83 of 1984 edition of McMenomy’s book ‘ says source “Police Dept correspondence op,cit- accompanying McIntyre’s sworn statement.” Can we accept McMenomy had seen this “Police Dept correspondence”

    Kelvyn Gill was researching all this as part of the team sorting out SBC during early 2009.

    On the 5th May 2009 Kelvyn, Glenn and I met at SBC.
    We agreed to record our conversations on site as for later reference . The audio files record an issue of whether McIntyre understood his camp site orientation. In one of his reports Mc said the camp was to the N East of the clearing, and in another the N West corner. So Kelvyn was to check this out at the Vic Police Historical Units offices. (VPHU)

    On site we discussed the McIntyre Manuscripts being handed over to VPHU –
    In the audio, Kelvyn speaks that this document will prove the police camp was either on the N E or West corner of the clearing with the tent facing East and also to the creek- and otherwise it “does not make sense”.
    “In Mc’s later version he says N West, and I am going to prove it” ” I’m going to get these coppers to let me see the original of the copy they’ve got ! “ then I (Bill) make mention I had the Police Journal wherein the McIntyre Manuscript was handed over by Mr and Mrs Hookey.

    NEFC denies Kelvyn had frustrations dealing with VPHU.
    Here is what Kelvyn is recorded as saying – “ They are –have become very bloody ordinary- Pretty slack! – ‘ Kelvyn – “Hard to get on with and slack” – “they have had a change of personal in comparison to years ago- they couldn’t help but fall over themselves to help, now you send them an email and – — — — but anyway I’ll get on to it- that’s my immediate thing, I want to see the original documents handed over to them- not what’s on their web, – as I think that someone in the cop shop has typed it up! “

    So that is what Kelvyn did but was confronted by more restrictions.

    NEFC then states they had contacted Mr. Gill to ask him how he spotted reference to a detailed map and his alleged frustration about ’files’ and having little or no access” –

    In an email from Kelvyn Gill to myself and Glenn Standing dated Tue 12 May 2009- 9.09 am, here is part of email to Elizabeth Marsden, the Vic Police Historical Unit VPHU Collections Manager –
    Item 2
    “ You mentioned a “map” that you have come across ?.
    > Questions: ‘A’. Is this map the same as the one I have attached > (which has been reproduced in various books over the years)? >B. If not can I either visit the VPHU to have a > look at the map and obtain a copy, or can a copy of it be e-mailed or > (snail) mailed to me please ?

    Kelvyn later reported seeing the detailed McIntyre Map, and that it did not offer any more information regarding actual location except it had the police tent marked on it, and as Mc had said the tent faced the creek, we could conclude the police camp was on the west bank, and as the newspapers reported, they had camped near the ruins of two small huts. And the Burman photos prove this.

    Recently the Benalla Ensign reporting the KTG’s Kennedy tree site needs to be considered by Heritage Victoria as the only way forward, but H V are not willing to appoint any archaeology because they say the proponents of any case in field need to finance their own case as if this is a commercial enterprise. So here we see history is recorded by who has the most money.

  29. Just for interest (and without me getting involved in any discussions about the location of the SBC sites, which is not my thing). there are two copies of “The Queen v. Edward Kelly wilful murder: brief for the prosecution” available to download.

    The first are the statements taken down at Beechworth in August 1880 and digitised by VPRO as a PDF. They and can be found by googling VPRS4966, then going to Unit 1, Record 6. The second copy of McIntyre’s statement in that collection is the one with the interesting doodles e.g. pp. 20 and 27.

    The other is prosecutor Henry Gurner’s hand copy of those statements, in the Gurner Collection at Melbourne University (as NEFC mentioned above), and is online here, It has been photographed and uploaded as a series of 46 individual JPGs, so it is a matter of reading it page by page, or converting all the pages to PDF (as I did today) resulting in a file of nearly 48MB but with the benefit of being able to scroll through.

    Reading the prosecution brief again after a year or so’s break reminded me that when Kelly and his gang advanced on the police camp they each had a gun (i.e. long gun), and Ned Kelly also had a revolver tucked behind his back, which he brought out when they advanced toward McIntyre after Ned Kelly had shot Lonigan.

  30. Anonymous says: Reply

    Blind Freddie,
    Yes. There are two old fireplaces at Bill’s location. One is said to be that of the shingle hut that Ned referred to. The other is said to be that of the burnt hut. This hut being the temporary residence of three prospectors, Reynolds, Bromfield and Lynch and was burnt down some months prior to the confrontation. The fireplace stones supposedly seen to be scattered around the feet of the man with his arm raised in one of the photos. Scattered in rage by the one who burnt down the hut was one explanation. Personally I can see no fireplace or large stones near the man’s feet. Another explanation was that the fireplace was later moved and rebuilt in its current location by someone else. All very vague and convenient.

    The second supposed fireplace for a starters is not clearly distinguishable behind the tree in the middle left of the photo. This may or may not be a fireplace. It could also be a tree stump.
    If you look carefully behind the seated man you will see that a tree was felled right across the foot print of the supposed hut. Begging the question ….. Why would someone do that if there was a hut there? In any case if it was a fireplace and it belonged to the shingle hut then that hut was long gone at the time of the photos. Seems odd that Ned would refer to a hut that wasn’t there anymore. Don’t you think so?
    Sometimes we see what we want to see. That may be why it is so hard for others to accept. They just don’t see it as you do.

    1. Wife and I attended a Bill presentation years ago – and there were certainly two fireplaces. More importantly, in the background, was the exact same Burman scene. Noone yet has responded to comments about the exact Burman scene. Does Bill’s site have the exact Burman scene or not?

      Of course it does.

      Pull your heads in!

      Ian MacFarlane

  31. Here is a picture of the mentioned second fireplace in the Burman photo. It was Identified by Glenn Standing and was a great observation.


  32. Here is another image showing the same fireplace structure, but this time as drawn by the artist of the Australasian Sketcher. I have outlined the structure with a black ink line. The structure is quite un natural in the landscape , so for someone to have drawn this etching for publication in Nov 1878, it must have meant something to the artist who from comparing the Burman photo details, he must have been able to copy the ‘real Burman photo’ in order to create his etching which was the only way the image was able to be printed in a news paper.

    This image also appears in this link-


    1. Anonymous says: Reply

      Extract from :

      “Kenneally states”- on page 50 that Mr Tolmie took Kennedy to SBC and “showed him the Shingled hut on Stringybark Ck near which the police party afterwards pitched their tent” It also mentions Ned followed horse tracks on their way to “this hut” So by that, we can see that one hut was standing at the time.

      The other ‘burnt hut’ as reportedly burnt down by Walter Lynch 15 months previous with Sergeant Kennedy as the court witness* (Source, S. Hutchinson), is probably the fireplace shown above.
      See this also-

      The police tent was pitched “ a few yards behind an old hut” – the hut that was standing at that time. If the hut entrance faced the creek and you pitched your tent between it and the creek you would be pitching the tent in front of the hut. It was pitched behind the hut.

      It is my assertion, the un burnt hut behind which the police pitched their tent was the one on the far right of the Burman photo.see –

      The fireplace (stones) of the other hut hidden behind the tree and stump in middle picture was probably described by GW Hall as the one which had been burnt down.
      Hall was the Mansfield Gaurdian paper proprietor and he had reported the hut burning 15 months earlier, so he would have known.

      1. With Anonymous making his posting above, I see the two image links don’t go anywhere. Here below are the current address as the Portable Document Files (PDF) had been created 9 years ago 2011 when they were hosted at
        The images are here to view –


      2. Anonymous says: Reply

        Extracts from :
        “It is my assertion, the un burnt hut behind which the police pitched their tent was the one on the far right of the Burman photo.”

        ( From page 15 there is this)
        And if this was the hut ‘behind which the police party pitched their tent’ may refer to Mc’s map but not the photo because Mc said the front of his tent was 25 yards from the fire.
        My scale reconstruction map places the two posts only 6.5 yards from the fire. Add a few yards as Mc said and we have only 8 yards – not 25. So he did not pitch the tent behind these posts because it was not an old hut. – it was burnt down.

        As there were two huts there Mc said they “pitched their tent a few yards behind an old hut “. Not a burnt hut but an old hut.

        1. Anonymous says: Reply

          Extract from Document Conclusions.
          Page 24
          10 yards is not 20 or 25 yards indicating the tent was behind another hut in another direction to the view in the Burman photo.
          News papers reported within days the police had camped on a rise besides a creek “near the ruins of two small huts” must be seen as a primary source not to be ignored.

          1. Anonymous says: Reply

            Two Huts now become Three.

            Gosh, if history can be construed like this ‘and in print’ we certainly have to question accepted written history. For the sake of historical truth, lets hope future students will see through this travesty.

          2. David, Anon is supposedly quoting from one of my documents, but is not my webpage, it is
            Could you please ask anonymous to provide conclusive link to page 24
            As there is discussion about the tent being pitched behind an old hut ( unburnt) perhaps this image gives a clear view. This is the actual place of the two huts showing fireplace one.


          3. Anonymous says: Reply

            Go to:
            Over a period of 12 months a team of five have studied the sites, pondered over and over the evidence only to disagree. The majority of team members favored the area near the Kelly tree to which Bill could not agree. Bill was advised if he could not agree with the team’s selection and paper CSI@SBC, then he should write his own. Despite Bill’s endeavor to have the team see their error, Bill however, could not put his name to their document that failed on many fundamental points, one being the slope in the Burman photo. This is Bill’s paper that leads you through the only site to pass the photo test. * Click here for link to main doc (CLICK ON THIS RED LINK)

            Page 24.
            We need to rely on earliestnewspaper reports because they are a prime source within days of the event. In Linton‟s scenario little is made of the ruins of two small huts – one of which was burnt down. There were two huts there – not just one burnt hut. McIntyre said the tent was 20 or 25 yards from the logs (junction) fire but my reconstruction as a birds eye view shows the burnt hut posts to be only 6 metres from the log fire.

            Mc said the tent was pitched a few yards behind an old hut, so if you add say 3 yards, we have the tent only 9 or 10 yards from the logs fire.

            10 yards is not 20 or 25 yards indicating the tent was behind another hut in another direction to the view in the Burman photo.

            News papers reported within days the police had camped on a rise besides a creek“near the ruins of two small huts”must be seen as a primary source not to be ignored.

          4. Anonymous says: Reply

            Re – Page 36. CONCLUSIONS
            Scale map of Stringybark Creek shootout site showing logs, fireplaces, contours of the slope, sword grasses, and general lay of the land.

            The tent location shown on the scale map is a different one to the image above.

  33. Here is another version of the same drawing photo copy of the Australian Sketcher.
    My graphic experience tells me this was the printed version while the previous image actually shows the ‘scratch’ lines on the copper plate that would hold the black ink. The illustrator also wanted to highlight the spear grasses on the slope, and to do that decided to diminish the forest canopy so the grasses were more prominent in the scene.

    You might also like to see the latest Benalla Ensign article dispute re the KTG tree


    1. Bill what interested me when looking at the Sketcher drawings is that theyve drawn the shadows, – best seen in relation to the two upright burned posts in the main picture, where their shadows are drawn extending off to the left side of the drawing. . There has been disagreement about where the light was coming from in the Burman photos, and the CSI mob disagreed with your findings that supported the light entering from the top right of the photo, which in turn supports your view that the camera is pointing to the south and west. The CSI mob think the Camera was in the southwest corner looking to the north east.

      However with the sketcher drawings your view is confirmed, and that makes the CSI interpretation of the Burman drawings wrong, and their entire case collapses.

      Below Ive attached a quick diagram on a post-it note that shows a birds-eye view of the post and its shadow at 2pm. If you took a photo from the bottom left – as the CSI would have us believe Buman did, then in the photo the shadow would extend to the right in your photo – but it extends to the left, which is what is seen if you took your photo from the top right.

      It does of course assume that the photo was taken in the afternoon. Is there a record somewhere that establishes the time the photos were taken?

      The CSI spokespersons need to answer this question before anything else. If they have no answer then they should go back to the drawing board.


      1. Hello David, That’s a good observation just like Glenn spotted the fireplace in the Burman photo. A pity he did not also alert his CSI mates of the Suns position.
        I am sure the artist considered the shadow line but the photos are difficult to analyse except for fine ‘small details on upper tree branches so I think the artist took liberty to show the post shadows merely to give grounding to the posts. That said, in the CSI at SBC report on my document here –
        See page 3, illustration 2, the CSI team actually have the Suns ‘azimuth’ angles 301 degrees – path through the west north western sky as on 3 Nov 1878 being at 55 degrees incline to the ground ‘and the Burman Photos. Yet, they ( CSI @ SBC team) totally ignore this fact. In their CSI @SBC I have they state-
        ” For the purpose of an analysis of the Burman photographs plates 1 and 2, the suns altitude above the horizon on the date is shown- 1400 (2pm) Sun direction WNW 301 degrees at 55 degrees altitude.
        BUT in their scenario their sun was shining high up in the southern sky virtually 180 degrees opposite which we know does not happen in our southern hemisphere.

        I tried to tell them of this opposite from the offset back in 2009, but they still wanted the camera to be pointing to the North East with the sun from behind but coming from the south.
        That’s the reason I could not agree with their orientation and I was advised to leave the party.


  34. Ivehadenough says: Reply

    Could this blog have been hijacked to continue the never ending and I would suggest insolvable question of the precise spot upon which the police camped and whereat they met their fate.
    I reply in the affirmative to this question
    Bill has mastered the art of hijacking topics which commenced as nothing to do with this matter of a piece of ground.
    David, you have been toiling away to produce a narrative you call the Real story etc etc . So get these protagonists clogging up this blog space with stuff of no consequence to the real story to go and fill up their own buckets/web sites/facebooks or whatever.
    Really, this blog is fast heading the way of so many earlier blogs, forums and so forth all having disappeared into the abyss of the www BECAUSE each has suffered the same Bill onslaught.
    I have had enough of the I’m right your wrong stuff being regurgitated time and time again, which had been going on for eons.
    And the need to quote details (so called) of previous conversations is indeed a low act and particularly as such brings no lucid addition to the forum and certainly adding no material bearing on the cause being pursued.
    Disgraceful indeed.
    A feature over the years of this particular individual.
    David please get on with the next chapters of your work, at least it will be a welcome change from the Bill
    PS Bill has his own site so let him fill it with his ramblings and (as it is clear to see now) become more of a jumbled mess.

    1. I know what you mean! Bill is like a dog with a bone and refuses to give in and go away. And yes we have seen much of this argument before but I think it has new relevance because of the Kennedy Tree Groups behaviour, seeking a blaze of publicity and getting a lot of sympathetic coverage for a claim that Bill realises is flimsy at best, but with the way media operates these days, might crowd out his claims, which I believe of all the claims have the greatest credibility. So I am happy for him to repost them to a new audience perhaps, and sorry but I am going to write about it again soon with a particular focus on the KTG shonky behaviour and dodgy claims which have yet again been exposed in the newspapers.

      But no, this blog is not heading the way of other sites which have come and gone. I have every intention of continuing with my series on the True Story and I also have a book review half written.

      I appreciate your feedback but theres plenty more to come!

    2. Anonymous says: Reply

      Despite many comments here about how the Burman background is reproduced at Bill’s site and nowhere else. Yet none of the Bill critics ever comment on this. Bill has endured years of hatespeak and misleading disinformation by a bunch of #@$%%$&*

      Go to Specsavers!

      Cam West

  35. Hi IveHadEnough, some of us like reading Bill’s posts – for example, I just downloaded his drawing of Lonigan getting shot by the gang from a previous post, that illustrates the “one shot with multiple projectiles” argument, so I can print it onto transparent copy film and try rotating it around the McIntyre map to see how things line up. Should be lots of fun! And an excellent drawing it is too, based on his argument about how things happened at SBC. The precise location may go on being disagreed about, but that doesn’t mean it will never be solved. Lots of people accepted Ian Jones’ claimed location for many years, until it was proved to be utterly impossible – just like his Kelly republic crap and his ludicrous and now demolished story about Ned Kelly crossing the police line three times during the night in the Glenrowan siege, that he promoted since 1968 and sucked tons of people in.

    In sum, if you want the blog to discuss the topic of the week, just post a comment about it or contribute some relevant evidence and see if people join in. Too easy… No-one has hijacked this blog as far as I can see, certainly not Bill, as the blog is about setting the narrative straight after 100+ years of nonsense largely triggered by Kenneally’s selective and strongly biased approach to history.

  36. IVEHADENOUGH says: Reply

    OK so we can continue this.
    What if Burman when printing his cards with the Burman photographs printed the reverse of the original picture??
    The Australasian Sketcher drawing was not done at the scene so how can it be used to prove anything?
    Put such a drawing on the stand so to speak and it would be readily dismissed as not being made at the scene of the affair and that its an artists impression of no merit. There is an axe embedded in a stump in the artists impression so where is the axe in the Burman postcard picture?
    There is none.
    For sun positioning the CSI paper has an appendix giving the exact sun positioning throughout the day of the 3 november when Burman was at the scene to take his pictures.
    I do recall that Bill has on occasions suggested that other drawings are correct, including one of a hut, another of a body slung on the side of the horse.
    All are artists impressions and are therefore not primary evidence which Bill insists upon but of which he has little.
    Caveat lector
    His ‘facts’ – few as they are, stand no match for the comprehensive analysis provided by the CSI paper.
    So, when consuming the bill offering remember caveat venditor applies.

    1. In 1878 photos couldn’t be printed in Newspapers so they relied on artists to make sketches like that one, which is very obviously based on the Burman photos. No reasonable person would deny that. But the sketch doesnt show every leaf and branch and shrub exactly as is depicted in the Photos, and yet the main elements are very clearly accurately reproduced – a Newspaper wouldn’t want its credibility jeopardised, or an artist his reputation by reproducing a wildly inaccurate and unreliable sketch. So at the time, I doubt very much that if it was put ‘on the stand’ it would be ‘very readily dismissed’ as you say but the artist might be asked to explain why there is an axe and why the shadows are in a certain place and so on.

      But the really ludicrous argument that you’re making is that for the csi interpretation to be plausible, one has to suppose that Burman printed his pictures back to front. This is really quite preposterous and silly – do you not think Burman would have instantly noticed that the first print was back to front if he had somehow mistakenly made the prints with the plate upside down? He was there at SBC and took the pictures himself and would have recognised his mistake and corrected it straight away, of that I am certain.

      The CSI teams attitude to the Burman photos is perhaps the greatest and the most lethal of many weaknesses in their argument. They also believe that Burman placed his stand-ins for Kennedy and McIntyre and Kelly on the wrong side of the logs and had them all facing the wrong direction. More preposterous and silly nonsense.

      Burman was a professional photographer, who made an enormous effort to get himself and all his equipment up there to capture the scene, and the CSI teams belief he got it all wrong and wouldn’t recognise it if he printed his cards back to front is an insult – the CSI team should offer him the respect he deserves.

      But just remember : if you believe the CSI teams claims about the Police Camp you have to accept a really unlikely and irrational argument that Burman didnt have the fastest idea of what he saw and what he was doing up there, and couldn’t recognise a reversed image when he saw one. But thats whats required to prop up the CSI teams case.

      I really cant see it as anything other than unbelievable.

    2. Anonymous says: Reply

      It was far from unknown for artists, sketchers and illustrators to do their work on location, and some wrote about it later.

      There were several illustrators present at Glenrowan. One, at least, wrote about his experiences there. I will hopefully add to this post soon…

      Hannibal Lecter

      1. Anonymous says: Reply

        Illustrator Francis Thomas Dean Carrington of The Australasian Sketcher was present at Glenrowan with Pen and Pencil.

        “And now occurred the most sensational event of the day. Just about break of day, standing on the right hand side of the station, the Beechworth end, suddenly we noticed one or two of the men on the extreme right, with their backs turned to the hotel, firing at something in the bush. Presently we noticed a very tall figure in white, stalking slowly in the direction of the hotel. There was no head visible, and in the dim light of morning, with all the steam rising very heavily from the ground, it looked, for all the world, like the ghost of Hamlet’s father with no head, only a very long, thick neck. Those who were standing with me did not see it for some time, and I was too intent on watching its movements to point it out to the others. The figure continued gradually to advance, stopping every now and then, and moving what looked like its headless neck slowly and mechanically round, and then raising one foot on a log and aiming and firing a revolver. Shot after shot was fired at it, but without effect, the figure generally replying by tapping the butt end of its revolver against its neck, the blows ringing out with the clearness and distinctness of a bell in the morning air. It was the most extraordinary sight I ever saw or read of in my life, and I felt fairly spell-bound with wonder, and I could not stir or speak.”

        I saw Ned Kelly’s capture. (RC10042)

        I drew Ned Kelly while he was lying in the van, and while he was in the station master’s house; and I made drawings of the armour on the station platform (RC10046)

        Among other things Carrington interviewed Ned Kelly after his capture.

        His article ‘Catching the Kellys: a personal narrative of one who went in the special train’ was published in The Australasian on Saturday 3 July, 1880. This article, written in the first person, evocatively describes the siege and capture of Kelly at Glenrowan. It was republished across several newspapers, including the Argus and the West Australian. Carrington’s illustrations of the siege and its aftermath for the Australasian Sketcher are among his most famous drawings.

        [This para:

        Hannibal Lecter

  37. Ivehadenough says: Reply

    OH what dribble starts . I would contend that the ONLY REASON Burman went to Stringybark Creek was to make for his COMMERCIAL use photographs which he could correctly claim were of the place where the murders occurred. So as to accuracy it wasn’t a necessity as once he sold his postcard series , and these two postcards of the atrocities were just that! TWO cards in a series. In the time of Burman I would contend that very few if any purchasers of his postcards had any idea of the accuracy on which we of this era ascribe to them; and who would have cared back then anyway.
    So Burman had absolutely no interest in whether the photographs with actors placed as he wanted for the purpose of making commercial merchandise were portraying absolutely accurately the scene. Reverse (contact printing to create the number of cards would be a most labour saving way to achieve the quantity he needed.
    Thats why his photograph was not used as evidence of the proceedings – placement of actors in particular, but used in the most simplest way to allow McIntyre to say that “He (Kelly) went over himself close to the fire and knelt down behind the lotg I have pointed out on the photograph produced marked A at Ned’s committal hearing at Beechworth, then at Ned’s murder trial that the photograph represents the place at Stringybark Creek where we camped; we camped in a tent a few yards behind the old hut.
    NOT HUTS!!!
    Right way, back to front way it really didn’t matter, the clear objective was to print off copies for cash.
    I note you suggest that the CSI team offer to Burman the respect that he deserves. I think you may be a doctor by trade so you should know better than the dead cant hear. Stupid words in a blog progressing towards nonsense discussions.

    1. “Ivehad enough” – your position is that the CSI claims about the Police campsite rely on a view that Burman had no interest in his photography being accurate, and that he might even have printed them back to front.

      Ive already explained to you my view that if youre right and his interest was purely commercial, then getting it right would be an absolute priority for his business and its reputation going forward. Thats because if it was discovered his photos were unreliable and not what they were purported to be then his credibility and the reputation of his business would be trashed. My view is that commercial interest would spur him on to making his postcards as accurate and as close to reality as he could make them. The fact that he lugged all his heavy camera gear and lead plates and what-not up there is testament to his professionalism and dedication – after all he could easily have picked a few trees and some bush out the back of Mansfiled and set it all up there if he had no interest in getting it right and was only interested in commercial gain..

      But I can see youre getting cranky and becoming unpleasant about it all now, so I am not going to argue.

      However, I will remind readers as often as I can that the validity of the CSI report rests entirely on their interpretation of the Burman photos, which is the opposite of what everyone else believes about them. I’ll also remind them that the CSI interpretation in turn rests entirely on their disrespectful assertion that Burmans interest in taking photos was purely commercial, that he didnt care if they were accurate or not, and that he might have printed them back to front.

      Anyone who agrees that is the sort of person Burman was might then be able to swallow all of the rest of the CSI claims, but theres more nonsense in thier argument than just this bit of character assassination of Burman.

  38. Hadenough makes an interesting point, and it’s the same point made back in 2002 when trying to make the Ian Jones east bank site fit the Burman photos. You can read what I made of the flipped photo scenario here-

    Later I discussed this with Keith McMenomy who was a friend of Ian Jones and did not want to challenge Ian. I pointed out that McIntyre had said the Sun went down on his left –(west). Mc also said Ned was on his right – the creek side. So, unless the photo was flipped the photo was taken on the west bank of StringyBark Creek

    Here is what Keith McMenomy wrote to me in Oct 2006
    “ Bill, As you already know, the image would not have been flipped in its original glass plate form. Plates were originally contact printed; that is paper was sandwiched to glass in a vacuum frame and exposed to sunlight. If the paper was not against the image side the subject would be way out of focus. If it was flipped it would have been via. a subsequent or later copy neg. on film, processed through an enlarger, which can be transposed and kept sharp.”

    His last comment of a subsequent copy (negative) on film does not also stand up because the post card version was a contact print ‘daguerreotype’ which would not be a flipped version. The photo plate captured the scene in reverse and upside down on the glass plate, and when the exposed glass plate ‘negative’ was used to make a photocopy, the photo paper had to be in hard contact with the emulsion side in order to get a sharp image. For that reason it is therefore very unlikely that a flipping mistake could be made by prominent photographers as Arthur and Frederick Charles Burman of Bourke St Melbourne. Perhaps the term ‘flipping hell’ came from a photographers studio?

    With regards to the Australasian Sketcher drawing, an axe in the old stump, he obviously used artistic licence to enhance understanding of what the viewer was to be looking at. Notice that the artist did not draw the cloth or blanket draped over the foreground branches (as in the Burman photo), but he did draw an unmistakable un natural man made structure behind that central tree as well as the photographers photo plate box. The axe in the stump, and the stone structure behind the tree was obviously important for him to make clear.

    Hadenough reminds me of a lengthy discussion we had about this photo orientation…….see


  39. Here is another image to show the CSI groups Suns azimuth chart diagram, but this time with the Burman photo projected as a contradiction to their report.


  40. Anonymous says: Reply


    To Be Clear
    The CSI@SBC team Do Not believe that the Burman images were printed in reverse. No where within our report or discussions on the subject has this belief ever been made or offered as a suggestion by the team.

    David, you are entitled to your own opinion on the relevance and positioning of the actors/stand -ins in the Burman images. Not all agree with you. The validity of the CSI report does not rest entirely on the interpretation of the Burman. To say otherwise is totally false.


    1. Glenn how can you say the validity of the CSI report does not rest entirely on the interpretation of the Burman photographs?

      Your identification of the Campsite is based on the claim that a burl seen on the tree in the Burman photo the KTG call the teapot tree is the same burl – and therefore tree – seen in the “Beautiful Mansfield” photo. The Mansfield photo was taken looking to the northeast, and therefore, for the burl to be the same burl on the same tree the Burman photo has to be taken looking to the north east.

      Without this connection between these two trees how exactly does the CSI group link the Burman photo to their site?

      One other thing Glenn – do you think the teapot tree is the Burl tree seen in the Burman photo? You did announce on the KTG Facebook page that you were going to visit SBC and evaluate their claims for yourself but you didnt ever give them the results of your investigations. I think its time you did.

  41. Anonymous says: Reply

    Ok David,
    For the sake of the exercise say there were no Burman photographs.
    What other evidence/information is there?
    McIntyre’s words and diagrams. (Without the need for corrections) The Cuddon photo with the Kelly tree in the background. (Facing Easterly) The Beautiful Mansfield photo (Facing Easterly) Ned Kelly’s Jerilderie letter. The Melbourne Herald’s Special Reporter article.
    Early survey maps. Etc. Etc.
    This information can and has also been used by the CSI team to confirm the location of the site.
    The one other thing you mentioned…..I am not making any comments about the KTG’s conclusions on this blog site.
    I await the expected on going onslaught by Bill and yourself. Carry on.

    1. Glenn if there were no Burman photos none of this would be happening because they have been the stimulus for all these searches. Looking at them, at the actual places has been the tantalising spur that stimulated group like yours to go looking. Without them, we would probably all accept any place somewhere in the vicinity of one of the so-called kelly trees on the western side of SBC.

      However youre right there are other sources of clues to the location but the exact place could only be positively identified by showing it conformed to what is seen in the photos. In my view only Bills site does that.

      So why wouldn’t you comment here about the KTG site, when youre happy enough to comment about Bills? Its obvious you think they are in the wrong place so shouldn’t you be saying so somewhere, preferably on their FB page so that readers will not find themselves paying respect to murdered police at a place where it didnt happen?

  42. David, I may or may not agree with all of the KTG’s conclusions but until this end they have been courteous and polite in response to my questions on their Facebook site. If I have anything to add I will add it on that site where it can be kept in situ. They have not copied our report and bagged the CSI team as Bill has done on his web site. A low act in my view. If you, he or anyone else disagrees with KTG’s or the CSI’s conclusions that’s fine. We all have the right to our own opinions. Draw our own conclusions. Discuss things in a polite manner.

    1. The KTG may have been polite to you Glenn, but thats because, unlike me you havent yet asked them any difficult questions or challenged any of their assertions, many of which make no sense.

      They claim, and I think its a motivation shared by Bill and the CSI team, that their interest in identifying these sites is so that the memory and the sacrifice of the murdered police is given its utmost respect and remembered with honour. My view is the same, except that it means to me that if a site is going to be proclaimed as a sacred site then it had better be the right place. The science cant be lazy, the arguments can’t be flawed, the evidence can’t be weak and sloppy, and the logic and the reasoning have to be as rigorous as they can be; otherwise its disrespectful and dishonouring; good intentions are not enough.

      So if the possibility doesnt concern you that the KTG media campaign might result in their misidentified sites being recognised and the place you believe to be the right place ignored, then don’t say anything.

      But I am not going to stay silent : I’ll be writing a new Blog post on the topic sometime soon.

  43. Glenn,
    My Ned Kelly web pages are all about research and open to scrutiny in a public place. Why is that a low act. Please re read my opening statement here-

  44. Anonymous says: Reply

    David, by all means write a blog post on the KTG topic if that is what you would like to do. Keep in mind though that there are many knowledgeable people that have no desire to post comments here. Glenn

    1. Its a pity they wont. There doesnt seem to be any other place on the Web where people with an interest in the topic get a chance to put their views forward and engage with others in what is usually reasonable and polite discussion. Nobody has discussed anything on the KTG page for several months and many of the questions I asked have still not been answered – and I dont mean answered but not to my satisfaction, I mean not answered at all. Despite numerous assurances they would answer me once they had the time, this hasn’t happened so Ive given up.

      Anyhow, when I get around to posting again, you and the others might change your minds!

  45. A belated comment regarding use of the word “ambush” and whether the fight was “fair”….
    Firstly, the law on murder is relatively clear and the exception relating to self-defence is equally so.
    Murder requires intent. Did the Kellys intend to take the course of action that led to the deaths of the three Policemen? As they prepared and armed for a fight, and went out of their way to approach the Police , then it cannot reasonably be argued otherwise.
    Could they have avoided it? …..As easily as moving across the Border as they had many times moved stolen stock.

    Does the exception of Self Defence apply? That requires a reasonable fear of death or grievous bodily harm AND establishing that the situation was not of your making. Ergo, you do not threaten an armed man and then claim that his response justifies shooting him “in self defence”.

    Let us be clear. When you attempt to “command” someone by pointing a gun at them, you are threatening to kill or injure them. Acting on that threat is murder, unless you have a reasonable justification such as self defence or legal apprehension of a suspected/known criminal. Kelly et al have neither defence and quibbling about use of the term “ambush” or “fair” does not mitigate this.

    With regard to “ambush”, it is unarguable that at SBC, the Kellys firstly approached the Police, and then permitted the Police to approach them, in such a manner that the Police were taken unaware and were attacked before they were in a position to defend themselves. To argue that warning was given requires that time is allowed for the warning to be understood and processed…

    With regard to whether it was a “fair” fight, that is irrelevant to any legal question. It simply Does. Not. Matter who had more men, more guns or any of the other tactical variables. The issues are the intent and motivation. What the various parties were trying to achieve and why. No matter what speculation wishful thinking may indulge in, the Kelly Gang could have avoided risk to life (on both sides) by leaving the district. They had no reasonable excuse.

    Regards…… PeterW. (Bushranger-romantic in his childhood, who has since grown up.)

    PS…. On a minor point, one of the easier ways to spot a camp which has a fire, is to look for smoke.

  46. Hi Peter, your point, “Did the Kellys intend to take the course of action that led to the deaths of the three Policemen? As they prepared and armed for a fight, and went out of their way to approach the Police, then it cannot reasonably be argued otherwise”, is very well put and gets to the key issue in the so-called “self defence” argument: “you do not threaten an armed man and then claim that his response justifies shooting him “in self defence”.

    It was always a nonsensical claim and is never addressed by Kelly enthusiasts, who fuddle about with claims of self defence based on Kelly’s statements to various witnesses that he thought the police search parties intended to murder him rather than apprehend him. Even if that were true, which it isn’t, as a forthcoming article on the Victorian Outlawry Act will demonstrate, he and the gang had every opportunity to flee the night before rather than wait another full day to watch then ambush the police camp while two of the four police were absent.

    Some might say, what of Kelly’s claim that he only wanted to take their guns, ammunition and horses, and that only his naivety in thinking that the police would readily surrender led to murder? Some support this by quoting McIntyre, that he didn’t think the gang at first wanted to kill the police. Even if that is 100 percent correct, it does not counter your observation that an armed party set itself upon the police camp and murder resulted from a situation of the Kelly gang’s making. As you note, “When you attempt to ‘command’ someone by pointing a gun at them, you are threatening to kill or injure them. Acting on that threat is murder,” when that action has no lawful excuse or authority (as here).

    Further, the Kelly gang acted in concert, and Judge Barry was correct to observe that each member of the armed gang was equally responsible for the murders that ensued regardless of who pulled any particular trigger. All this applies regardless of the ambush question, and I am glad that you have put this post up, as I think separating these two arguments out is a good step forward in analysing what happened at SBC.

  47. Bill, re illegal law says: Reply

    Stuart, and Peter W
    “Did the Kellys intend to take the course of action that led to the deaths of the three Policemen?

    The whole idea that the Kellys intended to kill the police party is flawed.
    In their society there was an uprising based upon privilege for the well to do, and an underclass that had to obey. Its no use saying the law was fair, it was not.

    I have read much of this new Victorian colonial history being taken over by a bunch of squatters that even Governor Latrobe said by British law –what they were doing was illegal. – meaning the Squattocracy were conducting their own laws.

    The rumblings by the under classes (as Ian Jones put it) could have risen to something much more serious, and when the Fitzpatrick incident occurred, the Kelly boys had to get out of town. The brewing dissatisfaction in the whole district became worse when the word got around. There was a huge divided community, and I found it interesting that Edward Monk who guided the police around SBC was forced out of the district shortly after the police shootings.

    For Monk to sell up, – his sawmills and properties because the majority of his neighbours were against the way he had helped the police must tell you something.

    For me, I see it as a social divide that would get a lot worse, so the Collins Street Squatters offered big money rewards to their pocket police to put an end to it, so they targeted the Kellys to make an example of them. The police were tipped off the Kellys whereabouts by squatter lease holder Tolmie, The Kellys had lived in the remote bush for 6 months growing Sugar Beet for grog making and mining to gold to help pay legal costs to get their mum out of gaol. ( you all know the story)
    They had lots of support from other settlers, they had a stake in there future, and there was no need for the police to rout them out.

    When the police arrived at SBC the Kellys knew it would be a fight to the end, and so did the police. It was their gamble to pull it off, but they lost. It was either kill or be killed.
    What would you have done?

    1. Bill…
      You are being fundamentally dishonest.

      1. To assert that the arrival of the Police at SBC meant “a fight to the death”, and simultaneously that the Kellys did not intend to kill the Police, cannot be regarded otherwise. The contradiction is clear.

      2. To claim that threatening someone with a deadly weapon is not a threat to kill them, is a denial of reality. The threat is always “Do as I command OR I WILL KILL YOU!”. It is only in fantasies that such threats are issued with no intent of carrying them out. Killing those threatened may be “Plan B”, but it is definitely part of the Plan.

      We saw exactly what the Kellys intended.
      – They had a history of violent assault and attempted murder.
      – They deliberately prepared for a violent conflict.
      – They sought out that conflict when they could easily have moved to avoid it.
      – They attacked men who were unaware.
      – The killed a man in cold blood, who was disarmed, injured and no threat.
      None of this is mere accident.

      As for the political situation.
      We have already seen what a genuine “uprising” looks like in Australia. That was at Eureka. The rebels did not engage in aggressive violence. They did not ambush Police, threaten or rob the innocent or take innocent hostages. They disobeyed the law only in refusing to pay their licences and prepared only to defend themselves. The fallacy in arguing that Victoria was a systematically corrupt and oppressive colony run only by the powerful is demonstrated by the aftermath.
      – The authoritarian Police commander was replaced, not rewarded.
      – The leaders were acquitted when brought to trial.
      – Public support for the rebels was overwhelming.
      – The law was changed to accommodate just grievances.
      – Peter Lalor (yet another Irishman) was elected to the Parliament.

      Victoria was clearly and obviously a colony in which the strong convictions of the voting majority were NOT ignored.

      Victoria was also one of the most progressively egalitarian societies in the world. It was the first place in the British Empire in which full voting rights were granted to all adult males… Twenty years before your fictional uprising. The Gold Rush had two massive social effects. It massively devalued the remnants of the old class system, because the vast influx of diggers from all around the world were not defined by it. Secondly, the wealth generated by the diggings created a level of economic mobility that dwarfed inherited wealth……. and Australians knew it.

      Australia was the place when a boy leaving home with “five shillings and a one-eyed horse”, to become a drover, could become Australia’s greatest landowner and be granted a knighthood. Sidney Kidman stands as an example of how little Australia “oppressed” a poor boy who worked hard, took risks and used his head. Kelly just stole from drovers.

      Don’t piss on my leg and tell me it’s raining.

  48. Furthermore…

    I am a fourth-generation Australian farmer.
    Farming successfully demands enormous amounts of hard work, intelligence, investment and acceptance of risk.
    Farmers are not cardboard cut-out human-beings. As with any group of human beings, some will be very good at it, and they make money. The majority will be adequate, and live comfortably with some degree of struggle from time to time…… and some will not have the skill and drive, and will fail. Many of them will try to place the responsibility anywhere but where it truly belongs – on their own choices.

    The idea that discrepancies in achievements and results must primarily be regarded as outcomes of class power-struggles and human malevolence – popularised by a Marx – is one of the least credible theories of all time. Political systems built on that theory murdered over 100 MILLION people in the twentieth century, and kept a billion more in abject poverty.

    John Kelly could have raised his sons in the understanding that hard work and minding their own business (literally) was the road to economic self-sufficiency. Instead, he chose the bottle. Choices have consequences.
    Ned could have worked and earned his money honestly, and contributed to paying off the family property. He certainly had the brains and the physique for it. Instead, from the age of 12, he was taking what others had worked for.

    There is nothing heroic in that.

    There is no justice in assuming that people who started with very little, like Whitty and tens of thousands of others, could only become relatively wealthy through “oppression”.

    Don’t piss on my leg…….

  49. We are still copping the twisted legacy of academic Marxism as seen in the class struggle approach that permeates McQuilton’s “Kelly Outbreak” and for the last couple of decades has been morphing into so-called critical theory based in the Frankfurt School. This has taken over nearly all the humanities and much of the public sector, and is worming its way into the corporate world with most people oblivious to what it is. It is next to impossible to get academic journals to consider articles in history, politics and even classics not written within that perspective as Thomas Sowell and others have been pointing for over 20 years.

    In Australian history and Kelly we have gone from the socialism’s of J.J. Kenneally and Max Brown to the full on communism of Russell Ward, the peculiar left Nietzscheanism of Manning Clark, the uncritical uptake of this class conflict nonsense by many including Ian Jones, all brilliantly critiqued by Doug Morrissey’s PhD thesis, articles and books (the books unfortunately let the side down with lack of references but the critiques are solid), then the destruction of factual history by post modernist academics with overtly far left agendas who have made Gramsci and the Frankfurt School central to the universities since the 1980s if not earlier. These self styled academic revolutionaries know what they are doing: they are building a dream if communism that stems from the 1920 to 1940s before the horrors of communism Russian and Chinese MaoistCambodian etc., with their hundreds of millions of dead were revealed to the world through the 1970s and onwards. Anyone who doubts this deliberate intention can read the preface to the revised edition of Alistair Davidson’s biography of Antonio Gramsci and see if for themselves from an academic communist warrior. One of my old uni lecturers. Unfortunately. But it gave me a clear understanding of what underpins new left academia.

    Now we have the woke university with its Frankfurt School grounded history departments in which almost no subjects still exist that are not based in postmodern identity politics. So Mrs Kelly becomes a book project (at least 4 books on her); then Kate Kelly, then no doubt the Kelly’s pet lamb and vegan alternatives…. Not to mention the sea of words written about Kelly films steeped in post modern obfuscation. In the meantime rigid historical analysis goes by the by, and endless factual errors infest books and articles to the point where errors are so normal that historical understanding collapses as impossible. People cite as facts things in books that are completely wrong and have no idea that there might even be a problem in their drivel. A simple example is Peter FitzSimons claiming 800 Kelly sympathisers by him or a research assistant misreading a clearly printed 300 sympathisers in the O&M as 800. So crap becomes fact for others who will never think that figure sounds high, and check the reference in Trove but assume it must be right because it’s in a book. And so the BS spreads…. And spreads…. And spreads…

    1. Um yes I guess so!

      1. David…
        I’ll simplify.
        1. Farming is hard and owning a block of land is not a licence to print money. If 80% of the settlers who started essentially from scratch, paid off their land, then that is an incredibly *high* rate of success. To go from a raw, timbered block to one that is well stocked, fenced and producing excess animals and grain for sale takes time and a lot of labour. Money is required to buy tools and supplies, breeding stock and keep the family fed and clothed for the first few years. There will always be failures, especially when droughts, fires and other natural disasters are thrown in. Some of those failures will be resentful, but most will understand and move on to other things.

        2. As I pointed out, Victoria was already progressive, democratic and had shown an ability to deal with conflict brought about by poor laws and government. It was (and is) a work in progress, but to argue as though it was still feudal is rubbish.

        3. Go look at any of the War Memorials is NE Vic for an insight into how the people of the area regarded their nation and the legal and social system of the day. They volunteered for the Boer War and both world wars. That is not consistent with the theory of a riven society in 1880, or that a large proportion of the population hated the English. My father served in a regiment raised in the NE.

        4. The Kelly’s gained a considerable amount of money from their thefts, but most of it appears to have gone as pay-offs to their informers and harbourers. Claiming that people who had to be paid – and others who were threatened – were motivated by politics is rubbish.

        It’s a pity that we have to talk politics in this fashion, but it has been jammed down our throats and it is necessary to respond.

  50. There’s a whole science about why Kelly nuts and other groups (flat-earthers etc) believe the utterly illogiocal and factually incorrect things that they do. The picture below shows half a a paragraph from “Bad Science” by Ben Goldacre, 2008 and shortlisted for the BBC Samuel Johnson Prize fo Non-Fiction 2009, about social inflluences on what people believe, from the chapter, “Why clever people believe stupid things”. That is the last “and most self-evident flaw” of irrationalities in the chapter, and the relevance is obvious.

    Here are the previously listed ones, followed by a couple of observations on how these apply in Kellyland:

    1. We see patterns where there is only random noise. [We all do this as part of everyday information processing. The thing is to be aware of it. Astrology for example is built on this, as is teling the future by looking for patterns in bird’s entrails and so on.]

    2. We see causal relationships where there are none. [e.g. we look back at historical events and see some kind of magical inevitability. This is how plots are developed in fiction, but that is fiction. The most intellectually damaging instance of this is Marx’s theory of dialectic with its prediction of the inevitability of world communist revolution leading to a communist utopia. Ask Mao how that turned out with 100+ million of his own people dead in the name of an ideology (Marxist-Leninism) that is still loudly there today. But it would all work out fine if the whole world was communist, they say. It would all be different then, because, you know, we can build a new world from the ashes of the old, get it? Only dictators always seem to hold the match box.]

    3. We overvalue confirmatiory evidence for any given hypothesis. [e.g. for class struggles in colonial Victoria, hence the endless searching for squatter vs selector conflicts in Kelly’s day, which had been almost entirely resolved in the prervious decade in favour of selectors, as Morrissey has pointed out repeatedly.]

    4. We seek out confirmatory information for any given hypothesis. [Ian Jones’ ludicrous Kelly Republic myth, built on 1940s recyclings of a 1900 Bulletin Magazine spoof article.]

    5. Our assessment of the quality of new evidence is biased by our previous beliefs. [Kelly nuts dismiss all facts that don’t fit their existing viewpoint, hence their inability to rationally read my “Redeeming Fitzpatrick” article and accept that he was liked by most citizens in the districts he worked in and that his testimony about the ‘Fitzpatrick incident’ was correct – Kelly and his family and associates lied, not Fitzpatrick.]


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