The Actual True Story : Part IX : Jerilderie


Barely two months after they robbed the bank at Euroa of over £2000, the Kelly Gang went north over the Murray river into NSW and on Monday February 10th 1879, robbed the Jerilderie branch of the Bank of NSW of a similar amount.


Once again, as at Euroa, instead of riding into town and conducting a surprise armed hold-up of the Bank and then galloping off into the sunset with their ill-gotten gains, instead, with a constant menacing stream of violent threats and the continual brandishing of rifles and loaded revolvers the robbery was converted into an elaborate and high-risk 2 day publicity stunt which began at the local police station late on Saturday night, February 8th.  That’s when the two unsuspecting local policemen were awoken by a man on horseback in the street outside the station and police residence, yelling at them about a drunken disturbance in the township. Once both unarmed Policemen, Devine and Richards had emerged, the man on the horse suddenly drew a revolver, announced he was Ned Kelly and marched them back inside. Mrs Devine was ordered to feed the Gang while her husband and Richards were locked up for the next 48 hours. The following day the Gang scoped out the town disguised in the policemen’s uniforms, and to avoid alerting anyone that something was amiss at the Police station Mrs Devine was escorted to the church to perform her weekly duty of arranging the flowers.


The next morning the gang robbed the Bank, taking Richards with them to ensure Mrs Devine behaved. The bank branch was in a converted assembly room of the Royal Mail Hotel, and Hotel patrons, passers-by and the Bank stuff were rounded up at gunpoint and imprisoned in one of the other rooms of the Pub. As before, Kelly dominated the entire proceedings, at times threatening violence, at others bullying the hostages and even other gang members, and at others turning on his manipulative charm which he had been using to great effect to control Mrs Devine.


Quite apart from the plan to steal from the Bank that morning, Kelly also wanted to deliver to local printer and newspaper editor Samuel Gill, a hand written 56 page letter he had brought with him that provided a counter narrative to the one in the papers that described him as a vulgar cut-throat ruffian.  He wanted to have a reputation like ‘Brave’ Ben Hall who was known and respected as the “Gentleman Bushranger” and whose feat of peacefully taking the entire town of Canowindra hostage for three days in 1863 was the inspiration for Kellys own hostage taking escapades.  Accordingly, as usual Ned Kelly subjected his captive audiences to prolonged lecturing about his grievances, but more importantly he was desperate to get the letter printed and distributed to all and sundry.


“In every paper, I am called the blackest and coldest blooded murderer ever on record. But if I hear any more of it I will not exactly show them what cold blooded murder is but wholesale and retail slaughter, something different to shooting three troopers in self-defence and robbing a bank”


This quote from the letter demonstrates how confused and mixed up he was, threatening violent slaughter against anyone who continued to describe him as a cold blooded murderer – his lack of insight borders on delusional.


Unfortunately for Kelly, Gills curiosity had been aroused by the site of extra police in the town, and thinking there might be a story in it for his paper, went to the Police station to ask Devine what was happening. Through a window, he saw a distressed child and a frightened Mrs Devine who cried out “Run. Your life is in danger” – which is what he did a short time later when at the Bank an unfamiliar voice called out “Just a minute” at the same time as Gill and two others heard the sound of a gun being cocked. Gill ran as Kelly emerged but the other two were rounded up at gunpoint, Kelly threatening to shoot one of them, so enraged was he that the only man in Jerilderie he really wanted to get hold of had just escaped: more craziness on display! Undeterred Kelly confronted Mrs Gill at her home demanding to know where the Editor was but she didn’t know: “Look here Mr Kelly” she bravely argued “if you shoot me I still won’t know where he is”.

Eventually the Banks accountant Edward Living promised Kelly that he would make sure Gill got the letter and published it.  “Mind that you keep your promise and see that they are printed or you will have to reckon with me next time we meet” says the armed bully Ned Kelly.


In addition to robbing the Bank and burning a pile of documents, the gang also smashed the telegraph equipment at the Post Office, chopped down several telegraph posts, stole the two guns from the bank, the policemen’s revolvers, two police rifles, Devine’s grey horse and various bits and pieces of  jewellery such as the Post Masters watch. A grieving mother later put advertisements in the paper pleading for Kelly to hand back a watch that he took from a safety deposit box that had belonged to her deceased daughter, but she never saw it again. Hart also stole Edward Livings saddle but when Living asked Kelly to get Hart to hand it back he ordered the chastened Hart to return it, no doubt because he thought it would be good for his image not only as a charitable gentleman bushranger but also as a tough gang leader who wasn’t afraid to publicly humiliate his own Gang members if they did things he didn’t like. Kelly then told Hart to go and steal a different saddle, exhibiting yet again how grand-standing narcissism rather than ethics governed Kellys behaviour – and of course Hart obeyed, taking the best one available from Mahood’s Saddlery at gunpoint.

Finally the gang left, Kelly promising that if anyone tried to repair the broken telegraph lines the Gang would return and shoot them ‘like bloody dogs’. As they left they shouted “Hurrah for the good old times of  Morgan and Ben Hall”. They gave the key to the lockup to the terror-stricken Mrs Devine telling her that if she let the prisoners out before 7.30 that evening her house would go up in flames.


‘One of the three, went to the door of the barracks and asked Mrs Devine. where the key was. She replied that she had it and inquired what he wanted it for. On receiving the reply that the key was wanted to let the prisoners out, she refused to hand it over, saying that she dare not liberate them before half past seven. The poor woman had not recovered from the terror of the outlaw’s threat.’ Jerilderie Herald and Urana Advertiser Nov 21st 1913.


From the Gangs perspective, the raid on Jerilderie was mostly a great success. It had certainly been an audacious crazy-brave escapade, demonstrating Ned Kellys brash foolhardiness, over-confidence and bravado. The only down side was that Kellys Letter didn’t get published until long after he was dead. At his trial the following year, the prosecution sought to introduce it as evidence but Kellys own counsel objected, so it wasn’t released publicly till 1930, and again in 1948 in Max Browns ‘Australian Son’, where it was first called the ‘Jerilderie Letter’.


The two Bank robberies yielded a haul of some £4000, which in todays money equates to almost a million dollars, a staggering bonanza that the Gang squandered in a few months paying off sympathisers and buying support and protection. Ned Kelly claimed he wanted the money to fund an appeal of his mothers conviction, but not one penny was used in that way.  Kelly was all talk!


There’s one other myth worth mentioning in relation to the raid on Jerilderie : its the claim made many years later by famed WW1 General Sir John Monash that when he was 12 he was in Jerilderie when the Gang raided the bank and he had a conversation with Ned Kelly, who gave him a shilling for looking after his horse. Certainly, Monash had connections with Jerilderie – his father ran a store there. Monash said meeting Kelly was one of the two proudest moments of his life, yet he told nobody about it until after the War and his various re-tellings of the story were inconsistent, suggesting he might have been telling tall stories!  More recently Monash’s whereabouts on February 10thhave been established : he was in Melbourne at school. The story of Monash and Kelly is pure myth!


One last thing : writers often describe this raid on Jerilderie as a triumph, as a great success because the Gang got the money but nobody was killed, as an exhibition of brilliant strategical planning, a demonstration of leadership qualities that indicate Ned Kelly would have been a great General, a display of imagination and bravery. I beg to differ.


In fact what he did was not so much brave as reckless and foolish showing off, because if only one hostage had decided to fight back it could have easily turned into another bloodbath like Stringybark Creek and who knows how many more innocent lives would have been lost. A sensible General would have devised a plan that exposed his men to the least risk, a surgical strike at the target, the Letter left behind and the Gang disappearing into the bush as quickly as they had emerged. Instead, to provide himself with an opportunity to posture and grandstand and promote himself Kelly risked the lives not just of his Gang but of many innocent men women and children in Jerilderie. The reason nobody was killed was nothing to do with Kelly being a great General and everything to do with the hostages having the great sense to do exactly as they were told. Everyone already knew Kelly was a ruthless multiple murderer, and they became witnesses to his volatile and unstable moods and impulses and the targets of his unending stream of violent threats and intimidation. Commendably, despite their terror, thank God, every single one of them held their nerve, and patiently waited till the maniac had everything he wanted and vanished back across the Murray. No doubt they would have all rejoiced just over a year later when he was finally captured and the Gang was destroyed, but for many the terror of that weekend would have left them like Mrs Devine, scarred and traumatised for the rest of their lives, forgotten victims of the Kelly Gang of murderers and thieves.

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89 Replies to “The Actual True Story : Part IX : Jerilderie”

  1. Sharon Hollingsworth says: Reply

    Oh, you are gonna love this old blog post I wrote way back in 2011 about Constable Devine as it shows the effect the gang’s visit to Jerilderie had on him right up to the end of his life.

    1. Thanks Sharon : yes thats a fascinating bit of colour that enriches the Kelly tapestry even more. If all the ripples could be traced outward I think we would find many more stories of the psychological traumas and unrecorded suffering of Kelly Gang victims. Did life ever return to normal after such an event?

  2. Very interesting read Sharon. The psychological damage criminals do to their victims is so often overlooked, especially by courts. I wonder how many of Kelly’s hostages suffered for the rest of their lives.

  3. You know, the thing that I’ve always wondered about with the Kellys was why otherwise rock-solid citizens, god-fearing too, who you wouldn’t reckon would condone murder apparently supported Kelly – if you believe what the police said. I’m thinking particularly of say the Kearneys, or the Egans, or Tanners – neighbours of Old Tom Lloyd, but there are many others you could point to. For the Irish among them it was also Irishmen who were killed! So why did they support Kelly? The police never said of them that they were too scared to help the police, they said they “sympathised”. The Kearneys had their plough stolen for the armour, but they didn’t back the police, who said they were sympathisers. The Egans, next door to the Lloyds, had Kelly harness in their shed. Hare interviewed them. He didn’t say they were scared. Police called them “known sympathisers”.
    Do you think they didn’t trust the police?
    That police murder of the old Catholic priest from Wangaratta a few years before wouldn’t have helped. Father Healy, wasn’t it? They said he went “mental” and was wandering in the bush. Two police shot him dead. He was 78 – unarmed too, of course. The explanation was that they thought he was a bushranger. No action taken by Police Command.
    And then there was Flood and his behaviour. And Hall’s attempt to murder a fifteen year old.
    And if it wasn’t distrust of the police, what was it?
    And I also wonder why it was only the Dane Jacob Wilson from around Lurg who gave the police some support – kept an eye on the Lloyds and the Egans – sold the police hay. And why he was the only one who had anything to say to the Commission.
    That great silence of the selectors makes you wonder, doesn’t it?

    1. Well firstly to talk about ‘the great silence of the selectors’ – no it doesnt make me wonder at all! When theres a gang of stock thieves and thugs marauding around the fringes of the governed regions of the Colony it makes perfect sense to me, if you’re a landowner with cattle and horses and fences and haysheds you want to protect, that you would keep your head down. There might even be advantage in allowing the perception to spread about the place that you’re sympathetic to the Kellys – doesn’t mean you would be prepared to lift a finger to help them or do anything illegal…but it might mean they would be less likely to target your property.

      But you’ve mentioned three families out of thousands in the region, three families you say were rock-solid God fearing citizens who supported the Kellys even after the Gang had murdered the police. And you ask Why did they support Kelly?

      Well there is an endless variety of possible reasons why these few people may have supported Ned Kelly, which range from their support being a ruse to protect themselves, to believing that what the Kelly Gang was doing was a good thing that they wanted to support. I have no idea why they would support a gang of thieves and murderers, but if you are suggesting that because three or four families of regular folk in the North East apparently supported them, this somehow means the Gang was something other than what we know them to be – liars, thieves, killers – then at this stage you have a very weak case.

      What I would be interested to learn from you is what exactly was the support these families offered the Kelly Gang?

  4. G’day David,

    I wasn’t really making a case, I was really puzzling, as I have for fifty years or so, as to why the Kellys could run for two years and no one dobbed them in. I’m sorry you consider my thoughts very weak. I’ve always thought the puzzle was at the heart of the whole Kelly issue – it was after all what the Royal Commission was all about.

    I take it you think that the answer is that thousands of selectors throughout the region were too frightened to act. Maybe you’re right, but its a pretty sweeping view. And a pretty strong indictment of that community, isn’t it?

    I’m not sure about the “thousands of familes in the region”! Some few hundred maybe, depending on how big your region is. What was the selector population of Lurg at the time? Maybe twelve; a few up around the Kellys on the Benalla track, and a few more along Wattle Creek; Tom Lloyd, the Egans, John Kearney, George Brooker, Jacob Wilson. McGillicuddy had bought Charlie ‘the Swede’ Petersen’s land, but he was a Benalla Surveyor who never went there – probably a dummy for McBean, don’t you think? And McBean the Squatter lived seven kilometres away so he never came by much. Delaney lived back towards Greta. I suppose you’d say Lloyd and Delaney the blacksmith were supporters – both as you know actually gave hands-on support.

    But I was really pointing to people like the Egans and Kearneys as an example. I’m sure you’re familiar with the names of all the people the police mentioned to the Commission as sympathisers. And quite a few of them, and others not mentioned, are in the Greta Catholic community, who attended Mass every two or three weeks when the Wangaratta priest got down Greta way. The Catholics set up a school in Greta, so there must have been enough to support a teacher. What I’ve puzzled over is how those people reconciled their religious beliefs with what the Police called their ”sympathy” for people who, as you say, were liars, thieves and murderers. Like you, I’ve got no idea in most cases what they did for the Police to say that of them. I’m just going on what the Police said. I thought you might have thought about such a central question, one which worried the Commission.

    And I’ve always wondered why the Police never said these people were too scared to help them, or too scared not to give support. You’d reckon that would be the easiest explanation for them to give, but seemingly they didn’t think it. Of the locals Jacob Wilson said he was scared. He helped the Police some, but he was Danish and a bit on the outer – even the Police mocked him. Curnow and Kennedy helped the Police but they weren’t selectors. How come the selectors stood back? (We’re not talking landowners here, by the way. Selectors were licence holders – none of the Lurg farmers owned their land in 1878 – they were all precarious renters, standing a good chance of losing their land – especially if the Police decided to have their licence cancelled for backing the Kellys.)

    So, I’m left wondering, if as the Police seemed to think it wasn’t because they were scared, then what was so important to them that they they did so little to assist the Police – who after all were also significantly Irish? I’m with the Commission – it was a big question, don’t you think?

    I mentioned one contributing explanation. And I have no idea if it was important. But I was thinking if I was going to Mass in Greta and I learned in 1876 that the Police had shot and killed my Wangaratta priest – 78 year old – because they thought he might have been a bushranger, I’d have been a bit concerned. And if I knew that one of the local married Police had got a local kid pregnant while her husband was in gaol – how old was Annie Kelly Gunn? Eighteen? Nineteen? I think I’d have thought ‘that’s not right”. And if I’d heard that the local Policeman had attempted to murder a fifteen year old kid – a real tearaway – I’d still have thought that that was going beyond the beyond. I guess they didn’t know that Hall’s report admitted what he had done and clearly expected praise from his superiors, but I wonder whether that would have surprised them. What do you think? I reckon, back then, I’d have felt a bit toey about the Police. You don’t think you would?

    And then I wonder how many of the older folk around Greta had lived through the Irish Famine. A good number of those born in Ireland must have, and I’ve wondered what influence that might have had on their view of the world. Was their poverty an issue? Galen the priest says they were “desperately poor”. Or the catastrophic crop failure of 1878? How important was the Convict experience among the older folk? You could go on a bit too.

    You don’t need me to tell you what people did to support the Kellys. It’s all in the Commission. Owen Egan e,g,, member of the Catholic community, lives in the bush beside Lloyds, has one hand, caught with four Kelly harness in his shed. Hare interviews him. No talk of fear. Police say he was a known sympathiser. Egan is staring at the loss of his land. I reckon he probably didn’t do a lot for the Kellys, but it looks like he did a bit, and I wonder why. And there was a huge reward there for the taking. And no selector lined up for it – well, Jacob Wilson went after a bit after the fact. I wonder why no one went for it?

    I reckon they’re interesting questions, David. I thought you might have had an idea.



    1. An endless stream of rhetorical questions for which any and every answer anyone could give would only be speculation. You say you’ve been puzzling over all this for fifty years : well, if you ever come up with an answer let us know wont you?

      1. Good one, David!
        I didn’t think they were rhetorical questions. I’ve said I don’t know the answers. They are questions which I find interesting. I thought you might too. Somewhere along the line you might come to see that History is a never-ending discussion, and the discussion changes as you grow. I will never come up with the answers, and nor will you. It’s the speculation that is important and interesting. I wish you your fifty years of speculation – its good for you.
        I think I’ve said enough on all this.

  5. The continued interest in Ned Kelly lays not with the crimes you keep emphasizing, rather that he represented someone game enough to challenge the British authority for politically letting the well to do of the day occupy all the best land forcing small settler farmers into poverty until Ned and his class caused an uprising known as the Kelly outbreak. The authorities just had to get rid of him, but by doing so, they turned him into their hero and six generations later which number half the population will always see him as an icon of history.

    And by the way, do you know who this nice fellow was?


    1. Bill all I am doing is trying to tell the true story, the story based on facts. Regarding the notion that there was an uprising of Ned Kellys ‘class’ – by which I suppose youre referring to the selectors – Ive yet to see any evidence for it. If there was such an uprising of his ‘class’ where were they at Glenrowan? Where were they when Kelly needed cash to get a Barrister? And after Kelly was hanged – why did the loss of four gang members result in the abandonment of whatever cause it was that this ‘uprising’ was supposed to be about – did they suddenly decide the uprising wasn’t worth continuing?

      Bill all I see in the historical record is a bunch of horse thieves who became murderous fugitives who for various unfathomable reasons are regarded as heroes by people who seem to have chosen to turn a blind eye to the reality of what the Kelly Gang was about.

      1. Thanks David, I enjoyed reading Perc’s postings,
        But David, can you tell me whose picture I posted and what he represented?

        1. Thomas Whiteside says: Reply

          Cromwell. another great republican…

          Your point clearly refers to Cromwell’s conquest of Ireland between 1649 and 1653.

          Not a nice chap.

    2. Hi Bill, that’s the round-headed demon himself, Oliver Cromwell, and what a curious portrait it is with that nose! The armour was the giveaway, made right proper…

      Oliver is celebrated (or not) in the Pogues’ classic song, “Young Ned of the Hill”, which I’m sure you’ll love as I do,

      And here’s an action sketch of Old Ironside himself. Credit where credit’s due, eh? Even if he was a right $#!%


  6. Peter Newman says: Reply

    Perc is asking some very good questions that I have also been thinking long and hard about. Bill and I were exploring these very matters and I have a view that is at odds with Bill’s view. But then again, maybe Bill is closer to the truth than I thought. Oliver would have been a hard one for those selectors of Irish descent to have lived down. But then again, they weren’t all Irish were they. I wish I knew who you were Perc – it would be great to have a discussion with you about these questions you have asked.

  7. Hi Perc, you said, “I’ve always wondered why the Police never said these people were too scared to help them, or too scared not to give support. You’d reckon that would be the easiest explanation for them to give, but seemingly they didn’t think it.”

    In Hare’s “Last of the Bushrangers” at the end of chapter 6, he relates that he often spoke to respectable farmers who told him that if word got around that they had been talking to the police, their haystacks would be burned, their fences broken, and probably all their stock stolen. There are plenty of similar comments in material of the day and commentary on it.

  8. Yeah, you’re right Stuart. And I’ve overlooked Aarron Sherrit, which is a bit of a hole in the argument! I think I presumed that Hare was referring to the McBeans of the world – the wealthier men who had haystacks. Maybe he was talking about the little blokes too. I guess it was my impression (and I haven’t read the Commission for years) that there was more talk by the Police of having to deal with ‘sympathisers’ than feeling that everyone was too scared to help them. I’m sure some were scared. But then a lot, according to the Police, were sympathetic to the Gang, and they weren’t all of the “criminal class”. It’s them who intrigue me – how did they weigh up what should have been a moral dilemma.

  9. Very interesting contribution from Perc, and it raises many questions. I have always thought that as criminal elements, e.g. the Kelly’s and the Greta Mob effectively had a free hand in rural areas due to the lack of police, and they had control over almost everyone who lived in those rural regions. Common sense would tell you that the locals knew what Kelly and The Greta Mob would do to them if they liaised with the police. 8,000 pounds was not worth their lives. As I read down to Stuart’s comment, Supt Hare’s statement corresponds with my view, as it wreaks of common sense. There is ample evidence of that modus operandi that was so clearly enunciated by Jacob Wilson at the RC. His evidence can be read here.
    I am not in agreeance with Bill’s view of the British versus the settlers. There is evidence of that before the Lands Act was introduced by the Victoria government in 1860. It took them another 9 years to get it right, but we all know that in the end the settlers won that battle and the area was well settled with settlers at the time of the Kelly outbreak. If my memory serves me correctly, there were essentially no squatters left in the Greta region at the time of Ned Kelly’s reign of criminal activity.

    1. I agree Sam, Jacob Wilson was clearly badly harassed, and he had good reason to fear, and to fear for his life. And obviously many people would have been too frightened to be seen to support the Police. And it looks like the Police had to sort of push an uneasy Jacob to help them

      Jacob is interesting, though. He’s a bit of an oddity in Lurg. He was Danish and seems to have changed his name – his Dad was Olas Jacob. He was at odds with some of the selectors back towards Benalla (not any of those caught up with the Kellys) who complained to the Lands Board that he should lose his licence because he wasn’t keeping up with the requirements and was always drunk. Maybe that was prejudice, who knows. He had been a bark-stripper before taking up his land. He was deeply in debt to a loan shark, De Boos from Euroa, because selectors weren’t meant to borrow – banks weren’t allowed to loan to them. He was probably paying the going 15% – 20% interest. (Tom Lloyd was paying 16% on £165.) Jacob had lost 200 acres for non-payment of rent. McBean the Squatter whose land abutted Jacob’s had some of Jacob’s land excised and given to McBean’s Kilfeera Run because McBean needed it, he said. Patrick McGillicuddy, the Benalla Surveyor, who’d bought land outright next door (which included Pertersen’s Paddock that gets mentioned) – probably as McBean’s dummy, surveyed the excision of Jacob’s land and signed off on it on behalf of the Lands Board for his friend McBean. Jacob only had 50 acres left, and there was no hope of anyone surviving on that. Jacob was in deep strife when the Police leaned on him. And quite reasonably he wanted recompense from the Commission for his trouble. And he was the only selector to give evidence to the Commission. And that brings us back to the great silence of the selectors – most of it fear maybe, but some of it that looks like it must have been more complex.

      We come back to why some offered shelter, and why others offered some sort of support that the Police called ‘sympathy’. Even the word is strange; sympathy for killers! What would drive poeple to that? And then you look at some of them and they’re forty year olds, battling some impoverished farm, and you think there’s more going on in this Kelly thing than meets the eye!

  10. James Quinn, father of Ned’s mother Ellen Kelly, moved his family far north-east into the King Valley above Whitfield. There they set up as squatters on the Glenmore cattle run. This was 25,000 acres of relatively good country for livestock.


    Cam West

  11. Anonymous says: Reply

    The Quinns as Squatters! That takes the cake!


  12. I seem to see this page represents a mob of 1870s Squatters !.
    If we don’t agree here, we are seen as part of the Greta mob representing Selectors.
    Please be aware, 140 years have passed and I find it deplorable that Pro Ned sentiments in this day and age are required to justify the truth behind the ‘Kelly myth’.
    A myth results after certain truths are miss understood.

    I know this will upset some, but if you are a anti Ned, you will also be in support of Oliver Cromwell who with his right arm mate Charles Trevelyan, let a ‘million Irish die of starvation. They were the Hitler and Himmler of our times. Do you seriously want to be defenders of the British autocracy that wanted to use poor people of Irish, Welsh and Scottish background as peasant labour at the behest of British ruling class .

    I can give you an account of how the land grab worked. You may be a descendant beneficiary, but that does not allow you to make excuses to saying those Greta mob fellows were just criminals. It was their forbears they were standing up for at a time when they had been brought up with personal stories of inhumanity at the hand of total bastards only interested in greed money and class.

    Another thing, Quinn was not a squatter, he was a settler, and through a dodgy road board authority headed by his Protestant neighbor Whitty and his son in law ‘Farrell’ who worked for the Road Board, Farrell proposed to split Quinns land holdings into four parts. Quinn got a payout of a few pounds which was not acceptable and he sued the Road Board and later won his case that allowed him later to take over an existing lease up in N East Vic, Glenmore Station. It was so remote that even convict Harry Power had made it his home in the upper reaches, so to say Quinn was in squatter class is an over exaggeration.
    We seem to be arguing the same 1880 crap all over again as signaling which side of the fence you were born. All pathetic in my opinion. I could also suggest, if you are so anti Ned here, you must also be sympathetic to Hitler and his mob.

    1. Hi Bill, Oliver Cromwell was a savage scumbag, and if you clicked my above link to the Pogues’ song you will find they agree and sing about it brilliantly – the lyrics are on that YouTube clip too: “A curse upon you Oliver Cromwell” etc, fantastic stuff.

      As you know, I’m not anti-Ned, I’m anti-myth. I think the division made between “pro-Ned” and “anti-Ned” is too hard, as it leaves out a smallish number of people such as me (and for example Lyn Innes, Sharon and others) who are into understanding history without the narrative myths that grow around so much of it like moss, mostly from people pushing ideological barrows.

      A “this” perspective”, a ‘that” perspective, a “Marxist approach”, a “post-whateverist” view, etc. I just take the evidence, throw it up in the air, and see what falls out. My stuff looks different because hardly anyone does that, not because I’m especially clever. But as you know, Sharon and Brian’s Eleven Mile Creek blog looks at things in the same sort of way. And what falls out often involves rigorously critiquing what others have written previously, and backing that up by presenting all available evidence, not just what is selectively convenient.

      I must reject the idea that if someone has such-and-such a view of something or someone, they therefore like Hitler. There is no reason to try and link anyone’s views on Kelly, no matter how hostile, with Hitler and the Holocaust in which some 13 million people died. I don’t think that’s what you intended to mean when you typed that, or at least I hope not. I’ll say that you didn’t as I don’t believe you really did mean that.

    2. Ned Kelly was Harry Power’s apprentice. Harry’s presence above Glenmore Station was no coincidence. Ned then dobbed him in to police, and Power was arrested there and led past the door of the Quinn residence.


    3. Bill your argument is based on a belief that Ned Kelly was some sort of political activist. However just because some people claim thats what he was, and adopted him as a symbol of their struggle against the establishment, it doesnt mean that they are right in what they claim is the truth about him.

      For myself I see him as a criminal because nobody can show me anything that he actually did or said that suggests to me that he was anything other than a criminal. The very few words of his that people claim indicate he was something else, such as the very occasional mention of widows and poor people are ambiguous at best – he never ever, not once made any direct political statement or political claim about anything. In fact the HUGE preponderance of his written and recorded statements are self-promoting, self-justifying and often false claims about himself, or else outpourings of violent hateful threats against anyone who opposes him – rich or poor – and in particular authority, police and people who were well off. Before the killings at SBC he was only ever a bully and a thief, the killings at SBC were a disastrous impulsive over-reaction aimed at avoiding justice and being held to account for his stock thieving, and after that he was on the run and trying to survive. Glenrowan wasn’t a political statement – but if it was, it was statement of belief in violence and murder, of disregard for innocent life, and of reckless disregard for any authority other than savagery. In fact according to Ned Kelly himself Glenrowan was about revenge and about robbing banks and most ridiculously, getting his mother out of prison a few months early. An entirely harebrained act of lunacy.

      And please dont imagine that I havent thought long and hard about how he got there, and what were the influences on his development that resulted him being hanged at age 25 because I have. I do have sympathy and sadness for what happened to the young Ned Kelly, especially as you would know I have written that up until the time his father died he had shown promise. But having sympathy for the difficulties that he faced in life doesnt blind me to the facts of what he became after that, or excuse his behaviour.I dont subscribe to the view that everyone else is to blame for what you become – I very much believe in the importance of the deliberate choices one makes and that being an adult involves the necessity to accept responsibility for the results of ones choices.

      What Ned Kelly became I hold him responsible for and as you know Ned Kelly deliberately chose criminality as a life style, admitting to it in the Jerilderie letter. And when he was asked what was the police provocation that drove him to become what he became he quoted he incident in the bookmakers shop when his balls were squeezed by Lonigan. Nothing to do with politics or justice or the rights of the downtrodden and the poor but about revenge for a fight he lost, caused entirely by his own stupid decision to make a run for it when he was being escorted to the Court for a trifling offence. The man was an impulsive show off whose dumb decisions led him into deeper and deeper water and eventually to murder. Nothing heroic. Nothing noble. Tragic, yes of course but criminal.

  13. Anonymous says: Reply

    A cop shop was opened near Glenmore Run to keep an eye on the junior male Quinns. Quinn senior was a canny former labourer who progressed quickly up the land ladder.

    Horrie and Alf

  14. David suggests my argument is based on a belief ?
    Horrie thinks it good ‘To move up the LAND LADDER – butmeant you had to join the bastards at their own game. It was the squatters and their powerful mates that were the real criminals.

    This is what Irish born John O’Shanassy quickly found out. He failed as a farmer and became a merchant and later through his prowess ‘Premier of Victoria’. By 1862 he had acquired 40 Sqr miles of land not for working but for its ever rising value. Under certain conditions the Land Acts had been passed to allow Settlers a piece of the land pie.

    A settler by the name William Joachim decided to apply for a 1/10th of O’Shanassy’s 40 Sqr miles but O’Shanassys charged him with trespass. Joachim, not willing to be cast aside, he challenged and the ongoing fued lasted well into the 1870s. Every struggling selectors family would have followed the newspaper reports of injustices dished out through corrupt officialdom.
    Joachim one amongst many persevered as only settlers were allowed to grow ‘produce’ , wheat, barley, oats, spuds etc, which very often the Squatter out of spite would ruin by letting his cattle trample into the ground. O’Shanassy and most other Squatter lease holders realised they could have their labourers apply for selections over their leases under ‘dummy’ selections. This kept real selectors out.

    The object was for Squatters to retain leasehold by pretending to have Selectors taking small parts of land, but the SQRs paid for these Dummies to apply for selections while these dummies were just worker servants of the SGRs. This meant Real Selectors rarely had a chance to acquire land- accounting for only 10% of any real ‘Certificates’ of the Land Act (of 1865). Newspapers concluded it was an evasion of the Land Act ( ‘The Star’ Ballarat)

    In addition this also meant– those lands not taken up in real selections were then available as ‘commons’ over which those adjacent pastoral lessee could extend his grazing with no cost to himself and no payments to Govt agencies.

    During long drawn out legal battles Squatters had waged upon the selectors, its recorded people like O’Shanassy also had personal ‘Land Agents’ , one was Michael Fitzpatrick, (relation to Alex Fitzpatrick is unknown) but this M Fitz was also a member of Parliament. During a court session Fitspatrick was asked – ‘Who the land agent was for ‘Moama’(near Shepparton), answer, George Maunsel, who was also resident Police Magistrate and a personal friend of O’Shanassy Jnr.

    It was a tight circle of influence and vested interests. And, Liberals lobbied their own Parliament in their own interests, for pastoral leases under the Act, this was the political and social environs also encountered by John Gorman when he also moved to place his eight sons* on Riverina selections 100 Km to the East of Moama.
    (Source: Justin Moloney- A Passage of People – the story of the Gormans 2015)

    * Only males, were eligible to legally hold land. Too bad if you only had daughters.

    Perhaps this section of the Jerilderie letter attributed to Ned Kelly might now make more sense:
    “ Whitty and Burns not being satisfied with all the picked land on the Boggy Creek and the King River and the run of their stock on the certificate ground free and no one interfering with them. paid heavy rent to the banks for all the open ground so as a poor man could keep no stock, and impounded every beast they could get, even off Government roads. If a poor man happened to leave his horse or of a poddy calf outside his paddock they would be impounded. I have known over 60 head of horses impounded in one day by Whitty and Burns all belonging to poor farmers.”

  15. Hello Perc,
    In Doug Morrissey’s ‘NK a Lawless Life’, P 17; he reckons 45% had mortgaged their properties and only 10% regularly fell behind in their rent, while 55% never needed any financial help !
    This 55% were probably those Dummy selectors, which means according to Doug, 95% had no problems at all !
    This explains why the ‘silence’ from other selectors complaining, because they were dummy selectors.

    As I read his book I made notes; My take on his figures suggests he tries to justify that Kelly sympathisers did better than other non sympathisers, this of course is back to front or biased number picking as his book is all about justification to make his ‘ Protestant Orange brigade’ look good, while they were the real criminals.

    By comparison, ‘Justin Moloney’s comprehensive research, (as I quoted above), he writes that of all the selectors only 10% were real selectors, so all the others must have been Dummy selectors, and by that – meant they would not fall behind in their rent because 90% of them were working for the Squatters, who paid the supposed selectors rents, and some wages.

    We can see how easy it is to write stuff that on the surface seems factual enough, but recording history without an agenda reveals a completely different story. Of course I refer to the resentment any real selector would have felt knowing the selector down the road was a stand in for his squatter boss. The real one indebted to the Bank and Crown rent, the other being paid to live on a phony selection protected by his Landlord boss. –the very same type of ‘tenant’ farming practiced over hundreds of thousands of poor Irish, Welsh and Scottish families had to endure back in their old country, under ‘Orange- Landlordism’ right here in Australia. No wonder the free Irish settlers hated the squatters who also employed the police to do their dirty work.

    The bank robberies were planned to take back some of the moneys the wealthy squatters had made from the poor, and also ‘take and burn’ true selectors Mortgage papers as a gesture to relieve them of a very shonky corrupt political system.

    1. G’day Bill,

      I look at it all leaning your way, I think. There was certainly ill-feeling between selectors and the big landowners, and for good reason, and to my mind that explains why Kelly received the level of support he did, and from people who in many cases were not people you would immediately think would back a murderer. And I reckon if someone argues that all there was to Kelly was that he was a criminal (and I accept that he was) then there’s a need to explain why people, in different ways, were so prepared to offer him support.

      And what you mention up Moama way is exactly what you see going on around the North East. When Kelly complained in the Letter that Whitty had peacocked the best land on Boggy Creek he was spot on! You can see it on the map! And just because Whitty wasn’t a squatter doesn’t make him a selector! He used all the techniques of the squatters to tie up land to his advantage. He identified the best land along the Creek, got a surveyor to draw up suitable plans, had it signed off by the Lands Board and got control of the best water access. This meant, as you point out, that land behind his was less likely to be taken up, and because he wasn’t a selector himself he could run stock without the burden of having to clear land and plant a crop, and he could run that stock on any land not selected, as you say. This, you’d reckon, would have irritated selectors. But what presumably infuriated them was that if a small selector, struggling to meet the demands of the Act by trying to crop land that everyone agreed was grazing country, if he actually ran a few cattle and if those cattle strayed beyond his peg line onto Whitty’s or any other land, Whitty was known to impound them. Kelly was telling the truth, and presumably was voicing the selectors’ concern. So, he was a criminal, he did steal and he did murder, and he planned frightening mayhem, but he also resented the squatters, like many/most selectors, and he expressed their grievance.

      And what was going on in Moama was exactly what was going on in the Kellys’ immediate back yard. McBean the Kilfeera squatter, whose land abutted Tom Lloyd’s did exactly what Whitty did. He was keen to get land on both Wattle Creek in Lurg, and on Ryans Creek a little to the east in Tatong. He purchased a couple of hundred acres of Lurg land with Creek frontage. His friend Patrick McGillicuddy, the Benalla surveyor, then purchased a couple of hundred adjacent to it. McGillicuddy never went near that land and the presumption was that he was a dummy for McBean. McBean’s stock had the run of 400 acres with good water access. And on top of that McBean managed to have some of Jacob Wilson’s adjacent selection excised to his holding, and had McGillicuddy arrange the excision. McBean then ran Tom Lloyds stock to the pound when they roamed onto McBean’s unfenced holdings. Even McBean’s wife seems to have thought that a bit much and gave Mrs Lloyd the money to release them from the pound. The selectors had no voice so we don’t know exactly how they felt, but common sense, burned haystacks and fences, stolen stock etc. give some idea that selectors felt an injustice, and resented their inability to address that because it was the McBeans of the world who were the Magistrates and the J,P.s

      McBean did the same thing on Ryans Creek. He set up a man called Gunn as a dummy on a number of blocks along the Creek. Even the Lands Board thought it was going too far and refused the dummy’s application. McBean then launched an attack in the Benalla paper against the decision and had it overturned in his favour.

      The other issue which must have riled selectors was that large landowners could run their stock on land not yet taken up, as you point out. When a group of selectors asked the Benalla Shire to declare this un-alienated land a farmers’ common – along traditional English lines – wealthy landowners squashed the idea. If it had been allowed it might have given selectors struggling to live on crops planted in poor ground some additional income which might see them through.

      Morrissey’s figures look like they’re for the colony, I think? If he somehow was arguing that selectors were doing OK then I don’t get that. In Lurg, as I’ve said, of the first 49 selectors who took up land there, through the 1860s and 70s, 29 didn’t make it to freehold. And most of those who did, didn’t pay off their leases until the 1890s. This means only twenty made it, and two of them were McBean and McGillicuddy who weren’t selectors. Reading the files there’s an enormous amount of heartache in those 29 failures, and the pressure on those hanging on must have been considerable – every year one or two families packed up and left, And in 1882 five families gave it away. And this is a really small community. Greta hamlet only had 27 people living there in 1870 and the population was declining because no one used the Greta Gap anymore, preferring the Glenrowan Gap to head north ( which is why there was an old hotel that the Lloyds and Kellys used as a home for a while). I checked, there were 29 families in Lurg in 1878 – there had been an influx in 1876 , but by 1882 seven of them had given it away. The 1870s were really tough years. To say any significant number around Greta and Lurg in those years were doing OK is stretching it quite a bit.

      I don’t know whether the support for the Kellys, or the lack of support for the Police, was due to an ancient grudge against the British, but I reckon one contributing reason for the support they received might be that selectors were pretty unhappy with the deal they’d been dealt. The squatters were behaving like arrogant bastards.

      That said, I don’t reckon the Kellys were leading an agrarian revolt. Kelly was shoving it up the powerful in an extraordinary and exciting way, and they were quietly applauding. But I can’t see middle aged blokes with a family, a sniff away from maybe going under, able to take political action from such widely isolated, distant, and tiny communities.

      1. Perc, there is very little reliable evidence of support for Ned in the NE. You point to individuals not to groups. Can you lead us to a place where that support actually exists?

        Cam Weat

      2. “Perc” – whoever you are – you say ‘there’s a need to explain why people, in different ways, were so prepared to offer him support’ : I say theres a need for you to explain
        firstly how many such people there were – and second you haven’t detailed what exactly their so-called support – or ‘sympathy’ – consisted of. I suggest there were very few people who supported Kelly, and mostly if there was any support it was ‘passive’ not ‘ active’, support, and the reasons? : maybe because a few of the god fearing christian folk felt sorry for the guy because they believed his lies about persecution , or because they knew his father had died and his mother was an irresponsible immoral woman who encouraged him to be an apprentice to a wanted criminal,….and so on. Their sympathy was in word only and not in kind…all kinds of speculation is possible but the basic idea of yours that there was a significant body of active support for him and the Gang in the northeast isn’t borne out by any objective facts. Feel free to supply them. But you need to explain the total lack of active support of any kind at Glenrowan and the failure of anyone to front up with money to help his defence in Court. I reckon these reputable people you think supported Kelly would have been able to come up with something dont you?

        Regarding land, one of the stupidest arguments that one hears time and again about squatters is that the horrible beasts took the best land! Well of COURSE they took the best land – they were pioneers risking their future on the frontiers of the colony, and the idea that they WOULDNT take the best land is just ridiculous.

        You say Ned Kelly was “spot on” in claiming Whitty had ‘peacocked’ the best land at Boggy Creek : no he didnt!

      3. “Perc” why have you based your argument about the trouble selectors were having on figures for Lurg ? Is it because the figures for Lurg of 60% failure that you quote are the worst of any in the district and you didnt want to ruin your argument by telling the whole story?

        Morrissey examined the economic fortunes of 265 selectors in their first ten years on the land, not just in Lurg but also in the parishes of Greta, Glenrowan Laceby and Moyhu, parishes which varied greatly in their geographical characteristics and in their natural soil quality and fertility, and he mentions the varying Land Acts that changed over time under which these selections took place. His research showed that the overall failure rate was 28%. In Moyhu , with its fertile river flat soils it was only 16%, and in Greta it was 21%.

        Morrissey also looked at the prior occupations of selectors to see if that had an influence on their chances of success – and wouldn’t you know it, but the most successful were people who had previous farming experience whereas labourers who became selectors had the lowest success rate, but even that was over 60%.

        Your claim that its stretching it ‘ a bit’ to say selectors around the area were doing OK is wrong. It was a frontier environment and not easy for anyone but the majority worked damn hard and eventually almost three quarters gained title to their selections.

        The point of all this is that the Jones idea that you seem to subscribe to of widespread selector failure being the substrate for the Kelly outbreak – and an idea that was opposed as far back as the 1967 symposium by Professor Weston Bate – is another part of the Kelly mythology thats been debunked.

        Whats disturbing is that this was all debunked years ago, but you’re still pushing it.

        1. You’re very edgy about all this stuff, David – who ever you are! I don’t know how many supporters, sympathisers etc. there were for Kelly, and neither do you. Why do I need to explain why they didn’t turn out to help him at Glenrowan – its bleeding obvious; they didn’t want to. It wasn’t that important to them. It doesn’t mean some/many weren’t cheering quietly from the sidelines. I do know of families – Irish Catholic families – who managed somehow to live with a belief that murder was a grievous sin, who attended Mass, and who also held out a strange “sympathy” for Kelly. Of course they did little, if anything. But the belief that Kelly was badly done by was held by their descendants long before the dreaded Ian Jones came along.

          Dealing with all this requires a more nuanced approach than a very brittle view of history that some people enjoy. The importance of personal responsibility as an issue is something that obviously informs your approach to history. Morrissey seems to be of that group offended that good Irish stock, like him, I guess, have been smeared by their association with Kellys, and seeks to point out the difference between their ascendant Irish-ness and Kelly’s bog-Irish background. Others might be more interested in the complexity of peoples’ behaviour and what that tells us about ourselves.

          I’m glad we agree that the Squatters aimed to take the best land, and that it is ridiculous to suggest they didn’t. I’d ask then how you might think people would react to that.

          I only looked at the Lurg records because I didn’t have time to look at more. I looked at Lurg because that’s where the Kellys and the Lloyds lived – a sensible place to look, I thought. Lurg was poor land. I also thought how things were for people on poor land might clarify some of what Ian Jones was saying. And I think it did. Obviously, men on good land would be less stressed, less likely to be angered by the world.

          Morrissey’s figures of the different percentages of people who finally alienated their land can be misleading. It’s how people were coping in 1878 that is important. The other thing that’s important is to which group of selectors people belonged. The first selectors in were most often ill-equipped to farm. Those arriving mid 1870s started to have better financial backing, and better farming skills. And do you know what I’d bet? It was the first-in, less well equipped selectors who were more likely to be worried, distressed, maybe angry. Would they have actively supported Kelly? Probably not. Would they have gone to war for him? Absolutely not. Did they fear the Kellys – not really. Would they actively help the police? Probably not. Did they think there was something impressive about Kelly? I think they did.
          My grandfather was one of them. All he would ever say about the Kellys was “those poor buggers”. I’m not sure exactly what he meant. I’m sure you’ll have an explanation, David.

          And it sounds like their presence, however small or large their numbers were, is going to niggle away at you forever.

          1. The reason you have to explain why no “supporters” turned up at Glenrowan is because you are the one who claims they existed but real supporters WOULD turn up. The people you are describing are not behaving like supporters at all, as do the people you claim ‘Glenrowan’ wasnt important for them! People who dont turn up and who didnt regard the mess their supportee was in at Glenrowan as not important cant seriously be called ” supporters”.

            I am not arguing NOBODY supported Ned Kelly. I am arguing he had very little support, much of it was passive – your “strange sympathy”,- and thats why nobody turned up at Glenrowan or passed the hat round to get him an expensive Lawyer. And the grudge the Kellys carried for ever and a day is to be expected – but means nothing about the accuracy of the claims they base it on.

            How would people react to finding the best land had already been taken? With resignation, with envy , with jealousy, with regret they hadn’t been there to do it themselves…but no person could reasonably blame a settler for wanting to give himself the best chance to make a go of it on the frontier….and no doubt some were greedy and some were cheats but maybe when you eventually get around to reading Morrissey you will better understand the reality of relations between squatters and selectors which for the most part were civil, respectful cooperative and productive.

          2. Perc, we seem to be on the same page. Back in 1985 by coincidence I met Mansfield local Mr Bill Stewart who had helped build the sawmill at Kellys Creek. He told us all his life he kept his mouth shut about the Kellys because while almost everyone he knew were sympathetic to Ned, but no one would say so in public for fear of being smeared.

            Here is a map of Black listed Kelly sympathisers, – I compiled this with the help of Peter Newman when studying the Parish plans for a pending book.
            I will also post this image way own below where its more relevant.


  16. Received late last night :

    Doug Morrissey’s third book is at last published; I got an email note from the publishers today and have just ordered.

    Here is the link to check it out,–Doug-Morrissey_p_400.html

    Best regards, Stuart

  17. Hi David, here is the publisher’s description:

    In this his final book in a trilogy of works dealing with Ned Kelly and his community. Doug Morrissey presents the definitive account of the Stringybark Creek Police Murders. The ambush murder of three policemen at Stringybark Creek in October 1878 was Ned Kelly’s greatest crime. Ned shot and killed Michael Kennedy, Michael Scanlan and Thomas Lonigan and arrogantly blamed them for their deaths. Sergeant Kennedy endured a two hour interrogation and suffered a particularly callous and coldblooded death. Thomas McIntyre escaped the carnage and wrote a lengthy memoir of the Stringybark Creek encounter,
    which is annotated and published in Morrissey’s book for the first time. Doug unravels the Stringybark Creek Police Murders distinguishing myth from fact in an even handed and scholarly fashion.

    Newly researched material in the book provides insight into the family and professional lives of each of the Stringybark Creek policemen. Victim Impact Statements from Kennedy, Lonigan and McIntyre descendants are included. Regrettably, Michael Scanlan has no Victim Impact Statement as no family members could be located. Among the photographs included is Sergeant Kennedy’s gold watch looted from his dead body by Ned Kelly. More than the famous Kelly armour, Kennedy’s watch is a potent symbol of the bushranger’s evil deeds. What he did at Stringybark Creek legally cost Ned Kelly his life. He aggressively chose to confront the police and the die was cast for everything that followed.


  18. Following Perc’s posting, Cam askes the question-
    “”” Perc, there is very little reliable evidence of support for Ned in the NE. You point to individuals not to groups. Can you lead us to a place where that support actually exists?””””

    Cam, I thought I’d add this. If the Black list of 163 Kelly sympathizers listed as shown in Ian Mc’s book ‘ NK Unmasked’ is any guide, most were Selectors. I have prepared a distribution map for a pending book, and my map shows two main clusters, one centered around Wangaratta, the other Mansfield, (which by the way was always considered a police town), yet these two clusters containing about 9 groups spread out over 160 Km. This shows strong group support for Ned in the NE Victoria in my opinion.

  19. I had forgotten about that list Bill. MacFarlane says the list was drawn up by the Lands department with the assistance of the police and was a list of ‘persons belonging to the criminal class holding selections’. I’ll copy it below:

    To better gauge the strength of support it would be useful to know the population of the district at the time, but even if it was as few as say 5000, 163 would only be 3%. Even if there were 500 sympathisers in a population of that size it would mean 90% were NOT supporters, so is it reasonable to say there was strong support?

    Why do you think there were fewer supporters around Greta and Glenrowan?


  20. Second part:


  21. Anonymous says: Reply

    The list copied from mcFarlane’s book was not compiled by the Lands Department with the help of the police as McFarlane says It was compiled by the police entirely and forwarded to the Lands Department. I think it was in fact compiled by Sadleir.
    The list of May 1879 had a letter with it. The letter is in Kelvyn Gill’s books and I have copied it

    With reference to your letter Nos P7132, 79/72 of the 24th March last, and to previous correspondence regarding the extent to which certain portions of the North Eastern District are occupied by members of the criminal class, I have the honor to forward herewith a list of the suspected persons and criminals in possession of holdings in the North Eastern District under the various Land Acts. Few are mentioned but those residing in secluded or mountainous parts, and where there are great facilities for carrying on horse and cattle stealing and other offences without much risk of observation. Besides the persons referred to, there are many young men, members of the same families, and others, who are coming to the age at which they may select land, and whom it would be most desirable to prevent from settling in such places. These young men give promise of growing into a most dangerous class and many of them are now doubtless active aiders of the outlaws.
    With regard to the question of forfeiting the selection at Greta of Mrs Kelly alias King, I beg to state that this woman and her family have, since they came to the North Eastern District, lived by immorality and dishonesty. The house occupied by her up to the time of her conviction has now gone to decay and her family has moved to a house on an adjoining selection belonging to one Williamson. This man, together with Skillion – Mrs Kelly’s son in law, is now undergoing a sentence in Pentridge. The forfeiture of Mrs Kelly’s selection would of course prevent the family from returning to the old house, but as it is so desirable that there should be a complete clearance of the family from that locality, I would prefer the forfeiture of Williamson’s selection also.
    I would also beg to draw your attention to the fact that James Quin, Mrs Kelly’s brother and uncle of the outlaws, applied last year for some allotments in the same locality, and his application was recommended by the Lands Board. This man is scarcely a less dangerous criminal than any of the outlaws, and his settlement in the locality would be a very unfortunate affair.
    The full reference to it in the archive papers is VPRS 4965/P00002, Unit 4, Item 177
    suspected persons ie the police’s suspects – clearly some are sympathisers or followers but no proof in all of the Kelly literature for the entire 84 listed can be found.
    Innocent until proved guilty applies.

    1. Anonymous says: Reply

      The errant Anonymous person above ignorantly re-quotes what I originally wrote: “The police sought assistance from the Lands Department in March 1879. The Secretary for Lands replied ‘calling attention to the extent to which certain mountainous districts in the north eastern portion of this Colony are occupied by members of the criminal class, and requesting that it might be taken into consideration whether some steps cannot be adopted to remedy the evil’. The department would be glad to assist ‘to the full extent of its powers’, the Secretary continued. ‘Be good enough to state whether a list of selectors suspected by police of sympathising with, or aiding, the outlaws, can be furnished.’ That list is provided towards the end of this chapter”. [p. 190]

      [p. 194] “Another earlier secret list of persons (belonging to the criminal classes) holding selections in secluded parts of the North Eastern District existed. It had been compiled by the Lands Department with the help of police:”

      One man on this list, William Tanner, wrote on 9 June 1879 to enquire why he had been refused land. The Secretary of Lands replied, ‘I have the honor to inform you that the land in question was refused on the recommendation of the Police Department.’ [p. 194]

      Ian MacFarlane

    2. Anonymous says: Reply

      Anonymous refers also that “The full reference to it in the archive papers is VPRS 4965/P00002, Unit 4, Item 177”.

      My endnote is:

      127 PROV: VPRS 4965: part 2: unit 4: item 177: Secretary for Lands to Assistant Commissioner of Police: 24 March 1879.

      The publishing convention when a later publisher (in this case Mr Gill) quotes the same material is to properly acknowledge my earlier find…

      Ian MacFarlane

  22. The largest number of sympathisers in any press of the day is 300, in the O&M, 14 December 1878. Police estimates were considerably lower as this discussion has shown, and their attention focussed on those most likely to actively engage in criminal activity.

    Sadleir’s letter said that of the young men he is referring to in that letter to the Lands Dept, “many of them are now doubtless active aiders of the outlaws.” In other words, he did not say that all on the list were active (or even passive) Kelly sympathisers but that some no doubt were. Some may have been known criminals with no link to the Kelly gang at all. The list addressed one concern, the clustering of a criminal class in certain places and the desirability of preventing its taking stronger foothold. It was not a list of Kelly sympathisers.

    If we wanted to know how many were thought by the police to be sympathisers we would have to find the lists compiled by the various police districts and brought to Benalla from which the list short list of names used for the mass remand In early 1879 were derived. I don’t know if any of the districts lists has survived. Only some 30 names were drawn up from them for remand. It could have easily been more just from the Lands Department list, had it been made for that purpose. But it was not.

    In a similar way to Peter Fitzsimmons (or more likely, some unthinking minion) misreading the O&M‘s 300 sympathisers to say 800 in his book, Kelly enthusiasts have been seeing sympathisers behind every NE shrub since Jones’ 1967 Wangaratta seminar. But that is pure fantasy. In their day the Kelly gang was widely feared and loathed, and roamed free largely based on a proven murderous reputation, together with an equally vicious reputation for threats at gunpoint (Euroa and Jerilderie episodes). Having some notoriously violent relatives and associates helped there too.

    1. Thank you Stuart . I think the topic was not the VPRS annotation but the question of how many supporters the Kelly Gang had during the outbreak. Bill suggested support for Ned Kelly was quite strong on the basis of this list but even if we accept that list as not being an exhaustive one, and bump the total up to near double that, up to 300 over that 160km long territory , would that make Kelly support ‘strong’?

      My question again is what is the true number of supporters – seems like the best estimate might be 300 – what kind of support did they offer – passive or active? – and what was the total population of the NE at the time?

  23. Anonymouse says: Reply

    The reference in McFarlanes book to the list he included at pages 194 and 195 is note no 140.
    On page 242 note 140 is deficient in a correct notation as it omits the series number being referred to. Anonymouses reference that was made in the posting was to this note and not note 127 referred to by mcfarlane in his response.
    My book of Mr Gills which is The Historical Record 1820 -1893 was published in 2012 and if my memory serves me correctly was available before the Unmasked book so he should have been attributed as being the finder in your book MR McFarlane!!

    1. Not so, Anonymouse. Kelvyn’s useful collection of Kelly documents was indeed published in 2012. It was self published at the author’s cost, then sold to enthusiasts like me, who are glad to have it. The point here is that he had to compile it, then get it printed, but there was no lengthy review process by a publisher. The suggestion that Ian’s 2012 book should have attributed the finding of that letter to Kelvyn, rather than to the VPRO archives, strikes one as extraordinary to say the least.

      Ian’s book underwent a complex academic review and publication process by OUP, which takes considerable time. Also published in 2012, the MS was likely with the publisher at latest early 2011 or more likely 2010, well before Kelvyn’s book appeared. The suggestion that any document in Ian’s book is in any way indebted to a document in Kelvyn’s book indicates a telling lack of understanding of academic (or any commercial) publishing. But worse, the very idea that someone writing history would just refer to someone else’s book rather than consulting the original source documents directly, explains much of what is wrong with a lot of what is written about not just the Kelly gang but history in general.

      I hardly think that your quibbling about the format of source documentation stands up. Ian’s extremely valuable book is based on his couple of decades’ experience as an archivist. You would do well to learn from him – simply by looking – at how to do it right instead of arguing the toss. And how to provide knowledgeable critical appraisal of the documents under discussion, which goes far further than being a handy collection. Ian’s arguments have so far not even been mildly dented by the poor musketry of Kelly buffoons (not that I include you in that list of fools), and cannot be lightly dismissed.

  24. Anonymous says: Reply

    Anonymous is wrong on all counts. What a utter Drongo! The actual title of Kelvyn Gill’s book is ‘Edward ‘Ned’ Kelly : the historical record : 1820 – 1893′. It was launched at the Celtic Club in Melbourne on 24 October 2012. The Kelly Gang Unmasked was published on 29 September 2012. So neither could have read the other’s book. I’ve never even seen Kelvyn’s books, way too expensive for this little black duck.

    The reference in KGU is to the correspondence you quoted and cited, and not the list. Stop shifting the goal posts!

    Cam West

  25. On the question of public support for Ned, it is often argued that his petition for reprieve from hanging provides this. Not only was the campaign unsuccessful, but the number of petitioners was relatively small and did not distinguish between anti-Capital punishment people and Ned supporters. There is no way of knowing who was who.


  26. I have read Morrissey’s books and my notes of such indicates he is writing his version according to his perceived class . We know the Squatter political class employed the Police through those corrupt times to stay in control. I am not suggesting he is cooking the figures, but its like cherry picking the best ones to make his case.
    David, you want to make out there were so, so many happy settler families out there, and that the Kelly sympathizer settlers were only a tiny proportion of that population.

    However, looking at my Squatter lease boundary maps, ‘Stations or Runs’ within the two main sympathizer clusters I mentioned earlier, there would be about 50 squatter families – each representing tens of thousands of acres. You also say as new comers investing in their future they had a right to be greedy, but tell me, if you were one of them at that time, would you need five river frontage blocks of five sqr miles each ( 3200 acres per block ) to make a living and not even live there yourself?

    There are records of squatters taking up 60000 acres and more while selectors on average claiming only 1/20th or 300 acres and then often they were denied of creek / river water frontage.

    In squatter runs like Lurg, Laceby, Oxley, Greta, Moyhu, Myrrhee and Carboor around the Wangaratta area, there were about 80 reported Kelly sympathizers on the black list, and similarly about 50 or so around Mansfield , the other 33 were scattered around from the Murray River down south covering distances of 160 km ( 100 Miles) They were all sympathetic to their cause, – a fair go at the hands of the greedy bastards

    To answer Davids question, yes there was a concentration of sympathizing settlers around Lurg and Greta Beechworth and Wangaratta. But similarly around Mansfield, Dueran, Barwite, Main Dample, and Delitite to name a few.

    To pick a population figure of 5000 and equate 163 sympathisers as a percentage is not representative because it should be equated to family properties or farm holdings as in any one district, and not by the population of NE Victoria. I think Morrissey mentioned in Lurg there were only 25 settlers and I placed 16 of them = 40% Black listed there alone.
    To classify them all as being of criminal class is how the authorities wanted disgruntled settlers to be seen, ‘and recorded’. Future researchers are going to believe whatever is in black and white.

    1. Here is a map of Black listed Kelly sympathisers over central part of NE Victoria, –
      I compiled this with the help of Peter Newman when studying the Parish plans for a pending book.


      1. Another one of your brilliant graphics Bill!

        Can I ask what list you used to create this, because I dont think its the one we were talking about thats in the MacFarlane book? I wonder what a similar graphic of everyone who wasn’t a sympathiser would look like?

        Also you said earlier we should be looking at family properties and farm holdings rather than individual numbers of people so is that what this is? Does each dot represent a person or a property?

        1. David, Each dot represents a persons name as living on his allotment.
          The Wangaratta area, I coloured in the named Parishs as these were the main study areas. The boundary lines roughly follow early squatters runs.

          As previously stated on an earlier posting, in Lurg there are 25 or so family names of which 16 were listed as Kelly sympathisers. While some districts look sparse with few red dots, this does not mean sympathisers were not there.
          We must not forget there were two main religious nominations – Catholic Green and Protestant Orange. Amongst the sympathisers there would have been a percentage of Orange as well.
          The attachment shows how Peter and I arrived at 163 – 168 names. Remember the police would have been limited in rounding up everyone suspected, so it depended on people dobbing someone or neighbours in to the police, which did not always happen.
          You ask what a similar graphic would look like if they were not a Kelly sympathiser? I would expect the map would be covered in Orange dots of similar concentrations. Perhaps the red dots should have been Green.


          1. That’s really interesting, Bill – both the view of Mr Bill Stewart, and your plotting of where the black-listed sympathisers lived.

            Mr Stewart’s view sits exactly with my experience of both my grandfather’s family’s view, but more especially that of my grandmother’s family. It would have been interesting for Mr Stewart to explain it more. I guess, like most, he left it at that. Which makes it hard to gauge the extent of that sympathy, but anecdotally his sympathy seems to have been widespread.

            My grandfather, nine years younger than Ned, son of an Irishman, grew up on a tiny 80 acre selection, 40 kms from Greta. My impression was that the family neither feared the Kellys, nor supported the police, and being so far from Greta were not much involved. What they were, though, was Irish Catholics and as such, if a side was to be taken, they were for the Kellys, because they saw both sides of the issue. On the one hand Kelly had done some awful things, but on the other they knew what his family had been through as Catholics in Ireland; what all Catholics in Ireland had experienced, and most notably the Famine. More immediately they also knew the antagonism directed toward the Irish in Australia. It didn’t matter at all that Kelly was not religious. It mattered immensely that he was of the Irish.

            My Grandmother lived for a time in Lurg, after arriving from Ireland, before she married my grandfather. A story seared, by her, into our family lore was that when walking down the street of her village back in Ireland, if a wealthy Protestant landowner came along she was required to walk in the gutter. My Grandmother never spoke of Kelly, but there was no real doubt among us about what she would have thought. Her relatives in Lurg spoke quietly of Kelly, never harshly, and they explained little, but it was clear that the Kelly family were one of them. I found then, and still do, their muted sympathy intriguing, and have always wondered how they balanced the strictures of their religion with leanings toward Kelly.

            Anyone, like me, who has listened to an Irish nun in a Catholic school speaking passionately of the ghosts of Irish convicts, moaning in the gullies of the Great Divide, victims of British oppression, knows the depth of resentment which some of my grandparents’ generation – Kelly’s generation – felt, loopy as it seemed to me at the time. For us it was increasingly a view from a past age, but there was no doubt that deep antagonism existed, even in the hearts of religious. What some people don’t seem to understand, that for Catholics, especially Catholics of Irish descent, the Establishment’s criticism of Kelly was also a criticism of the Irish and the Catholics. The gulf between Catholics and the Protestant Establishment, diminishing as it was, nevertheless, lasted into the 1950s.

            Its probably why I have trouble reading Morrissey. While claiming to write only the truth, he slips in little emotive touches. Ned was sulky on the gallows, he tells us! Really? And Mrs Kelly was promiscuous. He could have said she had multiple sexual partners, or perhaps that as a woman trying to survive with a mob of kids she needed some male income. David says she was immoral. When I hear that sort of ‘truth-telling’ I hear that same Ascendant condescension at work that probably so irked poor Irish selectors.

            The other big issue in back of the Kelly saga, I reckon, is the rise of Chartism, post Eureka especially, and the growing assertion of the rights of the working man, accompanied by its disdain of the Establishment’s strutting. My grandfather’s formative reading was The Bulletin which had found an audience among the working class ripe for its evocation of the proud, independent Australian worker. “Fearless, free and bold” was Kelly’s view of it, and I reckon that was my grandfather’s view of himself as well as he looked forward to a life of independence on his farm, far removed from the horrors of his Dad’s experience of Irish tenancy during the Famine.

            Your map of black-listed sympathisers shows that interesting concentration around Lurg and Greta! Which makes sense. You’d reckon the close backing of Kelly – those prepared to stick their necks out a bit perhaps – would be the locals. It will be interesting to see where your research leads. Bill. And I look forward to hearing more. Thank you.

            1. Those are intriguing memories Perc. I would ask you to ponder this : if as you say being Irish and being Catholic was so important to your grandmothers generation, what do you think made them sympathetic to the non-Irish non-practicing Catholic murderer Ned Kelly over the genuine Catholic and genuine Irishman Michael Kennedy, his widow and her children?

              I am tempted to think you might have read what you wanted to read into her silence on the topic.

          2. For others interested in Bill’s list, the active link to the list in Newth’s book is here,

            As it says there, the list is taken from the North Eastern Victoria lists on police files, and there are 122 names of people described as sympathisers.

            The list is not quite as long as the number suggests: for example, the Kelly family alone account for 6 names:
            *Edward Kelly (Ned) Greta Labourer
            *Daniel Kelly Greta Labourer
            *James Kelly Greta Labourer
            Ellen Kelly Greta Selector
            Kate Kelly Greta — Creek Carrier
            Grace Kelly Greta –
            Ann Kelly Greta — Creek Selector
            (Asterisks in the list indicate a member of the Greta mob.)

            Realistically, that counts as one family, not as six sympathisers. I have provided the URL so that anyone else can grab the list as text if they want to play around with it.

          3. David, you and Perc’s comments have no reply button.
            I am replying to myself now, so I want to see where this ends up.
            Perc, your emotive sympathising comments are appreciated.

          4. Hi Bill and David, there is a problem with the number of sympathisers being claimed in the hand written note at the end of the uploaded sympathisers list. That list is, as stated by Newth at the top of the list, taken from the police files. There are 122 names on that list. It is the same list previously published by Morrissey back in October 1978, in his “Ned Kelly’s Sympathisers” article in “Historical Studies”.

            The note after the list says that the Lands Department list printed in Ian MacFarlane’s book has 86 names, and that only 24 of these appear in the above police list. That maths in the note seem to be subtracting the overlapping 24 names from the 122 in the police list, to calculate 98 names, then adding the 86 back in to arrive at a total of 168 Kelly sympathisers.

            But this is not comparing apples with apples. The list of 86 names in the Lands Department list in Ian’s book is NOT a list of Kelly sympathisers. It is the list of persons identified by the police as belonging to the criminal classes that was provided to the Lands Department with a view to preventing the consolidation of clusters of criminals in mostly remote areas by blocking further land selection by those persons in those areas. It tends to be overlooked that those listed were free to take up selections anywhere else in Victoria; just not in certain parts of the north east. where identified criminal clusters existed. The list had nothing to do with Kelly sympathisers.

            What we can see is that of the 86 names in the Lands Department list, only 24 were identified elsewhere by the police as Kelly sympathisers. The rest – the other 62 – were identified simply as criminals – mostly involved with stock theft – and there seems no basis to equate them with or claim them to be Kelly sympathisers.

            1. Ok well thats very interesting Stuart : two seperate lists, one of Sympathisers and one of criminals and some people appearing in both. So it seems not all criminals were identified as Kelly sympathisers. I wonder what proportion of sympathisers were known criminals? A high percentage I feel…

              Also interesting is the point you make about the named people being free to take up selections elsewhere. As you know, Ian Jones claimed that people on these lists were stopped from earning a living as farmers – but what youre saying is no, they weren’t stopped from farming but from farming in the north east. Quite a different perspective than that promoted by Jones.

          5. The bitterness of those blocked from selecting was due to their not being able to take up selections near their relatives. They would be broken up from their concentrated localised family groups. Inspector Montfort told the Royal Commission (Q. 3532) that that strategy “would strike the greatest blow at horse and cattle stealing and crimes arising therefrom that could be struck. It is the aggregation of those [criminal] families that has been the bane of the North-Eastern District.” It was consistently presented as aiming to break up clustering of known and suspected criminal persons involved in stock theft, not as breaking up Kelly sympathisers. There is still nothing to connect “Kelly sympathisers” with anything political, here or anywhere else.

        2. In reply to your comment of October 10, responding to my observations on Irish Catholic sympathy for Kelly, I’m pleased that at last you’re closing on what I’ve been saying, David. What you would have me ponder is exactly the issue I’d have you ponder. How was it that people who were sympathetic to Kelly were also god-fearing, church going, good people? They were also, I’m presuming, horrified by what happened to Kennedy because, in my family’s case, while my grandfather stayed on the farm his two brothers joined the police force. And one brother became Chief Superintendent.

          You can be tempted to think whatever you like, David, but for someone pursuing the truth, as you say you are, I think you need to ponder whether maybe there are multiple truths in many things, and the real historian comes up with possible explanations which make sense of apparent contradictions.

          I agree with you, there was only a small group of die-hard backers, mostly young blokes, a slightly larger group, sometimes older, who helped them while on the run. And then a much broader group who essentially stood aside but had an understanding of where Kelly came from, for all sorts of different reasons. Kelly didn’t lead anyone in any political sense, which is not to say that he wasn’t followed, if only in spirit.

          (And if you think Kelly wasn’t seen as of the Irish, you haven’t got a clue.)

          1. Thank you. And yes of course Kelly was “Of the Irish” but never-the-less not ‘actual Irish’ like Kennedy was. I think we are realising that there are many meanings of the word ‘ sympathiser’ and it would include the thousands who signed the petition, as indeed would have I, because like that type of ‘sympathiser’ I oppose capital punishment . So at that level even I could be called a sympathiser, having sympathy for his predicament, for the influences that caused him to make awful decisions, for living in a society where hanging was thought to be a solution. But the sympathisers we are really interested in are the few who believed in his cause. It was, as you say a small number.

          2. Visitors like Perc are a bit lightweight. Their’s is a mix of oral and familial history that they try to match to Kelly myths. Of course, there is no way to check the veracity of oral history.


    2. It is true that in that Lands Dept list some Kelly clan and sympathiser names appeared. That included the Tanners, by which the list came to light. My point is that it was a list of known and suspected criminals of which 24 were on the other police list of sympathisers; but the Lands Dept list was not drawn up to be a Kelly sympathisers list regardless that some Kelly associates were explicitly included on it as undesirables to be blocked from acquiring or finalising purchase of selections. Hence the story enthusiastically told by Jones, that the antagonism was about land, and if they could have the security of land the hostility would disappear, from those Kelly associates anyway. All the stuff about threats of another gang breaking out is consistent with the land issue and not remotely connected with any political rebelliousness that Jones thought to see.

  27. Hi Bill, this is all interesting stuff. You mentioned above that you are getting a book out – put me down for a copy and I’ll have my check book ready.

    One thing – at the end of your reply you said, “To classify them all as being of criminal class is how the authorities wanted disgruntled settlers to be seen, ‘and recorded’.” Bearing in mind that the Lands Dept list and related documents (Sadleir’s letter etc)were only discovered in archives some 100 years after they were written, I’m not sure if they add much weight to the proposal that the police wanted disgruntled settlers to be seen collectively as criminal, as the documents were not public.

    Maybe the police made specific or general comments about settlers in certain areas to then press, which could indicate such an attitude. Maybe assessing that would depend on what newspapers said of police comments. If that was true, there should be supporting evidence from the papers of the day that the police held such generalising views. But it may be that the police were more specific than generalised in their comments when it came to pointing to certain areas…

    Having said that, Hare said in his Last of the Bushrangers p. 193 that “It was my painful duty, week after week, to go up to Beechworth every Friday and apply for a further remand for seven days, without being able to adduce a tittle of evidence against them.” We know that at least one of those initially remanded was mistaken for a different member of his family, so that was a mess.

    Then various men were released at various times – John McQuilton’s Kelly Outbreak details the times involved. But this might be off beam, as it says nothing obvious about where the remandees were taken from. My impression was that they were scattered around different areas – hence the police meeting at Benalla to identify those thought to be key sympathisers in different districts, as Hare related.

  28. Fair and Just says: Reply

    Stuart, your criticise Anonymous for suggesting that Ian McFarlane should have acknowledged Kelvyn’s book, yet do not mention Ian claiming Kelvyn should have acknowledged him for the same piece! Ian said, “The publishing convention when a later publisher (in this case Mr Gill) quotes the same material is to properly acknowledge my earlier find…”

    Stuart, you state “. The suggestion that any document in Ian’s book is in any way indebted to a document in Kelvyn’s book indicates a telling lack of understanding of academic (or any commercial) publishing. But worse, the very idea that someone writing history would just refer to someone else’s book rather than consulting the original source documents directly, explains much of what is wrong with a lot of what is written about not just the Kelly gang but history in general.”

    From your own words, your admonishment should also apply equally the Ian McFarlane as well as Anonymous!

    Fair and Just

    1. Hi Fair, not sure what you’re on about here, McFarlane cited source documentary evidence for all the points in his book.

  29. Fair and Just says: Reply

    Stuart, you state, “Maybe the police made specific or general comments about settlers in certain areas to then press, which could indicate such an attitude. Maybe assessing that would depend on what newspapers said of police comments. If that was true, there should be supporting evidence from the papers of the day that the police held such generalising views. But it may be that the police were more specific than generalised in their comments when it came to pointing to certain areas…”

    If the police did indeed have such a negative attitude about settlers, I hardly think they would be running to newspapers to advertise the fact. Had this been widely known through newspapers, it would have given settlers ammunition to fight their being denied land because of police suspicion! Such an act of bastardry would also galvanise support for anyone falling victim to such unjust actions. You have an amassing ability to cloud points of contention, with the term, ‘smoke and mirrors’ coming to mind.

    Fair and Just

    1. Que?

    2. As I understand the situation, the government did not want to encourage a criminal enclave, and that was the main reason that Kelly sympathisers were denied land in the Greta area. There was no barrier to them applying for land grants in other regions. I consider the government was very sensible in trying to curb criminal elements, like the Kelly’s, Quinn’s and Lloyd’s.

  30. We cannot see any difference between hiding behind anonymity and those using fake names. Both disguise their identities. We are referring to Anonymouse and ‘Fair and Just’ who have given time-wasting a new level of disingenuity.

    Horrie and Alf

  31. Fair and Just says: Reply

    Stuart, Ian McFarlane declaró: “La convención de publicación cuando un editor posterior (en este caso, el Sr. Gill) cita el mismo material es reconocer adecuadamente mi hallazgo anterior …”
    Entonces, ¿sus comentarios despectivos no deberían aplicarse también a Ian, ya que esperaba que el Sr. Gill reconociera sus hallazgos que no se hicieron públicos hasta después de que el libro del Sr. Gill salió a la venta?

    Translation from Spanish for others below.
    Stuart, Ian McFarlane stated, “The publishing convention when a later publisher (in this case Mr Gill) quotes the same material is to properly acknowledge my earlier find…”
    So shouldn’t your disparaging remarks also apply to Ian, as he expected Mr. Gill to acknowledge his findings that were not made public until after Mr. Gill’s book went on sale?

    To Horrie and Alf, that is a bit rich coming from you about using fake names! My comments were not timewasting, or disingenuous as you would suggest. Perhaps you didn’t like being called out over the points I made. We must have one rule for all for there to be a level playing field.

    Fair and Just

    1. I agree that there should be a level playing field. Perhaps you could convey that to the Kelly fan sites on Facebook that block anyone who challenges their mythological nonsense and corrects their fictitious rants.

    2. Anonymous says: Reply

      reductio ad absurdum FAJ!


    3. Ciao Fiera. Ned Kelly era un bushranger australiano, fuorilegge, leader di una banda e assassino della polizia condannato. Suo padre, un detenuto trasportato, è morto poco dopo aver scontato una pena detentiva di sei mesi. Un violento confronto con un poliziotto si verificò a casa della famiglia Kelly nel 1878 e Kelly fu incriminato per il suo tentato omicidio. A most disreputable scoundrel, no?

  32. Stuart and Sam,
    Just as the Jerilderie letter was suppressed for 50 years, and as you say Police Super Intendant Sadleir’s letters were also suppressed, this means a political cover up in my opinion.

    Just look at our current politics, we still have a elite group running the country in favour of themselves and their mates. It’s all about money, and who has the most gets to write history.

    Have you ever considered Ned being a naive scapegoat who had bigger plans? And that was recognized early and why the police went to extraordinary lengths to bring him in – dead or alive?

    In Morrissey’s book Selectors, Squatters, and Stock thieves- Page 75, he referrers to parents of the children Lloyd, Mc,Auliffe, Nolan and Kearney as “ belonging to a very low class’ , later he said they were Intellectually Inferior.
    Probably what he meant to say they were un-educated.

    In a similar situation today, if grown up children of un-eductated parents were to protest to unjust political outcomes leading to crime, who would really be at fault, the parents or the government ?

    1. Bill, Anthony Griffiths said Ned Kelly didnt have a political bone in his body. He was too busy stealing. And thats the point : how can you claim Kelly was some sort of political scapegoat when all he ever did with his life was commit crimes, and then spend the last two years of it trying to avoid being brought to justice?

    2. Bill, I always read what you write with interest, but I have to say that sometimes you seem to be so far off track that reality becomes a casualty.
      You continue to say that Kelly supported the down trodden Irish, but in all my readings I have never seen anywhere that the Irish were downtrodden in NE Victoria. Two of the first premiers were Irish and large sections of the police were Irish.
      You claim that the Squatters opposed Settlers and effectively drove them off where they could. There is no doubt that in the beginnings of the colony of Victoria, from 1851, that was the case, but with the Lands Act of 1860 and subsequent amendments to that act the matter was settled in favour of the Settlers by 1870. That was well before the Kelly outbreak. As I understand the situation there were very few Squatters left in that area when Kelly was at the peak of his felonious criminality, and much of his horse stealing was from poor settlers, among them Irish.
      I don’t think the Jerilderie letter was suppressed, but simply forgotten about for 50 years. I could not see a political cover up, as by then the letter would be seen for what it was, a load of lies which would discredit Kelly.
      Your claim that police went to extraordinary lengths to bring him in ‘dead or alive’, is not supported by the facts. I have only ever read of one police officer who made an improper comment about shooting Kelly, and bear in mind that Sgt Kennedy had a solid record of bringing in criminals peacefully. The police at Stringybark Creek had two sets of handcuffs to secure their prisoners. Obviously, they were intending to arrest the Kelly brothers.
      Kelly’s bigger plans, as you state, were pronounced by him to his hostages. Those plans were to murder all the police and other passengers, including women who were on the train coming from Melbourne to Glenrowan. He then intended to ride to Benalla, rob more banks, blow up buildings and carry out further criminality in the area.
      In my readings I have never read one word from Ned Kelly that he had bigger plans e.g. to start a republic in NW Victoria. That nonsense belongs on the scrap heap along with so many other Kelly myths.

      1. Anonymous says: Reply

        No suppression of the Jerilderie Letter. The prosecution at the Ned Trial was prepared to allow it to be introduced. It was Ned’s legal team that then suppressed it in court.


    3. Hi Bill, the outlawry act was not permission for anyone including police to take the outlaws dead or alive without any further qualifications. That is a common misreading of the Felons Apprehension Act which of all the Kelly writers I have read, only Ian Jones directly recognised and rejected, as do I. The section of the Act referenced in such discussions prescribe specific circumstances under which an outlaw could be killed, and if these did not apply the taker would be guilty of murder. Same says there is only one known mention of “one police officer who made an improper comment about shooting Kelly”, and I don’t know of any other instances either, but would be glad if anyone can find one, to sort then question out. Certainly it was not a general attitude among the police, who as at Stringybark Creek set out to capture, not execute, the only persons they were then in search of, Ned and Dan Kelly. No-one knew until after SBC that 4 men were involved. And after SBC, for example at Glenrowan, Constable Bracken said he would shoot any man who made to execute Kelly after capture. One must allow that at the moment of capture Kelly had been shooting at police, and in such circumstances some police might have thought it would be easiest to finish off Kelly there and then – as Steele’s remark has been taken to suggest. But did Steele actually intend to execute Kelly? Or was he rather gloating that he swore to be there at Kelly’s end, menacing him with his gun after nearly having been shot in the head by Kelly during the capture struggle? Maybe.

    4. Bill your post gives readers a false impression of Morrissey that I want to correct.

      You wrote that “he ( Morrissey ) referrers to parents of the children Lloyd, Mc,Auliffe, Nolan and Kearney as “ belonging to a very low class’ but those words were a quotation from an Inspector Geary from the Board of Education in the late 1860’s. They are words and language very few people would use these days but they reflect the attitudes of the time.

      And Bill what answer would you give to your question about who would really be at fault, the parents or the Government ‘if grown up children of uneducated parents were to protest to unjust political outcomes leading to crime?’ Aren’t you forgetting that being an adult means you accept responsibility YOURSELF for the decisions that you make and their consequences? If you decide to obey or disobey the Law its YOUR responsibility, in my opinion. Kelly supporters seem to always be looking for someone else to blame for the choices that Ned Kelly made, and he himself seemed always to looking for aosmone else to blame for what he did, and yet there were probably hundreds if not thousands of other poor and underprivileged people struggling to get by in the north east who chose NOT to become criminals? Who do you blame for THEIR decisions Bill?

  33. I agree that there should be a level playing field. Perhaps you could convey that to the Kelly fan sites on Facebook that block anyone who challenges their mythological nonsense and corrects their fictitious rants.

  34. Fair and Just says: Reply

    Oh Stuart, you reply in Spanish, so I reply back in Spanish then you change to Italian, although you have got your feminine and masculine terms a bit mixed up. All this ducking and weaving does not hide the fact you have not answered my question. Could it be that for once you are speechless! I had expected a three page response, so imagine my disappointment at your silence. Please Stuart, don’t be shy and do the manly thing. You made a statement and were questioned on it, so a response would be greatly appreciated.
    Tutto questo è così frustrante (this is so frustrating)!

    Fair and Just

    1. Oh for gods sake! Can we get back to the kelly story now? And posts in Foreign languages will no longer be posted.

    2. Hi Fair, my answer to your last question is no.

  35. Oh dear oh dear, when will it end?
    What impression is Perc getting from all this negative banter?
    Like David, I was always open to a civil debate and David complains publically that nobody from the otherside is willing to put their views on his page, well I have, Perc has and a few others under pseudonym or anonymous, when they do, at every opportunity their postings are torn apart not because here they can. All I see is ‘one up-man ship’ and or twisting of the facts to suit an argument, the de valuation of oral history and number doubting, for example, the disassembly of sympathiser numbers- the division of groups into supposed undesirable Settlers, then there were criminal Settlers and even a group branded as a mob, yet there were thousands on that Kelly sympathisers ‘petition’ in support of Ned, but on this page they were just signing against the ‘death penalty, – never mind who these signators’ were? No doubt they would have been readers of the then Melbourne Herald- and The Advocate as opposed to The Age and The Argus.

    Perc, you will see there is no sympathy here for the likes of us, in fact this site is a looking more and more like a Squatters worship page.


    1. I can’t see how a 1864 letter about squatting land on the Flinders River in Queensland when it was first opened up helps understand selectors in Victoria in the 1870s or Kelly Gang sympathisers.

      1. I would say Bill is making the point that squatters were greedy people who took advantage of the few laws that existed to enrich themselves. And I agree some of them were. People then were no different from people these days – some were pricks who cared only about enriching themselves ( I am thinking of the Packers and Trump as modern day examples ) but others were hard working ethical and community minded. The same goes for selectors – some were drunks and criminals and others were decent hardworking battlers we all respect. All we are really doing here is arguing about the relative proportions of decent people in the two groups, though its probably silly to think of society as divided into just goodies and baddies. Its more complicated than that!

  36. Anonymouse says: Reply

    I have mader a copy of a list of sympathisers that the police put on remand. I took it from Kelvyn Gills book.
    The list has 24 namesKelly Sympathisers’ arrests and their release date.
    Name Date Reason No of Release date
    Arrested Remands
    B. Gould 14.12.1878 Associate 5 To Euroa
    D. Clancy 3.1.1879 Associate 15 22.4.1879
    J. Hart 3.1.1879 Relative 9 11.3.1879
    F. Hearty 3.1.1879 Associate 15 22.4.1879
    J. Lloyd 3.1.1879 Relative 15 2.4.1879
    T. Lloyd snr 3.1.1879 Relative 5 25.2.1879
    J. McElroy 3.1.1879 Associate 7 25.2.1879
    J. McMonigal 3.1.1879 Associate 7 25.2.1879
    R. Miller 3.1.1879 Relative 1 18.1.1879
    John Quinn 3.1.1879 Relative 15 22.4.1879
    I. Wright 3.1.1879 Associate 15 22.4.1879
    J. Clancy 4.1.1879 Associate 15 22.4.1879
    D. Delaney 4.1.1879 Suspected associate 2 18.1.1879
    M. Haney 4.1.1879 Associate 15 22.4.1879
    H. Perkins 4.1.1879 Supplied gang 2 18.1.1879
    J. Ryan 4.1.1879 Relative 7 25.2.1879
    W. Strickland (alias Woods) 4.1.1879 Suspected associate 2 18.1.1879
    James Quinn 6.1.1879 Relative 15 22.4.1879
    R. Strickland 6.1.1879 Associate 15 22.4.1879
    J. Stewart 9.1.1879 Anonymous tip 1 18.1.1879
    W. Stewart 9.1.1879 Anonymous tip 1 18.1.1879
    B. Gould 11.1.1879 Suspected associate * 6.5.1879
    J. Cain 10.3.1879 Associate 5 22.4.1879
    T. Lloyd jun. 10.3.1879 Relative 5 22.4.1879

    * Benjamin Gould was charged on the 11th January and held on remand in the Beechworth goal. In the Euroa Police Court, on the 16th January, he is then further remanded to be placed on trial at the May Beechworth Court of Assize sittings.
    Table derived from McQuilton The Kelly Outbreak 1878-1880. The Geographical Dimension of Social Banditry, p 114,
    And McMenomy Ned Kelly The Authentic Illustrated History, pp 130 – 131 and notes p 279 (‘Some press reports made mistakes: William Strickland was reported as ‘William Woods’ an alias given at the time of his arrest’).
    See also Jones Ned Kelly A Short Life, p 177 and Corfield The Ned Kelly Encyclopaedia]

    1. Hi Anonymouse, that is the same table of 23 names in John McQuilton’s Kelly Outbreak book, page 114, except that Haney is correctly spelled as Harvey in McQuilton. There are no extra names in Kelvyn’s table from anywhere else.

      Corfield’s Encyclopaedia p. 464 is wrong in claiming Morrissey had two lists, one in his article and another in his thesis. They are the same list; the article list is the thesis list. Corfield devoted a lot of his page to the remand list but achieved not much by doing so. There seem to be only two names on Corfield that don’t overlap with the three lists being discussed here: Maloney from Clune and Ratcliffe from McMemomy.

      So after every claimed sympathiser is counted by enthusiasts there are still not 150 as far as I can see, as the lists overlap. Then we must eliminate all multiple names from the same household, to estimate the number of sympathiser households, and we are probably back to the under 100 or so guesstimated by the police.

      Corfield writing back in the early 2000’s under Jones’s personal tuition saw “large numbers of sympathisers”, but this as I have shown in my book is pure fantasy. It is clear that as the Kelly hunt went on the gang was reduced to relying on a small and decreasing circle of close relatives and associates for support. There was no politics in any of it. Jones’s case is a house of cards and a work of creative fiction. Unfortunately it has skewed the understanding of history for some 70 years, but as time goes on the myths are falling down. What is curious is how Ned Kelly became idolised at all, rather than held up as an example of irredeemable badness.

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