The Kelly Book I would write: Part One

Twenty years ago “Ned : the Exhibition”  had just opened in Melbourne, and it ran for nine months. It was the year after a flood of Ned Kelly images were broadcast around the world from the Olympic Games opening Ceremony in Sydney, and Ned Kelly had never looked so good. A souvenir booklet was published with photos of many of the exhibits, (read it for free HERE), and the text was written by ‘the expert on everything Kelly, renowned author and historian Ian Jones’. He wrote “I have seen enormous changes in attitudes to Neds perceived role in our history. But at no time has there been a greater change than that seen in the last 12 months.’ Jones believed the Exhibition signalled the end of what he called the preceding century of ‘institutional apathy’ about Ned Kelly and completed the transformation of perceptions of him from an ‘often resented folk hero into a major historical figure’.


Jones believed this massive transformation from villain to hero, largely wrought by his own efforts, would endure, likening attempts to return to the old view of Kelly as a villain, to attempts to destroy Uluru by flying a Tiger moth airplane into it “There might be a big bang and a great ball of flame, but there’s not going to be any Tiger Moth left. It’ll leave a little mark that will wither away in no time and Uluru will still be there.”


Jones also expressed excitement that the State Library and the Public Records Office of Victoria was to ‘enlarge consolidate and conserve its massive collection of Kelly material’, no doubt imagining that the records would consolidate and reinforce the heroic view of Kelly that had only quite recently replaced the earlier belief that Kelly was some sort of villain.


In fact, in an ironic twist of fate, over the next twenty years and especially in the last ten, public scrutiny of those records has resulted in an almost complete reversal of the great change that Jones was celebrating – there was indeed not just one but several great  ‘bangs’ and several great balls of flame, but when the smoke cleared, Ned Kelly the Uluru of Jones metaphor had crumbled like the chimneys at 11-mile creek, and only rubble and broken dreams remain.


So now, twenty years after ‘Ned : The Exhibition’ what we have recently come to realise is that Jones took the Kelly story and most of Australia on a pointless little detour into a fantasy land about a Hero. He tried to remake the history of the Outbreak but failed because the facts, once we knew what they all were, didn’t support many of the central features of Jones claims of what it was all about. Now, making use of all the new insights and understandings gained from the material that’s become available at PROV and the SLV and elsewhere, it’s time to set the record straight again, and tell the Kelly story that the evidence and the facts support, and leave behind the fantasies, the lies, the fables, the myths and the legends.


In this and the next Post I will outline what I think the new story should contain, and should no longer contain, as we return to a more complete understanding of the original story, the story that should finally be cemented into the history books.


The biggest change that needs to happen now is an acceptance that the story of the Outbreak is not an heroic story about battlers fighting for justice against corrupt authorities, but a colonial story about an extended network of violent thieves and criminals living on the edges of society, the worst of whom was the murderer Ned Kelly.


The other great change that needs to happen is to realise that this true story is one of the great Australian crime stories and it has absolutely everything.  As a crime story, the story of the outbreak is a much more complicated and intriguing story than it ever was as the story of a downtrodden misunderstood and victimised selector family.  It’s a fascinating multidimensional tale that once released from the straightjacket of having to make it a story about a downtrodden hero becomes electric with a cast of complex flawed human characters, and action and plot and subplot twists and turns that you wouldn’t be able to invent if you tried. Now that the false heroic Kelly story has been dispensed  with all the gruesome and fascinating detail that had to be hidden can be revealed, nobody has to feel forced to defend the Police or the reputation of the Kellys  at all costs and in the face of contradicting facts. Instead the entire outbreak from start to finish can be examined openly and honestly. There is no reason why North East tourism cant tell the true story and make just as much money as it has off the old tame one. Additionally there is also the fascinating saga of what Australia made of the story over the following decades, that great mass of kitsch and monetising of the story known as Kellyana,  and how the story was transformed, distorted and manipulated to suit  various purposes.



The Kelly story will have to start with  the entire story of Ned Kellys father Red. It’s a lot more complex than Red just being shipped out from Ireland as a convict for stealing two pigs. His story involves famine and poverty, betrayal, theft, spying and dobbing in of mates, one of whom ends up dead. It’s ironic but highly likely that Transportation as a convict to Tasmania saved Reds life, but it was alcoholism that ended it prematurely. In Australia, after serving his time he struggled admirably to make a new life for himself and his family, he started well, he was honest and hardworking but the drink won in the end, and tragically he eventually lost everything to it. He wasn’t hounded by police – it was only at the end, in desperation that he lapsed once into crime. Reds story is the sad and tragic one of a man I have a lot of sympathy for, a very human story of an ultimately failed struggle to overcome the negative consequences of some very bad choices.


Then we have to tell the whole story of Ned Kellys other parent, Ellen Quinn who arrived in Victoria with her parents from Ireland with almost nothing. Her father James, by hard work and perhaps some good luck and a few shrewd moves ended up doing rather well for himself –  a fact which like so many facts in the true story doesn’t fit with the old line that Irish poor were oppressed and kept underfoot by the colonial authorities. This poor but eventually materially succesful man raised a brood of children – Ned Kellys mother, his aunts and uncles –  who didn’t seem impressed by James example of getting ahead by hard work and they gravitated towards crime and drunkenness, violence and antisocial behaviour. Their criminal records are an awful litany of brutal violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, animal cruelty, dishonesty and theft, a litany almost never mentioned in the vast libraries of Kelly veneration, but in my book would be fully exposed . Ellen Kelly matured into a volatile head-strong woman whose temper and lax moral compass got her into trouble many times, quite apart from conceiving her first child out of wedlock at 18, but especially once the calming influence of Red was gone. My book would report all the detail of the Quinns interactions with police and the courts and reveal many occasions where if the police had been corrupt they could easily have put them away but instead Neds uncles and other relations not infrequently narrowly escaped convictions because of the police and court officer’s scrupulous adherence to the rules. Later on, Ned Kelly himself was also the beneficiary of that belief in strict application of legal principles, but of course he never mentioned it and neither do his sympathisers. They’re inconvenient facts. There were of course numerous successful prosecutions and sentences of various kinds, including time inside for many of them, but most of the details of this great litany of criminality has been suppressed by the Kelly biographers till now, because it ruined the narrative they preferred of the Kellys and their sympathisers being hard-done-by  good selector folk hounded and persecuted by corrupt police. All these shocking facts will finally be set out and the true context of the outbreak made clear.


What my book would also show is that while Red Kelly was alive he protected his wife and children from the criminal influence of the Quinn family, he didn’t break the law and though a poor family they were respected in the communities of Beveridge and Avenel. That was when Ned Kelly rescued Dick Shelton and was rewarded with the famous green sash, and when Red had them going to school.


It all fell apart though, once Red died in 1866. That was the moment when the Quinn influence began turning the arc of Ned Kellys life sharply towards crime. Unlike Red Kelly none of the Quinns seemed to have any guiding ethical principles other than survival by whatever it took. Mrs Kelly never expressed any kind of remorse or offered any kind of apology to anyone at the deaths and human costs and suffering that her son inflicted on so many in his short life,  right to the very end  of her own long life blaming everything on the Police.


While alive, Red Kelly kept a low profile and kept his family out of the eye of the law, but not long after Red died his widow changed all that and took a sister and a landlord to court. In 1868 Ellen and her seven children moved to Greta to live with two of her sisters – their husbands were in gaol for stock theft. Soon after, everything they owned apart from the clothes on their backs was lost when another of Ned Kellys uncles set fire to their accommodation and burned it to the ground. He was drunk and angry that Ellen had rebuffed his attempt to seduce her : arson was his revenge. No lives were lost but it was a close thing. The Kellys  poverty was now absolute – but note carefully, it wasn’t brought about by police harassment and persecution but by Red Kellys alcoholism and then by his brothers drunken rage : alcoholism, immorality and arson : what a dangerous mix! This horrifying incident is barely mentioned in the Kelly myths and legends – it reflects too badly on the character and the quality of the people and the influences Ned Kelly was surrounded by as he grew up.


Next, Ellen made the near inexcusable and fateful decision to apprentice her 14-year-old son Ned to Harry Power, a notorious prison escapee on the run under whose guidance the adolescent and impressionable Ned Kelly learned even greater disrespect for the law, contempt for honest hard work, the lure of easy money and the power of a gun. Note carefully again, Ned Kellys life of serious crime began not as a response to police harassment or corruption or oppression but because of his own mothers urging, no doubt motivated by the poverty that was entirely their own making.  Eventually, Ned Kelly and one of his Uncles betrayed Harry Power for police rewards : dropping of serious charges in Ned Kellys case, and £500 cash for his unsavoury uncle Jack Lloyd. These facts are dreadfully embarrassing to Kelly sympathisers because they show again  what a feral mob the greater Kelly clan was, betraying each other for police rewards while hypocritically claiming the police to be their mortal enemy. What a great chapter of revelations that will be in my book. 


From here, we are in much more familiar territory, cataloguing Ned Kellys series of increasingly serious interactions with the Law, a couple of early acquittals demonstrating the exact opposite of the allegations Kelly and Kelly sympathiser later made of relentless persecution and mistreatment. Eventually though his larrikin behaviour put him in gaol – for assault and indecency the first time, and in 1871 when aged 16, for ‘feloniously receiving’ a horse he was sentenced to three years in prison. Ian Jones, writing in “Ned The Exhibition” claimed Ned Kelly ‘innocently‘ received this ‘stolen horse’ – but as the court record shows, and as I would point out in my book, Jones got that wrong too :  the horse wasn’t stolen, and Kelly didn’t receive it ‘innocently’.


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22 Replies to “The Kelly Book I would write: Part One”

  1. Hi David, it’s interesting to read Jones talking there about the transformation of Kelly from an “often resented folk hero to a major historical figure” as there is another myth in there – that Kelly was a folk hero. A folk hero implies a hero to a significant number of people; but I think Kelly was a minor folk hero at best; a folk hero to some maybe but not a folk hero to most. As I have mentioned before, we never heard of Kelly when I was young, either at home or at school. If he was ever heard of it was about his attempt to derail a police train. I can’t even recall the last stand being mentioned. Then all of a sudden in the 1980s with the centenary of his death – not of his birth mind you, and not of any great deed like climbing Everest, or something clever like inventing the stump jump plough or something useful and enriching, we start hearing all this stuff about Saint Ned.

    But what makes Kelly a “major historical figure”? Major for what, exactly? I think this is a major dodgy claim being pushed along here. I think that claim is built on the republic myth fiction that Jones created.

    I looked at the National Museum of Australia website tonight, using the search term Ned Kelly, and a pile of results popped up. The introductory page is largely built on redundant Jones fictions. The Glenrowan page and its embarrassingly wrong school resource page is packed with historically wrong nonsense. That’s taxpayers money they’re wasting putting out complete and utter garbage, and purporting to encourage its use in schools. What a disgrace those clowns are, a national embarrassment. No wonder people overseas comment that there’s something wrong with a country that worships a bushranger. That’s because the “worship” is a fiction promoted by morons.

    1. In your search of the National Museum website did you come across the teaching material in its Digital Classroom in the form of a 2018 video about Ned Kelly called “Australia’s First Terrorist?”

      It’s presented by a Republic of NE Victoria convert, history professor Bruce Scates with co-presenter Dr Susan Carland. I wrote to the museum and complained about how out of date and how inaccurate the video is and how unsuitable it is as teaching material for children in history classrooms.

      In reply they claimed it was all fine because it was balanced by another video paired with it by another historian, Frank Bongiorno who is interviewed by Carland.He wasnt a Ned fan but his condemnation of him was very luke-warm.

      The Museum complaints policy provides for the opportunity for a complainant to request a review if not satisfied with their initial response so thats what Ive done and I’m waiting to hear back. Eventually I’ll make a Blog Post out of it all.

      We need to make sure false claims about history never go unanswered, which is what was happening for decades while IJ ruled the Kelly Story roost.

  2. Hi David, I didn’t notice that video (or any others) on the NMA site, I was really just looking for Glenrowan stuff and then did a quick term search for Ned Kelly to see what quantity of mentions came up.

    I will have a look sometime this week. That’s a pathetic response though, “we might have something that’s glaringly wrong on our education pages but that’s fine because it’s balanced by something else.” A classic I-don’t-know-I-only-work-here number.

    I’ll have a look at the interview date. If it was more than a year after the republic debunking book there is no excuse for the total lack of topic research. If it was older, there’s no excuse for failing to review and remove incorrect information on a national history website. I’ll get back to you after I’ve had a look.

    1. Hi David, I have now watched the two videos on the National Museum of Australia website, “Australia’s First Terrorist?” video by Bruce Scates and Susan Carland (episode 11 in its Australian Journey series), and its follow up “Supplement to episode 11” interview of Frank Bongiorno by Carland. The videos were filmed at some point between September 2016 and September 2017 when the Wild Colonial Boys bushranger exhibition was on at the Old Treasury Buildings in Melbourne. There are a few things to say about both videos, but first, who are our panel of experts?

      The ANU website says of Scates, Professor of History at ANU, “Prior to joining the Australian National University, he held the Chair of History and Australian Studies at Monash University and was Director of the National Centre for Australian Studies. … Committed to communicating history to the widest possible audience, Bruce has devised a 12 part documentary in collaboration with the National Museum of Australia and co-presents the same with his colleague from Monash University, Dr Susan Carland.” So we SHOULD expect a high level of academic expertise about whatever Australian history topics Scates chooses to speak about.

      Also on the ANU website, Frank Bongiorno “is Professor of History and an Australian labour, political and cultural historian. He was Head of the School of History from July 2018 until June 2021.” So, likely to be an academic lefty (labour history) but SHOULD also deliver a high level of expertise on whatever he chooses to be interviewed about, in this case Kelly history.

      Leading both program presentations, and presenting as if from a neutral position of inquiry, “Dr Susan Carland [Monash University] is an academic, writer, and social commentator. She completed her PhD in Monash University’s School of Political and Social Inquiry and is now the Director of the Bachelor of Global Studies. Her research and teaching specialties focus on gender, sociology, contemporary Australia, terrorism, and Islam in the modern world.” So two things, a sociologist with an interest in terrorism. She is married to Chanel 10’s The Project presenter Dr Waleed Aly, of whom the Monash website says, “Waleed is a politics lecturer at the Monash School of Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, and working primarily within the Global Terrorism Research Centre.”

      And last your cheerful reviewer of NMA nonsense: Dr Stuart Dawson, Ph.D in political history from Monash University, worked at some other unis, held a 5 year Adjunct Research Fellowship appointment at Monash History from 2016-2020 and is now effectively freelance with 5 refereed academic publications (including a book) on Kelly topics. In other words, more stuff academically published on Kelly than any of the EXPERTS in the ANU videos.

      The first key point is that Carland is not a neutral or curious historical enquirer with an interest in the Kelly story, but someone pursuing a loaded investigation into Kelly as a political terrorist. In the Bongiorno interview, in which she repeatedly returns to her endeavour to get Bongiorno to label Kelly a terrorist, she gives a precise definition of terrorism: “Terrorism needs to have ideological or political motivations to be classified as terrorism.” This definition should alert anyone with any knowledge of the common Kelly narrative that it was Jones who generated the central plank of that narrative of political rebellion and the republic myth via his reading of the Jerilderie letter. It emerges quickly from Carland’s questioning of Bongiorno that she has little understanding of Kelly history outside of what she gained from Scates, who spent most of his “Was Kelly a terrorist>” episode laboriously reading extracts from the Jerilderie letter and pontificating about history from that ridiculous Jonesian perspective. This was a year or so before I released my “Ned Kelly and the Myth of a Republic of North-Eastern Victoria” on an unsuspecting world.

      According to Scates, through Kelly’s armour, “The tools of labour became a potent symbol of rebellion.” Hold on comrade, Kelly wasn’t waving a hammer and sickle like the ANU history department. “Too many”, he says, “Ned Kelly was a freedom fighter.” There is not one jot of evidence anywhere for this outlandish claim. Carland asks at the 4 minute mark, “was he a common criminal or a fearless revolutionary?” She has clearly spent too much time in the Faculty Club with the academic Guevaristas. Scates duly responds that the Jerilderie letter was Kelly’s “defence; his testimony”. Defence, OK; testimony? That tissue of lies? Pull the other one.

      Scates gives a scrambled and woefully wacky potted Kelly history in which only the poorest land was left in the north east for the selectors (wrong, see Morrissey; most made a go of it); Kelly Irishness (see Mrs Bridget Kennedy’s view of that rubbish in Kieza) and many sympathisers (tosh); harassment of Kate by Fitzpatrick with the bearded drunken officer pulling the 14 year old Kate towards him (he probably watched the disgraceful Molony video at the NMA; but my Fitzpatrick article came out in late 2015 so Scates did no Kelly homework at all). After the Fitzpatrick incident Scates says “the police embarked on another vendetta” by charging and arresting Mrs Kelly and others; no, there wasn’t a previous vendetta as Scates would know if he bothered to read the second Progress Report; and Mrs Kelly admitted to striking Firtzpatrick as he’d know if he bothered to google the Fitzpatrick incident and seen my Redeeming Fitzpatrick article on page one. Of course, that would involve doing basic research into a topic he knew little about, but that never stopped an academic pontificating.

      Scates saw the bank robberies “as much a political act as a criminal act” because of the burned mortgage papers “which freed poor selectors from debt”. No, copies were held in Sydney and Kelly burning them changed nothing. There was not a word about politics from Kelly about it. Scates is on a roll in claiming that Kelly had “a gentlemanly nature; a kind and trusting nature”. This is pure Jones, and it is pure bulldust. Scates has apparently done no research on Kelly and McCormack, Ah Fook, Jack Delaney, George Metcalf, the Jerilderie shooting party, and a whole lot more examples, or he wouldn’t spout such rot.

      Nor we get to the core of Scates’ mythmaking: Kelly planned an insurrection; friends would rally an army of sympathisers who would declare a republic, but when things go bad Kelly calls off the rebellion; “at least that’s what he claims”. No, Professor, you’ve made it up based on Jones. There is no evidence that Kelly claimed to call off any fairytale rebellion. Where does ANU find its Professors? Scates says that “historians debate the number of sympathisers waiting”. Crap. Jones debated with himself whether there were 30 or 150 based on his two oral history sources and both were garbage. Then Sactes goes, “Could there ever have been a republic of North East Victoria?” But instead of going off an researching that interesting question, which takes work, and shows it’s crap, he quotes shit from the Jerilderie letter. Jones spouted similar shit in his SVL essay on the JL in 2000.

      After this ridiculous interview Dr Carland seems happy that a real colonial terrorist has been located, regardless than no one anywhere had any such thought at the time. “Kelly came to personify the cause of the underdog; the Aussie battler”, she pronounces. That’s what happens when you let sociologists loose on history. They have no fing idea where to even start. As historian Paul Veyne pooonted out in “What is history”, sociology is only history. It can only write about what’s happened. All its theorise are really just fancy dressed fortune telling based almost entirely on ideologies. There’s a great little book by Nisbet calle “sociology as an art form” that should be compulsory reading in first year arts as a caution to anyone contemplating doing sociology. Be aware of BS.

      Scates finished his video with a bit shot in the Ole Treasury Buildings bushranger exhibition, and rabbits on about Kelly having a hurried trial and a bungled defence that failed to call Ned as a witness. Again, Scates’ lack of knowledge before speaking is extraordinary. Kelly’s trial was long by the standards of trials in his day (Waller in Man & Myth 1968), and Kelly couldn’t be called to give sworn evidence but could have made a statement had he any defence points to give; but Gaunson was instructing solicitor and knew there was nothing, as explained in McIntyre’s manuscript. So all up, why is this nonsense which was bad in 2017 and was shot to pieces by the 2018 Republic myth book, still up on the NMA site in 2021? And in an education section, what’s mote? It’s garbage.

      Carland the has a supplementary interview with Bongiorno in which she asks, “Could we consider the Kelly gang a social movement, the outbreak, or just criminals?” It sounds like she hasn’t even read McQuilton before filming these Kelly interviews. This is a huge problem with academics in general: they feel free to get involved in topics without doing any homework. Bongiorno responds, after spending some time praising Carey’s Kelly novel, “Kelly often has been seen as representing the battling small selector class”. By who, Professor? He seems more interested in tales of the Kelly gang cross dressing, which may be no surprise given his edited book, “The Sex Lives of Australians: A History” (2012), which deals with “Cross-dressing convicts, effeminate bushrangers and women-shortage woes – here is the first ever history of sex in Australia, from Botany Bay to the present-day.” What has become of academia?

      At 9:00 mins on the video Carland launches forth: “was Ned Kelly Australia’s first terrorist?” Bongiorno answers, “He conceived of what he was doing as an act of terrorism.” Bongiorno says that “Kelly was hoping to get control of the district; the north east was riddled with Kelly sympathisers of one sort or another.” He says there were rumours of a handwritten declaration of a republic of north eastern Victoria but this is contested by historians. Note, only the declaration document rumour is contested, not the republic idea here.

      Carland repeatedly pursues her questioning about was Kelly a terrorist. Bongiorno ends up holding that Kelly can be said to be ideological; e.g. he identifies with the Irish, he’s against the squatters; his (Jerilderie letter) claims may be “a cover for his criminality.” OK, like every other crook he’s self-justifying; but where is the evidence for anything ideological in Carland’s sense? Crickets… To cap it all off, Carland ends by wondering “where the myth of the white bushranger sits in multicultural Australia now?” I guess she never heard of indigenous Australian bushrangers? Or stopped talking long enough to consider that bushrangers just might be part of history rather than sociology?

      Both of these videos are long overdue for the rubbish heap. The NMA should be embarrassed to still have them on its site.

      1. Could not agree with you more, Stuart. These so-called professionals are a disgrace to themselves and more importantly to this nation.
        The sooner they are exposed, and their rubbish removed, the better off we will all be.

    2. In this 1955 book, reprinted many times through to at mid-1970s, therer is nothing in the index about Kelly or any other bushrangers, or bushrangers at all. They were rightly ignored as a minor disruption in coloinial Australia’s development; possibly a minor special interest to others who might go off look at that. This is another example of why I never heard of Kelly while growing up; this was the Australian history survey book we had at home. As I have said several times, with evidence, Kelly and the bushrangers were nonentities in the 1960s. Jones and others’ 1967 Wangaratta Kelly seminar was also a minor event in its time although some academic interest is shown by Manning Clark and Louis Waller giving papers. But much else is misguided romanticism with many now well-exposed factual errors. There is no logical reason for Kelly to be considered by anyone as a significant part of Australian history beyond the furore created in his day. Even then, down to and including his trial Kelly news was often not among the front articles in the news coverage in the papers of his day outside of the seige at Glenrowan.


      1. What youre alluding to Stuart is the common feeling that the way things are, wherever you are and in whatever age youre in, is the way its always been.

        Kelly devotees dont realise that the status quo that prevailed in the 80’s was a brief departure from what had been the status quo for many decades, which was that Kelly was a criminal and nothing else.

        We are now slowly returning to that historically accurate understanding. The Kelly outbreak was a localised and violent but brief paragraph, not a chapter in the history of Victoria.

        1. Hi David, it sure looks that way from an objective look at the evidence. But what is one supposed to do about gross stupidities like the National Museum rubbish and the attempt of the Ned Kelly Touring Route to build a tourist trail around a criminal thug with almost no condemnation of that overwhelming fact?

  3. I would like to read that book!
    But in the meantime I was wondering if you could provide a bit more detail on a couple of points because they are things I’ve never heard mentioned (or if I have, I can’t remember which is more likely…..)
    What did Ellen Kelly take her sister and landlord to court for? It would be interesting if you could flesh that out a bit.
    Can you please tell us the story about Ned uncle burning down the accommodation?
    What is the evidence that Ellen Kelly made the decision to apprentice Ned to Harry Power?

    Your take on Red Kelly is interesting. It fits with everything I’ve ever read/heard but I don’t recall anyone casting him that way. Mostly seems to get characterised as a drunken layabout.

    1. HI Dan

      These two paragraphs are from Kelvyn Gills ‘The definitive record’ Unfortunately he doesn’t list the source but he would have copied them from a news report or a Court document:

      “19 February 1867 : At Avenel Petty sessions before Police Magistrate A P Akehurst a visiting magistrate Ellen Kelly is charged with assault against her sister in law Anne Kelly. Ellen is found guilty and ordered to pay 40/- damages and 5/- costs or a weeks inprisonment.”

      28 May 1867 Ellen is again before the Avenel Court of Petty sessions and charged with abusive and threatening language against Anne Kellys Landlord Thomas Ford. Ellen claims that ford had assaulted her Ellen and Thomas are both found guilty. Ellen is fined 40/- or seven days default. Tomas has to pay £5 or six weeks in prison. Both also have tokeep the peace for six months on £50 bonds”.

      Gill also provides the report from the Ovens and Murray Advertiser of the trial for arson arson by James Kelly on April 18th 1867. Its covered in a cursory manner by Jones and Fitzsimons .

      Good question about Ellen encouraging Ned Kelly to become apprentice to Harry Power – its one of those stories that could have come from anywhere. Jones wrote this: “If cautious Red had been alive he might have opposed the idea but incautious Ellen probably encouraged her son”

    2. Hi Dan, Ellen Kelly’s misadventures at Avenel are detailed in Grantlee Keizea’s ‘Mrs Kelly’ chapter four with source references. You can probably get it through your local library service, or buy it for under $30 online (or less secondhand). I think it’s definitely worth having a copy.

  4. Thanks for that David, much appreciated.
    I assume the Quinn uncle(s) met Harry Power in the clink and that’s how the Kelly’s knew him?

  5. Hi David. having just reread the whole post, I think this is a promising outline for a new and radically different and truthful telling of the Kelly story. There would be I assume more fleshing out of young Kelly’s criminality such as the “boy lifters” of horses, the Ah Fook incident, and so on?

    This part ends with him going to gaol for feloniously receiving a horse. Part 2 might say something about his time in gaol? Then the so called quiet years with a look at what is claimed for them, which seems to be mostly based on a couple of lines in the Jerilderie and other letters and is therefore open to doubt….

    Kelly’s criminality (and that of his family and relatives) has been sadly neglected by practically every published author except Kieza, which I think explains why it is largely absent from the general public’s awareness; but does not explain its absence from signage and information put out by organisations which should know better, such as the State Library Victoria Kelly display, the old Kelly Vault, the NMA, the Touring Route promoters etc.

    A good narrative rewrite is si obviously needed. Looking forward to part 2 of your outline!

    1. Spot on comment, Stuart. In all the books I have read, very little is mentioned of Kelly’s extensive stock stealing. Perhaps that is because he and his cohorts operated in the dead of night, when they were not seen or heard while they carried out their criminal acts. We know very little about his operation, but one could realistically presume that he would take stock in the dead of night, move it to an associate’s property for safe keeping then when he had a dozen or so, he would move the stolen stock north, across the River Murray into NSW. Very little exists about Kelly stealing stock in NSW and bringing it into Victoria, leaving the animals near pounds etc. No doubt he did that, but I have seen almost nothing about that occurring, other than cursory mention.

      1. Hi Sam, there is a good of old article by Doug Morrissey called “Ned Kelly and horse and cattle stealing” from about 1987. If you email me I’ll send you a scan. He talks about it in his book “Selectors Squatters and Stock Thieves” but unfortunately he didn’t do source references. But yes, your outline seems exactly right from what I’ve read, and even McQuilton pp 84-85 located the key act initiating the outbreak as the police breaking up the Baumgarten horse stealing ring (although he tries very hard to launch a social bandit theory in Australia to explain it).

        Poor Ned, imagine boasting of stealing over 280 horses and it being left out of the historical analysis! That’s ok Ned, we’ll come to the rescue and set the record straight….After all, you wanted to be remembered, yes?

  6. Yes Stuart there would indeed be a great deal of ‘fleshing out’ of all the major and minor incidents such as the ones you mention.

    I wont avoid detailing the blunders police made either, such as Hall bashing Ned ( even though he probably deserved it!)

    I agree Kiezas book is one of the best so far. Better than Morrissey because of his attention to proper referencing. You know he is releasing ‘The Kelly Hunters’ about the police involved I the outbreak next year. I hope he gets Lonigans death right!

  7. Hi David, I haven’t seen practically anything about that new book but he won’t get Lonigan’s death right if he pays any attention to Jones at all. He needs to read Leo Kennedy’s book for the narrative and why it’s important, then Morrissey’s SBC book for extra background, then McIntyre’s memoir, then especially the Beechworth committal hearing reports. That’s the minimum needed to have any hope of accuracy; and to critically review and reject Jones’s moronic claims about Sadleir which were not remotely from McIntyre’s first statement but a an incorrect recollection. McIntyre first statement is in the Prosecution file. Another Jones cockup from which Jones then foully accused McIntyre of perjury for decades. Utterly disgusting.

    1. Kieza popped up out of nowhere with his book on Mrs Kelly and produced a really good account of the outbreak. He has also popped up on various Kelly FB pages including mine since that time and so I think is quite well informed about where the debates are going. I am therefore hopeful that his account of the police murders will be accurate. I would be overjoyed if he incorporated my analysis of Reynolds findings at Lonigans post mortem, which prove Kelly lied about Lonigan being behind a ‘battery of logs’ when he was shot. The PM findings prove he was out in the open and killed with a single shot from a rifle loaded with a quartered bullet, or some other collection of multiple projectiles. This insight of mine solved a mystery about Lonigans death that had existed since 1878! My analysis is the only one ever proposed that makes sense of Reynolds findings and the claim he was only shot once. No doubt there will also be criticism of police in there, and I would expect the Kelly nut jobs will cherry pick them out and rejoice, but Kieza will definitely not be praising Ned – he will be burying him, for sure!

  8. Hi David, yes I hope so as you rightly brought attention to Reynolds. I think McIntyre’s MS may in fact use the term quartered bullet but need to re-check. I think as discussed before that a home built projectile made of smaller bullets or lead pellets may explain it best based on the autopsy report that you discussed in combination with McIntyre’s MS comments. And of course Bill’s diagram which I think was used either by Keiza or FitzSimons? The one that was on this blog ages ago. It is an excellent drawing. There is no question now that the evidence is 100 percent consistent with McIntyre’s testimony which is itself fully consistent over the time.

    1. Hi Stuart
      I think McIntyre mentioned having some of those bullets in his possession including a quartered one.

      That great diagram of Lonigans death was drawn by Bill for me – he is a multi talented and very generous guy and a good friend. I explained to him what I wanted to illustrate and sent him a crude and hopeless version that I did and asked him if he could make a better version it – he came up with that! Really good illustration.

  9. Hi David, here it is on page 36 of ttyre manuscript. (For anyone else whjo doesn’t know this, it’s a free PDF download in 7 sections from the Victoria Police Museum website.)

    “Dr. Reynolds deposed, ‘1 have examined the body of a man that I am told was Lan i gan. I have found wounds on the left arm which I have no doubt were caused by bullets , one wound on the outside of the left thigh, one on the right temple and one on the inner side of
    the right eyeball. The bullets which entered by the side of the eyeball passed through the bone of the orbit and drove portions of it into the brain death must have been almost instantaneous from injuries to the brain”. “1 have also examined the body of Michael Scanlon and found external wounds apparently caused by the penetration of bul l ets one on the
    right hip one on the top edge of the sternum, one on the right shoulder and one on the right side. On open i ng the chest I found a bullet resting against the inner surface! of the sternum of bone of the chest , before lodging in that position the bullet had entered the body on the right side crushing through the ei ght rib and passing obliquely through the right lung carrying with it pieces of fractured bone , making a large wound through both lobes of the lung, death must have rapidly followed such a wound from internal haemorrhage. Besides the shots I had seen fired the Doctor had found on each body three other distinct bullet wounds. Judging from the appearance of several bullets in my possession which were taken from the bodies of the murdered men, Kelly had his rifle loaded with slugs apparently made by cutting a spherical bullet into quarters.”

    The only part of this that is relevant right here is the wounds to Lonigan. The only way they resulted from a single shot fired by Kelly is if the bullet separated in its flight to Lonigan, as McIntyre noted, by cutting a bullet; or similarly by making a bullet from pieces of lead from other bullets which is highly likely given we know the gang fired many bullets into the trees surrounding the fortress hut and then dug the lead out and reused the pieces to make more bullets.

    And as David has made clear, the olny way Loniogan could have been wounded in the places he was hit is it he was standing up and part turning as Bill’s drawing shows; not starting to rise up from behond a log. Comments?

    1. Thanks Stuart.

      I just hope Grantlee Kieza reads this and puts it into his book.

      Its a devastating piece of information because it thoroughly demolishes Ned Kelly and Kelly sympathisers claims about killing in self defence, and it exposes Kelly yet again as a notorious liar.

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