I should probably thank the great-great-grandson of SC Joseph Ladd Mayes for greatly increasing the number of people who read the Blog post I wrote last year entitled “Should SC Mayes have been sacked?” (CLICK HERE to read it) It was a question that most certainly needed to be asked, and I am certain many of the new readers will have agreed with me that the actions and statements of JLM in relation to Constable Alexander Fitzpatrick at the very least warranted some sort of scrutiny, which was what that Blog post was all about. In comments after the post, some agreed and others disagreed with my suggestions in an interesting calm and respectful way.
In the last two weeks, a renewed discussion on the same topic has been set in motion by JLMs great great grandson, who in an emotive series of Facebook and Blog posts directed outrage and fury at me for daring to ask if SC Mayes conduct was above reproach, and for suggesting the record shows SC Mayes to have been arrogant judgemental and prejudiced when it came to his dealings with trooper Alexander Fitzpatrick. I was labelled ‘pig headed’ and accused of misusing information given to me in confidence, I was called a ‘rank’ amateur (note correct spelling), that my world view was ‘misguided’, my review of Mayes record was a ‘screed’, ‘piss poor ‘ ‘disgraceful’ and ‘shit posting’, that I was on a ‘dogged’ mission to exonerate Fitzpatrick, that I was breaching copyright by posting an image of JLM – that had already been released into the public domain – and that if only he could afford it, I would be needing to ‘lawyer up’. ‘Damn you’ he writes! All the usual suspects from the toad, to Bob, Greg, Noeleen, Michelle, the former ‘Neducator’ and Jack, along with many others expressed their delight at Mayes response.
So far, JLMs great-great-grandson Dean Mayes hasnt explained what’s misguided about my ‘world view’ (my ‘world view’? …really?) , but I can tell you I didn’t misuse any information he shared because he didn’t share anything that wasn’t already publicly available. I can also tell you that if he did somehow manage to force me to ‘lawyer up’ he’s the one who would lose his dough – dead people cannot be defamed! Look it up! But in any case, nothing I wrote was ‘defamatory’ – it was opinion based on the evidence I presented. All that chest beating and ad hominem abuse was just performative, red meat for the mostly uninformed and incurious Kelly mob whose approval Mayes seemed to be seeking, who hungrily lapped it all up and are now posting their enthusiastic support for Mayes extraordinary outburst. Any kind of attack on Fitzpatrick, on me or on Dr Stuart Dawson, the author of “Redeeming Fitzpatrick” no matter how inaccurate extreme or bizarre – and all of them are – always gets them going. These people have the instincts of a Lynch mob and ‘ad hominem’ attacks are par for the course in the Kelly sympathiser world. Sadly I feel, nurse Dean Mayes seems to fit right in, adding his “Likes” to their comments on their ghastly Facebook pages full of misinformation and police hate, and to the one comment he has received so far from a right-wing antivaxxer police hating Kelly extremist. Great company for a nurse!
The irony of course is that this mob of Kelly sympathisers Dean Mayes is playing to are people his great-great-grandfather would have had nothing but contempt for. JLM would have been horrified like everyone else at the brutality of the police murders at Stringybark Creek, at the hostage taking and hold-ups, and at the nightmare scenario of mass slaughter that Kelly envisioned for Glenrowan. At the end of 1880 along with the rest of the colony, SC Mayes would undoubtedly have celebrated the destruction of the Gang and the meting out of justice to its leader the notorious murderer, Ned Kelly. The thought that his great-great-grandson would one day be the pinup boy of supporters of the triple police murderer who nearly pulled off a plan to murder a couple of dozen more of his work mates would have JLM spinning in his grave.
But Dean Mayes postings haven’t all been abuse and disparagement directed at me. He dragged up the old news about Fitzpatrick’s activities in Sydney where various allegations were made, investigated and dismissed. No charges were ever laid in respect of them but Mayes has decided to relitigate them and cast aside the notion of innocence until proven guilty – something it seems his great-great-grandfather also was want to do. A chip off the old block it seems.
He also added some thoughts of his own about Fitzpatrick’s behaviour and about the Petition that was presented supporting him. Mayes did something I had never thought to do and counted the signatures on the Petition : there were just over 100, and so he criticized me for saying there were 200, though this is the number others have also used in error – for example in Grantlee Kiezas book – so I stand corrected.
Dean Mayes then attempted to discredit the petition in several ways, firstly by a convoluted calculation of the percentage of people in the District who supported it, declaring that not enough of them did. Says who? Most ordinary citizens never have anything to with the police so would have nothing to say. By a similar process would Mayes also say the public petition in support of Ronald Ryan was suspicious and likely invalid because well under 1% of Australia signed it? (around 15,000 signatures in a population of 11.8 million in 1967). The fact is well over a hundred local citizens signed the Lancefield petition, including JPs expressing an opinion about Fitzpatrick that was the opposite of SC Mayes. Dean Mayes argument here is irrelevant nonsense.
Next Dean Mayes develops a conspiracy theory about the petition: “Was ex-Constable Fitzpatrick malleable enough to allow criminal activity in and around Lancefield to go unchecked and the instigators of the petition feared losing a “useful idiot”? Did the signatories to the petition even know what they were signing?” This speculation is the pure essence of the conspiracy theory approach to history: fact free.
In support of his conspiracy theory Mayes presented a letter from his Great-great-grandfather in which the Constable points out that – shock, horror – Fitzpatrick was himself involved in the gathering of signatures for the petition. The Kelly mob and Dean Mayes see this as sinister and a confirmation of their conspiracy theory about the petition, making up yet more wild and absolutely absurd speculations about Fitzpatrick threatening people for not signing. In fact, there is nothing in the least bit sinister or inappropriate in Fitzpatrick’s involvement in the Petitions – except to mad conspiracy theorists. Any aggrieved person has a right to seek out support, and it makes perfect sense for Fitzpatrick to be actively involved in seeking it from the community he served – it was his job, his future and his reputation that were on the line. In fact, what this attests to more than anything else is the strength of Fitzpatrick’s conviction that he was treated unfairly and to his determination to seek justice in an independent enquiry. He wanted everything brought out into the light and examined, but both Mayes and Standish wanted it to remain hidden. Would it be unfair to ask why?
Remarkably, attached to that letter and also posted on Dean Mayes Page is a newspaper cutting from the time which completely undermines Mayes entire thesis. It appears to be an editorial comment and is worth quoting in full :
“We feel sure a large majority of the public of the Lancefield district who had any acquaintance with Mounted Constable Fitzpatrick whilst stationed here will, with us be sorry to hear of his discharge from the Victorian police force. The ex –constable whilst resident here appeared to be an intelligent and efficient member of the force and his many social qualities in private life gained him many friends who are now interesting themselves on his behalf with a view to his re-instatement. Several prominent residents of the district have prepared a petition for presentation to the chief secretary which is rapidly being signed by the inhabitants of the entire district praying for Mr Fitzpatrick’s re- appointment. We understand that the ex-constable believes he has been unjustly dealt with and attributes his discharge to certain reports which reached the Chief Commissioner, the truthfulness of which he asserts he can disprove. Such being the case we hope that Mr Fitzpatrick’s friends will be successful in their endeavours to have a worthy officer replaced in his position”
Are the conspiracy theorists now going to propose Fitzpatrick also threatened the Editor of the newspaper and forced him to publish that endorsement? If not, the only thing that can be said about it is that it wrecks Dean Mayes conspiracy theory about the petition, supports the authenticity of the Petition and adds additional justification for JLMs judgement to be questioned.
Dean Mayes boasts about ‘pounding the pavements’ and ‘scouring the public record’ – as opposed to the morally inferior activity he attributes to me of “shit posting from behind a computer”. Despite these ‘countless hours’ of research Mayes found no trace of the second Petition, and so because he couldn’t find it, like a true conspiracy theorist he concluded that Fitzpatrick must have lied about its existence at the Royal Commission. I dont know when Mayes last read Dawson’s paper but if he had, he would have found the reference to the second petition and tracked it down like Dawson did. The second petition exists, it is real and the other day I counted the signatures on it – about twenty. I wonder if Dean Mayes will apologise and withdraw his claim that Fitzpatrick lied about the second petition? Probably not.
So not one but two separate petitions that called into question SC Mayes judgement and his dismissal of Fitzpatrick. Dean Mayes attempts to dismiss the petitions failed.
Now we come to Dean Mayes confused accusations in regard to swagmen. He has unearthed a couple of most interesting documents, and reports without citing the reference that police were instructed to ‘secure and question’ suspects. Again to my complete surprise Mayes attached a newspaper report that records Fitzpatrick doing exactly that, when he was ordered to investigate reports that Ned Kelly may have visited two swagmen in a hut 4 miles from Lancefield. Mayes then criticises Fitzpatrick for not ‘arresting’ these two swagmen, but the order was to ‘secure and question’ not to arrest, which is exactly what Fitzpatrick did. So, if we accept what Dean Mayes claims about what police were instructed to do, Fitzpatrick did not disobey any order by not arresting these two who were not suspects in any case, according to the news report. Fitzpatrick obeyed his orders and obtained useful information.
Mayes then conflates this story with a second one about swagmen, in which Fitzpatrick did indeed refuse to arrest one swagman for assault when asked to by another swagman who then complained to SC Mayes, who then himself complained about Fitzpatrick’s behaviour. According to Fitzpatrick’s testimony under oath to the Commission, SC Mayes complaint was investigated, SC Mayes concerns were dismissed and Fitzpatrick was vindicated. Dean Mayes attempted to rewrite the record here, and smear Fitzpatrick – the Kelly mob will no doubt swallow it, but the evidence doesn’t support it. Dean Mayes seems to have misread his sources. Another fail.
There are two things that stand out in this discussion about SC Mayes and Fitzpatrick, both of which were completely ignored by Dean Mayes in his ‘rebuttal’. The first is SC Mayes statement to the RC that he had not the slightest doubt that Fitzpatrick was the ‘originator’ of the entire Outbreak; not the slightest concern it might have anything to do with the background of lawlessness that Ned Kelly grew up in, the fact Kelly had served time for assault and feloniously receiving, was a known associate of a convicted and imprisoned highway robber, the fact that warrants for Kellys arrest on serious stock thieving charges had been issued? Not the slightest doubt? That statement of Mayes is ridiculous and indefensible. His great-great-grandson entirely avoided this, but it’s such an extreme statement it demands investigation.
The second thing that stands out is Fitzpatrick’s determination to have all the charges and accusations made against him brought out into the open and subjected to scrutiny and review. Anyone as corrupt and drunk and incompetent and the liar the Kelly conspiracy theorists like to make out Fitzpatrick was would never have been able to garner community support for his cause and wouldn’t have ever wanted his record exposed at an enquiry, but this was what Fitzpatrick requested, not once but twice. He was not afraid of scrutiny or having every allegation made against him exposed at an enquiry, but it seems Standish was.
And so twice his legitimate request was denied with no explanation given. In my original Post on the topic last year I wrote this:
“No matter what you might think is the truth about the man, its unarguably a denial of natural justice not to grant an accused person a right of reply and an opportunity to defend himself. But that’s what happened.”
This reality was also ignored by Dean Mayes who instead continued his great-great-grandfathers campaign of baseless smearing and vilifying of Fitzpatrick. Dean Mayes rebuttal is the disgrace here: an emotive litany of fury and ad hominem attacks on me, failed arguments and empty threats. Clearly neither man was perfect but nothing Dean Mayes has contributed so far has changed anything: his great-great-grandfather said and did things that demand scrutiny, and Fitzpatrick remains redeemed.
12 Replies to “CORRECTION : Dean Mayes great-great-grandfather never put a foot wrong, his judgements were always perfect and nobody should dare question them.”
36 signatures on the second petition by my count.
I’m terrible with numbers!😂😂
As I have often said, if ever there was a man that was denied natural justice, it was Constable Alexander Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick’s evidence at the RC in 1881 clearly showed that almost certainly none of his alleged wrongdoings were brought to his attention by Senior Constable Mayes. He had no idea why he had been sacked. His words at the RC. “On the report of Senior-Constable Mayes, at Lancefield; and I asked the Chief Commissioner if he would kindly inform me why I was discharged from the police force, and he told me. He said, on the recommendation of and communication from Senior-Constable Mayes, of Lancefield, stating that I was not fit to be in the police force, as I had associated with the lowest persons in Lancefield, and could not be trusted out of sight, and never did my duty.” Evidence given at the RC also showed that it was citizens who got up the petition to re-instate Fitzpatrick, but of course the officer did take part in collecting signatures. In the RC he stated that the first petition had 200 signatures, which included 9 JP’s.
So why were Fitzpatrick’s rights so badly trashed when he was summarily dismissed, on quite probably, spurious charges that were never challenged. Mayes should be taken to task for his behaviour.
History does repeat, seems like Mr MacFarlane has a similar disposition to Alexander Fitzpatrick. If I can’t get my own way, will take my bat and go home. Regards Steve Mayes.
Actually Steve , to continue the metaphor, Fitzpatrick didnt take his bat and ball and go home : he was sent off! And he came back twice, each time with a list of people who agreed he hadnt been given a fair go and asked for an open enquiry into his dismissal, to see if it was fair dinkum. But for reasons known only to themselves the hierarchy point-blank refused.
Heres a question for you Steve : If the dismissal was above board and legitimate what did these people have to lose by having the enquiry? It would have cleared the air and shut Fitzpatrick up for good.
The person who took his bat and ball and went home was your son I am afraid : he wouldn’t even answer yes or no to a simple question!!
But thanks for reading the Post and giving us something to think about.
Thanks for your reply, as I have said before go out and do your own research, don’t be a ghost writer, as a lot of other authors do. Regards Steve Mayes.
I think you will find that a great deal of research has been done by David. His comments that Fitzpatrick was treated unfairly hold some weight. He was clearly denied natural justice and there is clear evidence that when he asked to question Mayes allegations, he was denied more than once. This begs the obvious question, why? In the RC of 1882, in which Mayes gave evidence, he clearly stated quite falsely that Fitzpatrick was the cause of the Kelly outbreak. All that poor man was doing was trying to execute a legally issued warrant for horse stealing by Dan Kelly. Fitzpatrick had nothing to do with the outbreak. He was just “a” police officer who attended the Kelly home for a legitimate reason and was viciously attacked, by both Ned Kelly and his mother, Ellen. Had that attack not been made, Dan Kelly would have gone to the lockup with Fitzpatrick, and he would have been subsequently cleared of the charge, as was his co-defendant. Mayes was wrong in making that unsubstantiated comment.
I just wonder how much research David MacFarlane has actually done. He has used people in his attack on my Great Grand Father. I’m good faith, my son Dean, a couple of years ago supplied him with some of our family history, and has used that in his take on history. I find that some of his personal attacks, not only on Dean, but other people to be obnoxious. Regards Steve Mayes.
Steve I have to correct you there : your son did NOT provide me with any detail about your family history that was not already available on the internet. If you think he did can you point out the place in my Blog posts where I used such information?
And a comment about “research” if I may : there are many ways to do research but whats at least as important as the fact finding is the interpretation of the facts. Your son and his Kelly sympathiser followers think there was something sinister about the fact that Fitzpatrick was involved in getting signatures for his petition. Most people I am certain would agree with my interpretation that there is nothing at all sinister about someone who feels aggrieved involving himself in getting support for his cause, seeking reinstatement and an open and full enquiry into the exact reasons for his dismissal. They were NEVER made clear to him.
I will say it again :“No matter what you might think is the truth about the man, its unarguably a denial of natural justice not to grant an accused person a right of reply and an opportunity to defend himself. But that’s what happened.”
Surely you would agree with that wouldnt you Steve?
Thanks David for your response, I would like to clarify ono point you make. Neither Dean or I are Kelly sympathisers. I freely admit that we have friends, that are Kelly descendants in the North East, and we have a common interest in the history of that area. I do not take offence, in regard to your view of Alexander Fitzpatrick, that is your right. I do take offence at some of the words you used to describe my Great Grand Father, as being arrogant and the like, play the ball and not the man. As to Fitzpatrick being denied natural justice, his future was determined, by the rules of the time. A friend of mine was dismissed from the Victoria Police, in the 1970’s without the right of appeal. I disagree with your appraisal of Fitzpatrick, but I will defend your right to say it. It would nice in future to debate history and not try to dismember personality’s who have a common interest albeit from different perspective’s. Regards Steve Mayes.
Thanks Steve. Yes I agree we do have a common interest, not being Kelly Sympathisers. I also have friends who are Kelly Sympathisers – the important thing is the way we discuss our differences. It doesnt need to be a confrontation. So, as JLM was a legitimate part of regional history he cannot be excluded from the analysis of it. Please understand my intention was never to offend or insult you or your son or any other members of your family, and I apologise to you both for the extent that I have but it was unintended. My interest is in understanding the Kelly Outbreak, but I remain firmly of the view that in relation to his dealings with Fitzpatrick some of the actions and statements of your great grandfather at the very least require scrutiny, which was what the original post was about. I am not offended by anyones wish to defend JLM or disagree with my opinions, as occurred in the many polite comments that followed my original post. However your sons angry response seems to have been written in the heat of the moment and could have been better directed. I’ll leave it at a that Steve. Have a great day.
Thanks David I do appreciate your comments. Regards Steve Mayes.