The fake news about the so-called “Kelly outbreak” has been the dominant narrative for decades, so its not going to be enough to correct it once and expect that from that moment on everyone will know the true story. For one thing, there are the mobs of  Kelly supporters on pro-Kelly FB pages who are so bewitched by the Fake news that they will just ignore reality, and misinform their readers by continuing to promote it. So, for a long time to come we are going to have to keep repeating the facts until at long last everyone will get it.

So here’s a recap and correction to five of the most important myths about the so-called ‘Fitzpatrick incident’, which is the name given to the events of April 15th 1878 when Fitzpatrick went to arrest Dan Kelly at his mother’s home at Greta: what happened was that he was attacked by Mrs Kelly and Ned Kelly shot at and wounded him with a revolver. Even before warrants for their arrest regarding this attack were issued Dan and Ned Kelly fled into the bush, behaviour that exhibits whats known in legal circles as ‘consciousness of guilt’ – or to put it another way, innocent people dont run and hide.

1. The ‘Fitzpatrick incident’ was not the start of the Outbreak. Ned Kellys stock thieving racket had been operating with success all across the colony for many months. Inevitably, warrants were issued and as sure as night follows day, police were going to come knocking. If not Fitzpatrick, it would have been Strahan or someone else.

2. Fitzpatrick’s visit to the Kelly home was not against orders, as is claimed in the Kelly myths: it was perfectly legitimate and appropriate. Supt Nicholson had told a couple of other police a year before not to go there alone but this was never an official police Order, or ever passed on to Fitzpatrick. In any case, his boss, Sgt Whelan at Benalla authorised his visit. If going there alone was a breach of an order Fitzpatrick would have been reprimanded: he wasn’t.

3. Fitzpatrick didn’t have an arrest warrant with him because it was not necessary then and has never been necessary for a policeman to present an actual arrest document to a suspect before an arrest can be made. Mrs Kellys objection was completely wrong, and The Kelly myth about him needing to have one is misinformation.

4. Kelly supporters claim that Fitzpatrick molested Kate Kelly. This allegation was absent from every testimony about the incident until it was quite obviously invented many months later as part of the Kelly campaign to vilify police and attempt to justify their violent attack on Fitzpatrick. That campaign also invented the slander that Fitzpatrick was a drunk and a womaniser. No credible evidence exists to support either of those claims.

5. Dr Nicholson reported that the wound in Fitzpatrick’s wrist had ‘every appearance of being a bullet wound’. No scrupulously honest person who hadn’t seen the wounding happen  would ever ‘swear’ that it had been caused by a bullet, but its clear Nicholson didn’t really doubt that it WAS a bullet wound.  And. neither does any serious student of the Kelly outbreak doubt that it was a wound caused by a bullet from a gun fired by Ned Kelly.

What are the other furphies pedalled by the Kelly mobs about this incident?

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  1. From 15 April 1878 to 15 April 2023, 145 years of ridiculous lies pedalled by Kelly loving nut cases. These include Jones, whose “Short Life” book devoted Chapter 7 to denigrating and insulting Fitzpatrick, John Molony whose “I am Ned Kelly”, ditto, and John McQuilton whose “The Kelly Outbreak” similarly assailed Fitzpatrick’s reputation based entirely on Kelly lies, especially those in the lie-ridden Jerilderie letter.

    Not one of these highly reputed genius students of the Kelly outbreak gave two minutes thought to analysing Fitzpatrick’s sworn evidence to find out if it stacked up. They just took the Kelly lies and dismissed it from consideration. They said that the accounts were so confused that nobody would ever really know what happened that day at Eleven Mile Creek.

    What confused accounts, we may ask, when they never bothered to attend to Fitzpatrick’s?

    The so-called comparisons of stories by these geniuses are pure guesswork built on the discovery that Fitzpatrick’s account and the many variant tales of the Kelly clan don’t match. Well, hello Einsteins 😂🤡🤡

    None of them thought to track down everything Fitzpatrick said about what happened, piece it together and test it out to see if it added up.

    When I saw this and decided to do it myself – which took several months work over a two year period to reconstruct his account – I found that not only was what he said consistent over time, but also that most of what he said could be independently corroborated.

    That work, easily downloadable by googling “Redeeming Fitzpatrick”, give the lie to practically everything that has ever been written about the Fitzpatrick incident. It thoroughly vindicates Fitzpatrick’s reconstructed account of what happened.

    As the purpose of my article – to find out what actually happened that day – has been deliberately misrepresented by any number of Kelly nuts as an attempt to turn Fitzpatrick into some kind of saint – I can only say read it for yourself if you have not already done so. It is a straightforward attempt to objectively examine an important historical event. The conclusion is obvious: Fitzpatrick did his duty; he was arguably foolish to have allowed Dan to finish his meal rather than proceeding with the arrest without delay; but outside of that the Kelly nuts have nothing to hold against him as to what happened that day.

    His apparent time in gaol 14 years later for passing false cheques has nothing to do with the incident with the Kellys but resulted from whatever happened many years after he had gone from the police force.

    Of the learned experts who maligned Fitzpatrick for nothing, none were so foully evil as Molony who accused Fitzpatrick of raping Kate Kelly. It’s also on video at the ANL. If there is a hell for malignant historians he should be in the lowest circle with falsifiers, traitors to truth and sowers of discord.

  2. Hi David, you missed one of the biggest howlers in your list, the one that Jonesy-bones starts his chapter 7 with (which he called entirely from his own laziness in investigating it ‘The Fitzpatrick Mystery’ when even a stuffed toad would have done a better job of analysis and mystery solving if it wasn’t so far up its own biased butt hole) that Fitzpartrick headed for the Kelly house “aglow with autumn sunshine and brandy”, i.e., half pissed.

    This simple-minded nonsense came from the Kelly’s denigration of Fitzpatrick back in the day and a host of peanut-brained Kelly enthusiasts regurgitated it along with much other anti-Fitzpatrick bile ever since. These are the same idiots incapable of locating and reading Fitzpatrick’s death certificate to see that it clearly states that he died of a cancerous liver sarcoma, not chirrosis from alcoholism, as a glance at many a Kelly book and encyclopaedia indicates.

    When I started investigating Kelly history about a decade ago the rare books librarian at Monash said I shouldn’t have any trouble getting stuff academically published as practically everything written about Kelly was amateurish nonsense. He turned out to be right.

  3. Another point comes out in reviewing this: while in gaol Bricky Williamson made a statement about the Fitzpartick incident that admitted his own presence on that day. (His remission statement, VPRS 4969 Consignment P0 Unit 1 Item 52 Document: Williamson remission of six year sentence assaulting Fitzpatrick, 6 August 1881.

    There is no allegation or even a hint in it that Fitzpatrick did anything whatsoever to Kate, although that would have been dynamite in a remission appeal. There is also nothing in it to suggest that there had ever been any relationship between Fitzpatrick and Kate.

    The day after the incident when the police came to arrest Ellen Kelly, and also arrested Wiliamson, neither said anything adverse about Fitzpatrick’s behaviour towards Kate. The entire ‘Fitzpatrick assaulted Kate’ story is even more clearly fiction given these facts. Molony didn’t consider the Williamson angle. There was no evidence at all for his malicious lies; and what evidence there is actually rebuts his moronic claim that Fitzpatrick lusted after then assaulted/raped Kate Kelly.

  4. Hi David, I am told there has been some recent discussion on your Facebook page about a 1942 newspaper article by “Sir Solomon” claiming that “An order was posted up in the Benalla police station, which was the headquarters in the Kelly country, stating no constable was to approach the Kelly homestead single handed, as it was too dangerous, and no business with that family should be handled except by an experienced officer.”

    The article is here,
    We have discussed this a bit, and it sounds like someone is trying to claim that the 1942 Sir Solomon news article is proof that Fitzpatrick defied a written instruction not to go to the Kelly house alone. But any such claim is also making an assumption, that Sir Solomon’s piece constitutes historical evidence that the instruction was placed on the wall at Benalla police station.

    Against that bright idea, the RC states that Nicolson told Hayes and Thom verbally:

    1035. Was this report before of the shooting of Fitzpatrick?—Yes. I took a young constable with me part of the road, Constable Hayes, and I instructed him—similar instructions as those to Thom—and warned him never to go near that house, and to tell the other police that came there never to go near that house alone, always to have a second constable with them.
    1036. Then you had an idea they were absolutely dangerous all through?—Oh, I knew it well; and I instructed the police never to go into that house alone, simply because I knew if there were two constables together bad characters are always afraid to proceed to extremities with them, because a constable is a witness and support to the other.

    Thom and Hayes were both from Greta police station. Nicolson said:
    1019. What constable was there then?—Mounted-Constable Thom. This is my report of the man in charge at Greta.
    1020. Is this the station where you drew attention to the necessity of having an efficient man at Greta?—Yes. Mounted-Constable Hugh Thom, 2372, about eighteen years‘ service, ―32 years of age, intelligent but not smart looking, soiled dirty jumper, dirty breeches, and a crushed uniform hat, beard untrimmed, his arms clean and serviceable. Mounted Constable J. J. Hays, about 24 years of age, five months‘ service, intelligent, and promising looking, but not so smart and clean looking as when he first arrived from the depôt; the example of his superior officer, Constable Thom, in that respect has evidently not been improving to him—arms clean and serviceable.‖ I may tell you now that Mr. Hare has had the most efficient men in that district.

    The only conclusion possible from this is that Nicolson told the two Greta police not to go there alone, and for them to tell – verbally – anyone else who came to Greta police station not to go there alone. There is nothing about him instructing anyone anywhere else; nothing about any written warnings; and he told them verbally as he stated to the RC.

    Second, if there had been any such written instruction put up at Benalla, Whelan would not have authorised Fitzpatrick to swing past and arrest Dan if he was home; and it would have come out in the RC questioning if Whelan had breached any such written instruction. Indeed, Nicolson would have made that known in that context of criticising Fitzpatrick’s actions and defending his own actions.

    Once again, it seems that the maligners of Fitzpatrick are on the verge of yet another round of proving their inadequacy at anything resembling rigour in historical analysis. Such is life.

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