The Glenrowan Kelly Hub Reviewed

A Critique by Dr Stuart Dawson PhD

 

After reading about the launch of Glenrowan’s “Ned Kelly Discovery Hub” and having followed news of its escalating cost over the past three years (from $2.5M to now over $5.5M and counting), curiosity got the better of me, and I made the trek to Glenrowan in the first week of the school holidays. I had read that stakeholder consultation was done to ensure that the Kelly story told in what until recently was known as the Glenrowan siege site viewing tower would be neutral and respectful to all stakeholders – Kelly clan descendants, police family descendants, prisoners-of-the Kelly-gang descendants and generally to the memories of those caught up in the outbreak and siege. I suppose I was sceptical before I went that this would be achieved, and I can now say rightly so. 

 

 


There are many problems with the historical accuracy of the Hub signage and information about the Kelly outbreak. Far from maintaining a neutral position, much of the text idolises Ned Kelly and is negative or dismissive both of individual police and of the actions of the police during the Kelly hunt. It selectively omits much information that would, if given, objectively show Kelly in a negative light. I have written an illustrated 12 page report on numerous factual errors I encountered, which I have just sent to Wangaratta Council in the hope that these can be rectified. A copy of the report can be downloaded from the bottom of this page. This post is a short summary of some of the key issues with source evidence and suggestions for rectification.

 

 

 

The Introduction sign speaks of a 12 hour gun battle. After the Kelly gang opened fire at the arriving police, there were two main rounds of volleys between 3am and 3:30am when Ned Kelly escaped into the bush, then sporadic shooting with many periods of quiet, until Kelly emerged from the bush at dawn in an attempt to re-join his gang, with under 10 minutes of fire in what was later dubbed as his last stand. Byrne died from a bullet somewhere around 5am; some sporadic shooting occurred during the day; and Dan Kelly and Steve Hart suicided with poison in the early afternoon. There was no “twelve hour gun battle” between the gang and the police, despite there being a twelve hour siege.

 

 


The Hub entrance confronts the visitor with a laughably poor reproduction of Ned Kelly’s helmet (see the photo in my report) against a bush background that I suggest is more likely to make the visitor think of Stringybark Creek than Glenrowan or Jones’ Inn. A large picture of the town in the day would be far better, e.g., the ‘Glenrowan 1880’ etching. A ‘What Happened Here?’ sign says that “on 28 June 1880, all the members of the Kelly Gang – Ned Kelly, Dan Kelly, Joe Byrne and Steve Hart – were either captured or killed in a shootout with Victoria Police”. It would have been just as easy and much more informative  to state clearly and correctly that ‘Dan Kelly, Joe Byrne and Steve Hart were killed and Ned Kelly was captured’. That sort of inexplicable vagueness afflicts a lot of the Hub signage.

 


There are numerous signs in smallish text, often on small clear Perspex panels (see photo examples in my report), that convey brief and mostly fairly basic – and not objectively neutral but notably pro- Kelly – information about their various topics. “A book on a wall” as someone commented, and a rather dull and biased one in many cases.

 

 

An audio narration persistently refers to Ned Kelly as ‘Ned’ while referring to others by their surname, e.g. ‘Reardon’, regardless whether the person’s first name is given at first mention. This privileging of the murderer Kelly by constant use of his first name, and the comparative downgrading of his victims and the police by the constant use of their surnames, displays an obvious bias in favour of the criminal and his associates. For example, Joe Byrne and Steve Hart are persistently referred to as such using their full names; whereas their victims (Reardon etc., and especially the police, e.g. Hare; Fitzpatrick; McIntyre) are demoted in the narrative by this biased presentation.

 

 


Sitting in the limited seating upstairs in the viewing tower gives only a view of the treetops, and on one side, the ongoing construction of a new bridge. Walking around the deck one can see whatever there is to see through wire birdcage-like mesh. As the photo in my report shows, all that can be seen of the siege site on ‘Siege Street’ is some of the empty block where Jones’ Inn once stood, someone’s house with a pile of old furniture on the front porch, and the tumbledown old blacksmith’s shop. Next to that, some open ground scattered with several historically inaccurate signage posts about the siege dating from the redundant Ned Kelly Touring Route text, and an old portable lockup. Indeed, the view from the ‘viewing tower’ shows little of any interest or appeal.

 

 


Considerable trouble has been taken to produce a metal sculpture that conveys very little, as can be seen in the photo in my report. About half of it is meaninglessly labelled ‘Open forest country’ and ‘Grassy plain’; and the other half is an indecipherable topographic mess sparsely labelled with a handful of places the Kelly gang caused trouble in. Far better, and likely at far less cost, would have been a large map that showed what was where in the narrative and in particular explained that Stringybark Creek lay at the intersection of longstanding intercolonial stock theft routes, which underpinned and resulted in the Kelly outbreak.

 

A series of plaques is ranged around the edge of the viewing platform naming places identified as significant to the Kelly story, but they are light on information. At the very least they should indicate where the place is (e.g., 30 kms southwest of Mansfield; 90 kms north of Melbourne); its physical geography (flat, mountainous, open, rugged, river land, snow); who founded it as a town and when; what its population was in the most relevant year (1878, 1879, 1880, or perhaps Beechworth 1875); what its main industries were; and only then why it is relevant to the Kelly narrative. The only sign that comes close to providing this sort of information is the sign for Melbourne.

 

 

I have given a critique of factual errors in each of the dozen or so signs in my report. The statement of the attempted train derailment and ambush avoids making clear that the plan was to kill anyone alive including train crew by shooting down from the top of an embankment, shielded by the half-suits of armour in what would have become one of the sickest mass murders in modern history.

 

 


On the ground floor is a sign about the Felons Apprehension Act, that claims it reversed the assumption of innocence until proven guilty. It did no such thing. It was an Act to apprehend for trial, not a default conviction. There was a proclaimed period within which the wanted person/s could surrender prior to being outlawed. Colonial outlawry was not the same as old English outlawry under which outlawry constituted a conviction. That is the radical difference not understood by many. The conditions under which an Australian outlaw could be killed (if armed or reasonably thought to be armed) were tightly prescribed and the wanton killing of an outlaw would itself constitute murder. It is wholly irrelevant that the FAA expired the day before the siege. The warrant under which Kelly was tried for Lonigan’s murder was issued before the FAA was enacted and had nothing to do with it.

 

 


The story of Kelly’s victims via robbery and eventually murders is largely erased from the visitor’s gaze. The endless list of crime and intimidation against ordinary residents throughout the north-east by the Kelly clan and their associates, that are a constant backdrop to the Kelly narrative in Kieza’s Mrs Kelly, are passed over, with the police frequently blamed for the free choices of habitual criminals.

 

 


Much of the Hub narrative is fictionalised history, and much of that is poorly presented and vacuous. It is hard to see why a visitor would return. Even Kelly enthusiasts can see all there is to see in about half an hour. The views from the tower are unimpressive and much of the signage is factually wrong for the reasons detailed with source references in my report. I hope that the Wangaratta Council’s tourism division take the necessary steps to correct it.

NOW CLICK THE LINK BELOW TO DOWNLOAD AND PRINT YOUR COPY OF

DR DAWSONS  FULL  REPORT :

The Ned Kelly Discovery Hub at Glenrowan – A Critical Review-2

(Visited 1,254 times)

64 Replies to “The Glenrowan Kelly Hub Reviewed”

  1. Stuart’s representation and paper reflects well the bias shown at this Hub. The Ned Kelly Discovery Hub is another example of lauding a very serious criminal, and Stuart’s comments are spot on. Although I have not been there myself, I have gleaned knowledge from information supplied online and have made representations to Wangaratta Council, about the myths within the Hub, and also the signage near the siege site. No doubt they will be ignored.
    Well stated Stuart. Keep the pressure up.

    1. Hi Sam, without taking sides in federal politics I saw a great quote today from ex-PM Julia Gillard: “Don’t write crap. Can’t be that hard. And when you have written complete crap, then I think you should correct it.”

      It is clear that portions of the Hub’s text are marred by extreme selectively, exaggeration, blatant omission, factual error and occasional fabrication. Ned Kelly had zero social-political significance, and the focus needs to shift back to what has been suppressed and concealed by his promoters – his freely chosen criminal life; the life of a land-based buccaneer and rambling gambler, a plunderer mostly of other poor selectors – with few redeeming qualities.

      The tide of the narrative must now turn to focus on his victims, and the victims of others of his gang and criminal associates including the Greta Mob. Doug Morrissey’s trilogy has made some good headway in this direction,

  2. I commented in my review of the Glenrowan Kelly Hub that the reproduction helmet on the wall near the entrance was a very poor attempt at a Ned helmet. Someone asked me if it wasn’t rather supposed to be Dan’s helmet. I did the photo comparison below to show that the Hub’s display helmet is a lumpy dumpy thing that doesn’t match any of the gang’s helmets and looks like it was nicked from someone’s front gate where the letter box used to be a month ago.

    One has to wonder what the heritage consultants were drinking at the time, and whether it was on the government tab…

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  3. The Kelly Hub display is all downhil from the get-go. As you go in, one of the first displys on the right hand side is the one I’ve attached about the police. It has a copy of the first page from the December 1878 Muster Roll for the NE District; part of the insulting rant about the police from the Jerilderie letter, and a sign that I commented on in my report, about the early Victorian police that belongs to the period before the London Met style policing described in Sadlier’s Recollections (and the bobby hat uniform that was implemented in 1877); talks about a “fear of lawlessness” instead of detailing stock theft figures that amply explain it, and “Aboriginal resistance” that I’ve never heard of as being a reason for increasing country policing; and rubbish from Kelly believing the police were corrupt and biased against him and his family, without any hint that the Royal Commission’s second progress report stated that this claim was investigated and found baseless.

    This crap from the Hub is not even Year 10 social studies project level. An utterly meaningless collection of drivel with no indication of what the page of the muster roll was supposed to indicate, presumably because the jokers who put this together are incapable of putting a simple two-sentence explanation together. Allow me to help them: “Muster rolls show what police were on duty in each policing district month by month; and this page provides a partial indication – up to the letter D by alphabetical surname – of the significant increase of police numbers in the North East District in December 1878 and the stations they were drawn from. If we, the display experts, had bothered to put the other pages up, the significant extent of the increase would be obvious.”

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  4. Just noticed another Wangaratta Council bomb, in its Ned Kelly Touring Route Kelly propaganda, which they undertook to fix over 2 years ago now. Their page about Greta is here, https://nedkellytouringroute.com.au/destinations/greta/

    It says, “Greta’s police station was established in 1865 due to concern about goings on in the area. It was from Greta station that Fitzpatrick, newly arrived, rode out to the Kelly house with a belly full of booze and glory on his mind – either from making a conquest with Kate or bringing in Dan, wanted on charges of horse stealing – the incident which kicked off the events that culminated in the standoff at Glenrowan.”

    They are so deep in Jones myths that it’s like dealing with a concrete ostrich. I established back in 2015 that Fitzpatrick was not intoxicated when he went to the Kelly house. He did not have any designs on Kate Kelly, and it was the breaking up of the Baumgarten horse stealing ring – as even McQuilton concurs – that kicked of the events that culminated in the saga at Glenrowan. Fitzpatrick may have been the trigger when he attempted to arrest Dan (as the RC Second Progress Report put it) – but take away the false, idiotic and well-disproved fairy tale slurs of drinking and pursuing Kate, and any policeman who had attempted that arrest would have triggered the same reaction.

    It’s all analysed here, http://nedkelly.info/fitzpatrick.pdf and sent to Wangaratta NKTR a few years ago, but they are somehow impermeable and the only recourse is to mock them into action. Academic research output is clearly lost on them. Like grazing cattle they return again to their copy of Jones’ ‘Short Life’, and low dully, “it must have been so, moo”…

  5. Two sayings in journalism spring to mind.
    “If in doubt, leave out” falls on the side of responsible journalism/writing.
    On the flip side of this, Kelly fanticists have lifted and repeated every fake fact, magnified the miniscule and jumped to conclusions to maintain the narrative … Kelly hero; cops, squatters and the establishment bad.
    “Never let the truth get in the way of a good story,” is another saying that has long been attributed to Samuel Langhorne Clemens (1835–1910) a.k.a. Mark Twain. But even that attribution is labelled by many as suspicious.
    Maintaining the narrative is all important for the tourism industry even if it is fake.
    Beechworth and, to a lesser extent, Glenrowan have fed off the ‘Kelly outrage’ probably since 1880.
    There are plenty of reasons to visit Beechworth, not so many Glenrowan. Glenrowan was by-passed years ago. For 50 years I have thought of stopping to have a look at the seige site on  hundreds of trips up and down the Hume Hwy but have never bothered to make the effort.
    Sounds like the new Kelly Hub is not a reason to visit Glenrowan unless you need to see another example of waste of taxpayer money. Perhaps it is a reason not to visit.
    Nedkellyunmasked.com is a must read for anyone with a sense for the truth but no doubt makes the fanticists choke on their weeties.
    For anyone interested in what really is a most extraordinary story avoid 99 per cent of the popular books and don’t watch any of the films. They’re all crap!
    The 800,000 plus word Royal Commission (available free on line) is probably all you need as an original source document. Get through that and you will have a truer understanding of what really happened 1878-1880. It makes fascinating reading in itself.
    Well done Stuart Dawson.

    1. Hi Don, I have been pushing the idea for a while that tourism could make at least as much money out of changing the narrative to one about Kelly as Australia’s most notorious criminal, highlighting all the place he and his clan and associates plundered and the trait of victims they left in their wake. Farmers stock stolen, horses mutilated in revenge acts, haystacks and fences burned, people threatened, bashed and intimidated, armed threats of violence and death, with Kelly getting his long overdue just desserts at the end. But there is no appetite for it as the council bureaucrats and departmental flunkies who find things are unable to see beyond the fictional narrative that dominated from the 1940s to 2012 when Ian MacFarlane’s Kelly Gang Unmasked blew it to smithereens. And so the fictions grind on, although some progress is being made. It’s like playing whack-a-mole. Just when you think one myth has been totally debunked, some nong comes up with a hybrid version of the same rubbish.

      A good example is how the huge amount of so called teaching resources echo the false Hero/Villain dichotomy popularised by Jones, and treat teaching that nonsense as developing students’ critical thinking skills 😂 All you get is factually dumbed-down students presenting drivel dressed up as an argument. Pathetic, really. An anti-education which repeats the tired old dross about Bold Ned Kelly Good/ Rich Fat Squatters Bad/ Police Very Bad. Great way to educate children, not.

      1. Visited the Kelly hub yesterday, January 22.
        I was appalled. So many factual errors and then this statement sprinkled through the audiovisuals …
        “Much of the tension that led to the siege at Glenrowan came from friction over ownership of the land following the dispossession of the traditional owners”.
        Bollocks! It was the horse thieves and cattle duffers led by Kelly leading up to the Baumgarten case, Fitzpatrick’s efforts to arrest Dan Kelly, the murder of three police and a police informer plus the robbery of two banks that led to the siege at Glenrowan. You and your readers know this.
        The lookout over the shootout ground tells the visitor nothing. A year 12 student could do a better job of portraying the truth of the Kelly affair.
        They also overplay the aboriginal trackers role, downplay the police and disparage Sergeant Steele, yet again.
        Can only hope your efforts to find and communicate the truth cuts through and the numbskulls who put this together correct this abomination..

        1. Hi Don, I followed up with the Wangaratta Council late last year to see what action might be taken as a sresult of my sending them my downloadable review linked at the bottom of the main blog post. Eventually I was told that the project comittee who had put teh Hub content together had been disbanded once the project was “completed” (if we can say that about the half-baked text content that they dignify withn the word “signage”) and that all feed back (mine included) would be reviewed at some point down the line, whenever that is. I pointed out that visitors are being badly misinformed about the Glenrowan episode and much else by factually incorrect signage until such time as it is rectified, but got no further than the above response, that all the feedback wil be reviewed at some future point.

          I also pointed out that most of the factualy incorrect signage could be corrected for no more than the prce of printing some new signs, which wouldn’t be much. In fact, they could do it on a normal computer printer with light brown paper from Officeworks or similar. But clearly such basic concern with historical accuracy is not the Wangaratta Council’s concern.

          You’tre ight, absolutely none of the tension that led to the siege at Glenrowan had anything to do with Aboriginal dispossession and everything to do with the banditti on the run and planning to derail a police special train (for which incidentally there was no need to kill Aaron Sherritt as an incentive to get the police to head up there).

          Any well-confirmed sighting of the gang such as yahooing up the main street of Wangaratta and firing some shots in the air would have had the same effect of incentivising a special train. It is entirely an Ian Jones fiction that the special train decoy plan “required” the death of Aaron Sherritt. As with much else in his book, he has taken an event – in this case, murdering Sherritt – and retrospectively inserted some sort of deliberate cause-and-consequence into it. It is pure fiction writing. Yes, the gang may reasonably have thought that killing Sherritt in a hut with some police in it would incite a special train. But no, that was not the only way to do it; and as it turned out, it didn’t go as “planned” as the hut police didn’t go for assistance for a long while and sone false starts.

          Further, if it was the plan that Jones envisaged, that Sherritt’s death would initiate the train that they would derali at Glenrowan, there is no way he could pretend that Ned Kelly wasn’t 100 percent behind the death of Sherritt. The whole Sherritt argument he put up is nonsense. All Sherritt’s death was, was Byrne’s revenge: “That bastard will never put me away again”, as Byrne said at the time. Killing Sherritt was also unnecessary if the plan involved simply letting the hut police know the Kelly gang had found them out. All the gang (or Dan and Byrne) needed to do to achieve that was to rock up and fire some shots in the air while calling the police out, then threatening to go and shoot it out with them at Wangaratta, then scarpering. No, no brownie points for Jones in writing up that episode, I’m afraid.

          Ans yes, the lookout over the siege area tells the visitor nothing about anything, although you do get a good view of the elaborate rail line and bridge redevlelopment…

  6. In my review of the Hub signage I just realised I missed doing the Greta sign when I went through my photos. It’s in the photo attached below. Get a load of this drivel: “The original township, now known as Greta West, was established in 1853. The same year, the colony of Victoria established a police force. The first police arrived in Greta in 1870. The posting was considered particularly tough as it was situated deep in Kelly Country.”

    So Greta West had no police for its first 17 years. Or did it? According to the Ned Kelly Touring Route, “Greta’s police station was established in 1865 due to concern about goings on in the area”, a 5-year discrepancy with the Hub sign. So which date is right? The answer – perhaps unsurprisingly – is neither of them

    Greta is listed in the Ovens District in the online Victoria Police & Police Station Database here, https://helendoxfordharris.com.au/victoria-police/
    It had a police station at least as early as 1857, when Mtd. Constable W.L. EDWARDS was stationed there. And how many police were sent there, to this “particularly tough” posting? The text says “The first police arrived…”, which is plural. But it was just one policeman. It was one of numerous one-man police stations scattered across Victoria.

    The text says the Greta police station was situated “deep in Kelly country”. Could anyone speak of Greta as “Kelly country’ in 1857 when the Greta police station opened? Not exactly… Little Ned was still living with ma and da at Beveridge, somewhere between 2 and 3 years old depending which book you pick up. Most of the Hub signage is like this: hare brained drivel that sounds ever so plausible because Museum Experts dun it.

    Let’s move on. When the Kellys eventually got to Greta (or strictly speaking the Eleven Mile Creek property), “Young Ned was soon known to the local police.” More romancing here: he was known as Young Kelly to the newspapers after his Harry Power apprentice armed robbery escapades, not Young Ned. “He sought refuge at the station when chased by his uncles Pat and Jim Quinn.” One of these was famous for trying to stove a man’s head in with an auger, but we won’t learn that in the Kelly Hub.

    Next, Ned “was badly beaten by Senior Constable Hall for resisting arrest.” So, the charge was resisting arrest? No, that’s not why he was beaten. What was the reason Hell was trying to arrest Ned? We’ll never know, because the Hub writers have no clue or they’d tell us. Like, “Ned was badly beaten by Senior Constable Hall for resisting arrest while being apprehended for XYZ.” Come on, Hub writers, you can do it…

    The signage limps on: “In 1878, Constable Fitzpatrick of the Greta police went alone to the Kelly homestead to arrest Dan for cattle stealing.” Wrong: Fitzpatrick was from the Benalla police and on his way to Greta. Many police worked alone at one man police stations. So Hubsters, your problem is what? (We know, it’s the Jones fiction that Nicholson had ordered the no police were to go to the Kelly house alone; another myth exposed in my Redeeming Fitzpatrick article here, http://www.nedkelly.info/fitzpatrick.pdf

    Notice once again how Ned and Dan are constantly referenced by their first names, all matey; while Fitzpatrick’s first name is missing in action.

    “In events that set off the hunt for the Kelly Gang, Fitzpatrick was wounded in a scuffle.” First, the Kelly gang is generally capitalised by Kelly enthusiasts, as here. Second, the Kelly gang didn’t exist until Stringybark Creek when the gang of four formed up. Before that, the police were first only looking for Ned and Dan separately, for horse stealing. After the Fitzpatrick Incident, the police were looking for the two Kelly brothers, not for a Kelly gang. Third, being attacked and then wounded by a bullet, collapsing, being discussed for finishing off, and the rest of it, is hardly a scuffle.

    Can we stomach another bungle? OK: “Ellen Kelly, along with her neighbour and son-in-law, were arrested, tried, and found guilty of attempted murder.” No: they were found guilty of aiding and abetting the attempted murder of a police constable. Not of the attempted murder itself.

    The Hub has excelled itself here: about 8 factual historical errors and two or three misstatements in one little plaque. I want to know how much the writers got paid for this nonsense, and when it is going to be fixed.

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    1. Ive said it before and I’ll say it again : this kind of dogs breakfast of Kelly history telling is what everyone should expect when the job is handed over to a ‘professional’ media company with supposedly clever people who imagine they can walk into the Kelly story, nut it out in next to no time and produce the goods. The providers of all the historical materials for the Hub ought to be asked to send back their pay check – which I daresay would have been substantial.

      Not being on Facebook Stuart, you may not know that the Project managers involved a few people with ’skin in the game ‘ such as Noeleen Lloyd and Leo Kennedy, and asked them to review the material before the Hub opened. A great idea but it seems by all accounts that their opportunity for close scrutiny was very limited, it came very late in the piece and I dont think they were expected to do much more than approve it. In fact, it appeared to me as if these people were being used by the Project Managers to give them cover if historical errors and the like were uncovered. They were not given any say in the overall design or tone of the project and only got to see the finished product…

      The problem is of course that the Tourists who visit the Hub will not know that so much of what they’re reading is fake news. The authorities are probably going to be stunned at the volume of corrections the place is going to need : I reckon they should close it down until its tidied up, because for now its actually misinforming people.

      Having said all that Stuart, I do think youre expecting far far too much if you were thinking the Hub was going to be devoted to the story of the outbreak that we have been uncovering on these pages and on FB for the last decade, you know the actual true historically accurate and evidence based one. Given that the area has been steeped in Jones mythology for decades I think we should accept that progress will be slow but steady toward the truth, and it ill take years. I think we should accept it as a small step in the right direction, and take at face value the commitment by Hub managers to correct mistakes going forward.

      To that end I believe we should try to be moderate in our criticisms, and try to make them constructive and helpful to the Hub. Getting rid of Jones and the Republic was a significant move in the right direction and I think we should encourage it to continue.

  7. Hi David, I think I was was fairly moderate in my critical review, which I have sent to Wangaratta Council tourism, Heritage Victoria (who the Council told me signed off on the content), and a couple of other places, but the blog world is a different place where I can be more provocative and forthright. The tourism people told me that my report would be considered when they review Hub feedback, but who knows when that might be. I have given numerous corrections in my report, but know from experience that experts don’t like being told what to think. They are oh so clever, aren ‘t they? (You know the old joke about experts!)

    No-one seems to be in charge of the Hub as a contact point. What has really got my goat is the sign in the Hub that says you can scan a QR code to access the primary and secondary sources used for the content, but it just leads to a domain name registry. I’ve attached a photo below if anyone want to test it.

    That wouldn’t be so bad if it was just basic imcompetence – like tif hey just hadn’t linked the document to the QR code URL yet, and just linked it after it was drawn to their attention. But it’s much worse than that. I emailed them on the QR link on their visitor feedback form – a different QR code to the one below – the day after my visit, so two weeks ago now. It took me to an online form which I filled out, explaining that the source references QR code didn’t work, and asking them to please fix it, and to email me the source reference list. I was online enquiry number 4. They haven’t replied in 2 weeks, so I feel free to call them hopeless.

    A week later I asked the tourism section the same thing – could they please fix the source references QR code ASAP, and also email me either the source references document or a URL link where I could access it. That request has vanished into the land of non-response too. These people are taxpayer and ratepayer funded. That’s our taxes paying for this utter shite, and no-one shows any sign of taking responsibility for it and undertaking to promptly fix it. I think your idea above ie 100% correct: they should shut the Hub down until the utter garbage they have perpetrated is corrected. Someone or some group has made a lot of money out of putting up glossy lies and falsehoods with an alarming degree of historical incomptence.

    I am aware that a stakeholder consultation session took place; also that it was done over Zoom or similar with draft materials, not pre-production product. It was said to me by a participant that the session was tokenistic and that the feedback they provided to the consultant/s was ignored. The Hub seem to think that they invited input widely at some developmental stage of the project. Well, how frigging useless does a historical consultant have to be to ignore recent published academic research from Ian Macfarlane onwards, demolishing the previous 70 years of Kelly fairy stories, putting forward fact-based, evidence-based critique and corrections, and still churning out regurgited Kelly fanzine drivel; plus getting basic historical facts wrong into the bargain? Totally frigging useless is the answer.

    The Hubs’ inability to respond to two very polite requests, a week apart, for a copy of the advertised primary and secondary source reference list, has got me going. You can’t tell me that only one person would know where that list is and that they can’t be located. As far as I’m concerned they are total turkeys and I will continue to embarass them by exposing their historical moronicity until it is corrected. And I can say there are several other people who are just as cheesed off as I am; at least as much if not more.

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    1. I understand your frustration Stuart, but it is what it is! Public servants and bureaucracies are notoriously inefficient and slow wherever they are encountered, this is not something confined to the Kelly Hub!!

      I’ll just say again, the Hub IS a significant move in the right direction but theres a still along way to go, and unfortunately the first few steps will have to be backwards to undo some of the obvious blunders on display.

      My first objective would be to find whoever it is that will accept responsibility for the ongoing development and improvements of the Hub, not so that that person can be harassed or blamed or publicly criticised in any way but just so we all have a contact point to whom helpful positive suggestions and comments can be directed. At present as you are finding out, nobody seems to have been prepared to say the Buck stops with Me. The private consultancy that put it all together seems to have taken their fee and shot through…

  8. OK pigeons… On your marks… Get set… Go!!!

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  9. What we could have had: The Penleigh Boyd and Bill Denheld Ned Kelly Centre proposal of 2003. A striking design that inspires. Instead of a two level toilet for pigeons.

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    1. Now THATS a Tower!

      Imagine getting up there and seeing all the way across to the Victorian Alps – virtually all of Kelly country.

      But it had no chance in 2003 – Ian Jones was in control of everything back then and he couldn’t stand Bill, so would have made it clear to anyone thinking about it that it would have only gone ahead over his dead body.

      Imagine what power that man had – he told Peter Fitzsimons not to read Ian MacFarlanes great groundbreaking research – and so Peter didnt, and he didnt mention it in his 2013 doorstopper. I wonder if that fact about Ian Jones will get a mention on the IJ Tribute site…

  10. It is important that we all continue to agitate and continue to hammer the facts with the people responsible for this fictitious nonsense. The Wangaratta Council has been VERY slow in removing myths, that have been brought to attention on numerous occasions with evidence presented. The brochure that is still being presented across the Ned Kelly Touring Route contains far too many myths that Wangaratta Council claim will be removed when supplies of the pamphlet run out. Two years on and the rubbish is still being presented to the public. As a result of the myths presented at the Hub, I contacted Convergence Design International, who apparently wrote the rubbish presented. They refused to phone me back and referred me to Wangaratta Council, and Heritage Victoria. I spoke to Heritage Victoria yesterday and amazingly got a phone call back. I complained to them regarding the numerous myths, and provided evidence of same. I requested that their approval for the wording that contains numerous myths be withdrawn until all the myths are removed, not just from the Hub, but also from signage at the siege site. I will keep the pressure on. I have considered initiating a Supreme Court injunction to force Wangaratta Council to remove all the myths. That may yet be an option.
    Keeping the pressure on, and agitating with facts and consistently bothering them, will, in the end, get a result.

    1. Hi Sam, Wangaratta Council also received a critique of their Ned Kelly Touring Route brochure from me over two years ago as I recall. They need to pulp any remaining stock. If they are suffering from some crisis of environmental consciousness that means they don’t want to do that – and in these days of council controlled paper recycling collection it is hard to see what their problem with that might be – they have no excuse whatsoever for not immediately removing that ridiculous old brochure from all online download links under their control. Especially from the NKTR website. Next time I come across any I’ll scoop them up and trash them; wish I’d thought of it last time I was in Beechworth.

  11. Glenrowan Kelly worshipper’s shrine to Ned. Funding source unclear. Purpose unknown. Moral ambiguity status – confused. Brass plaque repurposed from deceased local dentist.

    Poor Ned, you’re better off dead
    At least you’ll get some peace of mind
    You’re out on the track
    They’re right on your back
    Boy they’re ‘gonna hang you high

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    1. The Kelly Hub has these cutsie little give away stickers and fridge magnets, about 6cm and 5cm diameter respectively. Design cost? Printing cost? Money’s no problem when your’e spending someone else’s, hey Wangaratta Council?

      Looks like Ned had a wooden head, not much between his ears;
      Looking at the story of the fortified hut, they got through a lot of beers!
      What will you see when you unlock the Hub, will you look through a murder’s eyes?
      When you pull on the catch and you flip back the latch, will you see through his clever disguise?

      (My entry for the Hub Ned art competition. OK, OK, I know it won’t win already.)

      Attachment  Hub-magnet.pdf

  12. “It was hot work shooting at the police. Joe Byrne stopped to grab a drink at the bar, but was shot in the groin and fatally wounded.” (Then they called him Nobby-All.)

    Hot work, hey Glenrowan signwriters! Where did you come up with that nonsense?

    “Three hostages were caught in the crossfire and died: George Metcalf, Martin Cherry, and sweet, young Jack Jones.”

    Hey Glenrowan signwriters, George Metcalf didn’t die in the siege, but no-one would guess that from your signage. Why don’t you tell the visitors what actually happened: Metcalf was shot in the face by Ned Kelly before the siege and kept prisoner, not allowed to leave and get medical aid for himself.

    Read all about it!
    http://www.nedkelly.info/metcalf.pdf

    Hey Wangaratta Council tourism: You’ve been misinforming tourists about Glenrowan for over a decade now. Everyone who visits there leaves more historically ignorant and misinformed than when they arrived. All your old signage is garbage.

    You’ve been told that for at least the last three years. When are you going to paint it over or remove it?

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  13. Sharon Hollingsworth says: Reply

    Stuart, the mention of “hot work” is found in Max Brown’s book. “When Reardon recounted how his son was shot and how he himself escaped from the hotel, one of the Commissioners remarked facetiously, “That was hot work!” – to which unfeeling remark Reardon replied sharply : “Hot work! You would not like to be there, I can tell you.”

  14. Sharon Hollingsworth says: Reply

    Even more mention of hot work as concerns Joe Byrne. In Sadleir’s book he said “We were told that Byrne had been firing, and was in great spirits, boasting of what the gang were going to do. The work was hot, and he went to the counter for a drink…”

    1. Hi Sharon, the Sadleir reference sounds like you found what they used. But I suspect that the Glenrowan signage crew would not have read Sadleir for their tourist info, and a lot of their other signage is obviously straight from Jones. I wonder if Jones has that passage from Sadleir? I’ll have a look 👀

      Also, heading the signboard “No Surrender” is a bit rich, as we’ve talking about a gang of criminals trying to evade capture here, not a military campaign (unless of course one drank deep of the brew of you-know-who).

      That 1919 verse poem by Robbitt Jon Rabbit was most likely responsible for the romantic revision of Kelly into some kind of General…

    2. Hi again Sharon, I’ve copied the whole paragraph from Sadleir p. 235:
      “One item of news from the released prisoners was that Byrne was lying dead inside, shot by the police shortly before. We were told that Byrne had been firing, and was in great spirits, boasting of what the gang were going to do. The work was hot, and he went to the counter for a drink. Finding that the weight of his armour prevented him throwing back his head to swallow the liquor, he lifted the apron-shaped plate with one hand while with the other he lifted the glass to his mouth. In this attitude a chance bullet struck him in the groin, and spinning round once he fell dead.”

      So we can get something like “It was hot work shooting at the police. Joe Byrne stopped to grab a drink at the bar”, but it is still an exaggeration of what the released prisoners/s said. What it says is that Joe had been firing, and had stopped firing, and was boasting about what the gang were going to do. That is different a emphasis from the impression given by the Glenrowan signwriters, that Joe had stopped shootng to “grab a drink” then go on shooting; but that is not the sense of the text, which is that Joe had ceased to shoot for some time and was spending time boasting, and that he subsequently spent time organising himself to get a drink down. There was no “grab a drink” between shots as seen in some Westerns. This may seem to be making a mountain out of a molehill, but it reflects the signwriters’ excesses when writing text suposedly narrating accurately what happened.

      Jones doesn’t appear to have quoted Sadleir’s passage or drawn from it in that section, so the signwriters have had to use their own frlight of fancy. But checking Jones SL 2008 about Byrne’s death reduced me to hysterics. Page 314 has the tale recycled fromJones’ 1967 Wangaratta Kelly seminar (in Man & Myth) that Kelly walked three times throughn the police line in armour. In SL he has Kelly drop back in to the Inn just in time to be toasted by Joe raising his glass, then to see Joe die, then to order the removal of Byrne’s body, then to head off again into the night to meet Tom Lloyd and prepare for a final battle etc., etc. All fairy tale nonsense that I demolished in minute detail in the Republic Myth book. What Kelly did was lie around in the bush after his first and only exit from the Inn around 3:30am, meeting no-one, unable to mount his horse which stayed in teh same place all night, alone cold and bleeding, until he roused himself for his dawn walk. All source references are in my Republic Myth book. Jones’ creative use of source references to balance his teetering fiction can be analysed and found wanting by anbyone willing to spend the time, as I did, in the back of his Short Life book.

  15. One thing I noticed when I was in Glenrowan is that someone has vandalised the Ann Jones Inn sign again. If you zoom in to the photo below, you can see there is only one white pole to the left and rear of the grey ‘Glenrowan Inn’ tourist sign.

    Up on the left of the white pole there is a little bit of white wood. That is all that remains of the sign. The other pole is not lying on the ground there, it is completely gone. Some readers may reemember that the Jones Inn replica sign was stolen some years ago. It was in one of the newspapers back then, but I couldn’t find the article now. Someone who knows the Glenrowan history people might have the details.

    It was replaced with a new replica sign that was there for quite a while, at least a couple of years, and that second replica has now been destroyed by a vandal. It is sad to see that sort of behaviour happening to a historical object, regardless that it was a replica.

    While I deplore the utter misinformational crap written on most of the Glenrowan siege area tourist signage by the Wangaratta Council tourism people, I equally deplore acts of vandalism to historical markers. I regard the paint attacks on the Melbourne statues of Redmond Barry and Captain Cook by historically ingnorant ignoramuses every few years as sickening acts of vandalistic stupidity. Attacking such things, and replicas of them, just results in dumbing down. Those two figure were giants of their times, and to pretend otherwise is wanton stupidity.

    Some readers might remember that Melbourne City Council removed the brass plaque that I recall as a child seeing in Collins Street, with the words ascribed to the explorer John Batman, “This is the place for a village.” The left wing commie types on the Council decided it should go years ago; and regardless of a lot of protest letters, the cultural termites did it anyway.

    I hope the Glenrowan tourism people get a new replica Ann Jones Inn sign up as a matter or priority. There is not much left in Glenrowan from the Kelly era, and that was one of the few things that acted as a genuine mnemonic of those days. A much loved and photographed icon.

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  16. Noeleen Lloyd says: Reply

    Hi Stuart

    The sign was not vandalised. It was removed after it was damaged and partially blown over during a particularly intense storm. The signpost itself was also discovered to have been damaged by termites.

    This sign was placed on the site with permission of the private owners of the site by the previous community group known as ‘The Glenrowan Improvers’ – and not by the tourism arm of the Rural City of Wangaratta.

    It has never been publicly funded, never vandalised and not stolen. The previously removed sign was returned and is held privately.

    Any signage on the property is at the discretion of the private owners.

    Noeleen

    1. Thanks Noeleen. No one would guess that, as what I saw and can be seen in my photo is one of the two poles of the sign, with the second pole missing. Removing one pole only is a strange way to remove a sign, yes? I note your comment that the sign was damaged on a storm and that this explains it, so OK.

      If you enlarge the photo by scrolling you can see a fragment of the sign still on the remaining pole, with only the letter N remaining – the last letter of the word ‘accommodation’. This suggests the sign was broken off the pole. However from what you say this is also the result of storm damage.

      I therefore apologise for being upset that the sign appeared to have been vandalised and will cheerfully keep out of it. If the property owners and the Glenrowan Improvers don’t care, why should I after that telling off. The Hub is still full of crap though.

  17. Noeleen Lloyd says: Reply

    It’s not a telling off Stuart.

    It’s just providing information that I know to inform.

    The Improvers are like many small and even large community groups – volunteers that struggle to get new recruits. Volunteering is not as popular as it once was and is a thankless job most of the time, despite what many think. . It is after all unpaid – and I am in a number of Them.

    I don’t think it’s fair to to say they don’t care. I’m told there’s been a revival of the Improvers and who knows… maybe it will lead to more… but once again fundraising and writing applications for grants is tough.

    The owners have allowed signs there in the past. I am sure they may again.

    1. Thanks Noeleen. A builder is fixing a door at my place tomorrow. I will show him a photo of the Glenrowan Inn sign before it was damaged and ask him what he would guess it would cost to make a replica. He won’t have the slightest interest in doing that, but just a guess at the cost.

      1. OK all, the builder’s estimate for a sign on posts like the photos of the Glenrowan Inn soo is just approximate as based on front and side photos, but assuming 90cm square treated pine posts for the main poles, around $1,000, or for hardwood posts, could be heading for $1,500 as timber prices have escalated. So about $1,000 for the sign set in holes with concrete, up to another $500 more for hardwood. That’s assuming someone up Glenrowan way would do it at a similar cost.

        Being me, I would start by measuring the previous one that Noeleen says someone has, then asking around for bits of wood of those n measurements that might be donated. I’m sure you would have no trouble finding a volunteer carpenter up there if you had the materials ready.

        You could probably ask the local shopkeepers and Kelly attractions people to put donations buckets up with a photo of what the collection is for. Keep an eye on the buckets as any Kelly types would likely nick the cash 💰😂 After all, the real ones plundered their fellow small selectors (but you won’t learn that in the Kelly Hub. See Doug Morrissey’s ‘Ned Kelly and Horse and Cattle Stealing’. Victorian Historical Journal 66.1 (1995), 29-48.)

      2. Thinking about it more, there are plenty of photos of the Ann Jones Inn sign – original and relicas – online. It would be easy enough to measure the one remaining vertical pole and the thickness of the sign from the remaining fragment; also its height from the ground and perhaps its height up the pole. A new replica should be pretty straightfoward with the amount of info accessible.

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        1. Sharon Hollingsworth says: Reply

          Stuart, it seems great minds think alike! I know you are talking about reproducing the replica sign as it has been in the recent past, but I recently have been thinking and wondering just how high did the original Inn sign stand? In all the old photos it is nearly to the top of one of the chimneys and way over the height of men of average height standing near it. I wonder if she did that so that it could be seen from the distance? Or seen in case someone or something was blocking it or was it that high so no one could deface it?

          1. Hi Sharon, a lot of those photos are taken from a distance back and slightly uphill so that makes the Inn sign looks higher than it was. I’ll put one up in a next post below. Here’s a sketch that suggests the sign height was only about half the chimney height. My guess is that it was big enough to be clearly seen from the station. I don’t thiknk anyone would have been defacing buisiness signs in those days, but you never know. I don’t recall it being mentioned as something larrikins would do.

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          2. Hi Sharon, here’s a comparison photo. The bottom of the sign does look mounted higher than the man in the picture, but still well under chimney height.

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          3. Here’s a good one, a wide view of the Inn and sign, plus the outbuilding where Martin Cheery was dragged from, plus the tents. This photo is from https://www.lovellchen.com.au/lc/glenrowan-clmp/

            Those Glenrowan people could set up a GoFundMe or GiveSendGo page to raise funds for a new replica sign if they did the costing for materials and labour.

            Trying to ask the Wanagaratta Council or government for a money grant is a waste of time. They’d spend at least as much on one week of one bureaucrats’s wages (including office on-costs) than the sign would cost; and it would take in real terms several weeks of paper shuffling up and down the line, so several thousands of dollars wages for the donkeys to say yes or no. Forget about it. If the Glenrowan Improvers or whoever up there want to do it, just do it yourselves.

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      3. A side view of the Ann Jones Inn sign.

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  18. Sharon Hollingsworth says: Reply

    Stuart, I do vaguely recall something about a previous incarnation of the replica sign (just not this latest one) being stolen. Everyone laughed about it maybe being in someone’s pool room. I agree that it should be replaced as it is a much treasured backdrop for photos.

    1. Hi Sharon, there was something that happened to it. Noeleen’s first reply said “The previously removed sign was returned and is held privately.” Then said it had never been stolen. Anyway I’m not wasting any more time on what ‘removed and returned’ means; my whole point was that hundreds of people photographed themselves in front of it and it was part of that familiarisation of history that so many of us love to see. Therefore I would like to see a new replica in place. That’s all my post was about.

  19. Anonymous says: Reply

    A true narrative of the Kelly gang of bushrangers

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    1. That beats the hell out of the Kelly Hubs colouring competition

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      1. Shoot straight up and turn him into Joe Byrne

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  20. Sharon Hollingsworth says: Reply

    Stuart, yes, different angles can create illusions of height, witness those plastic candy cane walkway decorations that are lined up in photos that seem to be very high but when you get them they barely go to your knees! All an illusion (catfishing!). In one photo it was like 2/3 of the way up the chimney height, so I said nearly to top. Maybe she wanted it at least high and wide enough that it could be seen by folks getting off the train? Still, it would be nice to have the modern replica of any size or thickness back.

    1. 💯💯💯

  21. Another view of the Glenrowan viewing tower observation deck. Observe how the green collapsing fence has a gap in it. If that is supposed to represent Ned Kelly’s green sash, I’m a monkey’s uncle. Maybe the gap is where his brains fell through. The wooden structure on the far side is the top of the lift, so that people who can’t walk up the circular outer staircase can catch a ride. The wood will age badly in the bright full strength sun and open to all weather. Whatever genius thought this up has rocks in their head. The maintenace costs will rack up badly over time.

    Imagine someone in a wheelchair going up there – they might be able to wheel over to one of the walls and peer over it with a bit of a strain. This photo was taken around 11:30am on Friday 22 September. As you can see, there’s a real party going on at the Hub, people everywhere… What a great return on Wangaratta’s $5.5 million dollar tourst investment – not.

    The center mushroom should be turned into a free electric BBQ so you could have sausage sizzles up there. That might get a few people up. The Kelly nuts could bring an esky, a hamper and a slab and spend the afternoon getting plastered.

    If they put that green plastic grass all over the concrete floor it would be a lot more inviting. But much harder to clean. I guess they couldn’t afford tiles. Pink tiles would be good, like the old railway toilets used to have. And the “Don’t Spit” tile every few metres just to remind the yobbos where thye are, in a fine public building.

    Those little table-like stands scattered around the outer edge are metal plaques inscribed with error-ridden nonsense about the various towns the Kelly gang molested. It’s a negative celebration of victimhood – hey, we were robbed by the Kelly gang! That’s our place in history! Not, from this place brave men struck out to bring the criminal murderers to justice. We don’t hear such sentiments of the day in the Kelly Hub. We rarely hear anything of the victim’s voices. The whole signage is by and large dreadful Kelly slurping drivel.

    Look at the way the side support poles all lean down on an angle. Postmodern ugliness and symbolic decline and decay. The whole thing looks like a slide into oblivion. The Beechworth Gaol stonebreaking and muster yards are more inviting. And interesting.

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  22. Anonymous says: Reply

    that looks like the courtyard of a hotel somewhere lol.

  23. Hi Anonymous, the closest thing I could find with a google image search was what looks like a toilet behind a “waterhole preceinct” at the Taronga Zoo in W.A.
    https://dugaldsaunders.com.au/zoos-waterhole-precinct-officially-opened/

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  24. 26 October 1878, the Kelly gang murder Constables Thomas Lonigan, Michael Scanlon, and Sergeant Michael Kennedy in cold blood at Stringybark Creek. The unarmed Constable Thomas McIntyre immedately put his arms up in surrender when the gang called for him and Lonigan to do so as they emerged from their hiding place behind a large stand of speargrass. Lonigan was shot dead by Ned Kelly in that ambush murder when he began to run, reaching behind his back for his revolver in its button-down horse trooper’s holster. He never got it out of its case. Dan Kelly commented on this straight afterwards. Lonigan never got behind any logs to defend himself. Ned Kelly lied about his cold blooded murder to save face by pretending there had been a risk of armed resistance. Lonigan never had a chance.

    Troopers Scanlon and Kennedy were similarly ambushed as they returned from patrol some time later. McInytre was ordered on pain of execution to call them to surrender as they drew close, and did so. The gang started firing while McIntyre was still calling to the men. Scanlon was shot dead while in the process of dismounting to the ground, trying to get to the rifle slung around his shoulder. It is unclear which of the gang fired the shot that killed him.

    Kennedy dismounted and managed to draw his revolver to defend himself as the gang kept firing. The unarmed McIntyre managed to grab Kennedy’s horse when it ran close by him, and escape the scene or he too would have been executed. The wounded Kennedy was then pursued through the bush by at least two of the gang for more than a kilometer until grievously wounded again. He had managed to fire back a few times, but his six shot revolver was never going to be very effective against men armed with a rifle and shotgun as well as revolvers. He never had a chance. Some claim from Kelly tales that he reloaded his revolver during his flight, but there is no reason to assume he had an extra packet of bullets on his person. The brutality of the pursuit of a wounded man through the bush is never highlighted in modern tales of the Kelly gang. Once the Kellys caught up with him, he was interrogated for at least one and a half hours until executed by a shotgun blast to his chest, fired by either Ned or Dan Kelly.

    The Kelly gang then turned out the pockets of the three murdered men, robbing the corpses of finger rings and watches. So much for the “heros” of the later Kelly myth. No-one thought them anything remotely heroic at the time.

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  25. Only 2 weeks to go and it’s all over for another year!

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  26. Stuart on hats says: Reply

    Guess what, the Victoria Police Museum is open again at its new location and has apparently set up a Kelly section again. I won’t be in the city for a while, but will post some photos and comments after I’ve seen it. It has been closed for a very long time, over a year, so we will see if they have spent their time wisely as regards their display text.

    The bobby style helment shown here was introduced in 1877 and of course is the style issued to Constable Alexander Fitzpatrick when he joined the force in 1877.

    This replaced the old stovepipe style troopers hats for a more “friendly” public image along the lines of the London Metropolitan Police bobby style helmet. Helmets served the same function as they and hats and uniform caps do today. They lend a perceptioon of height and therefore strength to the wearer in addition to providing whatever level of weatherproofing and protection they are designed for.

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  27. Sharon Hollingsworth says: Reply

    Question. Are these Stu and Stuart on hats and other name variations OUR Stuart or someone trying to be cute? Just curious. Regardless, SOH is behind the times as most of us have all seen photos of the new setup at the police museum with the armour at certain fb groups. I liked it but many said the suits were too close together and not spread out enough and you could not see the back, etc.

    1. Hi Sharon, it is my variation of names to highlight that these were new posts, to distinguish them from a string of posts by Stuart so people would see they were new!
      Apparently behind the times as I don’t have facebook!

  28. Sharon Hollingsworth says: Reply

    Stuart, whew! Thanks for that, I was starting to get a wee bit concerned that someone was having fun at your expense. I thought it might be someone who was making the rounds! I will send you the photos of the new display for your eyes only. They are from a private fb page that does not wish for their photos to be taken to other sites/pages without express permission.

    1. Hi Sharon, that will be great, and promise not to share further. I will take plenty of my own photos when I can get time to go there, and will put them up good or bad for anyone to see, just like my Hub photos.

      Incidentally Heritage Victoria replied to my sending them my critical Hub review and feedback, that they had only signed off on the permit and any comments about the content should probably go to the Wangaratta Council. So they have washed their hands of anything to do with the blantant historical nonsense that the Hub purveys.

      This is interesting given that the Wangaratta Council’s initial reply to my critique was that Heritage Victoria signed off on the content!!! The council did say however that feedback would be reviewed at some point. I suggested that the point be earlier rather than later given the high number of factual errors in the Hub’s text, but the shameless council did not respond to that.

      It seems that a few unidentified people have made all the important decisions and tten walked away. They were happy enough to spend $5.5 dollars (and rising) getting the story wrong though. 🤡🤡🤡

  29. More nonsense in the Hub signage. The first panel says that after the opening volley of shots – which it fails to mention was fired by the Kelly gang – “Ned takes off on his horse to the site of the lifted rail line”. In fact after the opening volley Ned and the gang were encased in their armour and the Jones Inn was just beginning to be surrounded as the police started to fan out. Ned did not then take off on his horse to the site of the broken train line. He stayed with the gang at the Inn firing at the police, with two rounds of lengthy volleys fired between 3am and 3:30am, when Ned escaped out the back before the Inn was fully surrounded, then spent the night hiding in the bush. His foot was shot ijn the exchanges of fire and he could not mount his horse, which was found by its tracks the next morning where it had been all night.

    The second panel has the Ian Jones fantasy tale that Jack Lloyd fired two sgnal rockets from McDonnell’s Hotel to send a message to suporters hiding in the bush”. The sympathiser army theory was disected and demolished in 2018 in my Republic myth book; yet here it is recurring in the Hub 2023. Worse, what Ian Jones actualy wrote in Short Life 2008: 306 that 14 year old Jack Lloyd “sent the two rockets streaking up into the sky, scattering falling stars with dull, delayed thumps”. There is nothing to support this fantasy in teh only source for it, the Royal Commission, where one policemen and allegedly one of the other officers who was with him, thought there were two skyrockets, one large and one small. No journalist, or any other police, or anyone else including teh prisoners in the Inn, saw anything or heard anytrhing about skyrockets. Where did Jones get the idea that the skyrockets sent trails like falling stars when there is not a word anywhere in the Royal Commission testimony to support it? Where did his “dull, delayed thumps” come from? No-one ever mantyioned anything about dull thumps. He made them up. Like most of his Glenrowan narrative.

    The third panel is unfortunately not well shown in the photo; but it shows near the bottom left the false claim that Metcalf as well as Cherry were wounded by police fire. In fact Metcalf was shot in the face by Ned Kelly before the siege and kept prisoner. Jones ignored written evidence by eye witnesses that this happened to falsely blame Metcalf’s injury on the police. See my free academic article documenting Jones’ disgraceful manipulation of teh historical evidence, http://www.nedkelly.info/metcalf.pdf

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  30. Seen in a op-shop: a Ned Kelly collectible made in the People’s Republic of China!!! It’s a wonder the Hub didn’t have one of these one the wall, given that its other signage is just as silly. Or in its souveneir-shop-to-be, when they try and offset the 7 day a week front desk staffing costs against the meagre trickle of visitors after the big launch day where a large pile of visitors went for their free sausages and ratepayer funded entertainment.

    According to the City of Wangaratta, “The Ned Kelly Discovery Hub is a world-class tourism experience that will launch visitors into the culture, history, and natural beauty of our region. Rural City of Wangaratta Chief Executive Officer Brendan McGrath said the bold vision for the project has been achieved”, https://www.wangaratta.vic.gov.au/News-articles/Ned-Kelly-Discovery-Hub

    All I can say is that if they think what the Hub has there with its woefully error-ridden misrepresentation of the Kelly story is the achievement of a bold vision then the vision was hobbling with donkey blinkers on. Most of the signage contains fairly obvious factual errors, as my review lists and highlights. It is curous that there seems to be no obvious will by the Council to take prompt action to correct the many errors in the Hub signage. It almost feels like they’ve taken the money and gone to sleep. They don’t seem interested in telling a factually accurate history at all.

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  31. Daily reminder that the “Discovery Hub” is full of fictionalised history.

    The gang did not aim to secure a “small sum of money”; they secured the large sum of £2,000 and expressed frustration that there was not the £10,000 they had hoped to find.

    They did not take “hostages”; they took prisoners and referred to them as such.

    They did not treat their captives “respectfully”, and to say so on the Hub signage displays appalling historical ignorance. Ned Kelly’s assurances that they would not be harmed if they cooperated was backed by his threat that if anyone tried to escape, “Steve Hart and Dan will shoot you down like rabbits.” At another point he threatened to roast them alive and do “all sorts of things” to them if they attempted escape. Ned also said, “If you attempt to take me or get away, you will be shot, as I have plenty of men outside. If you do get away I will burn the homestead and shoot the horses.” McCauley learned later that Dan Kelly had begged Ned’s permission to shoot him because he had recognised him.

    The gang also imprisoned a passing hunting party with their wagon. When they came to the gate, Kelly ordered Mr Tennant to open it. He at first refused, and before he could look around, Kelly put the muzzle of a revolver right between his teeth, and swore that if he did not at once open the gate he would blow his brains out. Tennant afterwards declared he could feel the cold iron between his jaws.

    Both the Younghusbands saga and the Euroa bank robbery inflicted a reign of terror on hapless victims that is suppressed in the Hub’s profoundly biased and pro-Kelly story over its alleged mission of Discovery. When is Wangaratta Council tourism or its Hub committee going to address and fix these blatant historical fabrications?

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  32. Reflecting further on the Hub signage text, it would be a simple matter to replace the nonsense text on most of their signs with historically accurate factual text in the same size signs. It wouldn’t take any more space to get the facts right. I (or a couple of others) could easily provide them with factually correct text that would fit on the same sign sizes that are there now. It can also be done in plain everyday English. The idea that the Hub don’t want a Kelly encyclopaedia on the wall is just a refusal to see that their factual nonsense can all be directly replaced with factual text for nothing more than the cost of reprinting it.

    The Hub have not acted on my three polite requests so far to provide a link to the primary and secondary sources they used for their content or to send that list to me; the sources that a sign on the Hub wall says are available from a QR code link that doesn’t work. The Wangaratta Council tourism people should be thoroughly embarrassed by their inability to provide the apparently available sources and to action factual rectification as a matter of priority.

    1. Hi Stuart

      I also emailed what I thought was the relevant authority about the failure of the QR Code, was told that the Development group was no longer operational and was asked to submit my concern to the writer, I did so a month ago and havent heard anything back.

      Someone in the Council is going to have to step up to the mark and accept responsibility for this project, but at the moment one gets the very distinct impression everyone is running for cover. I expect they all thought the Hub was wonderful and a great asset to the area but now might be having some quite scary second thoughts, as the misinformation and the blunders and screw-up are becoming public knowledge. Changing these things means more taxpayer money has. to be spent and they’ve already blown the budget big time. Nobody wants to own up to that….but the buck has to stop with someone Stuart ….

      1. Hi David, the lack of response is fascinating. Someone at the Council or the Hub is responsible for what goes on at the Hub. When I went there in the last school holidays and asked a couple of questions about attendance numbers at the front desk, another woman standing there told me she was the manager, but unfortunately I didn’t ask her name. But it presumably means someone is in charge.

        The Hub has a Facebook page that someone puts content on, https://www.facebook.com/NedKellyDiscoveryHub

        I can’t access it except for the landing page – when I try to scroll it puts up a “sign in” blocker and I refuse to sign up to Fakebook, but I have attached a screenshot of the Hub home page. From what I can see they think they have done a great job and think it is a wonderful learning experience.

        You can read how proud they are that some football team visted and “had a wonderful time learning about Ned Kelly and the history of this area in the 1800’s.” In fact, the footballers have just been fed a load of unhistorical nonsense that no-one in Wangaratta Council seems to want to put their hand up to fix. If there is a manager being paid to manage it, that person needs to stand up and undertake to fix the many factual errors in the Hub’s text as a matter of urgency.

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  33. If you haven’t got a Kelly tree, you can still rock on at Glenrowan…

    This odd-looking armour garden statue is in a spot up behind Seige Street (named by some tourism genius, no doubt) with a brass plaque on the rock:

    “Early on the cold winter morning of Monday, June 28th, 1880, the seriously wounded Edward (Ned) Kelly finally fell at this place and was captured, brought down by Sergeant Steele’s double-barrelled shot gun, fired from across the near by creek.”

    Ooh. Aah. Things that nobody ever said at the time. What they said at the time (without the romaniticising drivel about “the cold winter morning”) were universal expressions of great relief that murderous Kelly gang had been exterminated and the leader had been captured to face trial for his capital crimes.

    The idea that a rough replica of Kelly’s armour, built so the gang could massacre any survivors from the intended wreck of a police special train on the Glenrowan rail bend with relative safety against being fired back at, should be stood upright to mark the spot is bizarre.

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  34. It looks like the Glenrowan Kelly Hub has nose dived. Built at a cost of more than twice the $2.5M estimate, it never got the promised Virtual Reality siege site “educational experience”. It was not drawing many tourists after the day 1 launch. It obviously can’t cover staffing costs with free entry, so is now going to start charging money to see its half baked displays.

    That means the Wangaratta Council’s so-called investment in Glenrowan Kelly tourism has been an utter failure. If the Kelly Hub was pulling in lots of tourists, the Council would keep it open for free as it would be drawing significant tourist money into the town. That was the plan. Instead, the last chance to see its historically error-ridden signage and crappy interior design with woke voiceover commentary for free ends later this month.

    Personally I can’t see why anyone would pay for the rubbishy misinformation that is there now without feeling totally ripped off. Even for free it’s garbage. It’s not a world class tourist attraction. It’s a badly designed oversized toilet block full of intellectual bird droppings. Until they totally rewrite most of the existing content there to correct the hundreds of factual errors in the signs and video commentaries, it’s not worth ten cents. I wonder how long till they shut it down? Probably when they start getting repair bills for the wooden exterior panels is my guess. (Thanks for the pic, Jack!)

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    1. In fairness, they reported 38,000 visitors since opening 6 months ago. Thats an average of more than 200 visitors per day which ought to be good for the local economy. However for an accurate before and after comparison of the real benefit of the Hub we would need to know visitor numbers to the area BEFORE it opened. One of these days when I have the time I might try to find those figures – it would also be interesting to review the original NK Alive study which recommended this investment and see what numbers were recorded and predicted there.

      I wonder when they will start making the corrections that they’ve already be told about???

      And one last thing : the local Mayor said this the other day :

      “We believe The Ned Kelly Discovery Hub not only safeguards the enduring heritage of a national icon but also breathes new life into Glenrowan, fostering sustainable tourism and deeper connections with our local history,” Rural City of Wangaratta CEO Brendan McGrath said.”

      A ‘national ICON’?? What the hell is he talking about : an icon is “a famous person or thing that people admire and see as a symbol of a particular idea, way of life, etc.” Hardly anyone admires Ned Kelly…or maybe he was referring to this definition of Icon : “a small picture or symbol on a computer screen that you point to and click on (= press) with a mouse to give the computer an instruction.”

  35. The Mayor is a Kelly enthusiast do we shouldn’t expect any True Story sense there. They are all living in the old Jonesian narrative that has been crumbling since 2012 with the Kelly Gang Unmasked. That’s why they see no urgency to correct the fictional nonsense of the Hub text. The whole project was built on dated scholarship and is bogged in pretty much a 1980s-1990s view of Kelly that ongoing research has passed by. I suspect they have blown all the money and are stuck with it, and are putting on a face saving show as best they can. But not fixing many of the printed signage inside the Hub, that could be done cheaply on a photocopier with a ream of fancy paper from Officeworks in a day or so shows just how disconnected from the goal of historically accurate cultural tourism they are.

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