Jim Kelly gets his shit together…or does he?

According to Sharon this is NOT a photo of Jim and his mother at 11 Mile ! And I believe her.
This is supposed to be  Jim Kelly but I am not sure what the mans name is. 

Mark Perry told us that in the end, Jim Kelly got  “his shit together” and by all accounts, because of his devotion to his mother and some of her grandchildren,  gained a measure of respect for the way he conducted himself.  However it would be wrong to think that once the “Outbreak” ended he became a model citizen, and repudiated the  lifestyle and the whole Kelly saga. In fact, only a year after Ned was hanged Jim was convicted yet again of horse stealing in NSW in 1881 and sentenced to 5 years hard labour. Much later, in August  1912, aged 53,  he was charged yet again with cattle stealing – I am not sure what the outcome of that was but I suspect he was discharged, so perhaps I oughtn’t cast aspersions! Can anyone tell us?

However in 1930, now 71, Jim Kelly wrote a letter to J.J.Kenneally congratulating him on his recently published work, ‘The Complete Inner History of the Kelly Gang’ defiantly declaring that J.J.Kenneallys book completely vindicated the Kelly family. Jim expresses not a single word of remorse or of apology or regret for the actions of the Kelly Gang or his brothers, saying instead that they had been “hounded’ by the Police.  For Jim to still maintain after all those years of opportunity to reflect on all that happened, that being on the “Wanted” list after killing three Police is being ‘hounded,’ is absolutely ridiculous.  This is a staggering lack of insight! Heres something else that’s ridiculous that he wrote : “My brother Ned holds a very unique position among the great men of the world’ and ‘you have proved that my brother Ned Kelly was proclaimed the greatest man in the word by his bitterest enemy’. Or in other words it wasn’t our fault , there was nothing wrong with Ned, it was the Police – and that of course is also the theme of Kenneallys book, and the central myth of the Outbreak that persists to this day. Jim was in denial it would seem till the day he died  (and I am afraid so are many members of the greater Kelly community even today! )
Never-the-less the question of possible Police persecution is the focus of this Post, the previous one and  a few more to come. I have already shown how Jim’s first charge, at age 12 for illegally using a horse is misrepresented in the Kelly literature, and doesn’t really look like an example of Police persecution, but what about the second?
On this occasion, in 1873 when Jim was  14, he was convicted of  stealing cattle. He did this in the company of  17 year old Tom Williams who was said to have led Jim into it. Ian Jones called this theft ‘inept’ . The Jury recommended leniency,  but Jim was sentenced to five years hard labour by a Judge who is reported to have said he regretted he couldn’t also have ordered they be flogged!
Peter Fitzsimons made note of the fact that Jim was ‘undefended’ and  claimed that the sentence was  ‘one of the most severe sentences for one of that age in Victoria ever recorded’ and asked “If that is not persecution of his family, what is?”
Well this is the actual Press report from The North Eastern Ensign dated April 22nd 1873:
Thursday, April 17. 
(Before Mr. Justice Williams.)

Mr. C. A. Smyth conducted the prosecutions on behalf of the Crown.
Thomas Williams, 17, and James Kelly, 14, were in-
dicted for stealing two heifers, the property of George
Chandler, of Winton. The prisoners were undefended
by counsel. The evidence of the prosecutor and several
witnesses was conclusive of their guilt, and a verdict to
that effect was returned, with a recommendation to
mercy on account of their youth. The same prisoners
were also found guilty of stealing two steers, the pro-
perty of James Cook, of Winton, and were sentenced to
five years imprisonment each.
So was this sentence  proof that the family was being persecuted?

Well, being arrested and charged couldn’t be called ‘persecution’ if a genuine crime had been committed – and theres no doubt Jim and Tom Williams stole several head of cattle and sold them.  And though five years does seem harsh to modern ears,  in those days people were transported for less  – Jims own father got seven years and was transported for stealing two Pigs! – so even the sentence may not have been that harsh for the time.  On the other hand, perhaps the Magistrate was aware of his older brothers convictions for  indecency, assault, and horse stealing, his uncles various  convictions, and the convictions of various other Kelly associates, and decided that a sharp and severe shock might achieve what the lenient treatment he received after he was charged for illegal using two years before didn’t. We have no insight into the reasons for the Magistrates  decision but there are plenty of good reasons why it couldn’t have been mere persecution of an innocent family, because for one thing, that family was not innocent. There were any number of good reasons why he would have easily been able to justify a penalty at the harsher end of the spectrum of options that he had, not withstanding his young age and the suggestion of the Jury.  I also note that there is no mention of the Judge wishing he could have ordered Jim get a flogging, and neither Jones nor Fitzsimons provide a reference that supports that claim so I wonder  where it comes from?  I also wonder if Jim was unrepresented because, as the news report states “the evidence of the prosecutor and several witnesses was conclusive of their guilt’. Why would they waste money on legal costs if the outcome was a forgone conclusion?
Frankly if that’s the best example Peter Fitzsimons can provide as evidence that the family was persecuted, he hasn’t got a case. And if there was any question about it, here’s a final fact that settles it : Jim was released at the beginning of 1877, more than a year early. How can that be persecution?

Maybe  we will find evidence of Police persecution in Jims next experience with the Law? It happened only a few months after the last one.
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68 Replies to “Jim Kelly gets his shit together…or does he?”

  1. Dee, you might want to change out that photo you are using from McMenomy's book because it has been disproved to be one of Jim and Ellen. I had made mention of it not being of them back last May in a comment here about another photo. For one thing note the height of both parties, Jim was a very tall man and his mum was very small, the two in the photo are nearly the same in height.

    Also, Jim was acquitted of the cattle stealing charges in 1912.


  2. Oh Sharon I am SO glad to have you back! Where the HELL have you been hiding? I must admit I looked at Ellen in that photo and wondered if it was her….I will look for something else but leave that one up so we can all learn something. And thanks for the info about Jims 1912 charges – you are a marvel!

  3. Every man and his dog can see it isn't Jim and Ellen in that photo. It's one of the stupid things that seem to take hold and hang around like a bad smell. Like the photo of Joes body on the Gaol door in Benalla. Many authors claimed for years it was taken at Seymour.

    And Dee and friends? I never said Jim turned like turning off a tap and walked the straight and narrow as soon as the Gang were destroyed. Obviously, it was a work in progress. Jim is one character in the saga whom I believe can be spared the rod from this site.

    He seemed a very decent man. And died respected. So lets all respect him. He was smart enough to keep his distance from Ned. And before you all point it out, I am aware it's because he was in gaol for most of the outbreak. Yet afterwards, he kept his head down pretty much. Maybe he WAS a bit smarter than was inferred earlier? Maybe he really did listen to Robert Graham. Fancy that!! A Kelly showing a little bit of intelligence and logic. Freaky. I am sure you will all find a way to denigrate him though.

  4. I wouldn't take anything Peter Fitzsimons writes too seriously. At best he is a Mills and Boon historian. His Ned Kelly book weaves bias, inventions and myth amongst spurious facts to manufacure a 'story' that is as much fiction as it is fact.

    He says himself he is a 'storian' not a historian. On this point I agree. He is a story teller akin to a Barbara Cartland or Jackie Collins!

  5. Anonymous says: Reply

    Yes I agree with you! Mark I think "they" will find just about any excuse, including twisting words and context. But I have a question for YOU… Out of everyone in the story do you have a favourite? I think what Jim did for the family in the end was respectable and was something that made me rethink how "bad" they were as people.

  6. Dee, there is a slight possibility that it could be Jim in the top photo but that most certainly is not a photo of him with his mother as it had been previously captioned. I am trying to remember what the general consensus was of the man's identify when it was discussed elsewhere long ago, but it was fully agreed upon that it was not Ellen pictured.

    That second photo you have added from Kenneally is one that has always been accepted as being of Jim Kelly.

  7. Settle down Mark! I DID write, and acknowledge that Jim did indeed gain ‘a measure of respect for the way he conducted himself’ Given where he came from, and the standard set by his appalling big brother, one would have to give him credit, notwithstanding the fact, as you point out, that he was safely behind bars for the worst of the Outbreak. HOWEVER I wanted to point out that Jim did NOT become a model citizen, which is what the Kelly myths generally seem to hint at, and as for clinging to the idea that it was the fault of the Police and that Ned was one of the greatest men in the world…thats taking family loyalty to a ridiculous extreme. And frankly I DO think that a reasonable and fair minded person, after a bit of time and opportunity to reflect might have expressed regrets about the debacle that his brother unleashed on the district, so I am sorry to disappoint you but I believe his failure to do that reflects poorly on him.

  8. Roger Peake says: Reply

    Mark. he fired a revolver four times in presence of NSW Police. Do you approve of this?

  9. Dee, a while back in an article about some old photos which include one that is believed to be Mrs Kelly at the wheel of a car there is this bit –

    "Dating the photos will not be easy. The only date Piggott uses in his captions is 1920 – when, he writes, he arrested Jim Kelly for horse stealing. Ian Jones said they must have been taken between 1911 and 1923. Ellen Kelly looks older than the well-known 1911 photo of her, and she died in 1923."


    I can find nothing further to confirm a 1920 arrest of Jim Kelly for horse stealing or anything else, though. I did see where a man or men took on the name of "James Kelly" to commit crimes around that time period, but if Piggot took the photos, surely he would know the real Jim. Maybe he just got mixed up on dates. He joined the police force in 1912.

  10. Heres the Photo: [IMG]http://i64.tinypic.com/2gvpnx2.jpg[/IMG]

    Looking at the style of car with spoked wheels the wide running board and the vertical ventilating openings on the side of the bonnet, and comparing it to pictures on Google I would say this car has to be a 1920’s model – its quite like this 1924 Studebaker

    So does that woman look old enough to be Ellen Kelly in the last few years of her life?

  11. Picture of Age article


    Having communicated with author Kevin Morgan in around April 2011 about the photo and car, it is " definitely a Model T Ford and probably a rebadged version called a Renown" according to vintage car enthusiast Andrew Brand. He believes this model was sold from 1920 or 1921, and his father has one of 2 know to exist.
    The car picture does not look like a new car, suggesting sometime after -say 1925 or later?

    Interesting to note " Ellen Kelly looks older than the well-known 1911 photo of her, and she died in 1923."
    If this is Ellen Kelly pictured, in around 1921 or 1923, then compare the picture of Ellen Kelly in the Wheel Chair on Page 303 – Ian Jones -A Short Life in 1922.

    In my opinion it does seem a strange story to suggest the lady is not Ellen Kelly, though the fact Jim is there, and the different appearances of the very aged Ellen Kelly seem to suggest a problem with dates, or –

    Edna Griffiths Cargill is adamant the old lady on the chair is Bridie Kelly and not Ellen Kelly.
    Edna is writing another 'final chapter' of her Glenrowan series and this picture episode maybe explained.
    Edna said Bridgett Kelly was an aunt like figure to the family and on this occasion needed to be taken to Benalla where she went into a nursing home. Fred Piggott had offered and was available to pick her up and take her in.

    (Edna believes Bridie had been married and recalls her married name like Molloney, Maroney or Maloney. There should be records out there in births and deaths.)

  12. Hi Anonymous. Of all the people in the Kelly Outbreak, I am most intrigued by Aaron Sherritt. I have read and re-read Ian Jones "The Fatal Friendship". Aaron was really just "a good natured bloody fool" in my opinion that didn't deserve to die the way he did at Devils Elbow at the hands of Byrne. He maybe wasn't the sharpest tool in the shed but he had a selection, worked hard and I believe still tried to honour his life long friend Joe by trying to keep the Police at bay. His was a sad story and a sad demise. I really believe his grave needs to be marked in Beechworth cemetery. Long, Long overdue.

  13. Please refer above Roger. Cheers. (but no, I do not.)

  14. Are any of us a model citizen? Jim was as close as we are going to get in the Kelly Circle. and there is no denying he was respected. And a very decent son and member of the community as age mellowed him. No, I don't approve of shots fired or stealing horses then as I don't agree with shots fired or cars stolen now. Age has mellowed me. When I was younger, I was an arsehole in many ways and a problem for others at times. I regret it and I have mellowed with age. I now consider myself a decent person and good citizen. Still like an argument (wink), smoke and a drink but i evolved. As Jim did. As we all do.

  15. [IMG]http://i67.tinypic.com/n6t9gw.jpg[/IMG]

  16. Yes Bill your source is on the money! Its definitely a Model T . Heres an image of a 1923 Ford Model T Tourer, that has the same number of those vertical ventilation apertures on the bonnet . The one Ellen is in might have been made earlier than 1923 – it seems similar Models were made for several years.


    I suppose everyone has realised the Photo at the top of this page of Jim with the white horse must have been taken at the same time and at the same place. I note from the newspaper article that the Piggott photos were in an album and labelled as Jim and Ellen Kelly in Piggotts own hand. He was a detective so I think we should assume he would have been pretty careful with details and identities.

  17. Peter Newman says: Reply

    I didn't know Jim was arrested in 1920 or thereabouts. You’d think he would have learnt by then wouldn’t you? But wouldn’t it be a bit strange for Piggott to have been taking these photographs of Jim and his family when he was there arresting the man? If the hand-writing on these prints is known for sure to be Piggots then there can be little doubt the old lady is Ellen. However I have visited Edna on several occasions with and without Bill and confirm that she was of the view that the lady in the car is not Ellen. Edna also cast doubts about some of the people identified in photographs in other publications including McMenomy. I recall there was also doubt about exactly where the photo of the lady in the car was taken having regard to the hill in the background which (correct me if I am wrong here Bill) we thought might be the hill in the background of the photo on the front cover of Edna's 'Glenrowan' series of books (which is not the Kelly property).

    I've gone slow a bit on all this Kelly stuff of late as Dee has put to bed many of the contradictions that have for so long intrigued me. Regarding Edna, I found her to be quite sound of mind and the stories she tells quite fascinating (and much easier to hear told than try to decipher though her books). But there is also a lot of material in her books that is just plain wrong, and the task of sorting the wheat from the chaff is just too hard.

  18. Mark you are amazingly frank and a bit too hard on yourself I think – but you are illustrating my point quite nicely in the way that you reflect, with maturity and the benefit of hindsight on what you got up to when younger, expressing a greater insight and some regrets for what took place. With Jim however, as he’s aged he hasn’t backed off one inch from his stance as a youth, still insisting at 71 in his letter to JJK that the Kellys were right and the Police were to blame. He has of course learned the lessons of his imprisonments to try to stay out of the way of the Law, but with these later stock theft charges one gets the impression that he was skating across thin ice much of the time.

    I noted last year in my posts about the Jerilderie Letter that in exactly the same way as Jim, Ned also reflected on his youthful indiscretions without the slightest regret or hint of remorse, for example in the way he recalled the McCormick incident, an event Peter Fitzsimons called 'a grubby adolescent lark'

    Unlike you Mark, the Kelly boys didnt seem to ever really grow up!

  19. Anonymous says: Reply

    Dee you can not be suggesting that you know "how they were" 100% or how they felt about it. if they did regret anything that they did or something they were involved in wouldn't it be personal? Regrets usually are. I doubt that if they felt any regrets they would have mentioned them publicly. Expect for Ned, when he doesn't mention his regret about SB.

    But to suggest that Jim and Ned had no regrets without knowing them personally with no facts to back it up seems like an odd claim.

  20. If you wish to assert that Jim and Ned DID have regrets, and felt remorse and sorrow for what happened then by all means make the case for it – by which I DONT mean speculate, as you have here that they had regrets, I mean point out the facts that support your argument.

    All any of us can know about what was happening in the minds of the Kelly brothers is what they revealed in their public comments, and nowhere that I know of, did either of them ever say something that suggested they had feelings of regret and remorse for their behaviour in the outbreak.. In fact, as I mentioned in the Blog, Jim expressed the opposite sort of sentiment.

  21. I would not accept Ednas view of this photo unless she could give us some very good reasons why the photographer who took the picture and labelled it at the time was wrong. Hard to imagine a detective getting it so wrong.

    Incidentally JJKs book contains the image of Jim and the Horse and says it was taken in 1945!

  22. Courtesy of Kevin Morgan's email, said Ford Motor Company sent out Model Ts – the chassis and motor running gear and presume the radiator and bonnet. Local body builders then went on to design and build the rest. Also notice on the 'Ford T Renown' the radiator barely fits the bonnet engine cover so the radiator surround was local made too.

    It will be interesting to read Edna's final -last edition of Glenrowan Vol7 regarding Bridie Kelly in the car, but recall reading an account where it was reported Ellen herself said she wished she could have a car! Peter and I are sure there are elements of Edna's oral history that may well prove correct, but its too difficult to pursue the key points unless with the support of family and friends.

    Peter thinks the car photo was not taken on the Kelly homestead block? It may have been Jim Kelly's place, as the wheel chair photo has the Wattle and Daube hut Jim built in the background – page 300 Jones)

    Standing on the road with your back to the two chimneys (Ellen's block 57A), to the hard right across the road was the bush block of 'Jas Kelly' 553 Acres ( Jim Kelly I presume)

    To the front across the road was a square Mile was owned by F,Kennedy, and hard left across the road was Kenneally, presumably relatives of JJ.Kenneally.
    The blocks each side of 57A (Ellen King) was T A Griffiths left, and E Griffiths (right)

  23. On the clear photo of Ellen Kelly behind the wheel, does anyone see what is wrong with car?
    It looks a bit of a bomb to me.

  24. Anonymous says: Reply

    But I guess what I'm trying to say makes your suggestion almost impossible. If there were 100% facts out that they did have regret wouldn't that make your argument nonexistent?

    But your saying that we only know what was happening in their minds because of public comments (letters, etc) this to me is just an odd claim, the human mind is not a single track (which might be a poor way to say it).

    I think feeling loyal to two dead brothers, as wrong as people may see it does not eliminate a feeling of remorse or regret, infact wouldn't it make worse?

    As for evidence that Ned expressed regret, is that not mentioned in his letters? If we don't twist the words and "pretend" he means a whole lot of other things in text. "I couldn't have felt more sorry for them" ( if that's misquoted. Shut up lol) I don't have a copy on me to get it 100% correct so if it's wrong apologies :).

    I don't think that their is 100% facts that they didn't have regrets. but there isn't 100% that they did (unless your willing to accept what Ned says in the letter) which I don't think can be discarded completely.

  25. Firstly, there is NO WAY of knowing whats in a persons mind except by observing what they say and do. And if they never say or do anything that looks like remorse, or an apology or regret then its perfectly rational to suggest that regret, remorse and an apology were never in their thoughts. But as I keep saying its impossible to prove that something doesn’t exist, but if you want to assert that it does you will have to provide the evidence and not merely assert it. I don’t dismiss the possibility entirely, but there are numerous places at which both these men might have expressed sorry and regret about what their behaviour had given rise to but they didnt.

  26. Dee, if you look carefully at the details in the photos you will note that in the Kenneally photo of Jim he is wearing a different hat to the one in the Piggott photo. Also in the Kenneally one he seems to be wearing a white shirt with a dark vest and buttoned dark coat, but in the Piggott one he does not seem to have on the white shirt and the coat is unbuttoned. The horse, while being the same color, seems a bit different, too. The halter which looks to be a different type to the one in the Piggott photo is sitting higher on the head in the Kenneally photo and the horse's ears are different sizes, too. I don't know if the Kenneally one was actually from 1945, but it seems that it was not taken at the same time of the Piggott one.

  27. Peter Newman says: Reply

    Damaged running board and no door handle?

  28. Anonymous says: Reply

    So the Bald Hill in the background means nothing? Clearly the photo was taken at the original Kelly property which was down the road from where Mrs Kelly and Jim were living at the time.
    There's an article at the Vault about this photo being taken originally. Clearly Edna hasn't read it.

  29. I did look long and hard at these two pictures, and noticed those apparent discrepancies between two very poor quality photos, and concluded there was a distinct possibility the differences were artefact – the hats are very close to being the same, the bridle was poorly shown in one of them, the shirt was harder to explain but the shape of Jims beard and the look on the horses face were the same, there are few shadows in the Jim+Horse photo but it did seem to me to be coming from Jims right in both, Jim was upright and strong looking in both, not at all like a man in the last year of his life….. I also wondered about how often Jim would be very formally dressed and have the opportunity to get his photo taken with a white horse, and in the end I decided the former was more likely than the latter, and so suggested they were taken at the same place and time. But you may well be right Sharon…I am only guessing, but its a fun little puzzle!

  30. OK, I have the answer.
    The car photo with Fred Piggott were taken by a Smiths Weekly journalist and not Fred, this is contrary to what the Age article read. Fred Piggott may have been a photographer who owned a camera and passed on copies to the Smiths Weekly journalist Bartlett Adamson when he wrote on 7 April 1923 –

    " Last week Mrs Kelly, mother of Ned Kelly, died in Victoria. Shortly before her death she was interviewed by a representative of ‘Smith’s Weekly’. Throughout a long life her actions and views were governed by an hereditary bias of revolt due to her birth. In the course of the interview she unconsciously showed that this influence subsisted to the last."

    Ellen Kelly- " She was persuaded to toddle outside, and, for the first time in those forty-four years, to have her photo taken. It was done. Then, with almost juvenile delight at the novelty, she agreed to be photoed once more, this time seated at the steering wheel of a motor-car. Laughing as heartily as her frail old body would allow, she made a remark which conjured visions of this once-nerveless horsewoman driving a car, like a horse, full at a five-barred gate: – “If I were young again, I’d give the world to own a car, and the faster it went the better I’d like it.”

    As reported by Bartlett Adamson, so he must have been there when Fred Piggott and his accomplice were photographed. In the Age article " Just how Piggott got them to agree to the pose is unknown"

    Looks like Bartlett took the photos for the Smiths Weekly article only a week before publishing on 7 April 1923, a week after Mrs Ellen Kelly King had died.

    See transcript article courtesy of Kevin Morgan email April 2011


    or http://www.ironicon.com.au/the-women-who-bore-ned-kelly.htm

    PS, Sharon is correct the horse's bridle and Jim's shirt are different photo times, – but Jim surely was dressed for the occasion.

  31. I hope others will read that article Bill, its a good read that shows Ellen in an interesting light. The writer, in trying to make a case for the Kellys lawlessness 'to be political instead of criminal’ undermined his case rather badly by wrongly stating that Red was transported because he tried to shoot his Landlord! He floats a few of the old Kelly story canards, like that Ned would have made a great General, (No way!) and that Dan might have survived Glenrowan. ( again, No way) But what of the statement that the Gang only kept £20 each and gave the rest to ‘sympathisers’? The Kelly myth is that Ned is Australias Robin Hood and that he gave it to ‘the poor’ but nobody should believe that any more. The other thing that I think is interesting is to recall JJK claiming that until he came along with “The complete Inner history ..’ the Kelly literature was all ‘anti-Kelly’ and Pro-police. This article is very pro Kelly and precedes JJK by 6 years.

  32. Jim Kelly's mare was called 'White Wings'

  33. The interviewer might not have heard Ellen correctly, but she states that Ned was the only 'dark' one, as opposed to red-headed, of the family. The Ashmead manuscript, quoted on p 83 of A short life (2003 edition) describes Dan as having hair 'black and shiny as a crow', and from his photographs his hair certainly appears to be dark.

    The 1923 interview clears up for me why Jim Kelly did not follow up long term on the bootmaking that he was taught in gaol. I remember reading an interview with Jim (shortly after Glenrowan?) where he said he had a trade and also something about wanting to take girls out to gardens in the evenings … Sharon might be able to lay her hands on it, I could not. Interesting that the cruel and unreasonable system got Jim taught a trade in gaol and he still preferred to go horse stealing with that intellectual giant, Wild Wright, and earned five years for his trouble.

  34. That quote originated in the Royal Commission (question #12181) and Jones also has it in "A Short Life" in chapter 23.

    Constable Armstrong was being questioned by the commission and he said that he met with Jim Kelly before Ned's execution and that Jim said-

    "I will not enter the bush; I have got a good trade; I can earn [pound sign] 3 a week by making boots; and I am too fond of going to theatres, and taking girls into the gardens at night for the work; but should I ever be interfered with by the police I will not do as Ned has done, I will shoot every man and have my satisfaction."

  35. Oh, well done, Sharon, I knew that you would know. What had me beat was that I could not recall Jim Kelly being interviewed anywhere by the press or the RC, but this was a reportage of his interview, as it were. I'm assuming he meant that he liked girls and theatres too much to want to go bushranging, and wasn't referring to his bootmaking.

  36. According to Mrs Edna Griffiths Cargill, (and I have no reason to doubt what she writes,) –
    " Dan and Kate were 'Lysaght' fathered children. Ellen she wrote, had been house keeper to Lysaght in Brighton Melbourne."
    (This Lysaght name is famous for corrugated iron roofing sheets. They were Ironmongers)

    And, "there were more children between them and they shared them out. Ellen had Kate and Dan. "
    Some will poo poo this, but as it is oral history written by one who was there, who are we to question this? And what are readers to make of this. Edna is a lovely lady of great age and is still as sharp as a tack

  37. Peter Newman says: Reply

    Bill, I was with you when Edna told us this story and found her very believable. She also repeated the story to me subsequently, and I think also tells it in one of her book volumes. We have of course both seen the Lysaght stencil on the underside of the roofing iron on the shed Jim Kelly built at Glenrowan. This however made me less inclined to believe the story. I actually thought at the time it was all just too coincidental. The shed has been there for a long time, and in the hands of a story teller this kind of detailing could take on a life of its own. There is a lot that Edna told us (and has written) that could be true – e.g. see my posts on The Ned Kelly centre and the Griffith Connection Parts 1 and 2. The prospect of a connection to the “House before Monnington” is something I found quite compelling, but is something I have not got the time to investigate further. I think a lot of what Edna has to say may be true. But then other things she has told us (such as the old lady in the car being Bridie and not Ellen) have since been disproven on Dee’s website. My position now is that whilst I note with interest Edna’s story about Dan and Kate being Lysaght-fathered and not Kelly, this is something that needs to be proven rather than disproven (the Occam razor principle). Edna’s claim that Ellen was a housekeeper to the Lysaght family would be a good first step, but I have never seen anything (including time-lines) that gives substance to this. I really like old Edna, but I’m starting to think is just a tale, albeit a very good one! I’m also conscious that if you tell a story for long enough, you can end up believing it is true (such as my recollections of my past sporting triumphs).

  38. Bill when you say “who are we to question this?” I think when it comes to oral history everyone should question it. Oral history is NOT reliable – I gave a perfect example in my first post about Dan when I compared what Kenneally wrote about his first Court appearance, based I had to assume, on oral tradition, with what was reported in the newspapers about , written within a week of the actual event – AMAZING differences and inaccuracies!

    The thing is we all understand how likeable and interesting Edna may be, and you seem to have a soft spot for her, but in being sceptical we are not making a personal attack on her, or her desire to remember accurate history or be helpful, but its just a fact that memory plays trickles on ALL of us, Edna included. And despite what you wrote above, Edna was NOT there when Dan and Kate were born, or indeed whenANY of the events of the Kelly outbreak happened – she is reporting the opinions and the recollections suspicions and even the false memories of others, and of herself. They don’t need to be dismissed out of hand but thought about critically….

    So in regard to Dan, who was born in 1861 and Kate in 1863, when they were living at Beveridge, is there any evidence that Ellen was ever not there? There are records of her appearing in Court a couple of times….or are you suggesting My Lysaght visited her at her place?

  39. Anonymous says: Reply

    Why the hell would you name a horse after a cake mix?

  40. Yes Peter I agree, to read and analyse Edna's chapters is a monumental task. I thought we had done well with what we both concluded, and that without further cross checking from other sources we may never know the truth.

    You make mention of the lady in the car Edna thinks is Bridie Kelly not Ellen Kelly. I agree it has to be Ellen Kelly. The photo has both Jim and the old lady on it. I find it interesting that these photos did not surface in public till Kevin Morgan Author of 'Fred Piggott's Case Book came across them in Piggott's grandson's files in 2006. Book published in 2012.

    In Edna's book Glenrowan Vol2, page 207, 1992- Edna writes –
    " In at least one photograph shown to read Mr James Kelly and Mrs Kelly' – It sits with me that this is Bridie –( and not 'Ellen' Mrs Kelly )- And Bridie was known variously as Mrs Kelly, or, Mrs Curran. One could not say that it was incorrectly titled."

    Her book was published 1992, so she must have seen those photos well before they came to light in 2006 in The Age article ? I think we should wait a while as Edna said she was to publish her last Vol earlier this year wherein she refers to the people in this photos.

    As sceptical as I am myself, the only problem, the information Edna puts forward in her books is so detailed and intricate that you could not make these stories up if you tried.
    We all like to think of history as bundled up neat little parcels, one event here, one there, then this happened next and so on, but true history is not like that.

    If a discussion here (Dee's Blog) about Kelly history was confined to only proven facts, and what the majority of readers want to believe, and if we only accept the hard accepted facts as truth and nothing in between, then that supposed truth is not the truth at all.

    Edna's Glenrowan books are difficult to follow re 'time lines', and we tend to have our minds set only with the Kellys living only up in N.E.Vic. I think it plausible Ellen Kelly Quinn was very well connected as Edna writes. Ellen and James Quinn "went to 'high places" to do deals that made James a rich man.

    Edna's stories were passed down from many sides of the relatives and recorded by those that were there, and much later re recorded, and so some names and deeds can be mistaken and mixed up. She admits she can't remember to know everything, but I think that perhaps if there is only half having a basis for truth, then it still adds a hell of a lot to understanding what went on. That is the nature of Edna's writings. Some will poo poo it, I keep an open mind.

  41. Bill I am sorry but I cant agree with your statement that Ednas writings add ‘a hell of a lot to understanding what went on’ In fact everything I have seen that you have presented from her writings has actually added confusion to the picture of what went on! Can you name a single statement of hers thats original – i.e. not something we all know from other sources anyway – that has been proven to be true and that has added understanding to the Kelly story that wasn’t there before? So far nothing I have heard you mention from her writings has been verifiable independently, but we have established that some of the things she has said are definitely NOT true.( such as its Bridie in the Car )

    But lets look at the issue of Bridie, the woman she claims is Ned Kellys real mother. This is not a minor claim – its actually a really central and important claim about who Ned Kelly really was. IT deserves serious consideration given where its come from. Now, given the mitochondrial DNA match ups between Neds bones and Leigh Olver, Neds mother HAS to be in some way related to Ellen or Ellens maternal ancestry. In theory you could draw up an almost infinite number of possible mothers for Ned, as long as they were connected by an unbroken line of women back to some common female ancestor of Ellens, also by an unbroken line of women. So it is POSSIBLE that even though the DNA match up is there, Neds real mother might not have been Ellen. HOWEVER, as I have said before the simplest, most likely and most plausible explanation is the one we all believe, that Ellen was in fact the mother of Ned. Thats where all the considerable body of evidence points. Now, if anyone thinks the accepted view is wrong , and some LESS likely but theoretically possible explanation is the truth, then it is incumbent on them to provide some evidence – an allegation is not enough, especially in view of the known unreliability of oral tradition. Bridie had to be either a sister or half sister to Ellen, or in some other way capable of having the same DNA as Ellen, and be of the right age to give birth to Ned, and to do it in some sort of clandestine way so that it wouldn’t be known by anyone else – Bill I have to ask you, do you have ANY independent evidence that such a woman existed? If there is none, Bridie Kelly should be dismissed from the Kelly story unless or until some actual evidence turns up. Thats how science works. Thats how history is done by professionals. Thats how Kelly history students should do it too.

  42. And one other thing – poo-pooing something is dismissing it without examining it properly. Dismissing something because the arguments don’t stack up after examining it carefully and thoughtfully, is Science.

  43. Peter Newman says: Reply

    Edna Griffiths owned the property next door to Ellen Kelly. The inside back cover of all of her book volumes contains an extract of the Parish of Lurg map that shows the relationship of the properties. In her first volume (in Chapter 6) she recounts how she was visited in 1987 by Mollie Collinson, a daughter of Williamson. Edna said that Mollie had a map that showed the Ellen Kelly property and Edna’s property, as well as the name Bridget Kelly on the opposite side of the road (in open bush as it was then).

    The surveyors’ original field plans and notes would be held the Titles Office (or maybe the State Library of Victoria) and may show the names of people who lived here when the area was first surveyed. However unless those people had a legal entitlement to the land, this would be a level of detail that would not have been transposed onto the Parish Map. Maybe someone (Brian Stevenson perhaps?) has a copy of the original field survey notes and could check?

  44. So what we have SO FAR Pete, is not just another unverified claim, but one that contradicts the KNOWN evidence. But this is the sort of thing that CAN be tested, so its a fair place to try and prove something that might go some away to supporting her claim about Neds parentage. McMenomy shows the map I think you’re referring to Peter, from 1866 with Ellens lot being 57A. The Lot over the road is Lot 70, a really huge selection in comparison with Ellens.But so far we dont have any proof that Bridie even existed do we?

    Edna not only claims that Neds mother wasn’t Ellen, she also claims that Dan and Kates father wasn’t Red, and that she worked in Brighton , Melboune in the early 1860’s when Dan and Kate were conceived in a relationship of some sort with Lysaght which obviously lasted for quite some time. Is there a single shred of evidence to support this claim, that Ellen left Avenel and went to live and work in Brighton as a housekeeper? To be a housekeeper she would have to have lived there I would assume and therefore be absent for long periods of time. Another futile wild-goose chase I suspect!

  45. Sorry, Peter, but I don't have the documents to which you refer, and never have. I'd happily check them for you if I did, but I can't help on this one.

  46. Bill, Edna says Bridie was a Kelly – was this because she married a Kelly or was she in some way related to Red and his family?

  47. Why doesn't Edna make up her mind re Bridie Kelly? FIRST she was talking in that one news article we had discussed before about how Bridie Kelly was murdered by some man named Borrin back in the late 1870s(?), THEN she says it was Bridie who was photographed in the car in the 1920s. You can't have it both ways. Something is just way off about the whole thing.

  48. Hi Sharon, it was a man named Borrin who beat Bridie Kelly up. Edna says this Borrin name was corrupted to Baron after 'The Baron von Stiefler', Jim Kelly referred to Borrin as 'Stifler'.

    Borrin gave all the ladies in the district a hard time. On the day all the local husbands decided to capture Borrin and take him to the Benalla police station and have him charged with assault, nobody turned up. It was left to Ned to deal with Borrin and Ned got beaten up as well. This left Ned in a bad way for weeks. Jim Kelly, Dan and Ned Lloyd traced Borrin to a dugout hide and reported this back to Ned. The boys with Ned went back where Ned shot Borrin dead in the dugout and Ned buried Borrin himself where he still apparently lays today. Edna has shown me an old photos of the area. Peter and I have identified the likely place.

  49. Peter, here is Parish map of land north of the Kelly selection on the road to Wangaratta.
    This is the map you were looking for in ref to Mollie Collinson 1987. It is in Vol-2 page 205-6. There was another block Bridie Kelly owned, it is triangular on the books back cover map between the letters T and I of Delatite.

    Map http://www.ironicon.com.au/images/bridie-kelly-block.jpg

    There are immigration records of a Bridgett Kelly coming out to Australia from Ireland. One ship the 'William Metcalf' (google). On the passenger list also are Patrick and Mary Gorman and family. While there is no evidence to prove this Bridgett Kelly is a Kelly or was related to Mary McCluskey Quinn, (James Quinn's wife), the Quinn family and the Gorman's were direct neighbours at Wallan East. I can't find the source right now but apparently Bridgett Kelly was work bonded to a Mr Horton in Melbourne, who sold her work bond on to James Quinn.

    It all seems ironic that Edna writes about a Bridgett Kelly as being the real birth mother of Ned Kelly, information passed down from the Griffiths family and Jim Kelly 50 years earlier when for Edna, it was all oral history as there was no easy information gathering as with the internet today. Edna compiled all her material since the 1930's during which the Griffiths house in Greta West was burnt down with every thing lost. Edna's mother aunts and uncles were the source for what Edna has put down.

  50. Bill that is not a map that shows Bridie Kelly on a property over the road from Ellen Kelly. Ellens property was in Greta. The map is Wangaratta South. And do you have a date for that map?

    Bill what you have to show if Ednas claim about Neds parentage is to be taken seriously is that Bridget Kelly, the single 18 year old who arrived in 1849 was in some way related to Ellen Quinn or any of her maternal ancestors. Yes its possible, of course, just as its possible she was related to Queen Victoria or George Washington by a series of unknown illegitimate relationships that have been concealed from public knowledge throughout history – BUT its YOUR job to provide the evidence if you want to make a claim that contradicts all the available knowledge and understanding about Neds parentage. If you cant provide the evidence then there is no case. The major problem to overcome is that she is not a Quinn or McCluskey, but as far as mitochondrial DNA is concerned, Ned is.

    Once again this is an example of Ednas claims confusing rather than enhancing understanding of the Kelly story.

  51. And while you’re at it Bill, we want the evidence for Ellen living and working in Melbourne as Lysaghts housekeeper around 1860 to 1863…

  52. Oh, my bad! I had to go read the article again! Seems that Borrin was the one who was murdered and that Bridie survived. Still not convinced Ned was the one who killed him, though.

  53. The first block Bridie Kelly had was 64A which was subdivision of 64 on the map in McMenomeys book page72 'Area of Winton'. 64A was right next to 58 owned by Ned Griffiths.
    Edna writes that the ladies at Eleven Mile Creek, Bridie Kelly, Ellen Kelly, Margaret Quinn Lloyd, Gracee Quinn lived on different allotments 57, 57, 58,

    Page 80 Vol-1 " On the Griffiths block (58) another house Margaret Quinn Lloyd occupied with the girls. And some distance past that 64 belonged to Old Ned Griffiths, there was another building where Bridie Kelly had lived with Ned, and seen to the boys. She looked after them and did everything to take care of them, They'd all be used to Bridie and she to them. Bridie Kelly is warned for speaking out- and it had to stop. She talking to the boys telling them things she thought they ought to know – perhaps they would understand what was going on?"

    Bridie's second block was about 10 miles north towards Wangaratta. (picture above)
    Bridie had married but her married name when she died is not clear to Edna.

  54. Dee,
    I think we are both challenging convention.
    I am doing this to try verify some of Edna Griffiths stories.
    Edna has made some extraordinary claims that will not be accepted by many descendants.

    I agree with your every DNA analysis regarding Bridie Kelly, Ellen Kelly Quinn and mother Mary Quinn, all have to be related if Ned's M.T.Chondrial DNA matches those of Mr Leigh Olver. As we know 'science' can sort this out but not without co-operation from descendants.

    As an alternative Edna also thinks Bridie may have been John Red Kelly's daughter, which throws a spanner in the works if Bridie was Ned's mother. (regarding known DNA match)(Or else, Bridie was a sister of Mrs Mary Quinn? )

    However, I am simply chasing the story by asking questions. I am not defending her stories. I only find them fascinating as many do. We are challenging Kelly descendants who may or may not want truth to be know, but I do hope its acceptable to delve into involved peoples private ancestry as it is a long time ago and do hope key people can assist.

    Its all in the interest of truth, and if someone makes certain claims that seem far fetched, then these need to be verified or discounted. So, I send out this request to solving some important aspects of Kelly history put forward by Edna Griffiths Cargill. We all know this is a great 'Australian Story' but ' Who was Ned Kelly' ? That is my question.

    In order to find that out I would like to make contact with any descendants of the following –

    1, Kenneth Gunn, registered owner of 'Fern Hills Run' a land lease of 24 thousand acres previously owned by Frederick Lloyd. Gunn and Lloyd must have know each other 1863. Fern Hills Run has StringyBark Creek running near the southern boundary.

    2, Descendants of Alexander Gunn if related to Kenneth Gunn. Perhaps Alex was son of Ken?

    3, Descendants of Annie Mawby or Annie Morphy and daughters Mittie and or Mally. Dates from around 1870

    4, Descendants of Bridgett Kelly – death notice name could be Curran, Maroney, Maloney, or Moloney in Benalla register. Date around 1930s

    5, Descendants of the Lysaght families who may have knowledge of Ellen Quinn – Ellen Kelly-King. from 1860s. Surely, if Ellen Kelly worked as housekeeper for members of the Lysaght family someone will know about that?

    I will explain why these names are important.
    Any replies can be posted here in public or by private email, if confidentiality is required and assured.

    Email to me, 'bill at ironicon dot com dot au'

  55. Peter Newman says: Reply

    Bill, I have misplaced my Vol. 2 of Edna’s books, but I point out that the map you have reproduced is of somewhere far away in Wangaratta South and not “on the opposite side of the road” to Ellen Kelly’s property as Edna stated in Volume 1. So there is a problem here with conflicting information in Volumes 1 and 2.

    The immigration records though are a very good lead. It is very interesting that there was a Bridget Kelly on the same boat as the Gorman family, and in turn that the Gorman’s were to be neighbours with the Quinn family at Wallan East. And you say there is evidence that you will be able to put your hands on that Bridgett Kelly had her work bond sold on to James Quinn!

    Here is some food for thought:
    · The ‘William Metcalf’ arrived with the Gormans and Bridgett Kelly in 1839. I understand Bridgett was 18 years old.

    · John (Red) Kelly did not get transported until 1841 and was imprisoned in Van Diemen’s Land until 1848. He met and married Ellen Quinn in 1850 and they then moved to Wallan. James was about 46 years old at this stage and Ellen was 18 years old. By now Bridget Kelly would have been getting on for about 30 years old.

    · If the Gorman, Quinn and Kelly families were all neighbours at Wallan and Bridget Kelly had her work bond sold to James Quinn, then doesn’t this indicate a fair chance that Bridget was part of the Kelly family? Could she have been a daughter of Red Kelly (noting that this is not recorded on the Kelly Family Tree in Corfield) or perhaps a niece (i.e. a daughter of Edmond Kelly or Thomas Kelly, both brothers of Red, for whom the Corfield Kelly family Tree shows no record of descendants)?

    · Would Red and Ellen have moved to Wallan because both he and his wife had family there already (being Bridie Kelly and the Quinns)?

    · It has been suggested by Edna that Bridget was Ned’s mother. In Vol. 1, p. 24 she says “Ned was bought up by Bridie Kelly. There is no doubt of that. It's indisputable. Bridie was his mother”. But this would mean Bridget and Ellen had to have been sisters or half-sisters, which seems unlikely. But is it possible?

    · There is no birth certificate for Ned, but Ellen is recorded as his mother. If Bridie was Ned’s mother but unmarried, wouldn’t it be reasonable to assume an arrangement like this might have been made?

    · To be sure absolutely sure about Ned’s parentage (even on the mother side), then am I right to think this requires proof on the male side (the Y-chromosone?). And if so, are there any likely candidates that might be DNA tested for this (if they were willing)?

    One more thought I have is that the old lady in the car is extremely unlikely to be Bridget given the photo was supposedly taken in 1923. That’s because Bridget would be 102 years old. By comparison, Ellen would be 91 years old (with 1923 also being the year she died).

  56. Bill I do admire your tenacity, but I think its time someone rescued you from the rabbit hole that you’ve disappeared down chasing Ednas fantasies!

    * I read above in Peter Newmans post that Edna claims the lady in the Car is Bridie/Bridget Kelly : EDNA IS WRONG
    * Edna said Bridies land was over the road from Ellens selection : It wasn’t! EDNA IS WRONG
    * Edna said ‘Its indisputable Bridie was his mother’ and says that Ellen didnt ‘bring him up’ ; EDNA IS WRONG

    And as for the suggestion that Bridie could have been Reds daughter – well firstly, if true she couldn’t have been the 18 year old immigrant in 1839 – Red was 2 when that Bridget was born. So lets say Red was a precocious little 15 year old when he became her father – that would have been in 1935 . But if she was born a bit later , say in 1840 she would have been 15 when Ned was born, so I don’t think she could have been born much later than 1840, meaning that if Red was her father she had to have been conceived and born in Irleand – And her mother just happened to be some sort of relation of the woman Red would run into in Victoria, a McClusky from County Antrim at the other end of the country from poor Reds home county of Tiperary. What was he doing up there? And this baby that never knew Red, grew up and came to Victoria, had a baby of her own (Ned) and got her father to pretend to be his father ? (I hope Edna isn’t suggesting Red was Neds father by his own daughter???)

    Bill this entire thing is simply PREPOSTEROUS! Its very hard to test any of Ednas claims but it seems where they CAN be tested she is found wanting. There is every reason to believe that much if not all of her other unprovable and fantastic claims will also prove to be wanting.

    Bill PLEASE give up! What was it Brian McDonald said about Ednas tales years ago : entertaining but not credible as Kelly history – or something like that. You do NOT have an obligation to prove or disprove ANYTHING that Edna claims – its HER responsibility to provide the evidence and prove her controversial claims, and if she cant we can dismiss them. Don’t waste your precious time chasing Ednas mean claim that Ellen was an adulterer , and that an employer fathered several of her children. There is NO EVIDENCE she lived and worked in Brighton in the early 1860’s. Remember how she sued Frost? She wasnt afraid to name the fathers of her children.

    I go back to Occams razor : the simplest explanation is usually the best! Neds father was Red, Ellen was his mother and she raised him. Thats what ALL THE EVIDENCE shows.

  57. Just a couple of things Dee,
    No one has said Bridie's land was across the road from 57A.
    On my posting dated 26 Apr at 19:24
    I wrote " The first block Bridie had was 64A was right next to 58 and was owned by Ned Griffiths.
    Where I typed 57, 57, 58, should be 57, 57A, 58, 64A being Bridie's land

    Edna does not say the 18 year old Bridgett Kelly that came out on the William Metcalf in 1839 was the Bridie that Edna's family knew. This was discussed by several as a possibility during the KC2005 forum days. It all seemed likely that this was the Bridie aunt like figure Edna writes about in the Quinn-Kelly families at Greta West.

    Can someone help find an original copy of Smith's Weekly dated 7 April 1923 regarding the story 'The Women who Bore Ned Kelly'

    I will await any replies from willing descendants re my request above, but doubt they will now see this place as conducive to open discussion on topics that are outside the square from your point of view Dee!

    Readers and posters need to feel welcome in a place like this, but over critical replies only discourage participation in case they may be wrong. I think you have just closed the topic Dee.

  58. Hi Bill I was referring to Peter Newmans post that I thought was a quote from Edna saying that according to a map shown her by “Mollie” , on the opposite side of the road from Ellens property was land with the name Bridie Kelly on it, so I took that to mean that if it had her name on it , it was hers. So whats your interpretation of that quote?

    In relation to your suggestion that I have closed the Topic down, on the contrary Bill. I would like people to contribute whatever they can on this topic, but they should not expect to go unchallenged or not to have their contributions analysed, or inconsistencies or contradictions pointed out. But it is pointless for anyone to submit their ideas to this Blog, or to any Public forum if they don’t want to have them commented on, examined and challenged, or if they are going to take offence as soon as someone does.

    Are you really suggesting that people shouldn’t write what they really think if it might upset people? You know how frequently I am attacked and vilified in the Kelly world Bill – but it doesn’t affect me in the least because I am here to discuss ideas and the search for historical truth. I don’t take attacks on my ideas personally. And neither should you – I am not attacking YOU Bill, or Edna- I am challenging your ideas, or more specifically in this case, Ednas ideas. Some of them are preposterous, such as that Red could have been Bridies father, accusing Ellen of having been an adulterer without a shred of proof is no doubt offensive to some, and some of her ideas are just plain wrong, as I thought we had concluded in relation to the woman in the car.

    So, no Bill, the topic is not closed. And just to remind everyone, the Topic is Ednas claim that Neds real mother was the mysterious Bridget Kelly, not whether or not someone called Bridget Kelly existed – there were several on that ship! In trying to asses the reliability of that claim we have touched on various other claims that Edna has made.

    But seriously, if you are going to continue to promote Ednas ideas , sooner or later you are going to have to start providing us with some hard evidence that she really does have something to add, because so far, as I keep saying, all her claims seem to result in are wild goose chases and confusion. Eventually, even the most optimistic Prospector has to stop digging and give up on a Claim that doesn’t produce any Gold! Claims made without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.

  59. Yes Dee I can see the confusion re- Peters quote.
    "Edna said that Mollie had a map that showed the Ellen Kelly property and Edna’s property, as well as the name Bridget Kelly on the opposite side of the road (in open bush as it was then)".

    Obviously an easy miss interpretation .
    Take a look at this Google Earth image below on which I have marked the blocks.
    If 'Mollie' had shown a large parish map of Glenrowan up towards Wangaratta and down to Greta, then all those allotments would be shown. Seems by the time Edna was working on Vol 2 a year later, the close up map and pictures were included on pages 205-6 right near the end of the book titled 'Additional.'

    The Griffiths families of which there were quite a few who had many land blocks in the area and we don't know where they all were over time, but from Edna's maps and information, the road to Glenrowan passes by 88A that Edna identifies as have been owned by Bridie Kelly as well. So it maybe this block she refereed to in here first book.

    Then in Vol 2 she shows pictures of Bridie's land where the house stood. (on road to Wangaratta), and to the east a block with Bridie's name on it, but this block is about 15 Km N E of the Griffiths Greta West blocks 57, 57A and 58, and 86B and 87A.

    If you go to G.Earth and type in Wangaratta, then where the southern end of the Wang bypass splits off and where it says C314 between there was Bridie Kelly's block. You should see this as proof Bridie did exist on the map. While even with this miss interpretation of a simple quote, its an example why history is all skewed. We all make mistakes as we go and remember also Edna wrote it all down and documents were typed well before computers, and with 6 volumes over an 8 year period, its not that easy to fix mistakes.

    As I said before, " I am doing this to try verify some of Edna Griffiths stories "
    It may take some time for descendants to reply, if you have not already frightened them away?
    I am giving Edna the courtesy and benefit of doubt that she deserves, and I'm not promoting her books at all.

    Dee, it would appear, the sooner this line of enquiry of mine is finished the better you will like it so then you can continue to bag every other part of the Kelly story. You show little respect for Edna who has spent a life time preparing her writings for print, while you have only been at it a few years. She said to me people of today have no idea of life in those earlier times and she does not care if they don't like it. Her husband Ken turned 97 just a few last month. I say congratulations to Ken and Edna for your fantastic contribution.


  60. Nice image Bill! Certainly makes it easy to see where everyones selections were. Clearly Edna didnt mean literally across the road, maybe up the road is what she meant to say.

    I’m sorry you feel I am disrespecting Edna if I question the things she says. Ive actually made a point of saying that I am not in the least trying to cast doubt on her integrity or the sincerity of her desire to be helpful and remember history accurately. Perhaps you can suggest a way in which her ideas can be discussed that isn’t disrespectful – Its certainly not going to be easy if anything critical is interpreted as disrespect. I acknowledge your criticism that I am a newcomer on the Kelly scene but I am not sure that renders my comments entirely invalid. The value of this open forum is that anyone with better knowledge can enlighten and correct anything thats wrong that I or anyone else might write.

    Why is it disrespectful to ask if there is any evidence of Ellen having lived in Brighton and worked as a housekeeper for Lysaght? Edna has claimed she did, and that as a result two of her children were Lysaghts. This is a MAJOR and IMPORTANT detail that every other historian has got wrong if Ednas claim is correct.

    Why is it disrespectful to ask for information about Bridie/ Bridget Kelly that would support Ednas claim that Bridie was Neds mother? This is another MAJOR and IMPORTANT detail that every other historian has got wrong if Ednas claim is correct. Indeed if it IS true it would be one of the biggest upsets in Australian history, given the place Ned Kelly and his story has in Australian culture.

    Why is it disrespectful to explore the implications of Ednas claim that Red may have been Bridies father?

    Bill I believe I am showing respect to Edna by taking her claims at face value and seeing them as important enough to think seriously and long about what they mean and how they could be tested, and committing my thoughts to the Blog. However I also want to respect history and the academic discipline of historical enquiry, and be guided by logic and reason rather than sentiment. Bill I am not trying to ‘bag’ Edna or the Kelly story but separate the truth from all the untruths that have been attached to it. Actually I think you’re trying to do the same thing, as you have already at SBC.

    It would be sensational to find proof that turned Kelly history upside down, such as that Neds mother was someone other than Ellen as Edna claims, but I think we already know who Neds mum was.

  61. Peter Newman says: Reply

    Bill you may be right, perhaps I did interpret Edna's quote in Volume 1 too literally. As you say, we need to remember that Edna wrote this as she went and that with 6 volumes it was not possible to correct or clarify something written in an earlier volume. That probably explains this particular inconsistency. I think we have made some progress here insofar as at least establishing that someone called Bridie Kelly did exist. The other claims made by Edna about Bridie are yet to be proven. Wouldn't it be amazing if they were true! Kelly history is fascinating the way there are so many inconsistencies and the way so much that is known turns out to be false. It reminds me of Donald Rumsfeld's quote about there being known knowns, known unknowns and unknown unknowns!

  62. OK, with such major and important questions we all agree, but there are ways to go about this. Lets not pick on typos or miss understandings, I am hopeful some of those descendants will make contact so Edna's claims can be tested, that's all I want to do. You on the one hand is trying to dismantle the Kelly story while I am trying to keep it together by giving the life times work of filling the gaps that Kelly historians have either ignored or are too hard.

    Take for instance the car photo, we know it was a Ford Renown produced – sold 1921-2
    The car does not look newish to me, perhaps 10 years old. A door handle is missing and it looks knocked about.

    Look at the 1922 photo of old Ellen Kelly King sitting in the wheel chair with the priest. This photo was taken one year before the car photo.

    Then look at the lady sitting in the car which was taken one year after the wheel chair photo. She is beamingly bright upright and enjoying herself. Look at the faces.

    In Edna's opinion these are not the same ladies, or, unless the Ellen Kelly made a remarkable recovery and a year later got into the car to have her photo taken. I tend to agree they could be different people.

    The problem with all this is the Smiths Weekly article transcript is dated 7 April 1923. Edna maintains it was 1932 with Bridie Kelly in the car not Ellen.

    That’s why I would like some help source the original article to check the date.
    If it turns out to be 1932, then Edna is proven correct that it must be Bridie. If 1923 as we suspect then she is wrong and mistaken.

    Dee, regarding your comment " clearly Edna didn’t mean literally across the road". re Bridie's block 88A, look at it this way-
    If Griffiths's had a block north west of 88A, it would be across the road.

    Edna writes about Mollie Collinson whose father had been Williamson–
    " showed me a map of where she'd lived until 1910 when they as children had rides from Glenrowan in the buggy that Mr Kelly then drove. On the map – was the road from Glenrowan that we used, and our block was on it" But there on the other side, east towards Glenrowan was the name Bridgett Kelly (old Auntie Bridie)
    ( Note singular 'block' -not blocks, so she was not referring to all the Griffiths blocks further south)

  63. The journalist (Bartlett Adamson) who wrote the 1923 Smith's Weekly article you are referring to was not with the paper in 1932 according to the Australian Dictionary of Biography online.


    This states that he left Smith's Weekly in 1923 and did not go back to work for the paper again until 1935.

  64. Bill I’ve looked at more photos of 1920’s Model T Fords and the open touring cars didnt have external door handles. As shown here :[IMG]http://i64.tinypic.com/2s13a6u.jpg[/IMG]

    The photo of Ellens car is not that clear but no doubt the ride out to Greta from Melbourne over dirt roads could render it rather untidy in no time!

  65. Great work Sharon that solves it. Edna is wrong, it was Ellen Kelly in the car.
    OK, Edna got that wrong but does not mean everything else she writes is wrong. One down more to check.

    Dee, looks like external door handles were not necessary on open rag top cars, They were only needed on fully enclosed cars with doors and glass windows. The car still looks like an old bomb to me.

    Now another thing, Peter alerted me some time ago. He was wondering why a Heritage listed Historic site like the Kelly house is on allotment 57 on Greta or Kelly Gap Road and not on allot 57A ?

    Heritage Victoria accepts listings from individuals who nominate sites that deserves protection.
    How could this happen? Another case of a wrong site identification.
    Image to follow

  66. Kelly site Heritage Listing on wrong block



  67. Amazing Bill! Keep up the good work.

  68. Peter Newman says: Reply

    It is an error with the mapping on the Benalla Planning Scheme. It used to be mapped correctly, but when new format planning schemes were introduced in 1997 the map overlay for the Kelly homestead site went missing, despite the fact that the site is still referenced as Heritage Overlay site 37 (HO37) in the accompanying schedule to the Heritage Overlay. At the same time, HO24 which is the Benalla water supply depot site in Riverview Road, Benalla has been accidently mapped on the property next door to the Kelly homestead site. It is interesting that no-one has apparently noticed the error until now! Obviously the Shire needs to fix up its mapping.

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