I have a few issues to discuss…

I don’t have a Post ready to go onto the Blog yet, because Ive been busy with other things. I do actually have a life thats separate from reading and writing abut Ned Kelly and I do stop to ‘smell the roses’ from time to time Mark! Now that Ive picked off all the places where its easy to expose the myths in the Kelly story, I am left with the subjects that require a bit more thought and reading around. It takes time…

What everyone has probably noticed , and I certainly have, is that often  the comments and discussions that follow the Posts that I make are not actually about the main subject of the Post, but about some peripheral issue that springs up. I find this frustrating as I have never believed I have all the answers, and am interested in what others think about the actuall thing Ive written about, whether they be corrections or additional background information…it makes me wonder sometimes why I take the time to develop an argument that then gets ignored. But any discussion is usually good to have…

So this time I am going to pose a few of the questions about Kelly mythology that have been in the back of my mind lately, things I will eventually make a Post about but maybe before I do, others can contribute their thoughts and I can be the one doing the responding:

1. McIntyre is routinely said to have committed perjury because he is supposed to have contradicted himself in the various statements he made regarding what happened at SBC. Its rare however to find someone go to the trouble of juxtaposing his various statements and pointing out exactly what this perjury was. I want to do that and see if it really looks like perjury or the variations in an account that almost anyone would make trying to explain a complex drama in a few words.

2. Much is made of the Petition that was circulated in Melbourne pleading for Ned Kellys’ life to be spared. Was this really about Ned Kelly or about Capital punishment, something that Gaunson, one of Ned Kellys defence  representatives was well known to be passionate about?

3. Much is made of the arrival of a Constable Graham in the North East after Ned Kellys execution, the suggestion being that replacing all the bad cops with a good cop was one of the main reasons the outbreak ended.  This is advanced as a support to the ‘corrupt police’ origin of the whole thing. Another reason usually given is the Royal Commission, again reinforcing the bad cops notion. I am going to suggest the biggest and most important reason by FAR was the removal of the real source of all this violence and criminality : Ned Kelly himself. Take him out of the place and everything settled down.

4. What kind of person kills a man, steals his watch then shows it to people, as Ned did with Kennedys watch to various people at Euroa ( or was it Jerilderie…or both?) This is creepy stuff if you ask me.

5. Much is made of Neds rescue of Richard Shelton when he was nine, and the Green sash he was given as a reward. Nobody disputes that story, but I have no doubt in my mind that it has been embellished and exaggerated as all good stories are. But the story is told as some kind of proof that Ned Kelly was a terrific bloke for all the rest of his life – as if the kind of person you are at nine predicts the kind of person you will be after your father dies of alcoholism leaving everyone destitute, after puberty has wrought its magic on your expanding consciousness and the quest for meaning, after you’ve been apprentice to a Bushranger and become accustomed to sticking a gun in peoples faces and robbing them, however ‘politely’.  I give credit to Ned for saving Richard – he earned that sash. The tragedy is that this generous brave 9 year old gave in to the darker side of his nature and became a menace to society. 

Your thoughts please.

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8 Replies to “I have a few issues to discuss…”

  1. 1. Mac didn't commit perjury. But he should have been more bloody careful when relating details.
    2. Totally agree it was Gaunson pushing his barrow. I lot of signatures were also from the same person.
    3. According to you Dee, Jim was just as much a problem. Yet Graham seemed to settle the unrest. Compare Grahams approach to Halls approach. Or Brook Smiths approach, or Arthur Steeles modus operandi..

    4. Did he brag about the watch though? Or simply show it when asked? I suggest the later.
    5. Yes, Ned became an issue. I would have too if I was brought up among the Quinns and close relative hacked a horse to death with an axe just to get revenge on a neighbour.. I'm surprised he wasn't woese to be honest.

  2. Well Mark it looks like you and I are the only ones really interested in talking about Ned! Regarding Pt 3, those three you mention were responding to Neds behaviour weren't they? Regarding Pt 4, Ned also flashed Lonigans gun about the place. I think it was a kind of boastful showing off of his spoils of war.

  3. Ed Wilgar says: Reply

    Dee, none of the books that say McIntyre provided differing SBC evidence ever provided evidence or samples of this. MacFarlane says McIntyre's accounts were remarkably similar, and that the possibly mistaken Sadleir account, published 35 years later, is the only questionable source that differs.

    We were dudded and badly misled by earlier authors. Even John Phillips, later a Chief Justice of Victoria, in his book about Ned's trial for the murder of Lonigan, did not explain the supposed discrepancies in McIntyre's various written and reported evidence.

    Their glaring omissions left us nothing to criticise – except their glaring omissions.

  4. 3. Many predicted further 'rises' were forecast after the gang was defeated at Glenrowan. Among them was the double-agent Wallace in his reports to police. Jim Kelly too was considered a threat, although he was always busy mending boots whenever police checked. Its likely other plans were in place but were never activated.

  5. Hi Dee, re your questions:
    1) McIntyre did not commit perjury. His version of events was consistent from the time of his first reports until decades later when he again recounted the story. The same cannot be said of Ned Kelly and the Kelly clan. They lied when first confronted by Police and continually and repeatedly lied and changed their stories as events unfolded.
    2) The petition to save Kelly's life was more about opposition to capital punishment than Kelly specifically. In any case many signatures were forged or signed with an X rending the document worthless as to popular support or otherwise for Kelly at the time.
    3) The Kelly outbreak led to the deaths of all 4 of the gang, 3 Policeman, Aaron Sherrit, and from memory 2 innocent people from Glenrowan. I would say these catastrophic events were more to do with a quelling of another possible rise than an appointment of a single Policeman. If Jim Kelly or any other Kelly supporter had thought of 'rising' they would have known that the end game would be the same as Ned and the others. Certain death is a great deterrent.
    4) What can you say? The evidence speaks for itself. Great bloke?
    5) Good on Ned as a 9 year old. Basically irrelevant for anything that happened after that point. You are judged by your actions as they evolve.

  6. Doug James says: Reply

    The petitions are explicit:


    Your humble PETITIONERS (having carefully considered the circumstances of the case) respectfully pray that the Life of the CONDEMNED man, EDWARD KELLY, may be spared.N.B – This list to be sent to Mr. David Gaunson, M.L.A, Solicitor for the Prisoner, so as to reach Melbourne on Monday morning next. 8th November 1880.

    This does not mean that anti-hanging people did not sign, or that the many criticisms of the petition are wrong.

    I guess that time was urgent, and that many corners were cut. But the petitions failed and Ned was hanged.

    There is an account by a young boy who was outside the gaol when Ned was executed which does not help his cause.

  7. Russell Davis says: Reply

    That watch of Sgt Kennedy moved around a lot, many people were supposed to have had it.

    Ian Jones's opinions on all these questions are answered here:


    Ian apparently was first led astray by the weird Kenneally book.

    It all just gets worse.

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