Exactly when did Ned Kelly stand up for his family?

On Facebook and elsewhere one of the often-repeated claims made about Ned Kelly was that he ‘stood up’ for his family. The idea seems to be that his family were victims of police persecution from well before Ned Kelly was even a kid, but once he approached adulthood he finally decided ‘enough is enough’, his loyalty and devotion to his family compelled him to take a stand against the corrupt system of policing and ‘justice’, a brave defiant stand that ultimately resulted in his death. The police and the authorities were the baddies, and the Kellys led by Ned were the goodies. Death was a kind of martyrdom.
This is a wonderfully romantic almost classic vision of a true hero, the brave fearless youth who rescued a drowning child, grows up to tackle the goliath of institutional oppression and corruption. Here was a man inspired by what are now claimed to be true Australian values, justice and a fair go for all, embarked on a quest for justice for his family. It is emotionally appealing at every level.
But is it actually true?
The first problem with this narrative, is that the 1881 Royal Commission investigated the claim that the Kellys were persecuted by the Police and most definitely concluded that they were NOT. This is what they wrote :
It may also be mentioned that the charge of persecution of the family by the members of the police force has been frequently urged in extenuation of the crimes of the outlaws; but, after careful examination, your Commissioners have arrived at the conclusion that the police, in their dealings with the Kellys and their relations, were simply desirous of discharging their duty conscientiously; and that no evidence has been adduced to support the allegation that either the outlaws or their friends were subjected to persecution or unnecessary annoyance at the hands of the police. 
Any Kelly supporter who knows that this is what the Commission found, but continues to claim the Kellys were persecuted needs to explain how the Commission got it so wrong. They took evidence from all kinds of people over many months  and even visited Ellen Kelly in her own home, and they concluded not that there was hardly any evidence or only weak evidence of Kelly persecution but that there was NO evidence. Kelly supporters never fail to mention and applaud adverse findings that the Commission made about various Police, but when it comes to this finding, the finding that there was no police persecution of the Kellys, the sympathisers turn a deaf ear, and pretend it was never said. Denial, in other words.
Either they accept the authority of the Commission and all its findings, or they dismiss the entire thing – theres nothing credible about cherry picking findings they like and disregarding ones they don’t.
The other awful problem the people have who believe Ned Kelly ‘stood up’ for his family, is that when you look at what he actually did for his family, very little of it seems to be about ‘standing up’ for them.
Take the incident between Ned and the McCormicks, that resulted in Ned Kellys first imprisonment, in 1871, when Ned was 15. Neds involvement in this dispute was entirely gratuitous, and it had nothing at all to do with sticking up for his family, but as a result of it he was sentenced to three months hard labour for ‘violent assault’ plus a £10 fine or three months hard labour for ‘sending indecent letters to a female’. He was also to provide three £20 sureties ‘to keep the peace towards McCormick and his wife’. After the sureties were paid, his family couldn’t find the last £10, so he ended up going inside for six months instead of three. So Neds support for his mother consisted of brawling in public that resulted in her entire savings being expended, and her oldest son locked up and of no use to her at all for six months. Great help indeed!
Ned was freed from Gaol five weeks early, an inconvenient fact for those who say he was relentlessly persecuted and oppressed by the ‘system’. But did he decide to stay out of trouble so he could help his poor mother? No, within a few weeks he was back inside, this time for ‘feloniously receiving’ and he was gone for nearly three years. Three years of not standing up for his family or being there to defend them. Well done Ned, your mother must have been proud  of you!
Ned Kelly was freed in early 1874, ( and, – another inconvenient fact –  once again received a generous remission of his sentence)  and supposedly for the next two years at least was going straight. So did he NOW demonstrate his devotion to his mother and stand up for his family? Well, by April 1877 , three years later Ned had admitted he had abandoned the straight life working for wages and was engaged in full time ‘wholesale and retail’ stock theft. He bragged about how much money he was making. He said he was living the life of a ‘rambling gambler’ and was apparently well known for dressing well and wearing fine boots. Ian Jones  ( A Short Life) wrote he was ‘ an enthusiastic gambler who spent his money freely on grog for his fellow workers” But during this time when he had regular paid work, and then eventually a very lucrative criminal enterprise, how exactly was he demonstrating his great affection for his mother? Helping her out on the farm? Fixing up the house?
At this exact time, Inspecting Superintendent  Nicolson visited the area and called in to see Mrs Kelly. This is his report from early 1877:
“I visited the notorious Mrs Kelly on the road from hence to Benalla. She lived on a piece of partly cleared and partly cultivated land on the roadside in an old wooden hut with a large bark roof. The dwelling was divided into five apartments by partitions of  blanketing, rags etc. There were no men in the house only children and two girls of about 14 years of age said to be her daughters. They all appeared to be living in poverty and squalor. She said her sons were out at work but did not indicate where and that their relatives seldom came near them.”
“Poverty and squalor” was his mother’s lot, whilst Neds was the life of a ‘rambling gambler’. Later that year when he was fined for being drunk and disorderly, for resisting arrest and for assaulting police in the execution of their duty, he paid the £4/6s himself. At least now he was paying his own fines, but there is little evidence of any particular devotion to his mother, or any evidence that he was ‘standing up’ for her.
However, to give Ned his due, at the end of the year his conscience must have got the better of him because  with the help of Joe Byrne, Williamson and Skillion, he replaced his mothers squalid old hut with a much more substantial place, with actual interior walls.  Morrissey wrote that the old hut was about to collapse and if it had done so, Mrs Kellys selection may have become forfeit. This act, albeit out of almost desperate necessity is about the only thing Ned did that could be said to be for his family. But what son wouldn’t have done that for his mother if he could? Frankly, I don’t see it as an exhibition of something exceptional in Ned Kellys character.  
Four months later, at the new Kelly home, Constable Fitzpatrick was injured , and arrest warrants were issued for Ned, his mother, Dan and two others on charges of attempted murder. Ned claimed he wasn’t there at the time, and was therefore innocent – so did he stand up for his family and demonstrate his devotion to his mother by defending her? Well, no he didn’t, because as he well knew those claims were lies and he disappeared with Dan into the Bush, leaving his mother alone to face the music with her newborn baby Alice.
Later, he tried to make some sort of deal with the police to get his mothers freedom, but it was an offer he knew couldn’t possibly be accepted – it was just grandstanding, a pretence at caring – there still isn’t a case anywhere in legal history that Ive heard of where a wanted suspect has negotiated his surrender on the basis that some other convicted criminal is released. And then of course Ned Kelly made it altogether impossible to do anything for anyone but himself by murdering three policemen at Stringybark Creek and being outlawed as a result. From then on it was all about his own survival.
He robbed two banks and obtained a huge amount of money. But he didn’t use the money to buy legal help for his mother –  he give the money to his supporters and family members who were soon paying off debts and seen wearing smart clothes and buying new saddles. The proceeds of either robbery would have bought some pretty  expensive Lawyers advice but he didn’t bother. And by the time he launched his ill-fated attack at Glenrowan, Mrs Kelly had less than a year to run on her sentence – but Glenrowan wasn’t about Mrs Kelly, it was about murder and revenge, and he was ready to sacrifice not only his own life, but his brothers as well.

So did Ned Kelly really stand up for his family? I think its pretty clear the answer is no –  he created more problems for them than he solved. When Mrs Kelly needed him he seemed to mostly be off having a good time, or else in Gaol, and then for the last two years of his life he was on the run. If he hadn’t built that house I would have said he never did anything but create trouble for his family.
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82 Replies to “Exactly when did Ned Kelly stand up for his family?”

  1. Chris Vernon says: Reply

    When everything is considered, there wasn't much about the Kelly family that was normal.

    The mythologists have tried to paint a rosy picture, but all they have created is a hollow myth.

    The prostitute and other oddballs that lived in the Kelly home from time to time were misfits like the Kellys. They must have had some redeeming features…

    But as you have shown in this blog, Dee, that may be a forlorn hope.

  2. Gary Lewis says: Reply

    Fitzy on his mad FB hate site against that book says "Ned loved his family above all else". Never any proof for his daft claims though.

    Everyone knows the guy is a complete fool.

    His lengthy description of a 'Troll' fits him exactly.

    He is a major internet serial pest.

  3. Harry Ferguson says: Reply

    The Kelly Gang Unmasked book, page 44: "More serious for Ned, given his earlier history of assaults, was the sudden disappearance of his mother’s second husband, George King, in late 1877 or early 1878. The weirdest thing about the disappearance of King was the silence of the Kelly family. No one ever reported him missing. King’s disappearance is generally avoided by the pro-Kelly writers. It has created a monumental puzzle for us today.

    "King became Ellen Kelly’s second husband on 19 February 1874. The union was joined by the Rev. William Gould at Benalla’s Primitive Methodist Church. Five months earlier, on 17 September 1873, Gould had married sixteen-year-old Margaret ‘Maggie’ Kelly to Bill Skillion.Ellen Kelly, unmarried and eight months pregnant, was a witness. At Ellen’s wedding to King, the witnesses turned out to be Ned Kelly, recently released from gaol, and Bill Skillion, husband of Maggie. In the absence of any verifiable details of his background, bridegroom King remains a continuing mystery. There is virtually nothing about him upon which we can rely".

    These marriages involved renouncement of Catholicism by the Kelly brides. Bill Skillion of course was later involved in the Const FitzPatrick shooting and was convicted. He had earlier in October 1869 given favourable evidence on behalf of Ned in the Ah Fook highway robbery with violence case. Together with evidence from a labourer employed by Ellen Kelly, Ned was discharged.

  4. Well it would seem his days as an internet serial pest could be over because he's advised everyone that the best way to deal with anti-Kelly people like me and Brian is by ignoring us completely. He advises that if they do that we will go away! Its remarkable that he has decided this, having spent most of the year doing the exact opposite, doing everything BUT ignoring me, making post after post of nothing but abuse and ranting. Its plainly obvious he's obsessed and fixated on Dee, and I am sure he won't be able to get his preoccupation under control or manage to ignore me for long. I'll count the days and see exactly how long it takes till he and his groupies just have to start talking about me again! If it lasted a week I would be amazed!

  5. Anonymous says: Reply

    King's disappearance isn't overlooked by pro-Kelly writers. Most of them bring it up. Gary Dean has a lot to say about the subject, for example. Theories are thrown around a fair bit within pro-Kelly groups and not all of them are that Ned had nothing to do with his disappearance. Just sayin'

  6. Harry Ferguson says: Reply

    Don't think you are right. There is nothing, of course, in the remarkably obtuse Brad Webb "book" or the overblown Peter FitzSimons book which I borrowed from my local library. Older pro-Kelly books certainly don't mention the mysterious disappearance either for obvious reasons.

    Maybe you could help us by listing pro-Kelly books that mention the disappearance and what outcomes they arrived at on the subject.

  7. Brian Tate says: Reply

    If "Ned loved his family above all else' then why did he not pay out his mother's selection after he had amassed a considerable amount of money from the 2 bank robberies? That wasn't paid out for many, many years. I guess he was too busy buying nice clothes etc.

  8. James Watt says: Reply

    The Kelly Gang Unmasked book says: "But another source introduced the possibility that King might have been murdered", and cited Balcarek & Dean (1999: 111).

  9. Hal Yuille says: Reply

    No Brad Webb "Ned Kelly" book reviews yet. I'm not saying there won't be any. Its just traditional that book reviews appear at the launch of a book to help sales.

    So far this may by far be the worst Kally book disaster in publishing history.

  10. Jack Forrest says: Reply

    Bob McGargle on the FB hate page against that book, says that if "The Kelly Gang Unmasked" book wasn't put in the Woolies book shelves it can't be any good and was "a flop".

    Of course it wasn't put in Woolies Bob. It sold out long ago. Woolies is where the remaindered books end up.

    The Neducator had a go too. But no-one pays any attention to him anymore.

  11. Anonymous says: Reply

    Just happened to have been looking up pioneering land titles of the outer Benalla region on the weekend.
    Some years a good crop, some years not. Many factors involved- diversity of crops, and stock, number of years on the property, available family/farm labourers, required property improvements undertaken. Some extended family didn't pay out their land leases for many, many years either.

    But, that's just a side comment about the period.

    B. T. and T. Ryan

  12. Anonymous says: Reply

    Since when do Woolies sell books by Oxford University Press? There is some real dodo brains writing on Facebook.

  13. Brian Tate says: Reply

    Poor old Bobby doesn't have a clue really. He follows Fitzy with blind faith as his guiding light.

  14. I have finally purchased Brads book. And you know what? It's not as bad as a lot have been making out. You need to remember it was never going to be geared toward the cynical, picky Kelly researchers like us. Its a fairly good starting place for those starting out on the Kelly journey though. Yes, it mentions the Republic which is a hot potato but still. I hope it leads the young ones who buy it into researching further. If that happens then Brad has done good. The unusual size and graphic layout is also an asset. There is more to a book sometimes than content.. (And now, I will duck for cover from Brian and Dee…) The pics are well produced in the main and I note that Brad himself is very accomplished based on the last page details. I would like to think this is the first of perhaps a trilogy from Brad? Next one he can go deeper. In fact, Brads book reminds me a lot of MJ Jennings book from 1968, both in a visual sense and layout and info. No bad thing..

  15. Oh come on Mark! How can a book published in 2017 claiming to be about Ned Kelly and written by a historian be regarded as anything but a fraud if it ignores misrepresents or contradicts so much of what we KNOW about Ned Kelly, or at the very least fails to draw anyones intentions to all the parts in it that are contentious? Brad Webb wants readers to believe what he is telling is the comprehensive and complete story, and nowhere even hints that there might be more coming. As usual you are too kind Mark!

  16. Brian Tate says: Reply

    Mark you seem to be drifting back to the dark side again. If Brad Webb sees his book as being some sort serious examination of the Kelly story, why has he neglected to include contemporary research which has debunked or challenged so many of the long accepted myths? The book seems to simply reinforce much of the guff which has been written ad nauseum in the past. Finally, you should beware of incurring the wrath of he-who-must-be-obeyed who recently posted " Running with the hare and hunting with the hound will never gain you any respect from either side as both see you as insincere and untrustworthy and akin to a snake in the woodpile!"

  17. Mark what did you make of Webb's Glenrowan sequence?

  18. Only a paranoid moron could imagine Mark was a snake in the Wood pile.So I certainly don't.

  19. I rather agree with Brian. Webb's book is absolutely awful and a huge leap backwards. Nothing new there. A complete ripoff! Old hat.

    Mark seems an OK guy but sometimes hard to follow.

  20. Not interested in answering this if it leads to more bitching and point scoring. Hear this Kelly World. F CKING WELL GROW UP!!!!

  21. Being kind gets you nowhere in the Kelly world it seems. Perhaps I need to transmogrify into a venomous C U Next Tuesday…If you can't beat them, join them. Am I right? NO ONE said the book was going to be definitive. And if we all expected it to be then we are all on planet janet.

    And I am getting a bit tired of being asked to choose sides. If I post here, Mick. Greg and Bob have an aneurism and a sook. And hate me. Bob it seems has even blocked me. If I say something on Micks site, I am questioned as someone who needs a lobotomy for posting on a site that thinks Ned was a hero. I just cannot win.

    The book is a good starting point. It is fun, pocket sized, a draw card on the shelf. Affordable. For probably the younger set. And I guess Brad wants to sell it. Make money off it. The Capitalist!!! Nothing wrong with that. Painting the black side of the story (which certainly exists) may not be want the publishers wanted? And perhaps Brad himself is not equipped yet to face the unpalatable truths within the Kelly story. I can't answer these things. But considering them is a fair thing. I refuse to be absolute. Nothing is. So stop bloody asking it of me.

    The other sites can make some good points. They just need to learn to hang in there and not throw their toys out the cot. Intestinal fortitude. On the subject, everyone please unblock everyone FFS. Do I sound annoyed? Well I bloody well am.

  22. Josh Ellis says: Reply

    Mark Perry's kind review of the Brad Webb publishing disaster was odd. Mark ended up praising production values (which I thought were pretty ordinary). "There is more to a book sometimes than content," claims Mark.

    The photos praised by Mark were all well known to Kelly researches perhaps even the new ones. "Cynical, picky Kelly researchers" would have seen them all their lives.

    Obviously Mark this site is focussed on content alone and that is what is lacking in the Webb book. His content is old, recycled, disproven myth and not a single word about how that myth has been totally dismantled by Macfarlane, Morrissey, and Dawson, not to mention you Dee!

    Brad's book was a waste of a bush.

  23. I wasn't being flippant when I asked that question Mark so no need to get cranky and start using the foul language the Kelly morons use. Were you having a bad day or something? On this site I think we HAVE grown up. One reason I asked you especially was because as you keep reminding us all you've been 'into' Ned since you were 11 and the other day you mentioned a Kelly author Ive never heard of before. I think you have a vast knoweldge of the Kelly literature and thought you may've heard somewhere along the line the altered sequence of events Webb describes, a sequence Ive never heard or read about anywhere else.

    I don't think theres any point in hoping you'll ever have a Kelly discussion where there aren't trolls and people bitching and point scoring. After all your years in the scene I thought by now you would have learned that at least.

  24. Paul Baird says: Reply

    Better remove this disgusting post before Facebook removes it. What the hell is Mark doing? Is he trying to crash this site?

  25. David Wong says: Reply

    Mark says: Brad's "book is a good starting point. It is fun, pocket sized, a draw card on the shelf. Affordable" — and completely W R O N G !

    Get a grip on yourself Mark !

    Any stop posting hissy fit nonsense and foul language here.

  26. Who is "he-who-must-be-obeyed"? He ain't Fitzy who has taken a week off from his hate blog and Facebook foolhardiness. Brad is unusually quiet too. Ian Jones hasn't been heard from in ages.

    Maybe they have all retired realising the Ned Myth is dead and can't be resuscitated.

  27. Anonymous says: Reply

    I agree with Mark it would be a good book for those starting to read about Ned Kelly. People hoped I guess given the time and effort it takes to complete a book that there would be a little more substance to it? Brad had an open opportunity to add something, have an opinion and stand out, but completely missed it. It's all a bit meh… There are better books if people are looking for detailed information that has personality. Considering the layout and style its good for kids, maybe that's the point? Just don't get me started on the people that like to call themselves 'historians'.

  28. Anonymous says: Reply

    The perfect Christmas gift. A cheap thrill book about the famous murderers. Get yours today and read all about it. Lies, lies lies. What's the difference between Ned Kelly and Chopper Read? Not sure anymore.

  29. Anonymous says: Reply

    To the less informed. You wont hear from Ian Jones. But you would have known that when people (you no, human beings) were talking about it…5 years ago!

  30. Anonymous says: Reply

    There was nothing new in it. covered that several times. Even twice by Mark. Maybe you missed it because it was some how 'hard to follow'. have a good day!

  31. Anonymous says: Reply

    LOL! why would Facebook remove a post on blogspot? LMAO!!! what a dick! And Paul please google (if you know how) what it means to 'crash a site' your lack of understanding of the internet is scary. Are really qualified to be on here? i look forward to your next hissy fit freak out. have a good day!

  32. Anonymous says: Reply

    oh and by the way. STFU (stands for stuff you. i swear!)

  33. Anonymous says: Reply

    David you just had an opinion out loud. You ok? steady on there!

  34. Brads book was never going to mention Dee, Ian McFarlanes or Dawsons work. Never. I simply saw the good in the book. Without hammering the bad. We really don't need to hand out negativity. At leadt, not all the time. He got it on the shelves. I havent done it. Have you Josh? Noddy? Horry? David? Dee? I mentioned the good that I saw. And alluded to why the other side of the argument may not have been present. I am optimistic. Its my nature. And my job. I have to believe. Please tell me you gys understand that? Before one of us dies…

  35. So what if pics were not new? No crap. They were presented well though. This book is geared toward the beginner, once again. A starting point. I thought the production values were good. Brad is a graphic artist after all. Geez, I hope you guys don't rip me to shreds when I get a Kelly book on the shelves. Good manners cost nothing. Am I right? Josh? Noddy? Horrie? Dee? Brian? Paul?

  36. Dear David. Perhaps you should get a grip on YOURSELF? Wink. And the book is a good starting point. And it isn't COMPLETELY wrong. Drama Queen. Oh, and FYI too, I didn't swear. I left the appropriate blanket spaces. So, David, your post is WONG!!! (see what I did there?…)

  37. Thank you Horrie. I am an ok guy. Not hard to follow though really. It's a book that has obviously been geared to a certain audience. It is kept simple and brief. But could serve as a good introduction to the story. I also wonder if Brad is in a ;position himself to face the Kelly demons. Hence the reason he hasn't.

  38. Anonymous says: Reply

    Here's the bottom line in your own words 'I thought' and 'Marks'. See the difference?

    As far as 'recycled, disproven myths' you would have to include more than 50% of Kelly books before Macfarlane came along. So nothing new there. whats your point again? i look forward to to your childish crys to Dee about trolls coming next. have a good day!

  39. Brian Tate says: Reply

    Have a look at his FB page and the post of 29 July 2017 at 11:26.

  40. Yes sometimes there IS more to a book than 'content' just like a meat pie isn't just about the meat, but the meat is the essential ingredient. So if the meat is rubbish, can you still praise the 'pie' because the pastry is OK? You can say the pastry was nice but the pie – the total package – was a failure. A rotten pie can't be saved by nice pastry any more than a rotten book can be saved by nice production values.

    In my opinion as a starter for kids – not that Webb has ever stated that this was what the book is supposed to be, but if thats all anyone can imagine it possibly being – this book would be about as useful as a 2017 travel guide to Yugoslavia. On booktopia the target audience is listed as "General", and on his own website theres a Dorothy Dixer type review that says this

    "Historian Brad Webb has written the essential guide to the Kelly legacy, with rarely seen images. This book is a must for any library."

    So THAT is what he is promoting it as – a book for a general audience and an essential guide, not a starter for kids.

    Essentially my problem is that this is a deeply DISHONEST book. Brad Webb KNOWS about MacFarlane and Dawson and Morrissey, he KNOWS about all the controversies in the story but he didn't ONCE acknowledge any of them, and he didn't ONCE state anything to suggest this book was merely his personal opinion of the Kelly story. Instead he labelled himself as an historian, and attempts to deceive and misdirect uniformed people about the Kelly story. And if it WAS aimed at kids that would make it even worse because theres one thing we owe our kids and thats not to betray their trust in adults by taking advantage of their naivety and inexperience and tell them lies. Thats what the Neducator does and he's a mate of Webbs and in my opinion they're both shonky.

    The book is propaganda, not history, and its a disgrace to its author.

  41. Stuart Dawson says: Reply

    I think the general structure of Brad Webb's book is good. The pictures, although mostly well known, are appealing as Mark says, the size is handy, and again, the production values are good. As noted back up on this page, the content is mostly about 20 years old. So I agree with what Mark says about the book's appearance, even though I strongly disagree with some content, and totally reject its Fitzpatrick content. Instead of all this winging, why doesn't someone take the same idea, and turn out a cheap book that uses lots of the same sort of royalty-free graphics, and tells the updated, factual story of Neddy-boy? Dee?…. Hint…

  42. Brian Tate says: Reply

    Mark how can this book be a 'good starting point' if it only tells a sanitised version of the story? This is exactly how the Kelly mythology is perpetuated; tell only some of the story and just ignore contemporary research which successfully challenges many of the myths. Surely you can't believe that this way of telling the Kelly story is completely honest and acceptable? I would like to think that you are a man of integrity Mark and wouldn't like to see history dealt with in this way.

  43. Ray Samuel says: Reply

    Good looking defecation is still defecation, Stuart!

  44. Anonymous says: Reply

    I find your constant barrage of hatred against all things Kelly disturbing Dee. You say you show no bias and only post the facts but that in itself is a lie. You only post what suits you, and any person who opposes you cops a bollocking from you and that moron Tate. Or are you one and the same? Who knows or cares? Sad, depraved, and so obviously ex coppers who with nothing more to do after retirement have decided to try and destroy Ned Kelly. Well you will never, ever be that good. Far from it. In fact I find your constant attacks on everyone who speaks against you quite troublesome. You sound like the sort of person that fits the profile of a narcissist and a depraved criminal. Sometimes its the crooks that wear the uniforms, as it was in the 1870's. And as Dawson stated, what about your book Dee? We all know you are using this blog as a base for your publication. Can't wait for that to be released.

  45. Anonymous says: Reply

    Dee Perhaps you need to have been one of those kids to make a call on: 1) how they would feel about Brad’s book and 2) how useful it is. If they buy Brad’s book they’re going to get the same information in a different layout or their first book. That doesn’t mean they won’t read other books. Reading MacFarlane’s book doesn’t mean that they won’t still believe that Ned was a saint (or however you like to say it) they could just call bullshit on it, or maybe they will change their mind, it’s on them isn’t it? You can argue with someone about what was right and wrong till your blue in the face, but surely you have learnt by now it rarely changes their opinion?

    Yes, you have questioned a lot of things and nail most of the facts, as have some authors. So let’s all hope beginners (or others) have an open mind and consider what you’re saying.

    It’s not Brads job to direct people to other authors though, he needed to reference his work by law and that’s what he did. If the kids or readers are genuinely interested in the story they will find other books and websites, including yours. Have you heard Ian Jones talk about how he started on the Kelly story?

    I don’t agree there are rare photos in the book. Or that he calls himself a historian, unless of course he is. But as far as what all these people think he should have done instead of what he did, it’s a pointless argument, they didn’t write the books, its not based on what they think should go in it. But we all are a sucker for buying the books. Every. Single. Time. Lol

  46. Mark Greiser says: Reply

    What a lot of baloney, Anonymous: "It’s not Brad's job to direct people to other authors though, he needed to reference his work by law and that’s what he did".

    That's nonsense. Of course it is Brad's job to direct people to other authors who might disagree with him. To do otherwise is misleading and deceptive. I don't think anyone is going to argue that his book is scholarly or provides proof of what he claims.

    There are no references in Brad's book to speak of.

  47. Harry Ferguson says: Reply

    Ned has been done and dusted here Anonymous. You are the one behind the times. Don't be troubled or disturbed just stay in your world of convenient myth and legend. You are wasting your time and our's by posting here.

  48. Jack Connor says: Reply

    Stuart, your comment about royalty-free photos is generally wrong. The photo used by Fitzy on his hate blog, and by Brad on the cover of his book are not free and are unattributed there. Fitzy has a long history of using unattributed photos that belong to major Victorian institutions, and belong to the people of Victoria. He doesn't care, and so it seems, neither does Brad.

    I invite them both, and Brad's publisher, to show they have asked permission to publish and paid appropriate fees to do so. If not, they are in clear breech of copyright.

  49. Aren't you supposed to be ignoring me ? Obviously you're having trouble getting control of your hysterical obsessional hatred of all things Dee.

  50. Anonymous says: Reply

    What a load of BS to argue its Brad's job to direct people to other authors. And how does that make it misleading? you may be right about references, my mistake. (you really missed a perfect opportunity to complain about something new!)

    If you honestly think in some way Brad should have directed people to other books (note: the ones that hold your personal opinion) please elaborate why? it sure as hell isn't misleading anyone by not adding them. It wouldn't make sense for him to do it. what you're really pissed off about is the fact he hasn't added in the opinions you worship.

    The only way it could be misleading someone is if they only open one book EVER. So you'd happily let the axe fall on Brad for not telling readers to research other books when many others haven't done the same thing before him?

  51. Brian Tate says: Reply

    And of course Mickey you show no bias whatsoever! I don't think those who want the truth of the Kelly story more widely distributed want to 'destroy' Kelly; he's long dead and gone. What we are trying to do is shine some light onto the myths that you and your mates still cling to. And as I have said before, books like Brad's merely retell the lies. And as to '…attacks on everyone who speaks against you…'. Time to grab a mirror Mickey.

  52. Stuart Dawson says: Reply

    Hi Jack, what I meant to say is that a lot of these photos and illustrations can be used free of charge, not that the source shouldn't be acknowledged or permissions sought from the picture owner. It only takes a few emails to do that. Hope that helps.

  53. Anonymous says: Reply

    I have three words for you Anonymous. Reality deficiency syndrome. When its all said and done your life's mission to save the the Kelly world from Dee is wasted energy. We are all adults the choice is ours. Get over yourself, you're not god's gift to all things Kelly. If you don't like Dee or her opinion why the hell are you here?

  54. I'm looking forward to Sharons review of this book. I hope she lets us know when it goes up on her Blog. Maybe SHE will say something about Brad Webbs weird claim that the tracks were ripped up long after the Inn was filled with hostages!

  55. Stuart Dawson says: Reply

    Actually, the cover photos on the Brad Webb book are acknowledged on p. 203, after the rest of the photo credits. I'm not sure what the Max Brown collection is, but there you go.

  56. Anonymous says: Reply

    One was in the 19th Century and the other in the 20th century! Hahaha! Sorry! Had to…

  57. Mark Greiser says: Reply

    So, what do you call books that only tell one side of the story then?

    Telling both sides is called balance. Brad has joined FitzSimons and others in the dunces' corner. Their books will be remembered long into the far distant future as being unbalanced and recycling pro-Kelly nonsense. No scholarship or new research there.

    Macfarlane, Morrissey and Dawson quote from the original police and other documents of the time, and properly cite them (so people like you can check the documents for yourself – and like Dee here – have completely demolished the Kelly myths and legends.

  58. Jack Connor says: Reply

    Got it, Stuart! But I'd love to see the paperwork. Acknowledgement is a passive thing. Actually paying the fees and getting permissions is another…

  59. Anonymous says: Reply

    I call them the authors choice. What they are remembered for by everyone who reads them is on the individual, and everyone will see it differently. Yourself and Dee compared to those on Facebook are a perfect example of that difference.

    So it's not misleading people now it's just unbalanced? ( this isn't me being sarcastic, it's an actual question). Since you seemed to have not answered the first two and now mention other authors that have done the same thing you originally complained about.

  60. Gary Sayer says: Reply

    Definitely author's choice yes. But a bad choice when the author will be remembered as a deceptive, misleading blockhead for eternity. Individuals may vary you're right. It is a case of the blind leading the bland. End of story.

  61. Mark Greiser says: Reply

    Being unbalanced is being MISLEADING! Grrrrrrrrr!

  62. Constable McIntyre says in his 'True Narrative of the Kelly Gang' that the Kelly women are always broke and that it is a 'chronic complaint .. notwithstanding the great number of horses and large amounts of money that passed through Ned Kelly's hands'

  63. Dear Mark. How is your book on the Kellys coming along? Can we expect a magnum opus? I very much look forward to it. GRRRRRRR!!!!! (wink.) And Gary? you too brother. I will buy it. When it's on the shelves. Looking fwd to 2 more Kelly tomes to bang up on my extensive bushranger shelf along with Jones, McQuilton, Fitzsimons, Castles, Webb, Osborne. Farwell, Kieza, Allen, Crichton, Dean, Jennings, Corfield, Cave, Waller, Holden, Bates, Penzig, Balcarek, Baron, Mc Carthy, Kenneally, Brown, Terry, Maloney, Seal, Passey…

  64. So, Josh? Noddy. Mr. Wong? Garry? Mark? Paul? Do I not get the courtesy of a reply? Crickets and tumbleweeds thus far… Hmmmmm…. Come on… Come at me ….

  65. Anonymous says: Reply

    Btw, did those books you mention present both sides of the story? Or were they simply better-referenced examples of the problems you mentioned. Do they present both sides of the story or do they just push their agenda?

  66. Anonymous says: Reply

    Will Dee show the paperwork and permission given with acknowledgments for the extensive use of Sidney Nolan’s Kelly paintings? Most Kelly websites display pictures that they do not have permission to use so where is the policing of this intellectual theft? Is wholesale painting and photo theft the new horse and cattle stealing? Just saying.

  67. Anonymous says: Reply

    did those books you mention present both sides of the story? Or were they simply better-referenced examples of the problems you mentioned? or do they just push their agenda?

    Sorry Dee I posted this originally in the wrong spot.

  68. Brian Tate says: Reply

    Mark are you saying that only those who have written and had a book published can comment on a book about the Kelly story?

  69. Dear Mark, you seem to have a lot of rare books. What are the ones by Allen and Crichton? Waller, Holden and Bates are just chapters in the Cave book, aren't they? If any of these are actual books then two of us would like to know the titles. Thanks.

  70. And Mark, regarding your idea that unless you've published a book yourself you shouldn't criticise, as you are not a restaurant owner or airline Pilot I suppose you wouldn't dare criticise the take-away you had for dinner the other night, or express an opinion about which is the better airline, Qantas or Virgin? I mean, unless you own a restaurant or an airline why would you have the right to criticise them?

    To use your words, 'see what I did there' and 'wink'

  71. Ha!!!!! Yes. Brilliant. You zinged me….

  72. Brad Webb attributes his book's cover photo of Ned the day before his execution to the "Max Brown Collection". Since Max Brown couldn't have taken that photo of Ned, Max obviously had obtained a copy from the State Library of Victoria. Brad has attributed his cover photo to Max Brown (not the real owner or copyright holder of the photo), and has not obtained the necessary permission of State Library of Victoria to publish it or, if required, to pay the publication fee (usually a bit hefty for the cover of a book), etc., and obtain permission to publish. You can read about Max Brown here:


    This is a very basic mistake for Brad who offers publishing advice to his students and wannabe authors.

    Anonymous, I tend to agree with your comments about Dee's usage of Nolan paintings, although she often uses her own photographic images too. The Nolan paintings in his Ned series often change hands and are difficult to locate to seek permission to publish. That is not always an excuse.

    As for Brad, he or New Holland Books should get in touch with State Library Victoria pronto to get permission for that cover photo.

    I don't know what advice to offer the retired truck driver with the FB hatesite against an anti-Kelly book, who uses that Ned photo without permission and coudn't give a hoot.

  73. Dee, I have not gotten a copy of the book as it is not available here and there is no e-book unless you count the online stuff that has been linked, but someone did send me the Glenrowan bits to peruse. I will not be doing a review at my blog as I don't have the actual book, nor the time/inclination to point out and correct every possible thing wrong. I will come back here to say what I have found wrong with the Glenrowan narrative once I can make heads or tails of it.

  74. After perusing Brad's Glenrowan chapter, it is more than obvious that he is very anti-Sgt. Steele (which I totally agree with) and very pro-Republic (which I don't really agree with).
    I found quite a bit wrong with some facts and where on the timeline some of the events happened. Brad is a smart guy who has been around the Kelly block a few times, so I don't know how these things slipped past him.
    Things like having Bracken taken prisoner earlier in the day Sunday (when it was actually nearer to 10 PM) and, as Dee has noted, having Reardon tear up the tracks later in the day on Sunday rather than close to 2 AM Sunday, when it actually happened. George Metcalf is wrongly called William Metcalf in one spot, but correctly called George later. Easy to get confused as his name was George William Metcalf. Brad has Metcalf's age of time of death as 54 years old. Corfield has the same info. But the newspapers of the day and a family genealogical site has Metcalf as being 34 years old at the time. He also said that the telegraph lines were cut at Glenrowan. No, they weren't cut at Glenrowan like they had been at Euroa and Jerilderie.
    The book speaks of Ned playing hop, step, jump with the hostages while wearing a full set of armour under his coat. The only other place I have seen that is in Graham Jones's "People, Places, & Things – The Kelly Years." All other sources say that Ned played the game while holding a revolver in each hand. I would like to know where Graham Jones got that. The book also says that Curnow used a red cloth shaw borrowed from his wife to use to stop the train. That is not correct, the shaw belonged to his sister.
    The book said that Hare ordered his men to move among the trees and surround the hotel and that just as they had taken up positions the gang came out firing. What really happened is that Hare ordered them to do that later after he was wounded. To start with he told the others "Come on men, or they will be gone.." and they all rushed the front of the Inn. Then the book says Hare retired to the safety of the post office. Umm…no….he went to the Glenrowan railway platform to have his wounded bandaged, returned to the field of battle and then went back to the platform and got aboard a train which took him to Benalla. He went to the post office/telegraph office there and sent wires off and his wound was tended there.The book has Joe Byrne getting killed and then had Mrs Reardon make good her escape on the second attempt. Joe was still alive when she got out. Also the timeline seems to be off as it then has Johnny Jones crying out he had been shot. That happened during the 2nd volley of the day before at the start of the siege.
    The book says Dwyer kicked Ned in the groin once he was captured. I am not sure about this. One witness says he saw him kick Ned in the side, another says he saw him kick Ned on the side of the leg. Dwyer himself claims (as he would) that "The kick I gave him was the kick I would give a cow to wake her up. It was to show my contempt. It would not have hurt a child."
    Also, the book says that Maggie and Kate begged Father Gibney to go see Ned and give him last rites. Problem is, by the time the sisters had arrived Gibney had already gone in to see Ned and had already given the sacraments.
    So, did I miss anything or do I have anything wrong?

  75. Brian Tate says: Reply

    Thank you Sharon for your obviously close examination of what Brad has written about Glenrowan. Seems the book, on this subject alone, is clearly inaccurate or misleading on many points. If that is the case, I suspect that other events Brad covers are also incorrect. And as has already been mentioned, he completely disregards contemporary research which has re-examined some of the keystone myths of the Kelly story. So how then can this book be treated as a serious reference for Kelly researchers?

  76. Maybe the Webb book is not a good starting point for learning the Kelly story after all. It sounds like a mess from this. BS might be a better word, and that's just one chapter. Does anyone care about facts anymore when the Iron Outlaw is involved?

  77. I would be interested to see someone else go through the rest of the book and see what they find. I am now curious myself, but I don't have the book, and the chapter I compared is close to the online history page but slightly different in spots, so can't really have a proper go. I am pretty proficient/well-studied in the Glenrowan siege aspect of the story, sorta like how Bill Denheld is proficient with the SBC parts, so what is not quite right just immediately jumps right out at us. Maybe Bill can evaluate the SBC chapter if he has time? I can spot problems in the whole story, but it takes a bit more checking up on things but I generally know when things sorta don't ring true. When Peter Fitzsimons asked me to have a look over his Ned Kelly final draft of nearly 900 pages (no photos or end notes included) I had much less than a week (as it was scheduled to be on its way to the publisher) to read, spot "glaring" errors, and then search and find the proof that what I said was right. He did not take my advice on everything, but did take on many of my suggestions. Would have been nice if I would have been given the same amount of time as all the researchers had but I was not contacted or consulted until the very last after the others had done their part. Note I speak about errors in fact, not the whole subjective argument Dee has going on or on-going about hero/villain, terrorist/freedom fighter, thug/saint, etc. I like researching and reading about Ned, I like the whole era, the rich story. But, hey, I like to read about Jack the Ripper and Vlad the Impaler, and other historical bad men, too. Does not mean I condone what they did. I particularly love the Old West gunslingers. Much more interesting to read about than the average sodbuster of the day. Why can't we just enjoy a good story and have convos about it all without someone wanting to physically harm or harass someone else. Lord deliver us! Lots of good people have fallen by the wayside or never even stepped on the path due to the haters and we are all the poorer for it.

  78. Brian Tate says: Reply

    Well of course Sharon we can all 'enjoy a good story' and there is no doubt that the Kelly saga is one hell of a story. However, for people like myself, Dee, Stuart Dawson and many others, some aspects of the Kelly story which the masses have been fed on and are lead to believe are simply wrong. I won't bore you with the events I am talking about as you know them probably better than I do. But the annoying thing for me, as Stuart has pointed out, is that official sources still tell the inaccurate Kelly story through both the Australian Government's official website and the various school syllabuses which promote the erroneous 'hero/villain' approach. The problem however is that if you raise and question the inaccuracies and downright lies, you incur the wrath of those who want the story left as it is. Personally I have tried to debate numerous issues in the Kelly story only to be called a troll and much worse. I accept that at times I have responded in kind but I am a sucker for getting my back up.

    Interesting that you read Fitzsimons' draft before publication. Did you comment to him about some of his more glaring inaccuracies and omissions, or was that outside of your brief? And once again, this reasonably contemporary book on the Kelly story simply reinforces many of the myths which have been regurgitated and accepted over the years.

  79. Hi Cameron. Sorry for the late reply. Yes, my Kelly shelves are groaning under the weight these days. I have been collecting since 1981. You are correct. Holden, Waller, Bates etc contributed paper in Man and Myth. Alan Crichton has written 2 books, those being Far beyond the falls and Bound for judgement. (the Kelly story in verse.) Noelene Allen has written Ellen: A woman of Spirit.

  80. Thank you Mark for the titles of the Crichton books. I do not know them (yet). I remember seeing the 'Woman of Spirit' book somewhere a while ago. Thank you for reminding me.

  81. Ok, I have been sent the remaining text of Brad's book by a friend and decided to have a quick look to see if I could spot anything else. While I had previously found about a dozen errors in the Glenrowan chapter I have now found nearly a dozenmore spread throughout the rest of the book. Was not sure if I should list them or just let others figure it all out. So, it seems the weakest bit is the Glenrowan chapter, then. Of course, if one wants to see a different view on the Fitzpatrick episode related within the book they need only to google for the "Redeeming Fitzpatrick" article by Stuart Dawson.

    Also, there was this bit Brad Webb had in the acknowledgement pages –

    "I would like to acknowledge the invaluable input of three individuals who helped build this book, namely Chester Eagle, Noeleen Lloyd and Paul O'Keefe. Their aid in generating new leads, double checking facts and dates, spelling of names and places and general feedback is greatly appreciated. Any errors in the book are mine alone."

    That can be found on page 204.

  82. Brian, I only told Peter Fitzsimons about the glaring errors I found as I based nearly all of them on the historical record. I never trusted what a particular author said without going to the original source they used to be sure when possible. He did not use all of my fixes, but he used many. It was not my place to tell him how to interpret the research he used. It seems, from the outcome (and probably the get-go), that he set out to do a pro-Kelly book, just as certain others set out to do anti-Ned books. It is like the story of the blind men and the elephant. Each had a different prospective they were working from. I won't get caught all up in that particular debate.

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