The SBC ‘Draft Interpretation Strategy’ misses the point.

September 8th 2017

Dear Mr Lucas
Thank you for keeping me informed about the ongoing plans to develop the site at Stringybark Creek, and the invitation to respond. Having read all the material supplied and thought about it for some time I wish to provide feedback and ask some questions about what’s being proposed.
Firstly, what preliminary research was undertaken to inform the developers of the Draft Strategy about the reasons people give for visiting Stringybark creek?
I ask this question because the strategy document talks of the ‘casual, free and independent visitor’ as being a typical visitor to the site, a characterisation which I believe would apply to very few of the actual people who go there. I would predict that if research was done, the typical visitor to SBC would not be a ‘casual’ visitor but a well informed and interested arrival who has made a deliberate plan to go there.  
The reason this question is important is because the interest of the visitors to SBC must surely be the driver of what is done there. The reality I am sure is that people don’t casually find themselves at the SBC site by accident. SBC is hard to find along winding unsealed roads, its very isolation forcing  people to deliberately seek it out. As a result, visitors to SBC would be an altogether different group from the ones who might stumble on Sir Redmond Barrys statue or the Old Melbourne Gaol while wandering around the streets of Melbourne. Those people may well be uninformed and appreciate information boards and the opportunity for an ‘interpretive experience’ . However, the people arriving at SBC are a different mob altogether, something which I believe the authors of this report have failed to realise.  They are people who would mostly already know the Kelly story and not be specially in need of information but have arrived there deliberately, and for another purpose entirely : they want to see the place where one of the sentinel events of the Kelly story happened. This is a prime motivator of tourist travel the world over, the desire to be at the place where history was made, to see the actual site itself.
But this motivation is summarily dismissed by the writer of this report saying that “This issue actually distracts from the essential messages to be interpreted”.  The writers patronising view is that people couldn’t possibly be interested in the actual place, but even if they are that’s  not important – what’s important is these messages provided for them to interpret. Don’t be distracted by your misguided interest in the location! Read these clever story boards instead!
I find this an astonishing position to adopt. It requires further explanation.
My second question relates to the very first sentence of the very first sign that visitors will read on the ‘Entry panel’ : “Welcome to the Stringybark Creek Historic Reserve – home to one of Australia’s most researched and analysed crime scenes” My question is why, having acknowledged that this ‘crime scene’ has been subjected to so much research and analysis, is the main focus of all that research and analysis not referred to, but actually dismissed as a distraction from the ‘essential messages to be interpreted”?
This question goes back to the earlier point, and reinforces it, that the thing  that dominates peoples interest in the SBC site itself  is the quest to discover where those murders actually happened. That has been where the main focus of all the research and analysis has been concentrated. Now, its inconceivable that the authors of this report were not aware of the continuing debate about that research and analysis into the exact place where the Police were killed. Completely and utterly inconceivable. So it’s curious that the draft interpretation strategy makes no mention of this controversy, makes no attempt to use the knowledge and the expertise of the various protagonists who have a deeper knowledge and understanding of the place than almost anyone, or makes any suggestions as to how the argument could be resolved.
I presume its because as a note in the letter recently received from DELWP says : “The project will not attempt to identify the exact site of the Police Camp on Stringybark Creek.” In other words DELWP had already made a determination that this subject was specifically excluded from the brief given to the Charles Wilson group.
My next question is therefore given that the most likely reason people go to SBC is to see the exact site of the Police Camp, why was this decision made, seemingly at the outset, to NOT attempt to identify it, who made it and on what basis was it made?  As I am sure both the DELWP managers and the writers of the draft strategy well know, amateur historians and archaeologists have narrowed the possible site of the Police camp to two places on the western bank of Stringybark Creek. Surely this was precisely the RIGHT moment to take the bull by the horns and commission professional archaeological research to investigate both these sites and confirm which site or neither of them or some other place is in fact the correct place. My reading of the amateur, but extensive and detailed research published in regard to those two sites leads me to believe the “Two Huts” site is the correct one, and if archaeological research can conform it so much the better. But if the professional research shows its somewhere else, that won’t concern me in the slightest – what’s important is that if it’s at all possible, the site be properly identified wherever it is. I think everyone involved in the discussions about the exact site would support that view.
To find it and identify it properly would also provide the visitors to SBC with the one thing they particularly want when they drive all the way out there : to see the actual site of the camp and the place where the police were murdered. They don’t drive all that way to get something as banal as information – that’s already available to them, and in far greater detail in their homes on the internet, in their schools and libraries, in museums and in the myriad other places throughout Kelly country where the Kelly story is remembered. No, people come to SBC  to see and experience and absorb the vibe and the atmosphere of the place, just as they do when they visit other sites that record history, tragedy and triumph the world over. They  come to  see the actual place, to feel, to listen to reflect and remember, to pay their respects; they are already informed – they don’t come to read about it yet again. To dismiss this interest as ‘a distraction’ is arrogant and out of touch.
I’ve visited sites of other atrocities both in Australia and overseas, and I’m thinking here of Dallas, Texas where JFK was assassinated, of the Twin towers site in New York, of Hiroshima, and of course the Broad Arrow Café at Port Arthur. These places are not crowded with information boards about the criminal history of the murderers and assassins, about their origins, motives, family connections or their ultimate destiny. Their weapons and their faces are not on display. These places have not been turned into outdoor schoolrooms crammed with maps and charts and illustrations, as if people come there to be informed, to be entertained, to be part of an outdoor education experience. No, these places  are kept bare and simple and quiet, they are maintained as places where people come to feel, to remember, to reflect, to imagine and above all to continue the memory and pay their respects to innocent murder victims. Museums and interpretive centres exist, and can be found elsewhere, but the sites themselves are more or less unadorned.
This of course is what should be happening at Stringybark Creek.
In my view, more than anything else this site should be about the murdered Police, and the tone should be reverential, respectful and aimed at one thing only: honouring the Police. This is not the place for any kind of reflection or deference to the murderers – there are already innumerable statues, museums, tourist ventures and the like to commemorate all that elsewhere. Neither should this be a place where anyone who isn’t aware of what happened at SBC should expect to have their interest in the detail satisfied. DELWP can redirect them to appropriate places such as its own web page if it would like to create one. This place should be a memorial. Anything more is the real distraction.
I therefore urge DELWP to reject this draft strategic plan. It misses the point about why people go to SBC and so its strategy is aimed at entirely the wrong population. It also fails, by focussing on education and information rather than on the sacrifices of the murdered police, and supporting respect, reflection and the honouring of their memory.
Additionally I urge DELWP to reconsider its inexplicable decision not to attempt to identify the exact site of the  police camp on Stringybark Creek. This is precisely the right time to do exactly that and resolve the issue once and for all. It was unfortunate that signage for years directed visitors to the wrong place, but its hardly any better to direct them to no place at all when they come to SBC to see it, to pay their respects to fallen Police. I urge DELWP to acknowledge the extensive work and insights gained by the amateur archaeologists, and pay  due respect to the memory of the murdered Police by  commissioning a proper archaeological study of the two proposed sites, and any other site they may think warrants investigation.
Once the results of the investigations are known, and hopefully the camp site properly identified, then that place, wherever it is will become the proper focus of any Heritage values at SBC. The visitor experience will then be truly authentic, and the police sacrifice finally and respectfully acknowledged at long last.

I look forward to your responses in due course
(Visited 66 times)

51 Replies to “The SBC ‘Draft Interpretation Strategy’ misses the point.”

  1. One wonders about the costs to the public purse of the draft strategic plan. Such plans aren't cheap.

    Not only that, if adopted there will be expensive signage put up at SBC that, like in past decades, leads nowhere.

    On the positive side, at least the Ian Jones and CSI@SBC sites, which are obviously wrong, have been bypassed too.

    I personally firmly believe in Bill Denheld's site where the SBC Police murders began. He is obviously correct. But DELWP wants to be fair to everyone. That is always a recipe for disaster.

  2. 1. Preliminary research is irrelevant regarding why people visit the area as the DELWP would surely know and understand this already. The SBC area is known for other attractions apart from SBC eg: 'Powers Lookout', 'Strathbogie Ranges', Touring to the Victorian high country….People can casually find themselves at the site and the DELWP would understand this. Honouring Policeman killed makes perfect sense but so does telling the Ned Kelly story.
    2. The DELWP are doing this upgrade and not police forensic scientists. The general public versus the interests of avid SBC diehards does not compute. The DELWP are creating an upgrade not an interpretive museum. I would guess they do not have $$$$ to spend for archaeological research. To understand the site it needs to communicate the story of Ned Kelly of which the police killed are a part thereof and caters for the general population.
    3. The bias shown here regarding preference for the police being acknowledged and remembered only at SBC is pure revisionist theory. The site is known historically as a pivotal event in the Kelly Gang story, both sides of the event should be recognised sensitively.

  3. Anonymous thanks for sharing your opinion. Here's mine in response; Firstly I haven't said there would be ZERO casual visitors to the place, but talked about the 'typical' visitor, which is what is discussed in the Draft. I have yet to hear back from DELWP but if NO research was done on the ACTUAL needs and wishes of people who turn up there, this was a major fault of the project.

    Second SBC was but one of the many episodes of violence, murder and mayhem that constitute the Kelly outbreak, and there are, as I wrote, innumerable places where it is told. Howver for three Police it was the end of the road. When Police are killed in the line of duty its universally regarded as a particularly heinous crime, a crime that strikes at the fundamentals of a decent ordered society and universally their sacrifice, like that of soldiers in war is always accorded a specially high honour. And as we know, their sacrifice and the places they fell are never forgotten. SBC is such a place. Thats why it should be a memorial and nothing else – its the right place to remember the Police, and absolutely the WRONG place to remember or in any way acknowledge their murderers – thats done at many other places.

    This is not 'pure revisionist theory' but the usual practice at such places. Go to any war memorial, to any historical site where an atrocity was commuted and what you will find is almost no mention of the murderers and the killers and their weaponry and their criminal history, you will find it hard to se anything other than respect and honour being offered to the victims and their families. Do you think at the Broad Arrow Cafe both sides of the story should be recognised 'sensitively'? Do you think there should be story boards about Martin Bryants family, his upbringing, the events that led to his mad killing spree, pictures of the guns he used, a map showing where he drove and where he lived and conducted his business?

    There is no need for balance, or to recognise both sides"sensitively' when it comes to brutal multiple murder. If you want to find out about Ned Kelly the murdering psychopath, go to Glenrowan, go to Benalla, go to Beechworth, go to Euroa, go to Greta, go to Beveride, go to Jerilderie, go to the Old Melbourne gaol go just about anywhere in Kelly country but for gods sake can't we have one place where the Police sacrifice can be honoured without the ever present creepy thugs murderous spirit intruding where its not wanted?

  4. Jim Ledbury says: Reply

    Spot on Dee!

    This is all becoming increasingly bizarre.

    Surely, if the SBC site is intended to commemorate the fallen Police, it is their descendants who should decide whether or not the precise site should be identified – not us and not DELWP.

    I don't think Victoria Police are stakeholders in this. Being coppers, they don't like crime scenes that vanish. Neither do my family or I.

  5. Phil Philander says: Reply

    How can the murders of three Police (nearly a fourth, who was shot at repeatedly as he escaped) be recognised sensitively?

  6. Brian Tate says: Reply

    I would have to agree that casual visitors to SBC are few and far between. On my visit, there were 4 separate groups present and we had a chance to speak with members of each of these. Everyone present had varying interests in the Kelly story and all had come specifically to SBC with that in mind. I think some were also visiting other sites of interest such as Power's Lookout, the police graves at Mansfield etc. As has already been said, SBC is a bit off the beaten track and not a place for the casual visitor except perhaps 4WD and trail bike enthusiasts.

    The Kelly story, in many forms, is readily available both online and at the various towns and location mentioned and I don't think it is necessary to place emphasis on it yet again at SBC. As Dee says, it should be a place of reflection, remembrance and respect towards the police officers murdered there.

  7. Anonymous says: Reply

    In the case of SBC and its interps I have to agree that it should be a place of respect for the police, their families and descendants. Possibly a brief mention of the Kelly Gang at the site but certainly a place of solemnity, and respect. The Kelly story is promoted at many other locations. Sadly, although DELWP will try to be seen as "consulting" the community, they will already have their own agenda, formulated by people with a modern approach to historical interpretation, and who will do what they feel is correct, in spite of those who have information, or know the truth. Been there many times before.

  8. Stuart Dawson says: Reply

    Breaking news – Kelly authenticates Burman photograph of murder site location!
    In a letter dictated in his Condemned Cell on 3 November 1880, Mr Kelly said of the shootings at Stringybark Creek, that the Governor should refer to "the photograph of the place and the position of the men at the time of Kennedy's and Scanlon's advance". Now if even Ned Kelly can say the Burman photo is a correct image of the site location, why are DWELP fudging?

  9. Anonymous says: Reply

    Yes of course Brian, most would agree that the area is contemplative and reflective, and attracts Kelly interested folk, but it is basically a picnic ground also and a nice place to stop when touring the ranges and high country. The avid diehards like yourself and Dee aren't your average Kelly folk though and the DELWP is just doing an upgrade not a police interpretive memorial. As well as Kelly info in the district there is also police memorials around as well, eg Mansfield and Benalla.

  10. Thats such an important piece of the puzzle! It wrecks the CSI delusion that Burman had them all facing the wrong way, which in turn wrecks thier attempts tp link that place with the Beautiful Mansfield photo, and it fully vindicates Bills theory about the Two Huts site.

    Bill is this information, about Ned verifying the Burman photo, mentioned in your document? I just can't remember seeing it?

  11. Sorry but I can't agree that the place where three police murders happened can be 'basically a picnic ground'. Thats almost a desecration of such a place – and this really is the problem with SBC – what happened there has been trivialised by the Kelly lies to the point that people think its just a nice place for a picnic.

    DELWP seem to have at last begun to recognise this, with their present intention to move the focus away from the criminals and onto their victims, which is as is should be up there. However they don't go anywhere near far enough in my opinion, and they should expend the necessary resources to properly identify the site and make the place truly dignified and respectful.

  12. Anonymous says: Reply

    Delwp will take the line of being politically correct and will have a formulated plan from which they will not deviate. They will have a concept, devised by bureaucrats, with little real knowledge of the Kelly story, that they believe will provide a balanced interpretation of the site. They will not get involved in the who what why and where, rather they will take a modernistic approach. I see this every day. Rather than make the effort to get the story right, they will have already formulated a plan, and whilst being seen to be consulting the community the decision will have been made long ago as to how and what they want to interpret. 30 years of "going through the process" has shown this to be the case each and every time they call for public comment.

  13. Stewart,
    That’s an interesting snippet. Ned hoped to use the Burman postcard to show from where they came into the camp but was contradicted by McIntyre's map. ( can explain later)

    I have a scan of a note declaration saying FC Burman took the picture of the ground where Const Lonigan was shot. It states the place was pointed out to Burman by Mr Monk a few days after the murders. "McIntyre identifies the photo and draws attention to an upright post, the remains of an old hut, Sw right hand corner of the picture."
    Signed: DS Kennedy Superintendent.

    NOTE: Sw right hand corner of the picture. This orientates the photo as looking south.

    This is the most primary source information anyone HAS to use to identify the site.

  14. I hope you're wrong about that but I understand where you're coming from. However I am proceeding on the basis that their request for comment and input is genuine and I think we all should. If we don't get involved in the effort to try to get the best result at SBC then we can never know if something might have changed if we had. So please everybody set aside your cynicism and write to them with your thoughts and who knows what may happen? If you like my letter I suggest sending them a copy of it yourselves, and saying you endorse the comments in it, and say why you support it.

  15. Stuart Dawson says: Reply

    Hi Bill, no worries, just saw it today and threw it into the mix. I do not and will never claim any expertise about SBC, but generally support the idea that the police campsite and murder site should be pinpointed if possible. McIntyre's map should be primary, as he was there, and guided the search party back there as well. Mr Kelly may have had his own motives for endorsing the photo, not unconnected with his reprieve appeal. But I am staying out of the SBC technicalities – I'll leave it to you!

  16. Frank Middleton says: Reply

    The Suptd Kennedy letter is in The Kelly Gang Unmasked book on p. 84. The Burman photo was also used as a trial exhibit at Ned's trial (same ref).

  17. Brian Tate says: Reply

    Stuart, I have looked at a transcript of that dictated letter which is at page 480 of Gill's 'Edward Ned Kelly – The Historical Record 1820 – 1893'. Not sure if you have seen the original letter and the transcript in the book has a typo but that part of the letter you refer to reads "…the Photograph of the place & position of the OVEN at the time of Kennedy's & Scanlan's advance…" If the correct word is in fact 'oven' then that also raises an interesting question. Was Kelly referring to the ruins of one of the fireplaces? If so, then this correlates with Bill's interpretation of the photo which I think I call he says shows the remains of one of the rock fireplaces. This would also tend to suggest that Ned was endorsing the correct depiction in Burman's photo of the location of the police camp.

  18. Stuart Dawson says: Reply

    Hi Brian, you are using the first one-volume green backed edition of Kelvyn Gill's book, on p.480 you are right, it says 'oven', but this is an error. Kelvyn fixed it in his newer 2 volume set, vol 1 p. 676, where it says "men", not oven. The original letter is a pdf in VPRS 4966, Unit 2, Item 10, and the condemned cell letters are pages 130 to 147. The word is definitely "men". There seems to be another discrepancy in the text from the original that I just looked at now, but I haven't time to look into it now. But no ovens = no fireplace evidence!

  19. Brian Tate says: Reply

    I was in a bit of a rush when I posted this morning but I have now had the chance to have a closer examination of the letter dictated on 3 November 1880 by Ned. Punctuation is almost non-existent but immediately after the section quoted by Stuart and myself, Ned goes on to say "…McIntyre says two men was in the Spear Grass one in the tent & one at the FIRE (my emphasis) these being in a direct line in front of Kennedy and Scanlan." So if the transcription in Gill's book is correct, we have Kelly making 2 mentions of a 'fire' and 'oven' as a point of reference. As I have already mentioned, I haven't read the CSI report, so could someone enlighten me as to whether or not their site has a hut or huts at it please?

  20. Stuart Dawson says: Reply

    Hi Brian, please see my post from 12.30 above, re the transcription error. The condemned cell letter from 10 November is also interesting. Kelly says he was not guilty of murdering Lonigan but acted in self defence, as Lonigan “was in the act of running to a tree and drawing his revolver”. The fool thereby confirmed that Lonigan had not got his gun out or raised it to fire, and was killed before he was able to do so, which is precisely the point argued over by many pro-Kelly writers, who want to pretend that the "fair fight" myth has validity based on quibbles about discrepancies between McIntyre's several statements.

  21. Anonymous says: Reply

    Stuart. I seem to recall Kelly also saying that Lonigan ran towards a battery of logs. He also mentions elsewhere that when they approached the camp that the ground was clear with no battery of logs.

  22. Stuart Dawson says: Reply

    Thanks Anonymous, but without precise references I can't try and find these variations. I'm not involved in the Stringbark Creek discussion at all; I just noticed some things in the Condemned Cell letters that are possibly relevant to others looking at it.

  23. Jack Forrest says: Reply

    Future Stringybark Creek visitors won't be able to see it because of all the signs and walkways! The whole area has been despoiled and ruined already. Those parts can't be easily undone. The future ruination of the place by mass signage can be prevented by telling DELWP to back off.

    Write to them today!

  24. Brian, Ned didn't write any of the prison letters himself. He dictated them to warders.

    He had wounds from Glenrowan, including one to his thumb, which prevented him writing apparently.

  25. Matt Johnson says: Reply

    After 139 years, few things about Stringybark Creek will be the same as they were in 1878. DELWP and its predecessors have not helped. On the other hand, it seems to me, Bill Denheld's carefully chosen 'Two Huts' site relies on hut fireplaces of the time still viewable today and the 1878 Burman photograph backdrop to properly identify the exact place where the police murders began.

    Bill Denheld's groundbreaking toil in identifying this vital site of the Police Murders now needs archaeological and political support.

  26. Anonymous says: Reply

    Your right Stuart. References are important. The battery of logs comes from the Jerilderie letter

  27. Brian Tate says: Reply

    I think I agree with you Matt about the need for an archaeological examination of the 2 huts site. However, as we know, the area was occupied before and after the killings at SBC so I wonder what could be found to link the site to the police camp which was only briefly in place. Bill might have some thoughts on this,.

  28. Brian Tate says: Reply

    Thanks Stuart, I thought it might have been a transcription error. In my second post on this I also mentioned that Ned when on to say "…McIntyre says two men was in the Spear Grass one in the tent & one at the FIRE (my emphasis) these being in a direct line in front of Kennedy and Scanlan." Can you tell me if the word 'fire' is a correct transcription of what is said in the original letter?

  29. Stuart Dawson says: Reply

    Hi Brian, as I have noticed a number of proofreading typos in Kelvyn's book transcriptions, the best thing is to download the PROV PDF file and have a look. I have the VPRS reference and precise page numbers within the file, in the post that you replied to. You may already know tis, but if you just type VPRS 4966 into Google, it will take you directly to that series. Then the find files tab, then locate the file you want (here, Unit 2 Item 10), and download it. Kelvyn's book is a magnificent compilation, but a lot of the transcriptions are downloaded from Trove and still contain OCR errors. He has fixed quite a lot, but it is asking a lot to expect the whole thing to have been proofread by checking against theoriginal document files.

  30. Brian Tate says: Reply

    Thanks Horrie. I was aware of that and mentioned it in my original post above.

  31. Stuart Dawson says: Reply

    Since the SBC controversy over the murder site seems to be dragging on, it may be relevant to note that the Ian Jones site, which has now been dismissed as wrong, should have been known to be wrong in 1980. In the book, "The Last Outlaw", by Les Carlyon with contributions by Ian Jones and John McQuilton (Melbourne: HSV7), that I just got secondhand today, Jones says on page 14 that "The actual site of the killings [i.e. his nominated site], near the settlement of Tolmie, is no longer true to those [original SBC] photographs." Obviously not, as it was the wrong site, and he should have recognised that back then instead of insisting on being a Kelly genius who could see what no-one else could.

    In the same book he goes on about "the very core of the Kelly rebellion – the mad, wonderful dream of the Republic of Victoria and the incredible Glenrowan campaign to launch it" (page 10). By the time he wrote "Short Life" in 1995 he had settled down a bit and was content with a dream for a Republic of North-Eastern Victoria, but you can see the full Victoria vision in his statements to Brian Carroll, "Ned Kelly: Bushranger (1976), pp 131 ("Republic of North-Eastern Victoria or maybe even the Republic of Victoria"). Cough, chortle, hum.

  32. Stuart. Good Afternoon. In 1980, back at the time of Les Carlyons "the Last Outlaw" magazine, Ian Jones was still an advocate for the western bank. Which is why he noted at the time, he didn't really feel the Kellys vibration at SBC as the area had changed so much. It wasn't until the early 90's that Ian researched more and decided the Eastern bank contained the site. Hence the protracted notes on the subject in Ä Short Life"and his '93 symposium paper.

  33. Stewart, It is amazing how you pick up on those bits and pieces for us to digest. Must say once when I spoke with Ian Jones on the phone about his site, I went there and it all felt right. I think it was the confidence he projected, the cleared ground, a mature tree canopy, him being informed by local land owner Jack Healy of the spot, all comes together. It was only when I tried to picture the photos it did not work for me. That was twenty years ago.

    Brian, Having spoken with a man that grew up top end of SBC road who also knew to Sheila Hutchinson around the corner, Charlie Engelke just before he died, said he had never seen the fireplaces and neither had Sheila. That’s quite remarkable really and thought why would that be? I can only figure that in the early days 1848 the builders of the two huts selected that spot because the spring just up the creek. When the SBC road was marked on the map in 1885, the spot where the huts stood became a little triangle bordered by the swampy ground north, the creek to the east with steep east bank, and a steep slope to the south, and then the new land owners fenced to the road west. So the 1848 the owners Heaps and Grice had cleared several acres and the two huts were in the north west corner. The huts site at the time of the shootings had been partly cleared as a horse paddock near the running spring water.

    When the rest of the land was taken up and cleared first by McCrum after 1885, then Beasley and Stuarts in 1920s , the two huts site was just outside Beasley's southern fence but in top N. west corner of Stuarts. It was quite un even ground you could not do anything with like ploughing, so it was left alone and just became a small patch of scrub you could walk past never realising it was the site of the two old pioneering huts of the first lease holders. By the 1870s the huts would have been rotten and maybe both fixed up and rebuilt by a small prospecting party of three headed by Willie Reynolds, the son of the doctor. One hut was rebuilt by Percy Broomfield who after falling out accused Walter Lynch of burning it down. The burnt posts in the photo are testimony of green wood that would not burn. Apparently Lynch was friendly with the Kellys and was with them the night before the shootings, but 15 months before he was charged with the Broomfield hut burning at Mansfield court and the court witness was non other than Sergeant Kennedy.

  34. Stuart Dawson says: Reply

    Hi Mark, thank you for the correction on SBC. I knew I should have just kept out of the site location issue. It is enormously complicated and I will leave it to Bill and others who are up to speed. I like the bit in the 1993 paper where he finds an old parrot that abuses Fitzpatrick. He is still sticking to the western bank in that one – "The site, about twenty miles from Mansfield, is well-known, signposted and marked on the creek's western bank by the Kelly tree which until recent years carried a deep blaze with "1878 Kelly shot Lonigan" carved into its wood, today replaced by a metal bas-relief of Ned in helmet and armour." I haven't checked "Short Life" but I'll take your word for it that he went east then.
    I'm looking at the Republic issue at the moment; SBC just happened to pop up. Regards, Stuart.

  35. Brian Tate says: Reply

    Thanks Horrie I did see that and mentioned it in my post.

  36. Anonymous says: Reply

    Bill, do you know anything about the apparently new SBC site found during the filming of the upcoming Foxtel production? It will be interesting to hear your thoughts.

  37. Anonymous says: Reply

    Hi Bill do you know if Jack Healey actually showed Ian Jones the eastbank site or only gave him the information?The dvd that Mark mentioned briefly shows about his no vibes comment.It shows Ian and company crossing the creek just south of the Kelly tree towards his current site.For those that don't know Bill always thought that Ians site was the correct one and used to actually tell people on his website how to get there via the forked tree.I was one of these people along with many others.Along with Bill, Sheila Hutchison helped me locate the 2 fireplace site which was way south of the first white slope rise.About this time I was tossing up between Bills site and a location in the current picnic area that I thought was similar also to the Burman photos .After reading where Michael Kennedy was supposedly killed the distances that were quoted on his murder site would have meant it being way over the Tolmie/Tatong road and didn't make sense .I sent Bill an email asking him when he changed his mind on Ians site and I believe it was about 6 months before I did.My thinkink was simply that the there is no comparable slope and according to McIntyres description of the site the creek is to the west and not to the east as he said.Bill the 2 descendants of Edward Monk that are also shown on your acknowledgements in your document were they able to give you any relative info on the shootout site at all?Thanks again for all your help over the years Bill and hope we find out before the fella upstairs calls.

  38. Brian Tate says: Reply

    Bill that an archaeological dig at the 2 huts site would likely to find anything at all to link it with the police camp?

  39. I don't think those idiots bothered to contact Bill. That was a fatal mistake for their show. From what I have heard on the grapevine, there is a lot off puffery in the interviews and pronouncements in the show. More guff and misleading findings I'm afraid. Hope I'm wrong.

  40. Anonymous B,
    Ian Jones wrote Jack Healy showed him the site in the 60s but did not believe, and thirty years later wrote his "mental inflexibility doomed (Ian) to thirty years chasing his tail", as in 1993, he started looking around again remembering what Const James had written one month after the shootings about – 'horse tracks crossing the creek and swampy ground just north of the camp, horse tracks he followed and finishing up near the Kelly camp to the west. So Ian's conclusion together with an apparent picture in McMenomy's book page 86, was to say the police camp must have been up the creek on the east bank as no hut, or huts were found by surveyor Tom Bell engaged to site the hut plot.

    In 2002, Gary Dean and I checked the east bank with metal detectors and found no evidence of huts there either. While at the Jones site I remarked to Gary wondering about a feature in the Burman photo of what looked like a little fence. We orientated the photo looking SW and to the other side of the creek when I stumbled across one of the huts fireplaces while Gary was way up the creek gully. A week later with Carla we found the second fireplace. It was a defining moment we captured on video tape in Sept 2002. I may put it on You-Tube video sometime.

    Regarding Yvonne Monk and nephew, they were not able to add anything but were convinced by my presentation as were all the others present including well known G'day man, Peter Russell Clark and his wife Jan. The clincher is the viewer scope being able to see the photo outlines over the ground details.. This same viewing cannot be achieved anywhere else along SBC. I invited Ian Jones on several occasion to pick him up and show him the site but he never accepted our invitations.

    Quote from Ian Jones's N Kelly Seminar paper 1993
    Ian Jones paper NK Seminar paper
    "Careless reading of sources, particularly Kenneally, and mental inflexibility doomed me to thirty years of chasing my tail where the site of Stringybark Creek was concerned. It may be too early to say that we have located the actual site of the Stringybark Creek gunbattle. However we can say with complete confidence that perhaps for fifty years people have been honouring a spurious landmark, " ( regarding the 1930's Kelly tree area )

    AND in his paper one line stands out about Mansfield Shire president that was present when they found the body of Sergeant Kennedy –
    – "what James Tompkins called "particularly boggy ground immediately to the north" ( of the police camp) James Tompkins must have seen the place of the police camp, so here is a further bit of evidence I had not been aware of. This adds another nail in the coffin and further demolish the current CSI@SBC team's Kelly tree scenario as there is no particularly boggy ground immediately to the north of the Kelly tree area.

  41. Anonymous JL
    No, all I know if another site has been found during some filming there, it's nothing more than a figment of their imagination. There's only one site supported by primary sources, topography, photos and two huts on the ground evidence. Any other claims are just a smoke screen.

    Regarding the upcoming Foxtel production, sounds like a remake for- The Castle, 'Tell em they're dreamin'.

    Preliminary draft for SBC documentary

  42. Horrie and Alf says: Reply

    This Anonymous seems to be constantly suggesting he was a central figure in identifying the 'Two Huts' site, and seems to have been forever hovering about doing research about it. Since he or she is anonymous, who can say? So far as I'm aware, neither Anonymous or Sheila Hutchison are major players in any of this.

    Sheila Hutchison may, or may not, be enjoying Anonymous's version of events. Who knows…

    Bewildering stuff!

  43. Horrie and Alf says: Reply

    I found dealings with doco-maker Genepool a bit shifty and irksome. An unpleasant experience overall. It was always one-sided, with me spending hours of research which they may or may not have accepted, and never said. As well there was no mention of them trying to find the Police Murders site. Had they done so, I would have put up my hand for Bill's 'Two Huts' site which ticks ALL the boxes.

    If they have "found" another site that doesn't fit, they will be remembered for all eternity as complete, time-wasting fools.

    There are aspects of the program I know will jar with many.

    I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

    By the way Alf says "Grrrrggghhhh"!

  44. Bob McGarrigle says: Reply

    No Horrie I have never claimed whatsoever that I had anything to do with the discovery of the 2 hut site.It was Sheila that put me on the right track in locating Bills site for the first time a long while after Bill & Gary discovered the first of the fireplaces.I believe simply that I was one of the first to support Bills reasons for saying it was the correct site.The last time I looked my name Bob McGarrigle was still on Bills document in his acknowledgements list.As I said in a previous post I still wonder what Sheila would be thinking now.I also said that Sheila may have supported the eastbank site but simply do not know.You are barking up the wrong tree in your accusations and everything I have said can be confirmed by Bill himself, if you don't believe me.To be perfectly honest though Horrie I really couldn't care less what you think.I am sure Bill has kept records of all our discussions and it is all on record as he is very thorough in all his work.
    Along with Bill,Carla,Kelvyn,Joey,Fitzy,Glenn,Gary and a lot of others all have put a lot of work into our endeavours.We don't all agree and thats a fact but we have been debating all things SBC a lot longer than before you came on the scene Horrie.
    Thanks again Bill for answering my query on the Monk family and other questions that I have asked, greatly appreciated.
    Regards Bob

  45. Brian Tate says: Reply

    Hello Bobby nice to see that once again you've revealed another alias. Perhaps you realised that after you wrote on the truckie's site "The cowardness of all that lot having to use pseudonyms says it all. Man up for godsake." you had become something of a hypocrite. But now that you're here, why not contribute to the blogs latest discussion on Ned's heroism? You've been a long time supporter of the St. Ned theories, so now is your time to step up, praise Ned and produce some evidence of his heroism. Your call.

  46. In THE AUSTRALIAN, 26 Sept 2017 story page 6 titled, ‘Such is life: quest for Kelly site is buried ! Let’s hope not for the sake of all those interested in true history.

    Picture of me with one foot on the fireplace rocks of the huts fireplace, not the grave, we stand for justice denied.

    From the authority’s point of view, DELWP officer Nicci de Ryk is quoted as saying "Significant research over many years by individuals and groups has suggested a number of different sites as possible locations where events unfolded. Much of this research continues and remains contested" she said.

    Well then, I ask, is it now not time that this contention is resolved? Why isn't DELWP able to organize a proper on site meeting with all proponents and professionals to cast judgment and followed by a public symposium event instead of spending tens of thousands on signage where nothing ever happened? Bill

  47. Anonymous says: Reply

    All a bit sad really. The term self aggrandisement comes to mind.

  48. “I do not pretend that I have lived a blameless life…” And a good thing too

  49. Whats sad about a clever amateur archaeologist getting excited about his finds in the bush and wanting to tell people about it? The term 'professional jealousy' comes mind.

  50. Brian Tate says: Reply

    Amateur archaeologists have been instrumental is momentous historic discoveries in contemporary times. A good example of this is the Saxon Hoard which was discovered by a metal detectorist in England in 2009. In the UK, more so then here, amateur detectorists work hand-in-hand with archaeologists. I know that over the years Bill has made many very worthwhile finds as a detectorist, as have I. Two years ago, after extensive research, a mate and I located and detected a site which was prominent in the Ben Hall story. The location had never before been identified. With the permission of them property owners, we spent some time working the area and our finds certainly supported confirmation of the incident. All of our finds were handed over to the very excited owners of the property.

  51. Matt Johnson says: Reply

    A long silence from DELWP and its consultant.

    Will we ever hear from them again?

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