Growing opposition to the DELWP Plan for Stringybark Creek.

Peter Newman  responded to the DELWP request for feedback in regard to their Draft Proposals for changes to the signage and layout of facilities at SBC. He sent me an abridged copy of his letter and has given me permission to post it here. DELWP are not going to be able to deny receiving a very loud and clear message from many voices, that people go to SBC to see exactly where the Police were murdered. The tricky PC language of their Draft Strategy that tries to make out that its a distraction to want to identify the exact site doesn’t fool anyone.To truly honour the fallen Police, they should take the bull by the horns and do the necessary research, find the spot ( HINT : Bill Denheld can show you!) and dedicate the area to their memory. The Kelly gang should barely be mentioned.

Stringybark Creek Draft Signage Proposal
I have reviewed the proposed ‘Draft Interpretation Strategy’ documents.  
Before reviewing the documents, I had another look at the Project Summary to satisfy myself as to exactly what it is that DELWP is proposing to do here at SBC.  The key points that come out from this Project Summary are:
1.       The main focus of the exercise is to review and upgrade the signage and facilities at the site.
2.       To provide a new walking path in the general vicinity of where Constable McIntyre escaped and Sgt Kennedy was killed by Ned Kelly.  
3.       That there will be no attempt to identify the exact site of the Police Camp.  
In my original submission to DELWP about this project, I described my vision for what might be done at SBC.  I accept now that DELWP’s vision is more low-key.  So rather than elaborate any further on my vision for SBC, the following sets out what I think of the draft proposal having regard to the three key points set out in DELWP’s project summary. 
The proposed signage
The signage is obviously of a high standard in terms of its design and the information it seeks to convey.  
However I believe the off the beaten track location of SBC means most visitors are people who have deliberately sought the site out due to their interest in the Kelly story.  Most visitors will already be well aware of the events that preceded the police murders at SBC and the events that occurred subsequently.  For these reasons, I have to wonder why such an extensive amount of signage is being proposed.  I accept however that for casual visitors who are not already familiar with the Kelly story the proposed signage will certainly be of interest.  However for most visitors who already know the story, the signage will just be clutter which will detract from this rather special place. 

The proposed McIntyre / Kennedy walking trail
I have to wonder why this new walking trail has been specified as one of the project outcomes, but not a trail to the police camp site where Lonigan and Scanlon were killed, which is what I expect most visitors to SBC have come to see.  There seems to be an inconsistency here.  Furthermore the McIntyre / Kennedy trail has been proposed on the wrong side of the creek, with it now being generally accepted that Kennedy died at a location on the east side of SBC near the junction with Ryan’s Creek. 
I understand that the trail is meant to be indicative only to highlight the distance that Kennedy was chased down, but think it is ridiculous the trail should be on the opposite side of the creek from where this happened.  The fact the trail is proposed to commence from the existing picnic ground rather than from the site of the police camp will also give a false impression of the distance that Kennedy was chased down. 
The lack of recognition of the Police Camp site
As I have already noted, I believe most visitors to SBC have come to see for themselves the places where these actual events happened.  The police camp site is the key site people are interested in seeing and up until now this has been incorrectly identified and is now proposed to be ignored.  It would be appropriate for this site to be identified and for some form of memorial to Lonigan and Scanlan to be placed here.  It would also be appropriate for the McIntyre / Kennedy trail to be commenced from this site.
Additional comments
I have a keen interest in the Kelly story and would like to see some form of sympathetic development take place at SBC that acknowledges the events that occurred here.  I am therefore very pleased to be involved as a ‘stakeholder’ in respect of this project.  However having gone back as I have to the original Project Summary, it seems to me the project outcomes had already been decided before the project had even commenced.  The main focus is to be on signage and interpretation facilities, but the most important site at SBC is to be ignored.  Visitors are to be told that something happened here, but are not going to be told exactly where.  And they will be invited to walk a trail that is meant to tell us something about the distance Sgt Kennedy was chased down, but with the distance of that trail being considerably less than what it actually was and with the trail being on the wrong side of the creek.
Looking at the project timeline set out in the Project Summary, I see now that the input DELWP wanted from project stakeholders was simply ideas regarding source documents for use on the signs.  DELWP was not seeking information about how the site should be developed.  I think this is a deficiency that has set the project up for failure from the outset.  
It is apparent that DELWP is spending a lot of money on a development which is looking like it will not be true to the historical events that occurred here and which will not identify the key site which most visitors would wish to see.  I think this is a great pity, and I hope that the feedback you receive from stakeholders like me results in a rethink.  

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10 Replies to “Growing opposition to the DELWP Plan for Stringybark Creek.”

  1. Brian Tate says: Reply

    I suspect that the DELWP find the subject of where the police camp site is so controversial that they want any discussion on it to go away. What they propose is not just superficial, it is inaccurate. Why don't they pump the State government for money to do some serious, on the ground research and archaeological exploration instead of putting up pretty signs and irrelevant walking trails.

  2. DELWP and other authorities will have to take notice of your letter Peter….

    The Police Memorial precinct as proposed attempts to diminish the Kelly side of the story, but anyone interested to visit SBC will have a GPS these days, and will simply be able to drive up and walk straight into the real sites once the GPS- Co Ordinates are made public. This will simply make mockery of the poorly conceived upgrade planned near the current Kelly tree where nothing ever happened.

    If they really want to protect the 3 true sites, this won't be achieved by hiding them away. The authorities simply have to manage the sites with proper tracks and walkways with appropriate observation viewing platforms near where events actually took place.

    The alternative is to leave it up to casual SBC visitor where they want to go, and will have them trampling all over what is still pristine, undisturbed sacred ground where Constable Lonigan was shot and died, and similarly with Scanlan and Kennedy tree sites, the co-ords of which if this proposal goes ahead, I will have no hesitation for the sake of truth to putting these GPS co ordinates out into the public domain internet for anyone to seek.

    I ask, what would be better, save the sites by telling the truth, or tell em bull s–t and lose the sites to unmanaged irreversible entropy?

  3. Jim Ledbury says: Reply

    That's what happens, Bill, when public servants turn into historians!

    The latest Foxtel/Genepool Bushrangers ads show Ned and the gang at SBC. They assured me and others that SBC wouldn't be covered. Looks like they lied!

    Their so-called experts are anything but. I think we are in for a lot more GUFF!

    Maybe the historians at DELWP helped them.

  4. Dave Blake says: Reply

    The Lawless Genepool bushranger series is going to be a massive disaster.

    Reporter Mike Munro was once a capable yesteryear reporter. Historian Dr Kiera Lindsey "I have been teaching Australian History at the University of South Australia since July 2012.", archaeologist Adam Ford (who unearthed nothing at the Glenrowan dig with Sir Tony Robinson) a few years ago, and University of South Australia forensic pathologist, and University of South Australia Professor Roger Byard (Ned Kelly tattoos coincide with cases of suicide, violent deaths).

    There is noone there with a n y Ned Kelly credentials whatever.

    “These are not just bushranger stories, these are bushranger stories where cold cases are reopened with CSI,” said Munro.

    “The series will change colonial history, it will change the Ned Kelly story when it goes to air.”

    — Yeah, yeah! Blah, blah!

    Utterly woeful!

  5. It is hard to tell what will be the bigger disaster – DELWP's signage encrusted SBC "theme park" or the South Australian-centric Genepool "Lawless" Foxtel series with not one Kelly expert (unless you count Dr Russ Scott who, with author Ian MacFarlane, condemned Ned Kelly as a psychopath in 2014. He was interviewed for the show, but may well have been edited out.

    I think Genepool will screw us all!

  6. Brian Tate says: Reply

    So who do you suggest they should have got as their 'experts' Dave?

  7. Dave Blake says: Reply

    Experts from Victoria for starters,,,

  8. Brian Tate says: Reply

    Such as?

  9. I have created a little webpage to show what will be pushed upon the viewer of Lawless tonight at 8.30 on the Foxtel history Channel.

    Click here
    Lawless – Police camp SBC site will be wrongly shown to be at the Picnic Ground Kelly tree area.

  10. Bob McGarrigle says: Reply

    Hi Peter I hope you don't mind me saying this but I don't believe that it is unanamous that the proposed walking trail or track showing McIntyre and Kennedy exit is on the wrong side of the creek.It may well be but there are still a lot of people still think Kennedy was murdered near German Creek as Bill originally thought.If the spot that Bill showed Leo in 2014 is correct then yes the proposed new signage is certainly all wrong.Last nights program obviously believes that the former is still the case,towards the Northwest and not the Northeast.I honestly have no idea at all.Maybe Genepool were acting from old documentation or information as they did not produce much evidence to there case at all.Their version of the shootout site is slap bang in the middle of the picnic area not far from the current signage.This is good news for the DELWP because they would not have to do much more work at all.The fireplace that they showed being unearthed appeared to be in a a forested area and once again did not say where or give viewers a panoramic view as they also failed to do with their police camp site.It was probably North of the current Kelly tree.I am sure Bill will be able to tell everyone why he changed his mind from NW to NE.Excuse my ignorance if Bill has already produced that evidence as I havn't actually seen it or simply forgotten as is probably the case.I agree with you wholeheartedly Peter in regards to finding the police camp it is essential too.Last night however has complicated it even more so now and has made it even more difficult than what it was…regards Bob

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