According to Kelly defenders, Constable Alexander Fitzpatrick was the cause of the entire outbreak. He is routinely vilified as a drunk and a womaniser even though, as Ive pointed out HERE and HERE there is not a single shred of evidence that supports either of those two claims. Neither is there a single shred of evidence for the other appalling allegation made against him, that he committed some sort of an indecency on Kate Kelly : often the term used is ‘molested’ or ‘raped’.(HERE) No complaint was ever filed, no Court hearing ever happened, nobody was ever charged or taken to Court about this alleged indecent : all we have is a claim made by Kate Kelly to a journalist, months and months after it was supposed to have happened.
But heres the thing : everyone has heard about this highly dubious claim, many believe it and someone repeats it on Facebook just about every day, but who has ever heard about the actual conviction and imprisonment of so-called Fifth Gang member Tom Lloyd for an actual assault on Amelia Goodman, and his near conviction for indecent assault ? ANSWER : Almost nobody. In fact, I don’t recall it being mentioned anywhere by anyone, ever, over the last ten years.
The reality is that Ned Kellys defenders don’t like to talk about his extended family. The reason is obvious once you start taking a closer look : many members of Ned Kellys extended family were convicted serious criminals, an awful reality that bursts their Jones-inspired fantasy about the Kellys being saintly poor Irish peasant folk, horribly persecuted by corrupt police. So, where the Kelly apologists like to spread rumours and innuendo and evidence free assassinations of the character of anyone they dont like – both at the time of the Outbreak and continuing to the present day – they keep as silent as mice about the ACTUAL, PROVEN, DOCUMENTED criminal acts of the members of Kellys own extended family. They ALLEGE without evidence that Fitzparick was an alcoholic but dont talk about the fact that several Kelly clan members were drunks themselves and Ned Kellys own father an alcoholic. They ALLEGE without evidence that Fitzpatrick was a womaniser but dont ever talk about the KNOWN sexual indiscretions of Ellen Kelly, her sister or her daughter. And they ALLEGE without evidence that Fitzpatrick indecently assaulted Kate Kelly but don’t ever talk about the actual evidence that resulted in Tom Lloyd going to prison for a drunken assault on a woman in her own home.
I wrote the other day that this year ‘Its time to fully expose this extended family of Ned Kelly for what they were: extreme outliers, criminals, drunks and people of extremely loose morals on the fringes of their community.’… For one thing, Kelly himself as well as the Kelly mob ever since have always been eager to point an accusatory spotlight on the moral and other failings of the police and Kellys enemies, so it’s time to balance the books. Lets look at theirs.
My comment was reflecting what Morrissey showed by his research and what the papers were saying at the time of the outbreak, that in general the inhabitants of the North East, of Kelly Country, were hard working, law-abiding God fearing Christian folk who deplored the criminality and the lawlessness, the drinking and immorality, what Morrissey called the “shanty lifestyle” of the Kellys, and their relations and criminal associates. Church attendance was almost universal, a social necessity for members of small communities but there are no reports I know of that record Mrs Kelly taking her family to church at any time in the 1870’s – did she?
As the record shows, and I will detail it over a few Posts in coming weeks, in the extended family during the 1860s and 1870’s there was alcoholism and drunken violence, there were instances of domestic and other acts of extreme violence and brawling, there was sexual assault, adultery and fornication, illegitimacy, animal cruelty, arson and of course innumerable charges relating to stock theft, sometimes ending in acquittal but often resulting in imprisonment. Add to that Ned Kellys crimes and those of the Kelly Gang and you end up with a charge sheet like no other: would there be any extended family anywhere else in the colony at the time who generated one anywhere near as long, as wide ranging or as serious? If there was one I would be most interested to hear about it.
But this was one of the responses I got: “I absolutely refute that statement.”
Mostly, I think what was being refuted was not so much the criminality – which is well documented – but the idea that this was a criminal ‘family’, and that they were outliers and on the fringes of the community. The point was made that not every single person in the extended family had a criminal record, which is true, but does EVERYONE in a family have to have a criminal record before that term can be applied? Was EVERY member of the Moran, so-called Melbourne crime family a convicted criminal? So, Ned Kellys two brothers were criminals and did prison time, both of his parents had criminal convictions and served time, several uncles and cousins had a record and served time, same for two brothers-in-law…how would that list not define a criminal ‘family’?
As for the family being outliers and on the fringes, I agree it wasn’t always the case – when Red Kelly was alive and they lived in Avenel and Beveridge where some of the children went to school, they were indeed part of the mainstream, and again, after the Outbreak was over they seemed to have been rehabilitated back into the community. However, given Morrissey’s analysis, and what Editorials were saying at the time I think outliers on the fringes of society is a fair description of their status through much of the 1870’s, which is the relevant time period when discussing the Outbreak. I would be surprised if anyone would want to argue that during the Outbreak they were embraced as regular members of the law-abiding, God fearing community they associated with. The fact that some of their God-fearing neighbours offered help to the poverty-stricken Kelly women and children is a testament to the community’s commitment to their religion, not to their embrace or approval of the Kelly lifestyle.
So now let’s turn to the case I mentioned in the Facebook post, an unsavoury event nobody in the world of Kelly admiration would want you to know about or ever want to discuss. (O&M March 2nd 1878)This incident resulted in the imprisonment, in early 1878 of Tom Lloyd the so-called Fifth Gang Member, and cousin of Ned Kelly, for an assault of Amelia Goodman, a mother of four, in her own home. In court, after hearing all the sordid detail, which included description of doors being kicked in, windows and furniture being smashed, a bystander being assaulted and the inebriated Tom Lloyd exposing himself, the Jury wanted to convict Lloyd of indecent assault but the Judge wouldn’t allow it. So, Lloyd went inside for a mere three months for common assault. The other two delinquents involved in this disgraceful event, Dan Kelly and John Lloyd had earlier been fined and sentenced to three months’ imprisonment for property damage.
What happened was that Tom Lloyd, accompanied by cousins John Lloyd and Dan Kelly rode to Goodman’s store in Winton late one day in September 1877 but it was closed. Mrs Goodman was at home with her four children, the youngest 18 months, and a visitor Moris Solomon. Her husband was away and it was night time – “very dark” she said – and on hearing them ‘talk wickedly’ as they dismounted and tied up their horses, she bolted the door. They demanded it be opened, and when it wasn’t they began to kick the panels in, so she opened it and let them in. They were drunk and when Solomon asked them not to ‘annoy a married woman like that’ he was violently assaulted.
Afterwards, “The other two picked him up, and washed his head. Solomon said he would go to Benalla for a warrant. He had his head tied up with a handkerchief. Told them all to go home but the prisoner said they would not go away till they got what they wanted.
She had the baby, which commenced to cry. prisoner followed her; the two others stood in the door. Prisoner went out for five minutes, and came back with his person exposed.
The two others pushed him into the room. The other light was then put out. (Here the assault was described.)”
It’s easy enough to imagine the sickening behaviour that followed and was described to the Court, but to descendant’s relief I am sure, the sordid detail was not recorded. However we know it was dark, we know Tom Lloyd was drunk and we know he had his dick out. Mrs Goodman’s baby was crying and she had gone to the bedroom, probably to breast feed and comfort her, and Tom Lloyd followed her in. The Jury were obviously so disgusted by what they heard that they asked the Judge if Lloyd could be convicted of indecent assault. He refused and unfortunately his reasoning isn’t recorded, but sexism and misogyny was a woman’s lot in those days: they didn’t have the vote, they had no property rights, they were not believed…. His decision certainly doesn’t give any support to the Kelly sympathiser complaint that the Kelly family were always picked on and persecuted by the Courts and police.
Whatever was described, the detail was considered too gross for the papers of the time to publish, but Amelia Goodman, like sexual assault victims have always done, because of shame and embarrassment probably understated some of what was done and said to her. The trauma of the assault was no doubt compounded by her experience in court, and worsened again because like most women complaining of sexual assault she was not believed. Her trauma would have remained with her for the rest of her life. The feral cousins would have laughed it all off as a joke. The following year Dan Kelly and Tom Lloyd were members of Ned Kellys gang. And these low-lifes were supposed to be championing the rights of the poor and the downtrodden. Give me a break…they were nothing but morally bankrupt hooligans.
And three months for ‘common assault’ was also a joke.
Later reports of Dan Kelly wanting to have ‘a lark’ with young women imprisoned by the Kelly Gang at Faithfulls Creek station is an echo of this stomach-turning incident at Winton barely a year earlier, and confirms the sleazy and unsavoury attitudes of Gang members four and five. Sadly, this was not the only example of sexual violence entered into the criminal record of Kelly family associates, and it wasn’t the worst one either.