The idiotic ‘Hero or Villain?’ question is only ever asked by Sympathisers.

In the grandly entitled  “The Author Speaks: On Understanding Historical Figures” Aidan Phelan writes about the so called “Ned Kelly – hero or villain?” argument and returns to two pet themes of his, the first of which is that all human beings, Ned Kelly included, are ‘nuanced complex and multi-facetted’. There is absolutely nothing new in that idea, its  self-evident and universally accepted  and despite what Phelan seems to think, no Kelly writer of any sort has ever tried to suggest otherwise.

His second pet theme is that anyone engaging in the Hero or Villain argument and who tries to label Kelly in some way, and particularly as a villain, is doing it in bad faith. He says that when people argue that Ned Kelly was a villain their argument is motivated by preconceived ‘values’ and has little to do with understanding history or human nature”. What an insulting and disrespectful claim to make about Kelly authors , that their motivation is nothing to do with wanting to understand history or human nature. Oh really? How the hell would he know?

But first some thoughts about labels.

The word ‘villain’ is indeed a label, but labels exist for a reason: they are tools which assist discussion, analysis and communication about something. Labelling someone generous, or elderly, or unfit for example, immediately tells us quite a lot about that person but nobody would ever say that now everything we could possibly know about this person is known. Likewise calling Kelly a villain has never been intended to imply that’s all he is, that villain encapsulates every aspect of his character and personality and all he ever was. But try having a discussion without using labels and see how far you get:  communication is almost impossible. I defy Aidan Phelan to conduct a conversation about Ned Kelly, or anyone else, or any THING else for that matter without using labels.  Calling Ned Kelly Australian, or of Irish descent or handsome… these are all labels. Is Phelan going to object to them as well?  Phelans argument about labels  is absurd.

Admonishing anyone who would try to label Kelly and put him in a pigeonhole labelled “Hero” or “Villain”, Phelan complains that For myself, I find it frustratingly simplistic to consider a person as wholly one thing or another, as if they were a comic book character” Well, it may be a problem for Phelan, but nobody actually does this with Ned Kelly. Where is the commentary that claims Ned Kelly was a unidimensional cartoon character? I certainly have never claimed it, or seen it.

Phelans entire argument is thus seen as completely wrong footed: nobody ever said Kelly was not a nuanced complex multifaceted human being like every other human being on the planet, and nobody has ever contended that the label ‘Villain” when applied to Kelly was supposed to suggest that’s all Kelly ever was.  Phelans ‘argument’ is actually a perfect example of a ‘straw man’ argument, where an argument is advanced against a proposition thats entirely fake, and set up in such a way, like a straw man, that its a piece of cake to knock it over. Kelly sympathisers, notorious for their inability to think critically when it comes to anything to do with their idol, Ned Kelly, are impressed by it, but its a match designed to make someone look good, and the straw man was always going to be a pushover.

So why is there a ‘Hero or villain’ question in the first place?


The important point to be made about that question is that its not a question that’s ever been asked by non-sympathisers. Non-sympathisers have no need to ask that question because the issue of Ned Kellys character is settled. The only people who ask that question are Sympathisers, and they ask it because they don’t want to accept the bleeding obvious that Ned Kelly was a crook. They are in denial about Kellys character, and in desperation to find a way to justify their denial , have devised this cute hero or villain conundrum as if it’s a sensible question.  To uninformed Australians, the purpose of the question is to have them thinking its possible Kelly might have been a hero. Asking it carries the implication that Kelly could be a hero after all but to anyone familiar with the facts – and thats not most Australians –  it’s as sensible a question as ‘Planet earth: round or flat?’ or “The moon landings : real or faked?”

However, its very clear when they ask that question, the only answer they want to hear is “Hero”. Try to advance the alternative and you’re quickly going to be vilified and attacked by rabid Kelly mobsters, and kicked out of any Forum or Facebook page they control. This response exposes sympathisers as not genuinely interested in debate, and their question “Hero or Villain?” as no more than a cynical debating tactic. The point of their question is not to begin a discussion and have a genuine debate and come to a conclusion but to give an impression that the question itself has validity, that a genuine debate can be had and that ‘Hero’ is as likely to be the answer as ‘Villain’. The strategy is to elevate the unlikely status of Kelly being a hero onto the same footing as the much more likely status of his being a villain. But this is a false equivalence. Hero and villain are not in the least equally likely valid results of an investigation into the man.

So let’s be honest about this: all that Phelan and the sympathiser mob really object to is Kelly being labelled a villain, and this hero or Villain thing is one of the ways they try to stop that label being applied to him.  Has Phelan or anyone else in the Kelly camp ever raised even the slightest objection to Kelly being put in a pigeon hole labelled hero, or icon?  Has he or anyone else in the Kelly camp ever raised even the slightest objection to Kelly being labelled magnificent or courageous or admirable, or even handsome? No of course not –  yet all these adjectives are ‘pigeon holes’ no more nor less a ‘box’ than ‘villain’. If Phelan and Perry and the rest of the sympathiser mob do truly believe nobody should be labelled, and everything is ‘shades of grey’ why have they not objected to the labelling of Fitzpatrick as a “womaniser” or Standish or other police as corrupt, as worse than criminals? Why have they never objected to the vilification of Judge Redmond Barry? Where are the declarations and sympathetic expressions of the fact that all these other players are also nuanced complex and multifaceted human beings? And why, if that’s what he truly believes has Phelan himself publically labelled Bill Denheld a criminal and a vandal? Phelans argument is thus proved bogus – he doesn’t really mind what pigeon hole or box you put people in, he does it himself and has never objected to anyone else being placed in one: his only objection is to anyone putting Kelly in one labelled “Villain” and he pretends in this essay that his objection arises out of an ethical principle about labelling people.

Phelan also writes, in furtherance of this “Though he was found guilty of murder in 1880, Ned Kelly has been on trial in the court of public opinion continuously since 1870. The jury is still out.”  But this is also, in the same way, a mischaracterisation of what’s been happening. The jury is NOT out – they made their decision in October 1880, and the entire colony supported it. What’s been happening is that a few people have simply refused to accept the jurys decision on the case, and they are trying to create a false belief in people that the debate is ongoing – well, no its not :  Kelly was tried and found guilty of murder and hanged. That should have been the end of that particular chapter of colonial violence and criminality.

But no, the agendas and self-interest of family, of writers and story-tellers like Jones, of hero worshippers, newspaper sellers and other rent-seekers and in particular the sellers of tourist merchandise have collectively promoted an entirely fake version of the outbreak, and stand it next to the historical reality and claim these are two equally valid possible explanations of the Outbreak.  Its the same tactic used by creationsists when they pose their Evolution vs Creation question : asking a question in the hope that people will think theres a rational basis to asking it. Their tactic of claiming there is still an ongoing debate between science and creationism is entirely false, as is the idea that there is an ongoing debate about whether or not Kelly was a Hero. There isn’t. Its settled.

Phelan finally asks  “……surely we can come up with an understanding of the man that goes beyond childish ideas of “goodies and baddies”? “


Well, actually Aidan we have – the problem is your mob don’t like it, and your tactic of pretending its about “childish ideas of goodies and baddies” is wrong and part of your denial.


There is no debate: Kelly was a complex individual like all of us, and yes Aidan he probably had a favourite colour. But of all the many facets that coalesced into Kellys personality, by the time of the Outbreak the elephant in the room was his criminality, his hatred of police, his willingness to lie and deny, and of course his gradual decent into extreme remorseless violence.

Calling someone like that a villain has never been intended to explain everything about him or deny that he wasn’t also a nuanced complex multifaceted human: but its simply the most succinct way to describe what he became.

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36 Replies to “The idiotic ‘Hero or Villain?’ question is only ever asked by Sympathisers.”

  1. Constable Alexander Fitzpatrick – villain or HERO?
    Hero, obviously, but decried by VILLAINS. (Like Kelly, the shiftless wonder.) 😂😂😂

    “Fitzpatrick was nuanced, complex and multi-faceted” – Kellypedia

    1. Yes thats the point isnt it?

      They want us to think of Kelly as ‘shades of grey’ and with sympathy but never hesitate to portray Standish, Steele, Fitzpatrick etc etc as Black Hatted Villains, one-dimensional cartoon characters…

      The whole thing is multi-layered nuanced and multi-faceted .

  2. Thomas Whiteside says: Reply

    The idiotic ‘Relative or Descendent’ distinction is only ever pressed by Sympathisers.

    1. Its all ‘faux outrage’ designed to demonise us.

      Because they have nothing else. And they think by banning you Thomas their narrative is going to be protected…They just destroy their own credibility ( such as it was) as “actors’ (sic) in the debates about Outbreak history. They often succeed in making people give up and leave the discussions altogether, but not me!

      When you look back a few years one realises how far WE have come and how much THEY have retreated.

  3. Aiden Phelan is clearly a Kelly nutter. One only has to look at his websites to see the fictional nonsense that still remains on his sites, when the myths, fiction and lies, have been comprehensibly proved to be fiction for several years.
    I have no respect for a man of his character.
    Where will people like Aiden go when all the Kelly myths, having been disproved, are all removed from government websites and promotional material?

    1. Joe Byrne was the scumbag that removed and wore the dress rings from the fingers of two of the police he murdered at Stringy Bark Creek. A corpse looting maggot.

      1. Georgina Stones thinks he was a gentle misunderstood poet, rather than a drug addict and cold blooded murderer. She doesn’t think him taking and wearing the rings was a big deal. Of course she only believes this because she thinks he was a good looking man. She ‘tends his grave’ and leaves flowers for Byrne and Sherritt, her favourite murderer and his victim. She and Phelan are trying to re write history with their —— excuses and own —— opinions so the object of her obsession, Joe Byrne, will be re written as a poor helpless victim who never hurt a fly.

        It’s so laughable. These two —- are doing more damage to the Kelly story than anyone else ever has. Their ‘research’ is nothing but rehashed myths from previous authors with their own —– version of the ‘truth’ thrown on top. They are making complete fools of themselves.

        NOTE from MODERATOR : Ive deleted a few adjectives from this post because I think they were unnecessarily abusive.

  4. Thomas Whiteside says: Reply

    In an attempt to provide a nuanced Ned as a once living and breathing human being I’ve attempted to create a list of good things Ned did which he should be recognised for.

    1. Ned’s bravery and heroism at age 11 in saving Dick Shelton from drowning should be recognised.
    2. Ned assisting his mother and family by financing and building them a new family home (however rough) at Eleven Mile Creek c 1877 should be recognised.
    3. It was good of Ned not to murder Fitzpatrick during the ‘Fitzpatrick Incident’ when it has been suggested others present, most likely Joe, were saying he should put ‘a pill’ in him.
    4. I don’t think Ned intended to kill anyone at SBC.
    5. It was good of Ned to stop Dan and Steve having ‘a lark’ with the women hostages at Euroa (and potentially Glenrowan where the women were separated).
    6. It was good of Ned to force Steve to return Reverend Gribble’s watch at Jerilderie.
    7. Regardless of his intentions, Ned showed tremendous physical stamina and courage at Glenrowan, particularly in the 15-30 min last stand.

    Feel free to add to the list!

    1. This is a really interesting idea Thomas and theres a lot that we could discuss in relation to it. Clearly Ned Kelly wasn’t a violent criminal from the moment of his birth…thats why one of my Posts is “Ned Kelly wasnt a Bad Kid”.

      I have asked that question on Facebook a few times – please name the good things kelly did – and not had any response from the kelly mob apart from vague things like ‘he stood up for the poor’ or “He defended his family” – I was asking for specific actual examples.

      Its also hard to decide how much credit someone is owed for NOT killing someone when they could have, or curbing some of the excesses – ‘having a lark’ – in the midst of a violent criminal hostage taking inadvertently bank robbing incident.

      The point Ive tried to make many times is that it was an evolution, from petty crime that wouldnt warrant a label like ‘villain’, through escalating theft and deception, when it was appropriate to call him a criminal and then perhaps via accidental murder and ultimately to the ultra-violent planned very deliberate mass murder at Glenrowan.At that point Villain hardly seems strong enough.

    2. Hi Thomas, an interesting list, but I’m not sure about what the evidence is for point 2, Ned assisting his mother and family by financing and building them a new family home.

      Do you have a source for the financing?

      And how much do we know about his building/helping to build it?

    3. Looking at this list again, I think there is a problem with Point 1, claiming Young Ned’s bravery and heroism are shown by him rescuing Young Shelton from drowning.

      No one would quibble with this being a good deed. But the words bravery and heroism necessarily imply some level of risk to the actor; doing something heroic and brave. What was the risk that Ned boldly faced? What hurdles did he have to overcome to rescue Dick Shelton?

      There once was a tale, repeated oft, by Kelly fans whose brains were soft, that hero Ned risked life a limb to save young Dick from fates’ grip grim. They claimed he dived into a stream, a whirling maelstrom most obscene, when Hughes Creek flooded o’re its banks, and young Dick fell while crossing branch. Young Ned they say then risked his life, that precious life we celebrate, to save his junior schoolmate’s hide from awful dark awaiting fate.

      But wait: it’s true Dick might have drowned, and Ned was rightly praised for that. But Hughes Creek was not flooded then; it happened when he lost his hat. Dick ventured into water hole and out of depth it found him. He struggled until Ned jumped in and pulled him out to save him.

      Was Ned at risk? Why Lordy no, the stream was quietly flowing. Ned was far the bigger boy and help was easy going. No risk to Ned, no bravery, just one good turn to save Dicky. No hero battling angry water, no turbulence about to slaughter.

      How do we know this? The 1973 letter from descendant Mrs Shelton to the Benalla Historical Society. Young Richard aged 7 was playing by the creek on a hot summer day when he ventured into a waterhole and got into difficulties. Ned aged about 11 came past, saw the boy in the creek, jumped in and pulled him out. That’s great; but all the nonsense about flooded turbulent raging waters is entirely from Jones’, and later FitzSimons’, lively imaginations. No more heroes any more.

      1. Thomas Whiteside says: Reply

        I was trying to go out of out of my way to say nice things about Ned when deserved, but fair cop, point conceded.

        1. Hi Thomas, I thought you might get stuck into my alarming attempts at poetry…

          But yes, I do think it was a good deed, just not one that can be elevated to the heights of heroism some have lent to it.

          And I remember that it is only the rare third edition of Kenneally’s ‘Inner History of the Kelly Gang’ that tells us exactly when the green sash was awarded by Shelton’s dad; it was when Kelly was much older, when the gang was outlawed and on the run. (I’ll have to check Kenneally’s exact words again; I posted them in this blog when the sash was discussed.)

          Which means that it wasn’t, as Jones claimed, something he kept and treasured from boyhood through the Kelly’s various moves north from Avenel when Ned was 11 or so, until he was captured some 12 years later at Glenrowan. Rather, it might be more accurately dated to after the Stringybark Creek murders (when flash Ned wore a red sash) and after the outlawry act, to late 1878 or maybe 1879, or even 1880. So Ned maybe had the sash for a year and a half at most…

          1. Hi again Thomas, I posted a scan of the relevant pages from Kenneally’s third edition on this blog on 15 October 2021. If you search the blog for ‘green sash’ it should be the first result.

            Kenneally says that Mr Shelton gave NEC the sash “when the Kelly Gang were on the run”. That can only mean when the gang of four had formed after SBC and subsequent outlawry. So Kelly didn’t cart the sash around with him for half his short life at all. Barely 10 percent of it…

          2. Thomas Whiteside says: Reply

            Yes Stuart, I was active in that thread.

            It inspired by Dad to re-write a poem he wrote many years ago.

            The Sash (Mk III)
            Time hung very heavily upon the harried four
            Who huddled in that small bush hut beyond the reach of law.
            They didn’t dare to light a fire for fear the trail of smoke
            Would signal their close presence to surrounding working folk.
            “Did I ever tell the story how one time at Avenel
            I was walking by the water when a young lad tripped and fell
            And landed in a cold, deep pool…?” “Someone’s coming near.”
            (The voice of Maggie Skillion.) “He appears to show no fear.
            He’s riding on a fine bay horse.” “Another spy, no doubt.”
            (The voice of young Dan Kelly.) “I will blast his innards out!”
            “Hold him back!” (Ned spoke again.) “The chance is not too strong
            If he steps inside to greet us, he will live a life that’s long.”
            “My name is Esau Shelton, and I’m carrying a gift
            To pay a debt that’s owing. It may also serve to lift
            A spirit that is sagging, a heart that is cast down,
            That long ago saved one small boy who looked near set to drown.”
            “He speaks the truth!” Ned Kelly joined the stranger at his side.
            “It is a distant memory, yet fills me still with pride.”
            “And so it should, my fine young man. With daring and with dash
            You more than earned my humble gift, this bright green silken sash;
            Green, of course, for Ireland, the land that you adore.
            I could give ten thousand sashes, and not even up the score,
            But at least it is a gesture, a way to offer thanks…”
            “This means more to me than all the stolen cash from banks.”
            Ned took the green silk in his hands. He touched it tenderly,
            And his thoughts raced quickly down the distant lanes of memory…
            He was walking by the water when he saw a sailor’s hat
            Alone upon the further bank. He thought, “Now, what’s with that?
            A hat without an owner…there is something not quite right…”
            And then a bobbing head appeared within his line of sight.
            The summer had been very dry. The creek had been down low,
            But a burst of rain the last few days had sharply raised its flow.
            While just a placid waterhole, it still was deep and cold,
            Quite capable of keeping little boys within its hold.
            He didn’t need a second thought. He quickly shed his coat,
            How much longer could the struggling fellow stay afloat?
            He jumped into the water, gripped the young boy by the hair,
            And towed him to the mudbank where his hat was lying there.
            The boy was Esau’s precious son – Richard, known as Dick.
            The father had been grateful that young Ned had been so quick,
            And also so effective in his quest to save his son.
            He had offered cash in gratitude, but Ned had taken none.
            Now here, a decade later, they were meeting once again.
            Esau’s life was prosperous. Ned’s was filled with pain.
            It mattered not that Ned had killed, and now was on the run.
            This was all about a loving father and his son.
            This was all about a debt, and nothing more than that,
            All about a muddy bank, a lonely sailor’s hat.
            It should come as no surprise that when the troopers stemmed Ned’s dash
            At Glenrowan, ‘neath his armour lay his bright green silken sash!
            © Stephen Whiteside 16/08/2022

          3. Hi Thomas, that’s an impressive poem particularly as it seems to reflect the only source I know of that has Esau presenting the sash when the four (i.e. the whole gang) were on the run, namely the third only edition of Kenneally’s Inner History. As our investigations in that old blog showed, that detail of when the presentation took place was not in any any other edition of Kenneally.

            Could you ask if the poem was inspired by Kenneally, and if so was there a third edition handy at some point; or if not from Kenneally, where did the background info about the time of the sash presentation come from? All very interesting.

          4. Also, if you put “poetry competition” into the blog search box, you will find a couple of my more creative efforts there… Not necessarily fessing up to which… 😂

          5. Thomas Whiteside says: Reply

            Hi Stuart, the poem was directly inspired by the sash thread on this blog.

          6. Hi Thomas, that’s great, that would be the scan I put up from Kenneally’s third edition. So that’s still the only written source I know of that gives a reliable earliest dating for the presentation of the sash. I may have to have a word with the Kelly romantics at the Benalla Kelly and Pioneer Museum or whatever its evolving title is. Cherished since boyhood 🤮😂

          7. Another thing if not mentioned before. Flash Ned was wearing his red larrikin sash at SBC where everyone could see it; a Greta Mob tough. Hence McIntyre observed and later recorded that detail.

            But at Glenrowan he had the long green cummerbund under his shirt wrapping his waist. Further reason to think that its wearing had nothing to do with any romanticised childhood sentiments but was no more than utilitarian padding for his armour.

          8. Thomas Whiteside says: Reply

            What’s your source for the green sash being under Ned’s shirt and wrapping his waist?

            I see Kenneally(1980 Ed) on p. 151 makes reference to the sash being found under Ned’s clothing, but this could be under the overcoat etc. Is there a more specific source / account?

            Also, I just had a quick look in Jones’ ASL, 1995 Ed, and can see its Jones who referred to the sash apparently coming from the Shelton family drapery store, with the source being an interview with Mrs Stan Shelton, 28.10.1973.

          9. Hi Thomas, the two sentences there make it clear that the doctor grabbed it while he was removing the unconscious Ned’s clothing; he rolled it up and put it in his pocket. So it was not just under the overcoat, but under clothing where others hadn’t seen it.

          10. The length of the cummerbund; see the photo of the lady from the Benalla Historical Society that I posted,; and its measurements – 7’3″ long, 5.5″ wide; multiple cloth layers. Perfect for a layer of padding.

  5. Thomas Whiteside says: Reply

    Hi Stuart,

    My reference is Kieza, Mrs Kelly, 2017, pp 198-199, thought Kieza doesn’t provide a source or further citation.

    Kieza’s account very closely follows that in Jones’ ASL, 1995, p. 105.

    Jones’ notes refer back to an interview with Paddy and Charlie Griffiths in 1963 and a description of the house by Ron Shaw from 1959.

    Not primary sources so who knows I guess…

    1. Hi Thomas, thanks for the refs. I’m using Jones SL 2008, the last edition out, and recommend it for referencing as it is the most comprehensive and recent edition. It is close to the 2003 revision but omits his totally pointless line by line numbered rendering of the Jerilderie letter at the back. If anyone wants to quote it by line numbers they can download the PDF of the original from SLV. But no need when one can just cite original page numbers of keen!

      Keiza as you say has no source references for the financing or the building. It seems he has made it up as an assumption and turned it into a fact when presenting it. It seems to be an elaboration of Jones, whose tale on p. 131 of the 2008 edition.

      Jones in turn has created his story from a 1963 interview with Griffiths descendants. The involvement of the named others is pure speculation; he says “probably”, not “was”, which means it is Jones’s speculation. There is nothing to support Keiza’s claim for the financing.

      The whole story is shonky. We are asked to believe that shiftless Ned had left his mum to live in the squalid old house through the entire time he was making an honest living earning top wages then magically appeared with large savings in the summer of 1877-8 to finance and build her a new house. A neat cottage, Jones says. A classic Australian homestead. The story has too many holes to be true .

      1. I further recommend buying the 2008 edition secondhand like I did, both saving money and not adding further to the financing of this work of mostly historical fiction.

        To clarify more, if Kelly was wanting to finance the new cottage he could have been sending money throughout the time that he claimed to have been working for top wages instead of letting his mum live in the tumbledown squalid shack that Nicolson described.

        If Williamson and Skillion were involved in the building, they could have been doing that, or repairing the old place to a good standard, throughout that time or at any point during it. Ned Kelly had learnt no building skills at his father’s knee as Jones claimed. He was nicking horses from young boyhood, and never stopped. His apprenticeship was highway robbery, not construction. He likely would have had trouble building a straight fence, let alone a neat cottage.

        If speculation is warranted, maybe Williamson and Skillion built the new house with Ned helping between drinking bouts. A standard low budget bush cottage of wood from cleared trees on and near the property. Mrs Kelly was supposed to be clearing her selection after all.

  6. Thomas Whiteside says: Reply

    Pure speculation but… Ned appears to have built Ellen a new home almost immediately after George King disappears. Is Ned trying to soothe his guilty conscience after getting rid of the the family’s main breadwinner? One has to wonder.

    1. Was King buried under it?

      1. Thomas Whiteside says: Reply

        Time to get out the ground penetrating radar and head to Greta… Maybe Bill can assist?

  7. But bones won’t show on a metal detector 😂 🦴

    Maybe a sniffer dog 😂🦮🐾

  8. Guess what? In a SMH readers’ poll in mid-2022, 70% of respondents thought Ned Kelly was overrated.

    That’s what I’ve been trying to tell the Wankaratta and Glenrowan tourism monkeys for the last few years. They’ve now wasted over 5 million dollars on a “Ned Kelly viewing tower” to tell the story of how a bunch of numptys tried to derail a train while keeping some 62 people prisoners in a nearby inn:

    “The tower build cost $5.459 million, which included $507,126 for the graphic design element and $177,650 for the audio–visual/multimedia production features”,

    According to the Ned Kelly Alive project report, the viewing tower was intended to be free entry and open 24/7. Already way over its original estimated cost, the costs haven’t even started for staffing and security.

    As I pointed out to the Wang council project group back then, it is impossible to see any return on this “investment”. It will not add to much in additional tourist visits after the first few months (if that). The Kelly nuts are a slowly declining percentage of Victorian tourism as more unpleasant facts about the gang become evident and Jones’ Short Life becomes increasingly revealed as historical fiction. Glenrowan tourism has been in slow decline since the early 2000s, and this money sink won’t fix that; mainly because after the first half hour or so of the Glenrowan Inn seige (approximately 3am to 3:30am) and Kelly emerging around 7am for his so-called ‘last stand’ which lasted some 10 minutes, practically nothing happened.

    Worse, the viewing tower will add barely half an hour – maybe an hour max – to a tourist’s time in Glenrowan; therefore not adding any extra revenue to the coffee shops and other businesses there over and above what they would have spent anyway. It certainly won’t cause tourists to turn a passing visit into an overnight stay. The most likely impact will be to further deprive those local Glenrowan businesses of tourist revenue if the viewing tower competes with them in selling food, drinks and souveneirs.

    What a farce this $5.5M spend-up is.


    1. I cant believe I missed that Poll from last year. It would be great to see a truly scientific poll done on the Kelly story, and a test to see if Australians really DO know anything other than Fridge-magnet slogans about Ned Kelly. How many would get the correct answer to a question on something as basic as was he born in Ireland or Victoria?

      As for the Tower, I seem to remember reading that the outfit that won the Contract to create the audio-visuals gave up on the project and a different crowd took it on. I would be MOST interested to know who is doing it, and how they are going about deciding what to tell. God Forbid they are Jones cult members…

  9. As one writer saw way back in 1942, ” The old tradition that the police caused the Kelly outbreak still prevails, and that Constable Fitzpatrick was the arch offender, is the religion of many. The story is so stupid, and without the slightest warrant, that we propose to ignore that phase of it except to point out that Ned Kelly’s first trial for highway robbery took place seven years before Fitzpatrick joined the force”,

    Logic has never been a strength of Kelly enthusiasts. Despite Jones’ awareness of the Baumgarten horse-stealing ring led by Kelly under the alias of Mr T, Jones made Fitzpatrick along with wild claims of unwarranted police harrassment the cause of the Kelly outbreak. Even McQuilton identified the police closing in on the Baumgarten ring as the heart of the outbreak. If he had not been under the apparent sway of Jones he would likely have located this as the outbreak’s trigger, to which Fitzpatrick’s April 1878 visit to the Kelly house to arrest Dan Kelly was a response, not a cause.

    As the Wankeratta council mob seem impervious to reason (i.e. the fictional drivel they have let run on the Ned Kelly Touring Route for decades under the sway of Jones’s fiction to the total disregard of Ian McFarlane’s 2012 colossal mythbusting “Kelly Gang Unmasked” book, one can guess that the entire Glenrowan seige viewing tower audio commentary will be laced with narrative drivel, Irish music, entirely invented visual images that don’t match the historical timeline, and mindless glamorisation of the sort that has long infested Glenrowan’s seige signage. Such is life.

    1. I am a little more optimistic than you Stuart, about what might appear at the Tower. I agree the fact they even decided to spend all that money on it is a bad omen, but if they’ve let the contract to professionals with a mandate they produce historically accurate and verifiable material rather than recycle old myths and legends then we could possibly end up with something reasonable. Look what happened at SBC : the old Kelly-sympathetic narratives were replaced by Police sympathetic ones with very little mention and certainly no glamorisation of the killers.

      1. Fair comment, David. Let’s wait and see. I intend going up for a look at the viewing tower when it opens – not on the opening day of course, as it will be wall to wall nutsos and precious council types wanting to be congratulated for blowing literally millions of dollars where a couple of hundred thousand dollars at most could have bought a multi-directional signpost and some better spot location signage, to achieve just as much of the stated purpose.

        Those hideous painted bollards that have been deteriorating for years around the siege site look like a primary school art project.

  10. Phelan is a legend in his own mind. Let’s just be thankful the Phelan/Jager/Holmes ‘Glenrowan’ movie project got next to no interest, and likely never will. Based around their brain power it would have been a weak telling of events to say the least, with loads of fiction and worn out myths piled on.

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