The fake news about the so-called “Kelly outbreak” has been the dominant narrative for decades, so its not going to be enough to correct it once and expect that from that moment on everyone will know the true story. For one thing, there are the mobs of Kelly supporters on pro-Kelly FB pages who are so bewitched by the Fake news that they will just ignore reality, and misinform their readers by continuing to promote it. So, for a long time to come we are going to have to keep repeating the facts until at long last everyone will get it.
So here’s a recap and correction to five of the most important myths about the so-called ‘Fitzpatrick incident’, which is the name given to the events of April 15th 1878 when Fitzpatrick went to arrest Dan Kelly at his mother’s home at Greta: what happened was that he was attacked by Mrs Kelly and Ned Kelly shot at and wounded him with a revolver. Even before warrants for their arrest regarding this attack were issued Dan and Ned Kelly fled into the bush, behaviour that exhibits whats known in legal circles as ‘consciousness of guilt’ – or to put it another way, innocent people dont run and hide.
1. The ‘Fitzpatrick incident’ was not the start of the Outbreak. Ned Kellys stock thieving racket had been operating with success all across the colony for many months. Inevitably, warrants were issued and as sure as night follows day, police were going to come knocking. If not Fitzpatrick, it would have been Strahan or someone else.
2. Fitzpatrick’s visit to the Kelly home was not against orders, as is claimed in the Kelly myths: it was perfectly legitimate and appropriate. Supt Nicholson had told a couple of other police a year before not to go there alone but this was never an official police Order, or ever passed on to Fitzpatrick. In any case, his boss, Sgt Whelan at Benalla authorised his visit. If going there alone was a breach of an order Fitzpatrick would have been reprimanded: he wasn’t.
3. Fitzpatrick didn’t have an arrest warrant with him because it was not necessary then and has never been necessary for a policeman to present an actual arrest document to a suspect before an arrest can be made. Mrs Kellys objection was completely wrong, and The Kelly myth about him needing to have one is misinformation.
4. Kelly supporters claim that Fitzpatrick molested Kate Kelly. This allegation was absent from every testimony about the incident until it was quite obviously invented many months later as part of the Kelly campaign to vilify police and attempt to justify their violent attack on Fitzpatrick. That campaign also invented the slander that Fitzpatrick was a drunk and a womaniser. No credible evidence exists to support either of those claims.
5. Dr Nicholson reported that the wound in Fitzpatrick’s wrist had ‘every appearance of being a bullet wound’. No scrupulously honest person who hadn’t seen the wounding happen would ever ‘swear’ that it had been caused by a bullet, but its clear Nicholson didn’t really doubt that it WAS a bullet wound. And. neither does any serious student of the Kelly outbreak doubt that it was a wound caused by a bullet from a gun fired by Ned Kelly.
What are the other furphies pedalled by the Kelly mobs about this incident?