Figuring out Stringybark Creek is easy…

My good friend,  SBC expert Bill Denheld is talking to members of the BBM Facebook page about his search for the site of the Police murders shown in a couple of very famous photos taken at the time by professional photographer  Mr F C Burman. Many people are claiming it’s all too complicated and too hard to figure out which site out of five proposed, is the most likely one . Well, I’ve studied all the sites in detail, and visited them all more than once, and I can tell you right now, it’s not hard at all. So, read on to see what I mean.

 

Five different sites along Stringybark Creek have been nominated as being likely to be the exact site of the Police Camp where Lonigan and Scanlan were murdered by the Kelly Gang:

      1. Ian Jones site on the Eastern bank of SBC, south of the so-called Kelly Tree which is supposed to be a marker of the approximate position of the police campsite

  1. Bills “Two Huts” site not far from Jones site but on the opposite (Western) side of SBC
  2. Further north the “CSI” site promoted by Briggs Gill Dean and Standing.
  3. Further north again, Adam Fords site in the Visitor Picnic grounds
  4. Even further north, the Kennedy Tree Group site of King Fogarty Younger and Lloyd.

 

STEP ONE: ELIMINATE THE SITE THAT NOBODY ACCEPTS

Eliminate the Jones site, the one he said was ‘unarguable’ the one he discusses on an old video you can still find on You Tube, because Jones missed the clue everyone else has subsequently spotted, which was the description by McIntyre that the Police tent faced SBC to the EAST. “The entrance to the tent was facing east and also the creek which was  about 70 yards distant”. The only way SBC can be to the EAST of the tent is if the tent is on the WESTERN bank. End of story.

 

NOBODY accepts the Jones site is in contention any longer, so we are left with FOUR possible sites.

 

STEP TWO: LOOK AT THE BURMAN PHOTO:

Recall that the 1880 Burman photos of the Police Campsite are the starting point for all efforts to identify it in 2023 and that interpretations of those photos fall into TWO groups:

Adam Fords group and the CSI Team believe that the photos were taken from the south or south west with the Camera facing to the north and Northeast. This view necessarily implies that when he positioned people in the frame to re-enact what happened, even though he knew exactly where police and Gang members would have been at the time of the ambush, Burman placed them all in the wrong place and looking in the wrong direction, ie to the South when they actually looked north.

On the other hand Bill and the KTG group believe the photos were taken from the north and north east with the camera facing south and southwest, which would necessarily imply that when Burman positioned people in the frame to re-enact what happened, Burman placed them in more or less the correct position. He did this because he knew exactly where the police and Gang members were at the time of the ambush. Bills backs up his view about camera angles and orientation with analysis of shadows and where sunlight can be seen falling in the Burman photos to confirm where north actually was.

 

 

STEP THREE: ELIMINATE THE SITES BASED ON WRONG PHOTOGRAPHIC INTERPRETATION:

Decide which interpretation of the camera orientation you agree with, to eliminate the two groups who have misinterpreted the photos and have therefore headed off down the wrong track. So, if you think it makes sense to imagine that Burman put all his ‘actors’ in the wrong positions even though it would have been just as easy to place them in the right ones, then you are left with the two sites in the middle, Fords Picnic area site or the CSI Site.

On the other hand if you agree with me that it makes more sense to expect that after making such an enormous effort to drag all his heavy cameras and lead plate photographic equipment into the wilds of the Wombat ranges, Burman, the professional photographer, would then have done everything he could to make  his images as accurate and as credible as possible, then you are left with the Two Huts site or the KTG  site.

 

 

STEP FOUR: KTG SITE vs TWO HUTS

There are many fatal flaws in the KTG claim to have located the police camp, the most important one being that its entirely dependent on the discredited methodology they used to try to identify the so-called “Kennedy Tree”. In both cases their approach was to look for trees that resembled the trees seen in the 140-year-old photos taken by Burman. Their initial ‘find’ was the so-called ‘Kennedy Tree’ but when their entire case was submitted by the KTG team itself to expert analysis by Heritage Victoria, it was rejected. They submitted a revised version of their case and that also was rejected.

 

The KTG claim is that they identified the Police Campsite by working backwards from the ‘Kennedy Tree’. However, now that their claim to have located the ‘Kennedy tree’ has twice been rejected by Heritage Victoria, they no longer have any basis to their claim to have found the police Campsite.



There are many other important flaws in their case, being dependent as it is on the very dubious identification of living trees based on what they looked like in 140-year-old photos. Their interpretation of other features in those photos was also highly problematic, one important example being their assertion that apart from themselves, every  person who has ever looked at those photos got it completely wrong when they thought it showed a slope in the background with fallen saplings lying across it. The KTG site lacks a slope, and it was therefore necessary for them to deny such a slope could be seen in the Burman images, and so they claimed the photo showed  flat ground with post-and-rail fences on it. However in saying this they were forced to dismiss on the basis of literally nothing, the published report of an 1880 eye-witness who said that the campsite was at the foot of a slope, that ground around it had been cleared for horses but that there were no fences. Their sweeping dismissal of an actual eye-witness account was simply breath-taking : but they were forced to either dismiss the eye-witness, or else concede their entire case had just collapsed. 

 



This leaves the Two Huts site as the clear front runner. On his absorbing WebSite  [HERE] Bill Denheld has produced a very thorough, very detailed and very convincing argument in support of his claim to have located the site of the police camp. The Two Huts site  includes archaeological evidence of the fireplaces of the ruined huts that were there at the time and visible in the photographs, evidence not found at any of the other sites, and the slope seen in the background of the Burman photos, also not seen at any of the other proposed sites, is exactly where it should be at Bills.

Game, set and Match.

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27 Replies to “Figuring out Stringybark Creek is easy…”

  1. Good analysis. Albeit it extremely arrogant and condescending. Mark.

    1. Arrogant and condescending….but right! Thats the main thing.

  2. Jones the insufferably egotistical amateur bungler and arrogant abuser of anybody who disagreed with him did it again. Like his insistence that the so called Gentleman Ned photo was Ned. Like his assertion that the Samurai suit in the Burke Museum was Chinese armour (see photo in Short Life 1995). Like his invention of an entire republican selector army. Like his imaginary “body straps” that he claimed the police paid to have made when they headed out to Stringybark Creek. Like his claim that Ned learned stone masonry in gaol. Like his accusations that both McIntyre and Sadleir committed perjury based on a mistaken recollection by Sadleir some 30 years after Kelly’s execution and directly refuted by the Prosecution File documents. Like his vicious abuse of legal historian Alex Castles in the Age over a disagreement about Kelly’s Last Days. Like his public put-down of my Republic Myth demolition book by questioning my motivations without addressing a single fact of my criticism of his fairy stories. I’m over it. His “Short Life” book is historically nonsense and belongs in the Fiction section.

    1. I know where you’re coming from Stuart. Jones claimed on one of the videos that he could sense the history in places where stuff happened, and he could just tell he had found the right spot! And we have it from an eye-witness that he assaulted Bill over this very issue. He has an almost cult-like following of devotees who dont seem to be able to see any of his faults, such was the power of his personal charm.

  3. Buenas tardes cómo estás amigo?
    Excellent analysis of Mr Bill Denhelds achievements. A man of spirit and integrity. I fail to agree with Denhelds immaculate work towards pinpointing the correct camp spot. The SBC team have my vote.

    1. The SBC team? You mean KTG or CSI or is this another one?

  4. CSI with Briggs and Standing

    1. One day you’ll have to explain why you think Burman had all his ‘actors’ looking south when he knew they would have been looking north! And no slope, or hut ruins….

      I didnt mention it in the piece but I also like the fact that Bills site is close to where Jones reckoned it was – just on the opposite side of the creek.

      1. Purely coincidental that Jones Location happened to be on the opposite side of the creek from Denhelds. Jones bushbashed his way through and picked what he thought was a suitable location. Jones failed miserable in this department.
        Denheld in the other hand applies science and a well balanced argument coupled with meticulous research.

  5. A spokesperson for the Kennedy Tree group, pushing back against Bill on the BBM site had this to say in reference to the Burman photos:

    “It amazes me how people can see things that are not there yet they cannot see what is.”
    Indeed!

    This comment comes from the group whose ENTIRE claim to have located the police campsite is dependant on their claim to be able to see things in the Burman photos that NOBODY else ever claimed to see in them, and even more surprisingly to see things in the photos that an EYE-WITNESS said quite categorically in November 1878 are NOT THERE.

    This FACT, that we know on the basis of the eye-witness testimony that things they claim to see in the photos are NOT THERE is fatal to their entire claim. The eye-witness described a slope at the site, but there is NO SUCH SLOPE at the place they have nominated.

    The slope EVERYONE else has seen in the photos, and which the eye-witness said was there is NOT FOUND at their site.

    That really should be the end of the matter. Arguing about tree stumps and fire-places and where the “Kelly Tree” was are irrelevant distractions because the place the KTG are defending is just a random bit of bush – they have NOT located the site of the police camp. End of story.

  6. Well David if your going to quote me do it properly. I said people cannot see what was in the foreground of the photo because the background was blurry and out of focus. I also never said there was no slope, it’s not a steep slope. From the site of the PC there is a gradual slope rising to about 3m in height over a distance of approximately 150 to 200 m. Cameras of that era make that distance look closer.
    And as for the claim that we can see things no one else can, only is directed at those that have other site, plenty of the public agree with what we have put to the table.
    We delivered our finding and put them out there and received plenty of moments good and bad. Most of the bad in my opinion are misreading the information.
    I have told you before that G W Hall described the area with great accuracy, you just have to put yourself there and see what he was talking about.
    Happy to answer question, that what I and Jim have been doing in a pleasant manner and providing proof to our answers, however finding Bill a bit reluctant to answer with proof and proving him wrong some times.
    Adrian

    1. “The site until recently was occupied by a prospectors hut…. About six months ago the party who occupied the hut fell out and it was burned down. One of them was tried for arson but was acquitted. The site has been partly cleared as a paddock for a horse but NO FENCING WAS ERECTED. The place was an excellent one for the camping ground of a party who were not expecting to be attacked”

      Given that these structures are easily seen in the photo, it means they would have been easily seen by an eye-witness at the campsite, who clearly was surveying the entire area, and seemed to think it worth making a comment about the fact that even though the area had been cleared for horses, there were NO FENCES. It would have been impossible for an eye-witness NOT to see those fences if thats what they were, and it would be absurd to suggest as you and your team are, that having seen them the eye-witness then said there were no fences.

      Moreover, to further muddy the waters Jim Fogarty misquotes this claim writing on Facebook that “The Reporter with Burman said the police camp site was not fenced. We agree with this and always have. “ In fact the reporter did NOT use the term “Police camp site” as you can see in my direct actual citation from the eye-witness above. Its very clear that he was again referring to the entire ‘paddock’ .

      So your case for fences is based on an absurd idea that the Reporter who would have seen fences said there werent any, and a misquotation.

      The BBM and other Facebook people who DO accept your argument almost to a man have said its too complicated for them to understand so I wouldn’t place too much importance on the opinions of people who admit they dont know what’s going on.

      People who DO know what’s going on have rejected it, and so do I.

      1. Where is the other hut. The shingle hut. The reporter seems to have not mentioned it and we know it was there. The reporter is describing the area where the police camped as stated. The area was cleared for horses but no fencing. He is only talking about the cleared area. No mention of the hut further south or any fencing near it as it was in bush areas

        1. So there was an area cleared for horses but they went and built some fences in the middle of the uncleared bush?

          Adrian, basing your argument on the absurd doesnt strengthen it, it makes it silly.

  7. You seem to be making a point about the fence that we stated was likely to be over 100 metres in the background of the Burman photo. I conducting our research these horizontal saplings seemed logical as some form of fence or horse yards. Lynch, Bromfield and Renalds must have had their horses somewhere and not just roaming around. Even Ned said that he watch the trooper take the horses BACK DOWN TO THE TENT. Where McIntyre said they were hobbled to prevent them from moving away.I have stated many times that the Burman photo is very unclear at that greater distance so does it really matter whether there is a fence there or not. If it’s not there it still doesn’t change our finding as the trees are still there. You seem to be making a point that if something is wrong than it’s all wrong. As for the experts that you say have rejected our findings then that’s not yet over and resection is not quiet right.
    It appears that there is so much controversy about these sites no one now is going to make a decision. That is a real pity.
    I also noted that you used proses of elimination on all the sites and left Bills till last.
    There are many floors with Bills site that even the CSI team can see and you cannot.
    If you have really been to look at all the sites then why not get it first hand as out team can show you all the evidence that completes our sites that is not in our reports because if it was it would be bigger than Ben Hur

  8. Thanks Adrian I appreciate your willingness to engage after so many months of silence from the KTR…

    In regard to the fences, arguing what people may or may not have done with their horses is conjecture, and however reasonable it may be, the reality is that an eyewitness made it VERY clear that at the site cleared for horses, the place where the Police made their camp, there were NO FENCES and thats a statement which cant be explained away by conjecture.

    You asked whether or not it really matters if there were fences or not. The answer is yes it does matter because your entire claim, both at the supposed police campsite and at the Kennedy Tree site is wholly dependant on the accuracy of your teams ability to correctly interpret whats seen in the Burman photos. So getting the fences claim wrong has an implication for how much reliance we can place in the other claims you make about what the photos depict. IN fact several of your teams claims about what is seen in the photos are at the very least dubious : for example either you or Jim recently posted that two of the trees in the Burman photo are IDENTICAL to trees youve located at SBC – this simply cannot be true : the idea that over 140 years a tree hasnt changed in any way at all is obviously incorrect.

    In the end though I agree there are flaws in ALL the proposals – none of them fully accounts for every detail and impression and claim that appears in the literature – many cannot be reconciled, such as all the different estimates of distances and directions. However in my view the proposal with the least flaws and the most going for it by far is the Two Huts site.

    It would be fantastic if the site with the most going for it was simply accepted as the closest we are ever going to get to finding the site, and the Two Huts site may very well be it. Its a shame that personal animosities and jealousies mean that the likelihood is that the site that will be recognised is one proposed by a celebrity archaeologist who had the massive funding needed to promote it in a shamefully slick, superficial and deceptive pay-TV documentary.

    1. Thank you for the comments David and I will continue to comment while it remains civil. You have a way of plucking out and misreading what I a stating. Stating that a tree is exactly the same after 145 years mean there are some minor changes like size of growth and any damage that may occur over that time. The general appearance and shape of the tree does not change. This is what I meant by being the exact same tree. I admit some people cannot see it and as a person that has worked with timber and trees for over 40 years, this is something I can see.
      If I were to word the process of elimination on Bills site them it would be dismissed straight after the Jones site. I have pointed out to Bill that in my opinion his site have no proof what so ever as the PC.
      Yes there may have been a hut there but there were many huts over the years along SBC. The evidence he found and still has is all dated after the murders.
      Government statements prove that the site was on McCrums selection further to the north of Bill site and you cannot fit the 70 yards from the creek to the tent at his site.
      There are many more floors that you have failed to mention in your elimination.
      Adrian

  9. I don’t see how the KTG can say with a straight face that “our team can show you all the evidence that completes our sites that is not in our reports because if it was it would be bigger than Ben Hur” when they wanted and took the opportunity to have their claim examined by experts who rejected it, and are now trying to say they have more evidence that no one has seen in their favour. This is impossible. They have had two goes at it and got nowhere because it doesn’t stack up and is full of holes as a colander. Time to sit down and concede that the holes sink their theory. It was worth exploration but after a lot of discussion and scrutiny it is obviously wrong.

  10. Anonymous says: Reply

    Look Possum if you are that ashamed of your real name then that’s very sad. This is the last time I will comment to a mystery person, if their name is not important then nether are they.
    Being obviously wrong is your opinion and you are entitled to that, but the other evidence I meant was linking our site with other photos like the McCrudden photo and the fallen stump photo. These are all in close proximity to our site and proving there is no steep slope. Also our team have both sites, the Kennedy Tree and PC and can tie them in with the events of the murders unlike the other teams that only have the PC.

    1. Anonymous says: Reply

      Adrian

      1. Adrian I have been called Possum for years, get over it. You never used nicknames in the army? The bright red marks on the photographs show big differences in the trees. The biggest difference is the top of the Burman tree. It grows upward on a different angle to your tree. It grows straight up vertically on the left side but your tree starts to lean right just above the parallel red lines. The old Burman tree has no horizontal line on the trunk where I have put a ring around it on your tree. Your tree has no hollow at the middle front ground level. Your tree has no downward sloping ground behind it. Your tree is some other tree in the area with a lot of wishful thinking from what the photos show. I’m sorry if that bothers you but that is what I see.

        1. No one has put any answer to Possums lines on the photo showing the Kennedy Group Tree doesn’t match the Burman tree.

  11. In a bizarre attempt to stop work on the idiotic Ned Kelly viewing tower, despite Joanna Griffiths correctly describing the structure as looking like a toilet, the Ned Kelly Centre’s bid is likely to cost it $130,000 in legal costs, being Wanngaratta ratepayer’s money that it cost the Council to defend itself from the Ned Kelly Centre’s latest nonsense. Why the Council hasn’t given these jokers the brush off years ago is anyone’s guess.

    The funniest part of the whole courtroom fiasco was the Judge ruling that there was “no evidence that the Ned Kelly Centre represents a cultural group.” Anyone with half a brain could have told you that years ago. Ned Kelly was a blockhead bogan through and through.

    The Ned Kelly Centre are reportedly thinking of mounting an appeal. Maybe they could have another fundrasing dinner? The last Seige Dinner got about 30 people expressing interest on Facebook and if i recall correctly was cancelled due to not enough interest to even pay for a catered dinner. I’d suggest a Ned Kelly fundraising trout tickling contest in replica armour with a six can sculll at the start line. The winner gets to pay the Ned Kelly Centre $10,000 for the prividge of dinner with some wanna be famous Kelly descendants.

  12. A message to ADRIAN YOUNGER:

    On Mark Perrys page where you are discussing SBC with Bill and various others, a comment directed to you was a direct personal attack on me by Mick Fitzsimons who claims an Anonymous post on THIS Page by someone calling him/herself Possum is actually a post written by me using a fake name. Fitzsimons claims that I do this all the time.

    That is an absolute and total lie.

    I have NEVER, NOT ONCE, NOT EVER posted on this Blog using a Fake name.

    1. Anonymous says: Reply

      For some reason I do believe you David, but I suspect you know who did do the post.
      Who ever he is, he needs to look closer at what he posted because he is wrong.
      What he circled is there and I refer to it often when I am show people at that site.
      Try enlarging the Burman image that he posted and you can clearly see the white line just under the two circles. This is a true birthmark not to be found anywhere within SBC because I have looked at every tree.
      On your personal attack, I didn’t have anything to do with that and I don’t condone it. We always should respect others even if they share different ideas..
      Adrian

      1. Thank you Adrian. I have no reason to lie. I am not a liar, and all the people like Mick Fitzsimons and Mark Perry who claim I am havent ever demonstrated a single example of me posting lies. Instead they post allegations….

        But no, I dont know who Possum is either, and as Ive said before many times I dont care about the identity of people who post here or on Facebook. If they want to be Anonymous thats their choice – unlike Fitzsimons and Perry and McGarrigle and the rest off them I respect a persons right to decide how much of their personal information they share on the Internet and its not my place to decide for them.

        Sadly there are very few people in the kelly sympathiser community like you, prepared to condemn personal attacks.

        I’ll study the lines on those images and post again in a day or two what I think about them.

  13. Maybe I was wrong about what is called the birthmark. Hard to know with all the talk about blurry photos.

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