Well, after all the renewed interest and discussion about the correct orientation of the Burman photos, the verdict is in: the photo orientation, without a shadow of a doubt – and you’ll see later why I use that phrase – is as Bill always said it was: the actors are indeed facing north, and the camera was positioned northeast of the campsite facing south or southwest.
Leading up to this conclusion there had been a discussion about Keith McMenomys claim in 1984, that McIntyre said the opposite, that the camera was placed near where the tent would have been and was pointed to the northeast. The CSI team, and Adam Fords team and Mick Fitzsimons and others, have always maintained McMenomys belief about orientation was the correct one, but clearly, none of them have ever actually seen the statement supposedly made by McIntyre, because if they had they wouldn’t have referenced McMenomy but McIntyre himself. Such a statement by McIntyre would present a very powerful argument in support of their case, and they would have clung to it resolutely and made its existence widely known. In fact, even though they have been scouring the record for a decade or more, they never found such a statement, and so could only cite McMenomys claim and hope it was true, and hope that someone might one day look for it and find it.
Thankfully, very recently Stuart Dawson took the time to do exactly that – the hard slog of making an exhaustive search of the archives for this statement – but came up empty handed. There is therefore no reason to believe it ever existed, not just because it couldn’t be found by someone who uses a fine-tooth comb on Kelly archives better than anyone I know – but also because it contradicts so many other reasonable inferences that can be drawn from the image, some of which I will now review.
There are two references to McIntyres opinion about the Burman image that had been identified in the archives – one in which McIntyre affirmed that it does show the police camp, and the other, which is more interesting to me, in which he pointed to the figures depicted: “witness pointed out the positions on the photographs.” Its NOT recorded that he objected to where the people were positioned, and I think that’s significant because if they were in the WRONG positions wouldn’t he have said so?
In another reference identified by Stuart Dawson, McIntyre is recorded as saying the Burman photo is “of the ground where Lonigan and Scanlan were shot” (VPRS 4966 Unit 1 Item 2 : Queen vs Edward Kelly, the ‘Murder File’,) However, according to McMenomy, the CSI, and Fitzsimons et al. the photo is of the ground between the tent and southern side of the logs but this is NOT the ground where Lonigan and Scanlan were shot. According to the CSI and Fitzsimons, they were shot and died on the opposite, northern, far side of the logs , ground which is out of view. The only way the photo could show the actual ground where Lonigan and Scanlan were shot would be by having the camera on the northern side of the logs facing south or south west, as is claimed by Bill.
The discussion moved on to some very interesting and detailed etchings that were made of the Police camp for publication in The Australian Sketcher. Of the one shown at the top of this page, Fitzsimons got it right and said it as well as anyone: “Here is an etching of the Police Camp by an artist that accompanied photographer Burman to the site. You can see he has drawn his picture from about the same position as Burman’s camera and it pretty much matches the photos of the site.”
The text accompanying the image is as follows:
“On the right of the picture is the spear grass in which Kelly and his companions concealed themselves when calling on Constables Lonigon and McIntyre to bail up. The two troopers stood at a fire made at the burnt end of the log shown in the middle of the engraving, and Lonigon fell a few yards away from the fire. The two dark posts in the centre are the remains of a burnt digger’s hut. When Kennedy and Scanlan were heard approaching, Kelly knelt behind the butt of the fallen tree near the stump of the right hand, and set McIntyre on his right. One of the others concealed himself in the tent, and two made for the spear grass. Scanlan was shot near the tree in the background, between the stump and the fallen tree.”
Note that the person who supplied this text got it wrong when he wrote that Kelly had McIntyre to his right when Kennedy and Scanlan were returning. McIntyre himself said, and recorded it on his diagram, that he was on Kellys LEFT.
Fitzsimons claims that the spear grass shown in the etching and labelled as being the place from where the Gang emerged, proves that the image had to have been taken from where the tent was. Actually, no, Fitzsimons is wrong – that’s not what it proves: what it proves is that the person who wrote the text believed the spear grass shown on the right was the spear grass the Gang emerged from, but was he right to believe that? We have already learned that the text-writer got at least one other thing wrong, and I will soon prove that he got that wrong as well…
Fitzsimons also notes once again there is no sign whatsoever of Stringybark creek – a feature of the landscape which ought to be visible in some form or other in a photo taken looking to the north east. However, its absence is to be expected in a photo looking from the opposite direction so its absence is yet another weakness in the CSI/Fitzsimons argument about orientation.
Note also that the text-writer says that Scanlan died between the stump and the nearby log. Now, if we accept Fitzsimons view that the ground visible in the photo and the etching is the space in front of the tent, then the text writer has made another mistake, because according to Fitzsimons the stump is on the south side of the logs which, as I pointed out before, is NOT the place where Scanlan died. He died on the north side. So who got it wrong – the text writer? Or is it Fitzsimons who is wrong, yet again?
The answer to that vital question is obtained by looking again at what is actually shown in the etching. There is a feature in the Burman photo and in the etching that’s been right in front of us all the time and barely been noticed, a feature which needs no tricky wordplay or arcane reasoning to make its point or be understood, a feature which everyone can see as plain as day and which proves BEYOND A SHADOW OF A DOUBT that Bills claims about orientation are correct, and Fitzsimons and the CSI are wrong. The feature is the shadow cast by the burned post.
Its generally agreed that the Burman photos were taken around noon or early in the afternoon. Below are a pair of diagrams that Bill helped me with that show one of the burned posts seen in all the Burman photos. With the afternoon sun in the northwest the shadow of the post will be as shown, extending towards the southeast. This is unarguable fact.
Now, as also illustrated in the diagrams, if you take a photo looking northeast towards the post, the shadow of the post will extend towards the right side of your image. On the other hand if you take a photo of the post from the north east looking to the southwest, then the shadow will extend towards the left of your image. These also are unarguable facts.
Now look at the shadow of the posts seen in the etching, which even Fitzsimons has said matches the photos: it very clearly and unequivocally extends to the LEFT which can only mean one thing: the photo was taken from the north east looking to the south, as Bill has been saying for years.
This shadow is also seen in Burman photo #2, but the artist has made it much more obvious in his etching. The artist, having been there and taken a note of direction and where the light was coming from has also enhanced all the other shadows in the image to make it clear that the sunlight is falling into the clearing from the right side of the frame. If this image and the etching were a view looking to the north east, the light would be entering from the left and shadows falling to the right…but they most definitely are NOT.
So what have we ended up with ? Well firstly we have actual quotations from McIntyre that confirm the images are of the police camp and of the actual ground where Lonigan and Scanlan were killed , and a valid conclusion based on an exhaustive search that he never said the photo was taken looking to the northeast. We also have confirmation provided by the artist who produced the etchings of where the light was coming from and where shadows are falling. As a result, we now have incontrovertible evidence of where the camera was positioned and thereby confirmation that Burman DID place his actors in correct orientation as to direction. There are many simple potential explanations for the fact that the actor that everyone agrees was playing “Kennedy” in the photos was not mounted on a horse, but none of them affect the validity of the argument about orientation.
Anyone claiming the opposite will now have to explain why the artist who made the etchings got it wrong, why McIntyre got it wrong when he said the Images showed the ground where Lonigan and Scanlan were killed, and why Burman got it wrong by deliberately putting his actors in all the wrong places, and have them all looking in the wrong direction.
For anyone who understands logic and reason, and is willing to follow the arguments to rational conclusions, the argument about orientation of the Burman photos is now over : they were taken from the north east looking to the south and southwest .
From here we can move on to discuss what is seen in them.