The Incredible True Story of Boxing Ned

Image shows Boxing Ned, Fredricksen, Wild Wright


The “Boxing Ned” photo from 1874 is probably the best and most compelling of the four known photos we have of Ned Kelly, and the story behind the portrait is possibly the most well-known anecdote from Ned Kellys life before he was on the run. It is the story of how he challenged Wild Wright to a Boxing match outside a Beechworth pub in August 1874, and beat him over 20 long and brutal rounds. They fought because Kelly had just completed a three-year imprisonment with hard labour for the crime of ‘feloniously receiving a horse’, the horse in question being one Wright had invited Kelly to use, but without telling him that the horse wasn’t his to lend: it belonged to the Mansfield postmaster. When Constable Hall saw Kelly riding the horse, which had been reported as stolen, a violent arrest ensued as Kelly was bashed resisting the arrest, but ultimately he served time, all the while believing he had been wrongly convicted, and that his predicament was Wrights fault. Adding insult to injury, Wrights involvement only earned him eighteen months! Little wonder that on his release Kelly was eager to have it out with Wright, but after the confrontation was all over, Wright became a loyal Kelly sympathiser. The photo was said to have been taken to commemorate the victory, following which, according to Ian Jones, Kelly was declared the unofficial boxing Champion of the North East.


That basic story, recounted here in brief, can be found elaborated to varying colourful degrees in all the modern Kelly biographies. One of the most important sources for these accounts is the ‘Boxing Ned’ picture itself which has these brief handwritten annotations at the bottom:

 “Ned Kelley, August 8/1874. Fought Wild Wright 20 and Won”


Its always been accepted that the annotations identify the photo as a record of a fight between Ned Kelly and Wild Wright on August 8th 1874, and that Ned Kelly won. But is that necessarily correct? We have no clues at all  about who made these curious annotations, but the fact that ‘Kelly’ is spelled wrongly suggests it wasn’t family. And why is ‘fought wild wright 20 and Won’ written diagonally and on top of the name and date, making it look as if it was added later?  Given Wrights fearsome reputation as a fighter – in fact brawling, wrestling and fighting in general was something Wright seemed to revel in – could it even have been added as a joke? (  ‘Fought Mike Tyson and won…yeah, sure you did!’) Do subtle differences in the horizontal and diagonal  handwriting mean some of the comments were added by someone else? And the date itself: is that when the fight happened or when the Photo was taken? And what does ‘20’ refer to exactly? It’s been assumed to be 20 rounds but commentators on Facebook with knowledge about boxing have suggested this kind of brutal bare-knuckle fighting never lasts anywhere near that length of time: a ‘round’ only ends when someone is knocked down or blood is drawn, which of course means they have sustained a significant injury of some kind. So, if not ‘rounds’ what could ‘20’ refer to? The number of minutes the bout lasted? – and that would be more than many did actually last – or maybe Kellys or even Wrights – estimated age?


Those same boxing experts have looked at the photo and declared it couldn’t possibly have been taken AFTER the match – unless it was several WEEKS after the match – because the fight was supposed to have taken place outside the Imperial Pub in the middle of a muddy winter in Beechworth –  and yet Kellys outfit of silk trunks and long underwear is perfectly clean. Not only that, his face is unmarked: bruising, swelling, scratches and even cuts and blood would be evident in the aftermath of such a fight, even on the winners  face. Against the idea that it was taken just  BEFORE the match is the belief that the fight was said to be a spur of the moment thing that followed a random encounter in the Imperial Hotel. Also against that idea is the claim it was taken to commemorate a victory, which wouldnt have been known until the match had ended.



McMenomy (The Authentic Illustrated Story : 1984) says the photo was ‘taken in August 1874 but does not carry a studio imprint to show exactly where’.  According to Ian Jones the fight took place in August, in which case the photo had to have been taken in September or even later in the year. On the other hand if  McMenomy is right about when the photo was taken, the fight must have taken place at least a month earlier, giving time for Ned Kelly to recover from his injuries and have his portrait taken in August. The truth is that we cant be sure what happened on August 8th 1874, but if it was the fight, the photo had to have been taken at some later date.


However, McMenomy was certainly wrong to state that the photo “does not carry a studio imprint to show exactly where (it was taken)’: on the back there is the stamp of the Melbourne Portrait Rooms and photographer J. J. Chidley.


J.J.Chidley was a colorful Melbourne photographer and entrepreneur who travelled about the colony selling Cartes de Visite’ for 15s per dozen, and offering customers a chance to pose for “library portraits, 8 by 6 inches (framed), 17s 6d first copy.” The Hamilton Spectator, on 15 April 1874, in its section on the town of Parupa (a small rural town now named Lake Bolac, 75 km east of Hamilton, in Central-Western Victoria) reported as follows:


The Melbourne Travelling Portrait Rooms, under the direction of Mr. J. J. Chidley, the proprietor, arrived here this morning. It is an excellent contrivance for travelling about from place to place, consisting of two rooms, built of weatherboard, each on four small wheels. When the apartments are fixed up, one at right angles to the other, the result is a photographer’s perfect studio.


No record has yet been found of Chidley ever advertising his services in Beechworth or anywhere else in the North East, so, if Chidley never went to Beechworth  it would seem Ned Kelly went to him…. either in Melbourne or more likely, Kelly came across him during his travels, during the time when Kelly himself said he was living the life of a ‘rambling gambler’. It’s easy to imagine the appeal, to a swaggering young man who regarded himself as a formidable fighter, of having a formal portrait made of himself posing as a genuine prize fighter for 17s6d. What happened to that image between August 1874 and early 1962 is a complete mystery. No other copy ever surfaced, even after police broadcast a plea for anyone with photos of Ned Kelly to submit them when they were searching for him and wanted an up-to-date photo. It may have been the only one ever made, making its survival quite remarkable. 


However, for all its intrigue, the portrait and its notation provide almost nothing of the detail that fills out the well-known story of the boxing match and the origins of the dispute that gave rise to it, and the aftermath of Kelly being declared the unofficial boxing champion of the North East. Where does all that come from?


Firstly, there are several contemporary newspaper court reports that more or less confirm Ned Kellys own account in the Jerilderie letter of his conviction and sentencing for ‘feloniously receiving’. That part of the story is well established.


Kelly also described in the Jerilderie letter his release in 1874, and then going to work as a saw-miller for Saunders and Rule, and Heach and Dochendorf, but of the second part of the story, the historic match-up, the grudge match with Wild Wright that made Kelly the North Easts Unofficial Boxing Champion: there is an extraordinary, unexpected and shockingly complete silence! Not a single word from the notorious self-promotor, the boastful pugilist who claimed he had ‘a pair of arms and a bunch of fives at the end of them that never failed to peg out anything that came  in contact with them’ This is the man who took extra effort in the Jerilderie letter to list and detail many of the other fights he engaged in – and according to Kelly, always win. So why not this one, one  of his greatest wins?  It can only be seen as truly bizarre and completely out of character for Kelly not to  ever mention it. 

The most likely,  but shocking explanation for Kelly failing to mention one of the great triumphs of his troubled life is that it simply didnt happen. The photo is real but the fight never happened. What other explanations  are possible for the silence ? If it really did happen theres no way Kelly could have just forgotten to mention it. 

In any case, none of the detail of the fight came from Ned Kelly. So where did it come from?


The obvious place to search is Trove, but here again, youre in for a shock : do your own search on Trove for Boxing and Ned Kelly:  whichever way you configure your search you won’t find anything! You’ll find references to his conviction for ‘feloniously receiving’ and about Wrights conviction for ‘illegally using’ but references to a boxing match in 1874, after he was out of prison : nothing! Go to George Wilson Halls 1879 ‘The Kelly Gang’ and look there : again, you won’t find anything. Go to J.J.Kenneallys 1929 ‘Complete Inner History’ – again, nothing! Go to Max Browns 1948 biography “Australian Son” – again nothing!… Check Frank Clunes 1954 biography ‘The Kelly Hunters’: no mention. These absences are glaring.


Then, in June 1962 a very long and ominous silence finally ended when the first account of this fight ever made anywhere by anyone appeared in a remarkable article in a magazine called “Walkabout”, eighty-eight years after the fight was supposed to have happened. The article was entitled “The years Ned Kelly went straight” and not only recounted the story of the fight for the first time ever, and in considerable detail, but also published for the first time ever, the Boxing Ned photograph. It also had not been seen or heard of for 88 years.

And the author? Ian Jones.

The sequence of events appears to be as follows: earlier that same year, 1962, the photograph was discovered quite by chance in a Melbourne Antiques shop by a woman named Johanna Parsons-Nicholls. She drew it to the attention of Ian Jones who later wrote that a few weeks before this, the ‘legendary spruiker’ raconteur and showman Charlie Fredricksen (the black and white photo in the composite image at top) – then 89 years old – had told Jones that Wild Wright had spoken of being ‘given the hiding of his life’ in a fight with Ned Kelly at Beechworth. Jones doesn’t attribute  any other detail to Fredricksen, but as the years go by the narrative he and other biographers supply becomes more and more detailed, but the source of this detail remains a mystery.


Notably, not one of these writers, in their determination to build up the image of Kelly as a boxing champion ever mentioned the testimony given to the 1906 Police Royal Commission by  Edwin Graves, a policeman and pound keeper the same age as Ned Kelly in regard to a horse Graves caught Kelly in the act of stealing . His testimony under oath makes a huge dent in the idea that Kelly was an unofficial  boxing champion, claims which don’t appear to be supported by any actual evidence :

I said. ” What are you doing with that mare? ” He said, “I am going to take her away.” I said he was not going to do anything of the sort. He said he had authority, and he took a piece of paper out of his pocket, like out of a six-penny notebook and handed it to me. I said that that was no authority. I would not allow him to take the beast out of the run on that, and I let down the slip-panel and he interfered, and we struggled, and he got the worst of it in a very short time.

15412. He was pretty severely hurt? – Yes, he did not ride away.


Certainly, we know there was a court case involving a missing horse, Kelly and Wild Wright in 1871. One would imagine that if the claim is true that Ned Kelly had been nursing a grudge against Wright for all the years he was in prison,  as soon as he was released he would be out to get Wright….so it seems very odd that the alleged confrontation didnt occur until six months after Kellys release. Additionally, nobody seems to have ever challenged the notion that Kelly would have held a grudge against Wright, when in fact, if anyone had a reason to hold a grudge, wouldnt it be Wright? He had  borrowed the Mansfield Postmasters horse before and returned it without consequence, but this time Wright ended up inside entirely as a result of Kellys antics, which included attempting to sell the animal which he knew wasn’t his to sell – and hence his conviction for ‘FELONIOUSLY receiving’. Even if as is alleged, Kelly thought the horse was Wrights, he still attempted to screw Wright over by selling it…so why wouldnt it be Wright who had the greatest reason to feel aggrieved? These considerations – the irrationality of the supplied justification for Kelly wanting to fight, and the deliberate omission from everyones narrative of the story that undermines the ‘champion’ image, of Kelly getting a hiding, simply illustrate how shaky the entire story is….


We also know that about six months after his release from prison in early 1874, somewhere in the colony Ned Kelly visited Chidley and  his traveling studio  and a photo was taken of him posing in a boxing outfit.  Its clear that it wasnt taken at any time close to when Kelly may have been involved in a fight with Wild Wright, because Kellys outfit of silk trunks and long underwear was pristine, and his face was unmarked. The photos original annotation simply records the date – most likely the date when the photo was taken – and the wrongly spelled name of the subject. The additional diagonally written commentary about fighting and beating Wild Wright  may well have been added later by a different hand, is possibly humour, or perhaps there was a fight, not a boxing match and not related to the  incident involving the postmasters horse, but a brawl of the kind Wright was known to revel in. And maybe Kelly never mentioned it because he lost?

So what are we to make of this story about Ned Kelly defeating Wild Wright in a 20 round boxing match at Beechworth?  Given what we know of Ned Kellys boastful nature and his habit of writing and talking at length to any audience he may have abut his exploits  his failure to ever mention this ‘famous victory’  is beyond inexplicable : its lethal to the claim. Additionally, there is nothing in the record anywhere that provides independent support for the popular – and till now – unchallenged interpretation of the words on a photograph labelled ‘Ned Kelley’. Consequently, this analysis, the first ever published of the claim,  finds that the weight of evidence supports the view that a muddy midwinter Beechworth boxing match between Wright and Kelly  never happened. Its a myth. The photo is a record of the day Chidley took a picture of Kelly posing as a boxer in his travelling studio.

What seems to have happened here is much the same as what happened when the green sash turned up in 1972 : Kelly enthusiasts scrambled about to find a story to attach to it, and imbue the object with an importance and significance that it never had.  So when the ‘Boxing Ned’  photo appeared, seemingly out of nowhere,  a complex narrative  emerged from Ian Jones that was based on the scantiest detail provided  by an 89 year old story teller and ’spruiker’ , a narrative that seems to have been conjured up out of thin air and one that ignored many important facts that run counter to it. The most important fact  everyone ignored was of course  the complete failure of Ned Kelly to ever mention a landmark  event that if it had occurred as claimed, would have been immensely significant and important to him. That absence of Kelly to ever mention it is as good as fatal to the story, and the complete failure of any Kelly biographer to hear a single word about such a fight, or of the existence of a photographic record of it in 88 years of research seals it. The simplest and best explanation for Kelly never mentioning a fight, and nobody else ever hearing about it is that there was no actual  fight. As for the photo,  there wouldn’t be any compelling reason to record the fact that Kelly had a photo taken of himself posing as a boxer. Yes, there was a photo – big deal! –  but there wasnt ever a Boxing match at the Imperial in Beechworth.


This story would seem to be  yet another example of the manufacture of myth by the imaginative Mr  Jones, the man who now is acquiring the reputation  as the greatest Kelly mythmaker of all time. 



A sign that will have to go.



This post written by me is entirely based on an almost 10,000 word document sent to me by the dogged and brilliant  genuine Kelly researcher Thomas Whiteside.  It was detailed and comprehensive, but I felt too long for a Blog Post, so I made it the basis for what I wrote above. Any mistakes in the Post are mine. But for anyone wanting to read the original – and its a great read with references – I’ve attached Thomas’s  Document  (Click the Link below) so anyone interested in a deeper understanding of the controversy and in learning a whole lot more interesting stuff about Wild Wright, about Chidley and his weird interests, about the way the story evolved  and many other interesting things – such as an analysis of the handwriting on the photo – please download and enjoy. We look forward to a lively discussion about another myth thats been exposed. 


DOWNLOAD the entire document HERE:The Fight that Never Happened.(TW2)

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156 Replies to “The Incredible True Story of Boxing Ned”

  1. Anonymous says: Reply


  2. Hi David and Thomas, first, it would be reckless to comment without having read Thomas’s full argument for which I have just downloaded the paper. There is one other possibility not in the main post above that was raised on this blog somewhere before, that the Boxing Ned photo (which is obviously not taken after a bareknuckle fight) could have been a publicity photo taken to promote a boxing match at the Beechworth pub which was known to stage sports events for the punters. In that case it would not have been taken on the day but some time before, maybe a week or two. I have not read Thomas’s article yet so I don’t know if he’s raised that, but it should still be considered as possible pending that.

    Second, for those who haven’t read the 1962 Walkabout article which can reasonably be described as tending to the fantastic as regards (a) Kelly’s alleged sawmilling days especially the foreman claim where he just happens to claim to earn the same per week as the amount he was discharged with from Pentridge; and (b) rejecting all thoughts of Kelly engaging in any criminal activity during his the “straight” years despite there being at least one record of him being suspected by the police for stock theft durting these “straight” years then magically appearing as a leading figure in the Baumgarten horse stealing ring, it is attached below. The blog wouldn’t upload it in Word so I had to PDF the Word copy, hence it’s a bit blurry but more or less readable.

    1. Hi Stuart
      thinking about your suggestion the Photo could have been a publicity photo – how do you think it would have been used? I was thinking that if they were going to be handed out we might have expected to see a few of them…but none has ever been seen as far as I know and the photo we have is clearly not itself a publicity brochure or leaflet. I think Trove searches have found advertisements for fights and the like but nothing involving Kelly…But in the end if it WAS a publicity photo it still means the Boxing Ned story has no independent support other than from the Photo.

      1. Hi David, an excellent point that the photo was not a publicity poster and there are no indications that any more than the one photo existed. It was also obviously not taken after a match, and it is also obviously a posed portrait.

        The idea that it might have been a vanity photograph is looking more likely now that it has been raised. Dan Kelly, Aaron Sherritt, and a number of other troubled youth posed proudly for studio portraits at Bray’s…

        1. Thomas Whiteside says: Reply

          That’s my working theory. It’s a vanity photo with a questionable inscription…

  3. Sharon Hollingsworth says: Reply

    Interesting piece. I also enjoyed Thomas’s original PDF on which you based it. He did some outstanding research, but he seems to have missed an  auction date or maybe two. Recently on a FB page I was trying to recall the earlier auction(s) of the boxing photo and all I could seem to remember was there was a Hong Kong businessman involved. It finally dawned on me to search my email account as I sometimes hold information there in draft to access/use later and In my notes I had that it went to auction in September of 1973 and sold for $1,200 per a newspaper report and then was auctioned again in 1987 (which he had stated) and it went for $19,800 to a private collector in Hong Kong. Then I had something about it going to auction in 2003 but could not find any further information on that particular situation, so not sure what that go was, but it was on an auction page and given as part of the provenance. Then it was most recently sold at auction in 2018 for $55,000. Again, as stated in the pdf article. So, one for sure earlier auction. Also, it was 1973 when the Benalla museum was gifted the sash, not 1972.

    1. Thomas Whiteside says: Reply

      Thanks Sharon, I do appear to have missed the September 1973 and 2003 auctions. Appreciate the feedback. I wonder if it was Jones or Parsons-Nicholls selling it in 73. Any idea?

      1. Sharon Hollingsworth says: Reply

        There was no information as to the 1973 seller, just the scant bit about the upcoming auction and then the outcome, but the auction was held in Sydney. This information was not from Trove, could not find it there when backtracking as Trove only has the SMH up to 1954. I have another fishing hole or two.

      2. Anonymous says: Reply

        How would she bloody know?
        It was neither.

        But it was owned by another very famous Australian. Guess who?

        1. Thomas Whiteside says: Reply

          Well exactly, how would she bloody know? How would anyone bloody know about any of the stuff you’re posting about? You keep everything you claim to know all secret then berate people for not knowing about your secrets. We’re all trying to do our best researching what’s out there. And you’re telling about stuff you claim to know but refuse to make public. So we can’t win can we? Should we just not bother cos you have sources we don’t and never will if you keep at it? Not exactly fair play is it? And I have not doubt you’ll just say I’m a sook or something puerile.. Extremely annoying.

  4. Marvellous work yet again my good doctor and to you Mr Whiteside.
    Dear, dear me. Silence is deafening and the Toad brigade are in damage control. With the recent debunking of the Sash and now the boxing match. I’m anticipating Rowsell, Jager, Bob and Fitzy are in discussions to try and attempt to salvage their murdering thugs honour by the usual means of distorting the truth. Laughable and predicable.

    I find it amusing the location of the fight has never been resolved. The theories are abundant and conflicting. How is it possible to have a fight without a confirmed location? how?

    I invite and challenge any member from Best bloody man and Ned Kelly unmasked Facebook pages to join us in discussions. I await patiently.

    1. Thanks Amigo, it was all Thomas’s work and he did a brilliant job.

      As for hoping BBM Members or Fitzy and his mob will participate : No chance of that happening. Theyre only interested in perpetuating the Kelly myths and their methodology is either silence – as in this case, and the previous one about the sash,where they can see theyre beaten from the very beginning – or else vile personal attack, abuse and vilification…of which I expect we will soon see examples on thier pages….but no way would they ever have the guts to come here and try that.

      1. I don’t blame them do you? They are defeated. The Toad fitzy is ducking for cover and his band of argumentative idiotic fools don’t know what to make of it. They have their heads buried up a sheep’s rear end.

  5. Anonymous says: Reply

    We are aware of one other verifiable original of this photo without damage and without any type of inscription.

    It is held in the North East area.

    It has been sighted and verified as the same albumen photo as the one we see regularly in publicity and the one recently at auction prior to 2020.

    The owners believe it to be Ned Kelly. They have no further details on the fight or when it was taken.

    They cannot add any details to the quest for information.

    The family has had it handed down for several generations but the original owners bought it in the middle of last century.

    They are not interested in coming forward with it due to the harassment for photos and artefacts that occurs.

    1. Thanks for that comment Anonymous. A very interesting piece of information that it would seem hasnt EVER been made public before.

      TBH I am never sure how to respond to this kind of claim : its a claim that cant be verified and its made by an anonymous contributor who, in this bizarre world of Kelly one-up-manship could just as likely be having us on. Its happened before on this Blog.

      But accepting what you say for now to be true, if the original owners ‘bought it in the middle of last century’ this must mean it was advertised and offered up for sale somewhere by a previous owner and before Jones got hold of the copy everyone now knows about. So,it might be worth searching the Catalogues from the middle of last century to see if the Advertisement can be found, to discover its provenance and what was being said about it back then.

      As this copy has no inscription on it, I would also like to know how they came to know it was Ned Kelly….or was that only realised once Jones published HIS copy in 1962?

      What do others think? Is this ‘information’ as good as useless and irrelevant because it cant be verified and the persons making the claim have hidden their identity?

  6. Anonymous says: Reply

    It has finally been mentioned. Wouldn’t you hit the roof if you’d extended yourself to buy what you thought was the only one….

    So many experts weighing in with their expert opinions claiming they have all the answers and they’ve solved all the mysteries when nothing could be further from the truth. They also reckon all the info is out there and just ’cause familys don’t share intel that there’s no info to share. Wrong again. The NE will never give up all it’s secrets.

  7. Anonymous says: Reply

    It is not ‘one up manship’. We’ve seen how people get chased for memorabilia and photos.

    The photo has always been in the North East and was not up for auction. It was bought with a large amount of other Kelly Outbreak related objects in a private sale.

    Yes – we are writing anonymously – we read your blog regularly and see that you allow anonymous posts, and understand the reason why.

    We are not prepared to put our names out there and cop the harassment and abuse we see on social media and blogs.

    We know the information to be true.

    Whether anyone chooses to believe it Is immaterial- we just thought we’d put it out there. It has nothing to do with Ian Jones – who was never shown this photo or any other photo.

    We have nothing to gain nor lose, we merely wanted to say we know of at least one other copy, which may mean there are others.

    1. There is PLENTY of information that YOU and the people with the photo could share that wouldnt compromise your right to Privacy, but WOULD help to verify your claims, the obvious one being a photo of it. Does it have Chidleys mark on it?

      More detail about the private sale of a large amount of other Kelly Outbreak related objects , such as an inventory would be useful.

      More detail about how they came to believe it was Ned Kelly would be useful.

      But without any corroborating material, as I am sure you would have to agree, your comment is tantalising but of no value to the search for the complete story about the photos and the claims.

  8. Anonymous says: Reply

    Yes David, as we said it is an exact same copy. Just like there were more than one copy of the Bray Sympathiser photos. Obviously more than one photo of this ‘Boxing photo’

    An inventory? Not ours to give. Nor does it have to be given.

    Private family. Private sale of various artefacts from one person to another. Plenty of Kelly related photos and artefacts around the place found their way into private hands.

    Not necessarily from Kelly or other family members related to the gang.

    There were lots of players in the story all with various mementos and relics.

    They know what they have and whether or not they put it into the public eye or not – which is their business- does not make it any less real nor any less truth to the claim.

    Not everything will come to the surface to be now pulled apart and discarded because it does not fit a new perspective.

    1. When you wrote “it has been sighted and verified” were you meaning that YOU YOURSELF sighted it? If so, can you explain HOW you confirmed it was the same as the one ‘we see regularly in publicity and the one recently at auction prior to 2020.”

      You say its undamaged – so it doesnt have the top right corner ripped off? The owners must be sorely tempted given it would doubtless fetch much more at Auction than the one Joanne paid $55,000 for….

      Can you PLEASE go to the owners of this image and ask to take a picture of it? This would be a huge help. Nobodies identity would be compromised but it would be a huge thrill for the Kelly world to know there really is another one out there…..PLEASE…..

      1. Anonymous says: Reply

        So you ARE a fan after all, Dave?
        Listen to yourself.

        1. A fan? Of course – why else would this Blog exist.

          I note of course youre now evading giving answers to simple questions : that makes me think youre not fair dinkum.


          1. Thomas Whiteside says: Reply

            Wtf is this guy’s point? Anyone who posts here regularly is a ‘fan’ of the Ned Kelly story. To the point we actually try to work towards and debate the actual history of the the story. People who just want to keep regurgitating various myths aren’t real fans, they’re the kind of people who buy Eagles Greatest Hits albums but don’t own any original albums. Boring morons. And to misquote a certain PM, ‘I will not be lectured by these morons’.

          2. Anonymous says: Reply

            Whomever this ‘anonymous’ is – it is a different and perhaps meddling person than us whom I assure you are very ‘fair dinkum’.

            We will not be posting a copy of the photo for two reasons

            1. The owner has refused to allow copies taken and we respect that.

            2 if we had taken a copy, we would still not post publicly when we read on blogs and other social media related to Ned Kelly that ‘once it’s on the internet so what?’

            We don’t doubt your sincerity in keeping us or the owners privacy secure- however we read and observe how photos and objects are taken and used once placed in the public space.

            We agree this makes it difficult for you and your colleagues to verify our claim.

            So be it. We are ok with that.

            At some point maybe the owner will feel comfortable to put it into the public domain, knowing full well that there will be consequences for doing so.

  9. Hi David and Thomas, there are so many interesting thinsg to explore in this post and the long “The fight that never happened” attachment it’s hard to know where to start. This reply will only make sense to peoiple who have downloaded and read Thomas’s article; it is about some thing there that is not covered in the main blog post.

    Thomas quoted from the Hamilton Spectator that Chidley’s prices were “CARTES DES-VISITE, 15s per doz.; LIBRARY PORTRAITS, 8 by 6 inches (framed), 17s 6d first copy.” He then suggested, “We also know that it seems likely that more than one copy would have been produced and sold (it seems quite likely a dozen would have been made).”

    I have just been investigating Cates-de-Visite, and we should reject the suggestion of potentially a dozen copies, as Boxing Ned is a portrait photo, not a Carte-de-Visite.

    Here is the first article,
    The carte de visite (French for “visiting card”; plural: cartes de visite) was originally patented in 1854 by André Adolphe-Eugène Disdéri (1819-1889), a French photographer, who struck upon the idea of mounting photographs of people on cards (cardboard mounts), and making them similar in size to visiting cards. He developed a technique of producing multiple images in the same sitting, … which could capture eight images on the same plate. His new process lowered costs, making this kind of photography more financially accessible to a wider range of people (especially those of the middle class). The size of the average carte de visite (abbreviated as CdV or CDV) was approximately 6.3 cm. by 10.5 cm. (4.1 inches by 2.5 inches). The size of the photographs used on the cards varied, but they normally took up the majority of the space available. It is worthwhile noting that some photographers cut their own mounts, which added to the minor variations in the sizes of the cards.

    The second article is here,
    The small carte-de-visite, introduced in France, became hugely popular on both sides of the Atlantic between roughly 1859 and the early 1870s. It was eventually supplanted by the larger cabinet card beginning in the 1870s, and finally disappearing with the advent of inexpensive Brownie cameras and other forms of snapshot photography around the turn of the 20th century. Cartes-de-visite are rather small, measuring only 2-1/2″ x 4″, while cabinet cards usually measure 4-1/2″ x 6-1/2″.

    The Boxing Ned photo is neither of these but a larger photo print; and we should look to Chidley’s 17s 6d first framed copy and then any other copies additional. On this blog page as Anonymous has just posted that someone in the north-east has a second original copy of the Boxing Ned photo. What would be good to know is (a) the size of the photo – is it the same size as Boxing Ned we know of, and (b) is marked on the back as from Chidley’s studio. Those two bits of info would tell us if it is to all practical purposes an identical photo print from the same negative. If so, we could conclude that apparently (as there is not photo of the second phote to prove its existence) a second portrait print was made form the same negative; but not a set of 8 little photos mounted on cardborad as would be the case with a carte-de-visite.

    It would be great if the owners of the claimed second photo could take a good picture ot it front and back with a ruler along both top and side to (a) show the dimensions and (b) prove its existence against sceptics. (I am always a sceptic unless there is evidence, and always willing to do a 180 turn if evidence surfaces.) Maybe Anonymous could arrange this in complete confidence and upload it to the blog? It would fascinate a lot of people.

    1. Thomas Whiteside says: Reply

      Fair play Stuart, I had it in my head the photo was a carte de visite, which is why I thought it was likely there’d be multiplies. You’re probably right it’s a studio portrait. We do now have the tantalising suggestion there are indeed multiplied copies though…

      1. Hi Thomas and Anonymous, my post about the second photo got stuck in David’s upload box and didn’t appear till a couple of hours after Anonymous had clarified that it was the same as the albumen photo that is known and widely reproduced as the Boxing Ned photo by Jones and others. Specifically it was clarified by Anonymous that it is undamaged and without any pen inscription.

        It would be still good to know regarding the other part of my question if the measurements of the photo could be provided, and if it says Chidley studios on the back. That would be enough information to satisfy my curiosity about its identically. I no longer feel it is necessary for me to see a photo of the photo for me to accept that it exists. (That would be nice, of course, but can understand why the owners would be happy to keep out of the whole enthusiast thing.)

  10. Sharon Hollingsworth says: Reply

    I do vaguely remember someone at one of the Kelly pages or forums a good while back claiming that their family had a copy of the boxing photo. So, there could be something to this. Does anyone else recall that post? I have to say that Anonymous is smart to be cautious. Seems they know the go all too well when it comes to Kelly chasers!

  11. Sharon Hollingsworth says: Reply

    I was looking at old posts on one of the pages trying to find the post I spoke of, but not found yet, but did find where I had made a comment regarding the auction of the boxing photo with all the info like I had above but with this bit added – “I was reading that it was sold at auction as a lot set with the Dan photo in 2003 to someone in Australia for $32,000.” So, there is that cleared up!

  12. SO it appears we have TWO ‘Anonymise’ – the first one, who offered the info about there being another copy in existence but who wont give us any other information that might corroborate the claim – such as telling us if He/She did actually see it …

    …and the second one who is clearly a troll, the one who is making smart-arse comments, the conspiracy theorist moron who talks about the NE never giving up its secrets, a deluded and cowardly miscreant whose identity, if it was known would likely prove to belong to a person we all have encountered before, whose main interest in the Kelly debates is to stuff them up in defence of debunked fairy tales about a manipulative and dangerous criminal.

    Ah well….I think we will just have to accept there may be another image out there but thanks to the selfish attitudes of the person who owns it, that part of Outbreak history will have to remain obscure.

    Yes I agree Thomas, intensely frustrating and pathetic. Big thats the world of Kelly idolatry all through.

  13. Anonymous says: Reply

    Sorry David. I thought I made it clear that we have seen it in ‘real life ‘. And by ‘we’ I mean more than one person.

    Did we ask to take a photo? Of course.

    Did we promise that it would not be put somewhere and privacy maintained? Of course.

    Did we ask if some tiny little piece of information could be shared to prove its existence and the known provenance? Of course.

    However we can’t budge the owner – maybe they or their family will change their minds and we will see it in the public space whilst all of us currently interested and debating this story are able to still appreciate it.

    However, we have to this day been unable to change their mind. We will continue to ask at opportune moments- trying to avoid being seen as harassing as is widely done other people who harass people for ‘mementos, diaries, or photos’ – as we have witnessed on various platforms.

    As to the other anonymous. We shave no idea who they/he/she might be and frankly don’t want to if that’s their game.

    There is no more to say as we cannot provide any more information- we remain sincere, but again realise that this adds little to whether there was a boxing match or not.

    1. OK Fair enough. Lets hope something will happen that changes their minds about what to do with this item. Given the lack of anything verifiable in relation to this claim, for all intents and purposes, it doesnt exist. Joanne can continue to claim she has the only known Boxing Ned photo, and her $55,000 is safe for the time being.

      I also have no idea who the Troll is but the Kelly world is full of them, and none of them are worth knowing, they never have anything positive to contribute and as I said, I would expect this one to be someone we already know.

      And so we move on…

  14. Hi all, we have enough snippets to say (a) the second photo has been seen by at least two people who are adamant that they have seen it in person; (b) it was clarified by Anonymous that the print is undamaged and without any pen inscription; (c) it is an exact same copy; (d) has been sighted and verified as the same albumen photo as the one we see regularly in publicity and the one recently at auction prior to 2020. That is enough to work with, although it would be good if Anonymous could confirm whether it is marked Chidley studios on the back, if they saw that. As Anonymous has been reading these posts, and therefore knows about the Chidley studio mark on the back of the long discussed damaged Boxing Ned photo, I would like to assume for now that is is from the same studio with the Chidley branding and is indeed a second copy of the Boxer Ned photo, only without the pen scribble.

    Next, Anonymous said “The owners believe it to be Ned Kelly. They have no further details on the fight or when it was taken. They cannot add any details to the quest for information.” So we will learn nothing further by pestering for answers about that.

    Given that the print is identical, we can say that regardless that more than one copy of the same photo exists, all we would gain from seeing the second photo is a complete view of the drapery at the top right corner, which hardly seems important.

    While I would love Anonymous to be able to say whether or not they can confirm the Chidley stamp on the back of the second photo (including by asking the owner to check if necesaary), I suggest we can now continue the discussion of Thomas’s PDF article and his many interesting points about the Boxing Ned photo that we have all seen pictures of, without spending any more time on the second photo question which won’t add any further info to what is already in front of us?


    1. I believe we ought to completely ignore this claim. Its made by an anonymous person who never answered my question about whether he or she had seen it him/herself, and is merely an assertion made without evidence that a second copy exists somewhere.

      Ive repeated Hitchens razor for years that asserts that claims made without evidence should be dismissed without evidence.

      Some years ago Matt Shore claimed there is a person in the north east who has seen the Declaration but he was sworn to secrecy.….innumerable people claim Kelly slept in their home when on the run, that they left food out for the gang, that they had horses taken by the gang and better ones returned, that they were in the Bank when the Kelly Gang robbed it, that their relo was one of Kellys sweethearts …all of this without evidence….and of course we are critical of Jones for asserting things that have no or very little evidence to support them…

      So yes we should move on.

      And yes there are many other interesting related questions about the Photo that remain unanswered. For example, do we know anything at all about the woman who found it, or a bout the Antique shop where it was found? And was the woman who found it the one who first sold it?

      Also, do we dare ask the question Are we sure its actually Ned Kelly?

      1. Hi David, I’m happy to take Anonymous’s word for it as I said in my last post, but it won’t make any difference to the discussion if 50 copies surfaced. Thomas’s article was written based on the photo we all know about. If a new photo surfaced with no damage it still wouldn’t tell us anything new because the damage is only the top right corner with drapery. What Anonymous says is true, that any image put online is up for grabs, so if the owners for whatever reason don’t want it photographed then that’s their business. If it was something like the mythical Declaration that’s a totally different matter, because that is saying that there is something important that no one else has seen, which is no way to debate history. In this case of the Boxing Ned photo we have all seen it, so any further prints are irrelevant to the discussion of the public print we all can see.

        You have raised two key questions – who are the persons who found and identified the photo, and do we know if it’s actually Ned. I think the answer will be helped by clarity about who identified it as Ned and on what basis.

      2. Anonymous says: Reply

        The 3D imaging used in 2001 to disprove gentleman Ned confirmed boxing Ned.
        It’s our man.

  15. Anonymous says: Reply

    David, for the third time, I have answered your question that we , and others, have seen it for ourselves. In person. The actual print.

    Not merely been told about it.

    I have answered your question each time.

    Ignore it at your own whim.

    Just because someone does not want to put something into the public eye does not mean it does not exist.

    We repeat – we have seen and read and heard what occurs once an image is placed on the internet. It is taken and used openly.

    We have seen it.

    We never said we were ‘sworn to

    1. Yes I accept what youre telling me but given the fact that nothing of what you say can be verified it means that that information cannot be used by anyone, and therefore its as if youve told us nothing. Its a great pity, but until verification is provided thats how I see it.

  16. Sharon Hollingsworth says: Reply

    I still can’t find the comment made a while back on a Kelly page/forum about someone’s family member also having a copy of the boxing Ned photo (probably due to the periodic purging of members and, thus, their postings, who are not regular contributors), but I know for sure I saw the posting. If they were telling the truth, then that is two different sightings of it. Only time will tell what the real go is. What is done in the dark always comes to the light. Also, here is info on Johanna (and it mentions her friendship with Ian Jones) —

  17. Thomas Whiteside says: Reply

    Does anyone have a copy of, or access to, a copy of The Memories of Charlie Frericksen? National Library appears to have a physical copy but I won’t be in Canberra anytime soon. I’d be fascinated to know if Charlie said anything more about Wild or the Fight.

    1. Anonymous says: Reply

      Yes. It’s based on his time outside Hoyts. Doesn’t mention Wild.

    2. Anonymous says: Reply

      Thomas, check your messenger inbox.

      1. Thomas James Whiteside says: Reply

        Thanks Anonymous,

        So, all we have to go by is Jones’ account of a verbal conversation he says he had with Charlie about Ned and Wild c. 1962…

        It would be a cracker of a story, so, again, it’s very strange that Charlie didn’t have anything to say about it all in his book of memories…

        1. Anonymous says: Reply

          Thomas, Just for the record.
          The “Anonymous” 15/04/2024 at 5:09 is not me. I replied 6 minutes later
          In a nutshell that is all we have to rely on. Mr Jones word and the boxing image. though not good enough. This will stir the crazies at the best bloody man group.

        2. Anonymous says: Reply

          But Thomas, with all due respect.

          That doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. Charlie passed on the story told to him by Wild Wright himself. Not longer after that the photo appears in a St Kilda shop window.

          1. Thomas Whiteside says: Reply

            But Anonymous, with all due respect.

            All that Jones has reported is that Charlie told him that Ned once gave him a hiding in Benalla once’. That’s a long way short of a formal boxing match and sounds more like an instructed and spontaneous fist fight.

            But sure, I accept it’s not nothing.

            1. Thomas Whiteside says: Reply

              Sorry, mean to type that Charlie told him that Wild him that once Ned gave Wild a hiding. Etc

              1. Hi Thomas, that’s a win actually. A hiding in Benalla is not a hiding in Beechworth. Another fail for the Boxing Ned myth 😂

                1. Thomas Whiteside says: Reply

                  Hi Stuart, afraid that’s my human error. The Jones account of taking to Charlie is a hiding in Beechworth. Apologies.

                  1. Such is life….

                    Which reminds me, it’s a long time since I’ve mentioned my freely available online article “Ned Kelly’s last words: ‘Ah, well, I suppose’”.

            2. True.

  18. Thomas Whiteside says: Reply

    Also, Charlie died in 1966. And why didn’t Ian go back and interview Charlie again once the portrait was discovered, try to tease out some more information? Seems strange to me.

    1. Anonymous says: Reply

      On FB it was said somewhere (NKS maybe?) that Charlie’s original spiel/speech for the Wild Wright boxing show still exists. He could still remember it word-for-word in the sixties which says a lot.

      1. Thomas James Whiteside says: Reply

        Would be amazing if you could track that spiel down. I’m banned from NKS I’m afraid (to be fair the S in NKS no longer applies to me).

        Do we have a solid sense of how old Charlie was when he knew Wild?

        Wild died in August 1911, Charlie was born in November 1873, and apparently joined a travelling circus at Age 11, which is 1884 / 1885, before returning to sing in a grand opera chorus at the Bijou Theatre in Melbourne.

        Wild got out of Gaol in October 1887, when Charlie would have been 13, nearly 14.

        Given Charlie was apparently not in a Travelling Circus very long, I guess we’re looking at a relatively small window of time in the late 1880s, when Charlie was still a teenager? Or did Charlie return to the circus later on?

        Is it weird to imagine jailbird Wild in his late 40s hanging out with a teenage theatre kid like Charlie?

        Would you remember a spiel from your teenage years several decades later?

        I guess both are possible.

        1. Anonymous says: Reply

          Check with the Beechworth Kelly Vault.

          1. The Kelly Vault closed in 2020 after 6 years of propagating nonsense. A lot of its stuff went to the Burke Museum, so that is the place to contact now for any of the Vault stuff.

  19. Anonymous says: Reply

    If you repeated that spiel over and over and over you’d surely remember it. It was probably similar to what would have been spruiked for other boxers too. There are many pieces of this intriguing puzzle. Maybe now they’ll come together.

  20. Sharon Hollingsworth says: Reply

    Seems there was yet again another time the boxing photo was auctioned (though there is no record of if it sold or if it did, the price) on April 1, 1990. So, we allegedly have the 1973/1987/1990/2003 and 2018 auctions. I am wondering where the Hong Kong businessman fits in all this?


  21. Thomas Whiteside says: Reply

    Brilliant work Sharon!

    So, seems to me the chain of custody of the portrait is something like this:

    1874 to late 19th C: Unknown person (Ned? Chidley?) gives to Wild Wright
    Late 19th / early 20th C: Wild Wright gives to Unknown person in Travelling Circus
    Early 20th C to 1962: Unknown person(s) – eventually sells to Copeland St Antiques, St Kilda
    1962: Copeland St Antiques, St Kilda sells to Ian Jones for unknown figure
    1973: Ian Jones sells to unknown person for unknown figure
    1987: Unknown person sells to Clifford Hill for $19,800
    1990: Clifford Hill sells to Unknown person for unknown figure (Hong Kong Businessman maybe??)
    2003: Unknown person sells to Unknown person for unknown figure
    2018: Unknown person sells to Joanne Griffiths and family for $55,000

  22. Sharon Hollingsworth says: Reply

    Some sites have the 1987 one as going to the Hong Kong guy. (Note that Hill wanted it kept in country!) It is all a bit confusing! And, I saw somewhere else it said that when Ian Jones first saw it at Copeland’s in 1962 that it was allegedly not for sale at that time. Hmmm…he could have purchased it later, BUT, if it was Ned, why would he not hold it for his own personal collection? Sure wish we could fill in all the gaps, especially the early ones, but just like the rest of the Kelly story there is too much that does not add up very easily!

  23. Sharon Hollingsworth says: Reply

    Aha! It gets curiouser and curiouser! While we are not sure what any of the 1990 Kelly stuff went for or if all of it sold, I find it interesting in the extreme that this guy was off-loading it at auction for hopefully a premium price rather than let it go months later still on the wall of the whole place as the restaurant itself went to auction! Note the description of what was on the walls…any Kelly stuff left? lol


  24. Just thinking more about the claim that the fight with Wild Wright made Ned the unofficial boxing champion of the north-east…
    How come we never hear any mention of him anywhere as a boxer? Not one other match, even a pub match, ever? No tent boxing in his “straight” years or at any point afterwards. No boasts from himself about his alleged boxing prowess to any of the captives he rounded up at Euroa, Jerilderie, Glenrowan, or anywhere else.

    In the Jerilderie letter the best he can manage was a boast about his “bunch of fives”; street scrapping maybe, but nothing about boxing ability. And when the Jerilderie policeman Richards said he’d go outside with Ned if Ned put his revolver away, Ned chickened out.

  25. Sharon Hollingsworth says: Reply

    Here is someone from the OMG back in 1997 who has disputed that it is Ned due to the hairline and eyebrows!


    1. Sharon, well done.
      I struggle to compare the 2 images of kelly. Both reputedly taken 1874. Note facial hair & Neds stance doesn’t depict a fighters stance. Ned would have been instructed how to pose by photographer.
      Good find.


      1. Anonymous says: Reply

        The woodcutter photo has been discussed here before. It is not Ned Kelly. The Christies catalogue in which it was put up for auction said “the photo itself and the men’s clothing suggest a date in the 1890s” and “In 1995 Ned Kelly’s niece Elsie Pettifer told Ian Jones that she believed the two men to be her father Walter Pettifer and his brother-in-law Jack Kelly/King. Ian Jones accepted that identification” though McMenomy was stil tempted to think it was Ned.

        (It was Jones and McMenomy who were adamant that the notorious Gentleman Ned photo was Ned, later debunked with the saleprice refunded to the vexed purchaser.)

        Joanne Griffiths said she was not interested in the photo as her grandfather, Walter, the son of Ned’s sister Grace, had been adamant it was not Ned Kelly.

        Photo identification expert Professor Gale Spring, of RMIT University, said it was nearly 80 per cent certain the man on the right is Ned Kelly based on looking at the photos but “nearly 80%” is a long way from any certainty and he didn’t go into the Christie’s mention of the clothing being 1890s. Further, he did not write anything about it. Get this, there is no written report. All he did was a guest talk at the Beechworth Kelly Vault to an excited audience that would later claim that he said the identification was proven.

        The woodcutter photo will not help in any way with a discussion of the boxer photo, any more than the Gentleman Ned photo would have (which is nothing too).

        Ned was a larrikin and no boy who has seen anythig of boxing needs instruction as to how to pose as a boxer.


        1. Anonymous says: Reply

          Anonymous I think you have missed the bigger picture of what I’m saying. You and I know the woodcutter is not Kelly. Try telling Mr Shore and his loyal followers.
          Mr Denheld has convinced me that the woodcutter might be Walter knight.

          good-day to you

          1. Anonymous says: Reply

            Walter Knight’s descendants have already stated the timber cutting photo is not of him. They also confirmed the other man is not Jack. This information was made public years ago.

          2. Correction says: Reply

            The ‘woodcutter’ is NOT Walter Knight according to Elsie Pettifer’s offspring, who grew up with him and knew what their grandfather looked like. It has also been stated by the offspring, that in the Christie’s auction catalogue the possible attribution to Walter Knight was indeed an error – it was a misquote from Elsie that somehow found its way into the blurb. .
            Mr Denheld is very wrong to assert the suggestion that this is Elsie’s father.

            1. Anonymous says: Reply

              In any case the woodcutter is not Ned Kelly; that is all that matters here.

              1. Correction says: Reply

                I think you’re not providing substantial evidence to claim that the ‘woodcutter’ is not Ned Kelly, and I think that is really all that matters here.

      2. Thomas Whiteside says: Reply

        A brilliant observation. Ned doesn’t have a guard up, with the other extended, and his fists are too low.

        1. Thomas, I might be seeing things. Can you take a moment to compare the Boxing photo with any known Kelly photograph. Pay close attention to the mouth region.
          Also Ned’s closed fists [boxing photo] concerns me.

  26. ‘The Vault’ just kept embarrassing itself, and should remain closed. The woodcutter photo looks far less like Kelly than the ‘Gentleman Ned’ photo ever did. Both photos are instantly dismissed by anyone who doesn’t need to go to Spec Savers. Whereas the Boxing Ned photo is definitely him, you only have to compare it to the full length photo of Kelly taken on 10.11.1880.

    I think the writing on the photo looks the same, and I believe a fight between Kelly and Wright took place, but it seems less likely it happened it Beechworth, that part seems like more of a tourism myth. There’s no way it wouldn’t have been reported in the Ovens And Murray Advertiser, they reported on practically anything that went on in Beechworth and the surrounding towns. A boxing match between Kelly and Wright would have been reported. For some reason I’ve always thought the fight took place in Melbourne. I think the fight happened, it would just be great to know exactly where, because I very highly doubt that Kelly would have posed dressed as a boxer just for the sake of it, like he was going to a Halloween party or something.

    1. I think you and anyone else who thinks the fight happened have forgotten about the one HUGE problem with that idea : NED KELLY himself NEVER EVER MENTIONED IT. He was a notorious loud mouth and braggart and for him to not mention this fight – unless he was totally hammered into the mud by Wild – is so inconsistent with everything we know about this bully as to make it not just impossible to believe that it happened but frankly, absurd to suggest it did.

      Additionally, I think your high level of doubt that Kelly “would have posed dressed as a boxer just for the sake of it” is also misplaced. I think thats the exact kind of thing that would appeal greatly to his narcissistic personality, and also to his impulsivity – I would imagine that he randomly came across Chidley in some rural town offering his Portrait service, and decided on the spur of the moment to get it done. And then maybe forgot to go back – or couldn’t go back – to collect it once it was printed and mounted.

      1. Who is to say he never mentioned it though? Just because he didn’t in the letters he wrote doesn’t mean much. Everything he spoke about in those are to do with charges against him. A boxing match which had nothing to do with him being outlawed is not really likely to get a mention, especially when he was trying to get his point across about SBC and the bank robberies. Sure he liked to brag, but he probably had plenty of fights like that over the years and it wasn’t too much of a big deal to him, at least at the time while he was trying to get his case across.

        But like he said in the Cameron Letter, ‘I have no more paper unless I rob for it’.

        Maybe if he had more paper he could of added –
        ‘p.s. I once knocked Wild Wright’s block off and had my photo taken for it’

        I think a fight actually happening, and the photo to go with it, is far more likely than Kelly just dressing up. We will never know all the things he said and did, but this photo (and the inscription with it) looks to be far more than just Kelly having a posing session.

        1. You ask “Who is to say he never mentioned it?” – well I do for one, and that’s because he never mentioned it! Simple as that.

          Kelly had many opportunities to do so, the most obvious one in the JL where he talks at length about the stolen horse, and Wright and mentions at length his grievances in relation to the incident, discussing Hall and Flood in particular. Not one word of a fight or resentment towards Wright.

          And there were also the many diatribes he delivered to imprisoned people at the Bank robberies and at Glenrowan, none of whom reported hearing about him beating Wild Wright in a boxing match – and given Wrights notoriety/reputation as a brawler, Kellys failure to boast about having beaten him is a very telling silence.

          I will say it again : what everyone seems to have long ago agreed upon about Kelly is that he was a notorious loud mouth and braggart and for him to not mention this fight is starkly inconsistent with everything we know about him. Such a boastful person would also find the idea of having a portrait taken of himself in a Boxing pose very appealing.

          So we have a photo with a mis-spelled annotation, very clearly taken at some time quite remote from any actual boxing match, and absolutely nothing to back up the claim that there ever was an actual boxing match, not just from Kelly but from all known records and narratives of the time.

          1. It’s not ‘Simple as that.’ at all. A fight that happened years earlier would have hardly been at the top of his priorities list to talk about at the time, and I doubt the hostages at Glenrowan, Jerilderie and Euroa would have bothered mentioning about a fight he had years ago, even if he did mention it. When Kelly had those audiences he talked about things concerning his criminal activities, to try and justify them. A boxing match with Wright (or anyone else) had nothing to do with him being outlawed, so was pointless to talk about to them, that kind of talk goes on at the pub when you have far less to talk about than being outlawed. To say he ‘never’ mentioned it is just a guess.

            A photo with that specific information written on it is far more convincing than just saying, like you did, that – ‘ I would imagine that he randomly came across Chidley in some rural town’

            1. To say he never mentioned it is much more than a mere ‘guess’ ; its a statement based on the fact that there is NO record of him ever mentioning it. And there were innumerable times and places and opportunities for him to mention it, and as Ive already said, he IS the kind of person who would have mentioned it. Furthermore, his failure to mention it is matched by the complete silence about it in the local press, which others have suggested would be all over a fight like this in a small country village, or in any of the writings of biographers at the time who were informed by people who were intimate with his story. Beating a known brawler with a fearsome reputation over 20 grounds outside a central Beechworth pub would have been a local sensation.

              As for your contention that all Ned ever spoke about and wrote about was defences of the criminal charges he was up against – completely untrue. His writing and his speech making rambled and diverted and meandered all over the place, and was full of boasting and self promotion.

              As I wrote on FB the other day, the problem with all these discussions is that sympathisers in the main seem to think its rational to cling to an argument that relies on the most absurd and most extreme possibilities …but it isnt rational – its irrational to. do that.So by all means cling to your belief, but I have to point out it relies on the least likely of all the possible explanations for the fight – that by never mentioning it Kelly behaved in a way on this one thing thats completely out of character and inconsistent with everything everyone agrees was a fundamental character trait – self aggrandisement, boasting and bragging – but if he had happened to mention it to anyone they all forgot about it.

              Sorry but I like my explanations to be rational.

              1. For starters, I’m not a sympathiser. But I do like to know correct information, and until definite evidence is found either way, I like to go with the most likely choice., and to me it’s that a fight did happen. The writing on the photo is far more convincing than to just say that Kelly was such a bragger that he would have mentioned it every chance he got. I don’t agree. A lot happened to him in his mere 25 years, and I’m talking about the small amount we all get to read about because of his crimes. But to think that if he didn’t write, or talk about every event in his life, then it mustn’t have happened, is ridiculous.

                Plus I’m one of the people that said it would have been mentioned in the Ovens newspaper if it had happened in Beechworth, which has always made me think Melbourne is far more likely.

                I like rational explanations too, but you seem to get offended if people don’t agree with you, and your explanations about the subject this time, haven’t been any more convincing than anyone else’s so far.

                1. Yes of course it would be ridiculous to expect him, or anyone else to have commented on every single thing that ever happened to him. Thats not my claim : its that THIS event was a major one, a significant victory in front of a crowd in a public place over a known brawler, a milestone that involved him becoming the unofficial boxing champion of the NE…as Ive said before, the likelihood has to be minuscule that he would have NEVER mentioned it even once, and that NOBODY else ever mentioned it even once in NINETY years . Ive said ‘minuscule’ not zero and a MUCH more likely explanation BY FAR is that it didnt happen.

                  Of the two possibilities, the rational person would back the more likely explanation as a working hypothesis than the one with a minuscule chance of being the correct explanation.

                  I am used to people believing irrational things so it doesnt upset me that you do. I just. find it puzzling.

  27. Without wanting to get into the business of handwriting analysis, it does seem on the face of it that both inscriptions at the bottom of Boxing Ned are in the same hand. The little rounded curls that begin the initial letters of both horizontally inscribed words Ned and Kelly (spelled Kelley) seem similar in style to the little curls at the start of the vertically inscribed words Fought, Wild, Wright, and Won. This does not mean the inscriptions were written at the same time.

    The horizontal inscription gives only a name and date: “Ned Kelley August 8/1874”. The name is written from the left of the photo with the date inset a little underneath. There would not be enough room with that size handwriting to put the name and date on the same line, nor is there any reason to do so as the inscription is in the blank area of card under the photo.

    The vertical inscription by contrast has been squeezed in and doesn’t quite fit as it overlaps the first inscription. The letters in it are similar in size to the date inscription, again suggesting teh same hand wrote both inscriptions. The logical conclusion is that it was written at later date.

    Things get interesting when we check the Christies auction catalog for the debunked Gentleman Ned photo (attached). The listing says that Gentleman Ned is inscribed on the back, “Ned Kelley”. That is the same misspelling of “Kelley” as the Boxing Ned inscription.

    Were both these photos from the same original pen-wielding source? Was there a joke being perpetuated by someone back in the 1950s or earlier with some old photos, neither of which is Ned Kelly? Just wondering…

  28. Sharon Hollingsworth says: Reply

    Good catch with the “Kelley” spelling, Stuart. Here is an article that is talking about the Gentleman Ned photo and it mentions about the shape of eyebrows like an above article does for the Boxing Ned one. Is very interesting.

    1. Hi Sharon, that was a great article find. I think a Chapman analysis now needs to be done on the Boxing Ned photo compared with not only the couple of photos we know are Ned – the two day before execution gaol photos and the police report photos – but also with one of the death mask casts photographed from the same angle as the Boxing Ned photo.

      Especially the cast should enable the sort of exacting measurement comparison discussed in that article.

  29. Hi Sharon, inspired by that article you found, here is a preliminary “Chapman analysis” of Ned’s head photos. As can be seen clearly in the top right photo and the death mask, Ned did not have earlobes. When one draws horizontal lines across the line of his eyebrows as best one can with these random photos, the line runs across just above the top of his ears.

    When one runs lines across from where the bottom of his ears joins his head, the line runs across to just touch the tip of his nose.

    By contrast, when one runs a line across from the top of the ear in the Boxing Ned head (centre left), it runs across under the eyebrows and slightly across the top of the eyes, not well above them as in the other Ned heads. See especially the bottom right gaol photo and teh death mask.

    When runs a line across from the base of the ear in the Boxing Ned photo, it crosses below the base of his nose, well clear of the tip of his nose, unlike the other photos. I see that the line I have drawn there might not be low enough to exactly meet where the bottom of the ear joins his head. In that case the horizontal line that continues below his nose would move even further below it.

    While there is at first sight an approximate similarity between the Boxing Ned head photo and the known Ned head photos used in this comparision, the horizontal line drawing exercise indicates that the identification of Boxing Ned as a photo of Ned Kelly might be downgraded to “possible” pending further analysis.


    1. After the Woodcutter Ned debates I decided that photo interpretation was such a subjective process its results were almost meaningless . SO I am not going to try to decide if the Boxing Ned fits the other profiles of Ned. But I believe Boxing Ned was used to disprove Gentleman Ned, the one Jones made such a strong case for….but suppose Boxing Ned is NOT Ned…then may be Gentleman Ned is the real deal after all….oh god here we go!!!

      Ive made a graphic to illustrate the tricky nature of drawing lines between ears and eyebrows – if the angle that the head is held varies between different images, its clear the lines will fall across different places…so before comparisons are made one would need to be certain the head angle was identical…


      1. Hi David, I agree with that. The next step would be to take a printout of the Boxing Ned photo to where one of the several death masks is, and to walk around it until one could Lind up a view of the cast that exactly matched the angle and elevation of the photo, then photograph that. Not complicated, just a matter of finding one you can walk around. I think the Old Melbourne Gaol one is in a freestanding display case? I can’t get into the city for a couple of weeks but if no one else does it I’ll put it on the list…

        1. Stuart, can we reach out to Bill Deheld. If I’m not mistaken he a cast of the death mask.

        2. Anonymous says: Reply

          close enough angle to work with for the time being.


  30. Sharon Hollingsworth says: Reply

    Wow, good work, Stuart. Interesting findings. I am good at analyzing written things/printed words but when it comes to visual comparisons of handwriting or photo facial recognition, I am out of my depth. Is Dr. Chapman himself still among the living?

    1. hi Sharon, that article was 2002 and it mentions he was 73 then, so unfortunately I doubt it…

      Here is that article attached as a PDF if anyone wants an easily printable copy.

  31. Sharon Hollingsworth says: Reply

    Stuart, I just looked it up, Dr. Chapman died in 2020. Someone told me recently that Cliff Ogleby also died in 2020.

    1. Might be a different Dr Chapman? I got my date from that article…

      1. Hi Sharon, you’re right. I must be going dyslexic, reading 2020 as 2000 silly me 🤡
        But who is Ogelby 😂

        1. Sharon Hollingsworth says: Reply

          NO worries, easy to misread something! Cliff Ogleby was mentioned in the article about Gentleman Ned being debunked that you made a PDF of. 🙂

        2. Sharon Hollingsworth says: Reply

          Also, Olgeby already did the death mask comparison of photos, according to the article, so no need to try and replicate as you don’t have his precise scans?

          1. Hi Sharon, re-reading that article it says that Ogelby tested the Gentleman Ned photo against the exact 3D computer imaging of the death mask compared with two authentic photos of Kelly and showed that while the mask image matched the ears, nose and eyes of the two Kelly photographs perfectly but did not match the Gentleman Ned with the ears standing out as different.

            What the article doesn’t say is which two photos of Ned he used to do the comparison. If one of them happened to be Boxing Ned then that would confirm that the death mask imaging additionally authenticated that as Ned. But we don’t know that. He might have used any two of the other known photos of Ned. I’ll try looking up Melbourne Uni and if he’s still there I can try emailing with a high res Boxing Ned photo and ask.

            1. Sharon Hollingsworth says: Reply

              Stuart, yes, you are correct, we don’t know which two were used, my bad! I was thinking boxing photo as that had been mentioned earlier by another and I was also thinking adult Ned versus teenage Ned. Yes, he has passed.

            2. Anonymous says: Reply

              Stuart, it was reported back in 2001 that Mr Ogleby used the boxing photo and all the other images of Ned in his detailed 3D analysis. Ian Jones was noted as saying whilst the Gentleman Ned was disproved, Boxing Ned was authenticated. Check ironoutlaw as it may be there.

              1. Thanks, will do tonight. If you can find a page URL in the meantime that would be a big timesaver for everyone!

              2. Hi Anonymous, here is the page link to Ian Jones’ response to that question,

                I haven’t had time to read it yet.

          2. I just did a google search and unfortunately Cliff Ogleby passed away in 2020

  32. Thomas made the point that Kelly never mentioned any fight with Wright in the Jerilderie letter. Let’s trace what he said in both his lettes. First, the Cameron letter:

    “I was never convicted of horse stealing. I was once arrested by Constable Hall and 14 more men in Greta, and there was a subscription raised for Hall by persons who had too much money about Greta, in honour of Hall arresting Wild Wright and Gunn. Wright and Gunn were potted, and Hall could not pot me for horse stealing, but with the subscription money he gave £20 to James Murdock, who has been recently hung in Wagga Wagga. On Murdock’s evidence I was found guilty of recieving knowing it to be stolen… I was innocent of knowing the mare to be stolen….” That’s all there is about Wright in the Cameron letter.

    Now the Jerilderie letter:
    “on the 29th of March I was released from prison and came home Wild Wright came to the Eleven Mile to see Mr Gunn stopped all night and lost his mare both him and me looked all day for her and could not get her Wright who was a stranger to me was in a hurry to get back to Mansfield and I gave him another mare and he told me if I found his mare to keep her until he brought mine back…”
    “Hall beat me over the head with his six chambered colts revolver nine stitches were put in some of the cuts by Dr Hastings And when Wild Wright and my mother came they could trace us across the street by the blood in the dust…”
    “Next morning I was handcuffed a rope tied from them to my legs and to the seat of the cart and taken to Wangaratta. … I was tried and committed as Hall swore I claimed the mare the Doctor died or he would have proved Hall a perjurer….”
    “I was acquitted on the charge of horsestealing and on Halls and Murdocks evidence I was found guilty of receiving and got 3 years experience in Beechworth Pentridges dungeons.”
    “this is the only charge ever proved against me Therefore I can say I never was convicted of horse or cattle stealing.”

    So in the Jerilderie letter after his arrst by Hall “Wild Wright and my mother came”. There is no indication oif any grudge with Wright there. Ned’s grudge seems to be entirely with the police for trying to fit him up with a horse stealing charge when he had been in gaol at teh time teh mare was stolen. He doesn’t seen to be blaming Wright for the misfortune, just maintaing that he didn’t know the mare was stolen. This however was a lie, as shown in the court report of his trial for feloniously receiving; which is more than just receiving teh horse knowing it to be stolen, but additionally doing so with proven intent to sell it on.

    That’s what happened. Both Wright’s year and a half for stealing the horse and Ned’s three years for feloniously receiving were typical sentences in the day, as has been documented and presented on this blog in the past. That was the risk in the stock theft trade; it kept Jim Kelly in and out of gaol for years. There is nothing there to provide a basis for Ned having a grudge against Wright based on the length of their respective sentences. Where exactly did that idea or claim come from?

    1. Bravo Mr Dawson. This you will always be remembered for.
      How will the Toad respond to that? The band of outcasts that follow [worship] Fitzy and his self-opinionated arguments are pushing shit up hill and he’s happy to drag you all down with him.
      With a bottle of Tequila in hand I celebrate

      1. Thanks Amigo, this interesting investigation launched by Thomas is leading into all sorts of twists and turns! Who knows where it will end up?

        1. Thomas Whiteside says: Reply

          Hi Stuart, I’ve touched on this my document (under the sub-heading ‘Motivation’), but as far as I can tell the idea of Ned having a grudge against Wild was first suggested by Jones in the 1962 Walkabout Article, though is rightly presented as no more than speculation (“perhaps to settle the score…”). By the late 70s, however, the idea has moved from a theory to a fact, as can be seen in McQuilton 1979, and Jones’ later works.

          1. Hmmm, have we unearthed another flight of fancy….

            Probably needs more looking into….

          2. “…Perhaps to settle the score”… turned into a fact about why the fight occurred – yet another little gem from you Thomas, showing yet again how one persons guess and speculation later becomes an assertion of fact.

            Such is the way myths get built…

  33. Thomas Whiteside says: Reply


    I’ve managed to make contact with Johanna Nicholls, who discovered the Boxing Ned Portrait in 1962. I’ve told her about the amateur research into the portrait I’m doing, and also about the discussion taking place on the blog.

    I asked Joahnna where she’d be open to having a chat – or exchanging emails – about how the portrait was discovered?

    In her own words, here’s what Joahnna has to say about her amazing discovery (via email):

    “At that time, (you state 1962) I had returned to Australia to work as TV Drama P.A. to Melbourne HSV-7’S newly created Head of TV Drama. Ian Jones was at that time one of the young Producers at Seven. Even then, years before his wonderfully researched books on the Kelly era were published, Ian seemed to be recognized as Australian’s leading expert on Ned Kelly. A great storyteller, his stories fascinated me.

    At this time one of my aunts lived in ‘Monara’, a block of apartments overlooking the St Kilda Esplanade. After visiting her I began to explore a small ‘old goods’/antique shop a few doors away, on the same side of the road that led to the main shopping area. In this shop I came across an old, small black and white photograph of a good-looking youth in a typical boxer’s pose. It indicated it was Ned Kelly.

    When I returned to work, I mentioned the photo to Ian. He was instantly [excited]. He was aware of Ned’s brief boxing era but did not know that a photograph existed. He immediately went to the shop and bought the photo. I was delighted to have stumbled on an important piece of Kellyanna.”

    I knew it was a long shot but I then asked Johanna the following additional questions:

    There’s an article from the Age from 23 April 1997 which states, “[Ian] first identified this photo at Copelands Antiques, St Kilda in 1962 (the photo wasn’t for sale then…)”. Is this incorrect, or was that initially true and then Ian was able to convince them to sell it to him sometime after?
    Do you have any sense of what Ian might have paid for it (assuming he did indeed buy it in 1962)?
    Do you recall whether it was part of a lot or whether it was being sold / displayed on its own?
    If it was in a lot, do you recall what else might have been in the lot?
    Do you recall whether Copelands Antiques knew where it originally came from / who the previous owner was / how they came to have it in their shop?
    You’ve said Ian was already aware of Ned’s brief boxing history, did he ever talk to you about that? Can you remember any details? (Ian’s notes in A Short Life refer to a conversation he’d had with Charlie Fredricksen “The Man Outside Hoyts”) about a fight between Wild Wright and Ned).
    There’s another newspaper article stating the portrait was sold again in 1973, would it be fair to assume that it was Ian who sold it again in 1973?
    There is a suggestion that there is another copy of the portrait in a private collection in the North East, have you ever heard of that?

    Johanna, very kindly replied again, however, she was unable to provide any answers to the above, advising:

    “I am sorry I am unable to answer your other questions. Other than that the boxing photo in the St Kilda antique shop appeared to be casually displayed with a few other old photos that seemed to be unrelated to it. But I was only there a short time before closing time. No time to ask questions.”

    I want to thank Johanna so much for being so kind to share the information she had and being so friendly and engaging.

    1. Anonymous says: Reply

      That is great Thomas. You should contact the Kelly Vault Museum. They did a lot of work with Ian and the Kelly photos and may be able to help you in your research.

    2. Sharon Hollingsworth says: Reply

      Thomas, that is great that you contacted her. I did not want to bother her, so I didn’t try after figuring out she was the author, but I was terrified that one of the haters would try and weasel their way in and intimidate/strong arm her as only they can. Good that a decent, civil, respectful person like you did the contacting! Why no one in the past few decades ever tried to follow up with her is amazing.

  34. Hi Thomas, that’s great; the big mystery is why Jones would ever have sold it given his ongoing passion for Kelly and the fact that he had continuous work as far as anyone can tell with at least a couple of long running TV series though those years so unlikely have had to sell it for money. It doesn’t make sense. She says it was a small photograph. Does any reader have it’s measurements from a book or auction catalog?

    1. Thomas Whiteside says: Reply

      If these replicas are indeed exact replicas, the dimensions are 58mm wide x 100mm high.

      1. Thomas Whiteside says: Reply

        Which means the portrait is basically the size of a carte de visite, doesn’t it?

        A carte de visite is typically 2.5 inches x 4 inches. 58mm = 2.3 inches, 100mm = 3.93 inches.

        This would fit with there being multiples out there, including the other un-annotated version referred to by Anonymous.

        1. Hi Thomas, that Iron Outlaw page says that 100 prints of the boxing photo were originally made, and that 1,000 apparently reported somewhere was not correct. So are there now two known prints of it around, the inscribed one and the undamaged one ??

          And I’d still like to confirm the dimensions from a Boxing Ned auction catalogue listing, as it always seems to be talked about as a photo rather than a carte de visite…

          1. Anonymous says: Reply

            You do realise Ironoutlaw are flogging replicas, don’t you Stuart?

            1. Hi Anonymous, yes of course, but where it says “While the collection was originally numbered out of 1000 there were only 100 reproductions actually made”, I have re-read it and it appears to be referring to what IO had made as replicas?!? What threw me is them presenting themselves as Kelly experts and the sloppy wording about only 100 out of 1000 being actually made. I think I will avoid visiting IO again. I haven’t been there for about 5 years now and it’s the same badly written drivel now as it was then. I was sceptical even of its claim that :”The Ned Kelly Limited Edition ‘Boxing Ned’ Numbered Print image is an exact replica which measures 58mm wide x 100mm high”, which is why I said I’d like to see the dimensions in an auction catalogue or other authoriative source. It’s hard to believe anything on that wesbite except for Crighton’s interesting argument for Kelly’s birth date.

              1. Anonymous says: Reply

                The original boxing photo is a cdv. Typical of its era. Held together (and only just) by sticky tape.

                1. Carte de Visite then. Thanks Anonymous, that clears up a question that has been raised several times on this page! So much smaller than I’d thought from the photo as often reproduced, e.g. in McMenomy 2001:56, a full page size reproduction in a large format book with the picture sources note p. 284 saying only “Edward Kelly in boxing trunks by John J. Chidley, courtesy of Ian Jones”. No-one would guess from that that it was roughly the size of a somewhat narrow playing card.

    2. It’s very interesting that this Boxing Ned photo should surface as it did in an antique shop, without the dealer realising or elaborating on its important provenance……and why was there no further investigation undertaken at the time into its background? Perhaps there were other items with it that may have connected it to the Kelly family descendants or maybe it was from a collection of unknown origin, mysteriously dumped?

    3. Hi Stuart,

      Yes, Ian Jones selling off a treasure like that photo is VERY strange indeed. Would be interesting to know how much he paid back in 1962, as it’s also very strange that the antique shop didn’t have it displayed in a big way as a ‘Photo of Ned Kelly’, just about everyone in Melbourne (and Australia) had at least heard of him, so surely an antique shop dealer would have realised the value of it after seeing his name on it, even with it spelt incorrectly? It’s all weird.

  35. Another curiosity from my previous and hopefully last ever visit to the IO website at in that Ian Jones interview he says that “f you were to look for a photo of a man who was to look like Ned Kelly, you’d look for a man with his hair parted on the right-hand side, as it is in the last two prison photos on the day before his execution. As a younger man, Ned parted his hair on the left – you can see it in the portrait taken at Kyneton when he was 15 and you can see it in the Boxing Ned photo when he was 19. His hair tended to fall over the right side of his forehead.”

    That’s all very well, but we have two photos of Ned from 1874 as attached. The first is his mugshot which Jones says in the Short Life photo section was “taken shortly before his release from Pentridge in 1874”. In SL 2008: 92-93 Jones says the prison photo was probably taken 24 January 1874 and Ned was released on 2 February.

    The second photo is Boxing Ned 8 August 1874. These two photos are only 7 months apart. As well as Jones noticing that Boxing Ned’s hair is parted differently to his other later photos, to me it seems that Boxing Ned seems to have a higher hairline than both prison Ned photos (aged 19 and 25) below. Maybe it’s just the whiskey tonight…


    1. How come the only photos of Ned except for the claimed Boxer Ned are prison photos? Dan, Maggie, Kate, all had photos done. Sherritt did too. But Ned? Never a portrait or carte de visite for his dear old mum? Until the day before his execution, of course. But nothing before? That’s pretty odd for all that’s written about how much he cared for his family…

      1. Sharon Hollingsworth says: Reply

        An excellent point, Stuart. Why no Ned separately? Why not have a family group portrait done all centered around dear old mum? Regarding size of photo, at Collecting Ned private FB group, Dave White has a photo of a newspaper article where someone with a gloved hand is holding the boxing Ned photo and boy, does it look tiny from that perspective! Maybe Dave would like to share it here? Or not?

      2. They’re not the only photos.

        1. Hi Anonymous, it may be that someone or ones have as yet unpublicly known photos of the rascal tucked away, that even Ian Jones had been unable to winkle out knowledge of despite his seemingly having talked to every relative and descendant of anyone connected to the Kelly story over some 70 years, in which case good on them, but we can only work with what is known.

          Suppose some other photo of Ned was to surface next week. Apart from generating volcanic levels of excitement among Kelly enthusiasts, as seen when the so called Woodcutter Ned photo of actually two guys who are obviously not Ned turned up a few years back, what difference would it make to what we know of the Kelly story? Even if that was by some miracle proven to be Ned, the most that could be said would be that it showed Ned cutting timber somewhere. To which one can only say, so what?

          Even if some photo turned up with what was indisputably Ned with a girl and was inscribed “Engaged [date]”, it would at most settle the question of whether or not he had a love interest and who she was; which is to say nothing more than a passing curiosity in the otherwise miserable history of Australia’s most notorious colonial criminal and mass murderer.

          Bonnie and Clyde shot and robbed their way into history but gave nothing to society. And so it was with Ned, as we call him. Or Kelly, as the papers did in his day. The boys! Chopper! Mate! Or maybe not.

      3. Why Stuart, do you adamantly dismiss the possible reality that a family photo known as the woodcutter is not Ned Kelly?
        The woodcutter photo has authenticated provenance (owned by Mrs Kelly) and also known by family to be Ned and possibly Dan Kelly, and furthermore given an 80% likelihood that the taller man matches Ned’s face structure and build, which is about as good as it gets with an analysis like this, from an expert.
        For someone who seems meticulous about evidence and data, your distrust and bias seems to be obviously showing against this photo.
        Maybe one needs to keep an open mind especially with your recent statement…..
        “How come the only photos of Ned except for the claimed Boxer Ned are prison photos?…… Never a portrait or carte de visite for his dear old mum? Until the day before his execution, of course. But nothing before?”
        You seem to not care really if the photo is or is not Ned, as it wouldn’t tell you anymore about the Kelly story anyway, but you are questioning why there aren’t more photos showing a caring family.
        Maybe pulling back on the academic ego might keep your perspective a bit clearer for other possibilities that present….no offence intended.

        1. Hi Anonymous, the woodcutter photo was rejected as Ned in the long discussions about it on this blog back in the day. Some descendants want to believe it’s Ned, others reject that.

          Visually it doesn’t look anything like him; it’s wishful thinking. Here’s the Christies catalogue entry. The clothes are 1890s; Elsie Pettifer said it’s her dad and his brother in law; Ian Jones accepted that it isn’t Ned, and only Keith McMenomy (who also misidentified the alledged Gentleman Ned photo as Ned) held out.

          I don’t have an academic ego, I couldn’t give a rats about qualifications. I don’t hang around with academics, most of them are professional idiots. Especially the climate cultists.


          1. Correction says: Reply

            Obviously Stuart you are not taking into account much of the information already posted previously and a few years ago regarding the ‘Woodcutter’ photo and this misquoted Christie’s catalogue entry.
            Anyway, as you said you don’t believe it to be Ned, but I must admit you aren’t really giving us any substance with your firm claim at this point….maybe it’s more your value judgement?

            1. The clothes are 1890s regardless of anything else claimed about it. It’s a wishful thinking claim unless Ned had a Tardis.

              1. Correction says: Reply

                Could you explain what items of clothing are actually out of chronology with the period? Or are you just reliant on the catalogue entry.
                Personally I can’t see a problem with this at all, not that I’m any costume expert though.
                The men look like they have a precursor to a shearer’s type of trouser and singlet, and Ned with perhaps longjohns and the arms torn off them. The Dan image has a hat I would assume is from the correct period as well.
                I’m sorry but your evidence doesn’t convince me.
                Maybe someone else could shed some expertise here.

                1. The catalogue entry plus the discussion about it back in the day. If you want to believe it’s Ned, carry on.

                2. Anonymous says: Reply

                  Correction….Stuart, the great researcher and fountain of all knowledge, is relying on the catalogue entry.
                  If only he knew (lol).

              2. Anonymous says: Reply

                No they’re not.

                What makes them 1890s era clothes Stuart? Can you explain? Are bush working clothes from the late 1870s that different to those from the 1890s?
                Maybe the Kelly boys were very regular customers at Flynns Mensland in Wang……

                1. Ask Christies, they’re the experts who stated it, not me…

      4. Stuart, I would think that is at least one of the reasons the Boxing Ned photo was taken : a portrait for himself to gaze at admiringly, and a copy for his dear old mum!


    According to this thread boxers of thi era used to wear brightly coloured sashes to represent their corner. This might explain why Ned used t wear them. According to this source trunks didn’t come in till 1900,s .


    There are several different people posting as anonymous and it would help everyone if you gave yourself a fake name and used that each time you posted.


    1. Thomas Whiteside says: Reply

      I.e Mr Thomson or Billy King

  38. Thomas in his Boxing Ned article has traced in detail the development of the Wild Wright fight in Jones’s works from the 1962 Walkabout article, through the 1968 Man & Myth chapter, then to Short Life. He has also taken the trouble to quote in full Jones’s references for everything he wrote about the fight and highlight that what we find is that the two short paragraphs of references are the only evidence that exists for the several pages of gushing imaginative description of the fight that these three expositions produced. In the Short Life account, the most polished of his presentations, it is striking to notice how many times words like ‘probably’, ‘perhaps’, and speculations such as ‘would have’ occur now that attention has been drawn to them. Before Thomas’s analysis I simply breezed through the story of the fight, probably like many others, and took the narrative for granted. After all, there is a bunch of references, isn’t there?

    That of course was a mistake. Thomas has pulled the references apart and shown that the entire boxing match as set out in Short Life is nothing morre than imaginative speculation. The only evidence for it at all is the inscription on the Boxing Ned photo and a comment that an 89 year old old showman had told Jones that Wright had said without contecxt that Ned had given him “the hiding of his lfe” in a fight in Beechworth. From this Jones has invented a formalised boxing match, a particular pub, a 20 round bare knuckle London Prize Rules bout that lasted “perhaps for hours”, and a whole bunch of other stuff that Thomas pulled apart to show there is no evidence for any of it beyond the inscribed photo.

    Jones like to maintain that Ned was not a drinker; but the Short Life boxing story has him having a Saturday drink in the Imperial pub in Beechworth “- a Protestant Pub with a bust of Queen Victoria mounted on its sign”. One is reminded of Max Brown’s ‘Australian Son’ foreword: “I can imagine good Queen Victoria – assured, satisfied,and with a tendency towards obesity – yet at the summit of her age – was the perfect emblem of the dominant, middle-aged, middle-class, righteous British empire of the loud steam age in which they lived. Amid huzzahs of petty wars for the enlagement of the Empire, fought to the accompaniment of music-hall ditties, her plump hand never tembled, her name remained virtue”. Jones too draws a hostile contrast to Queen Vic, not noticing or caring about Joseph Ashmead’s comment at the end of his book that the Kellys were also loyal to Queen and empire:

    “I want to take you to a little house at the foot of Kellys’ Gap. There is no sign of richness or ill-gotten gain to be found here. Look at the pictures on the walls! There are enlargements of members of the family, but that is not all. There are the framed enlargements of the King and Queen. These people are loyal. Of course they are loyal, for had they not proven it with the blood of their own kith and kin?”

    But to return to the boxing match. There is another layer to Jones’s imaginative treatment of the claimed match, in The Last Outlaw (1980). It starts in episode 2 on Disc 1 at 1 hour 23 minutes. and runs to the end of the episode. Here imagination runs riot, in a video that claims it is “based entirely on fact”. After the debunking that has been going on here, it’s worth a watch just to see how much fluff has been made out of five scribbled words on a photograph and an off-hand remark.

    There is also a boxing Ned scene in Jones’s co-scripted 1970 Kelly film starring weedy Mick Jagger as Ned, a laughably bad segment but relevant here to see just how much has been invented from so little.

  39. Sharon Hollingsworth says: Reply

    The poster above saying that boxing trunks did not come into vogue until well after Ned’s death might be on to something. Had not thought of that angle before. All of the old photos/illustrations in the 19th Century books and papers show the boxing champs in the form fitting attire. This could be the smoking gun! Unless the photographer or the subject wanted a lady or family friendly shot taken that would not show off the outline of a man’s “junk” so prominently as the form fitting suits did, but where would the silk boxing type shorts have come from back in 1874? Hmmmm…

    1. Hi Sharon, does Grantlee Kieza read this blog? He’s written half a dozen books on boxers and boxing. Does anyone know how to contact him about this stuff and ask about the costume dates?

    2. I’ve done an image search on boxing trunks 1870, 1880, 1890, etc, using a cut down part of teh photo, but nothing useful turned up.


  40. We are asked to believe that Kelly sought to box against world heavyweight champion and touring exhibition boxer Jem Mace when he visited Australia: “The doyen of Kelly Scholars Ian Jones alleges Ned wrote to the British boxer Jem Mace, challenging him to a fight at a ‘secret location’ in the Strathbogie ranges, well out of police reach. Ned said he would show Jem, ‘how they box in the ranges’”,

    There was an alleged brief handshake between Kelly and boxer Larry Foley in NSW in 1879 after an illegal match that Foley won, with Mace as one of Foley’s seconds, and with Ned congratulating Foley on his victory before vanishing, Perhaps the tale grew from that?

    The story gained traction: “On a visit to Melbourne during Mace’s tour of Australia, it is reputed that the infamous bushranger Ned Kelly challenged him to a bout, but the fight never look place”,

    Wikipedia says that Mace worked his way up through middleweight to become world heavyweight champion I 1870. “In 1878–79, Mace had as many as 30 three-round exhibitions with John Thompson in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, and two with the Australian champion he had mentored, Larry Foley. These exhibitions, fought with gloves, paved the way for the worldwide acceptance of gloved boxing”,

    The sort of prize purses Mace fought for were upwards of £200 per boxer. Several sources reported that his total net worth acquired during his prime may have reached roughly £800,000 in the British currency of 1870. What flight of fancy would lead anyone (including Kelly) to consider challenging Mace to a match in the ranges for nothing?

  41. Sharon Hollingsworth says: Reply

    Doing a quick search at a newspaper archive for Australia, the term boxing trunks or boxer’s trunks was not in use before 1910 or 1914. Jones said that Ned was wearing “silk shorts” and a search for that term in connection to boxing turned up the earliest in 1917. In 1897 there was some amateur bout that mentioned “blue loose shorts.” But, if the computer analysis showed that this was Ned, all of this boxer attire possibly not being of the era is just a red herring.

  42. Correction says: Reply

    Maybe Stuart, the somewhat derogatory “wishful thinking” tag you seem to immediately attach to particularly commentary here in relation to the ‘Woodcutter’ photo, might be better investigated by a REAL costume expert. Hopefully one will appear and give us all some insights into both the ‘Boxing Ned’ and the ‘Woodcutter’ photos.

    1. Hi Anonymous, you’re making several claims here: first, that I am being derogatory when I am simply pointing out facts. It is wishful thinking to want the photo to show Ned.

      Second, that I should consult a REAL expert, with capitals used as a put-down. There is such an expert, and he or she is the Christies consultant who wrote in the calalogue listing, “the photo itself, and the men’s clothing suggest a date in the 1890s, more than 10 years after the brothers’ [Ned and Dan’s] death. … these two axemen do not look like part of a commercial operation and, as already noted, they wear bush clothing that belongs to the 1890s rather than the 1870s.”

      Third, you said “The woodcutter photo has authenticated provenance (owned by Mrs Kelly) and also known by family to be Ned and possibly Dan Kelly.” We know it’s not Dan, that is clear in the Christies listing. The only question is whether one of the men is Ned. As David noted in a previous blog post about this topic,, Elsie Pettifer claimed that the man in question was her father. … On Facebook Kelly descendant Leigh Olver claimed Elsie was wrong when she claimed this was a photo of her father and not of Ned, but when asked how he could so confidently assert that a woman couldn’t recognize her own father, he declined to elaborate. The interesting thing is that in 2002 when this same photo was put up for Auction by Christies, Elsie Pettifer’s opinion was accepted by Ian Jones and others, and for that very reason the photo was withdrawn from the Auction.” So the daughter said it’s her father and then some further removed descendant said she was wrong and it’s not a phot of her own her father but of some further back relation, namely Ned… What is clear is that there are two different stories coming from different branches of a family. Of these, the likely one on balance is the one who said the photo shows her dad. The question of the photo having been owned by Mrs Kelly at some point is irrelevent to proviong abything about Ned if the second man is as Elsie said Jack Kelly/King; then of course Mrs Kewlly might have had a photo of him. Why not?

      Fourth, you said that “there is an 80% likelihood that the taller man matches Ned’s face structure and build, which is about as good as it gets with an analysis like this, from an expert.” You are referring to the opinion of forensic photo analyst Professor Spring who did a talk (but no written report) about the photo at the Kelly Vault when they put it on display. What he actually said was an almost 80% chance. So 70-something percent. Let’s turn that around: the case for the woodcutter photo showing Ned is still just a “maybe” argument, with a greater that 20 percent chance against it being Ned. It’s Ripley’s ‘Believe it or not’ for Kelly enthusiasts.

      Buit this is all nitpicking about descendant family claims and counterclaims. The clothing argument is the key here, and there is no reason to doubt Christies’ expertise on this.

  43. Correction says: Reply

    It appears to me that there are aspects of knowledge about this ‘Boxing Ned’ and ‘Woodcutter’ photo still to be discovered – so let’s just agree to disagree!
    I’m just calling for a little less dismissive bias and a bit more accurate and reasonable discussion. You said yourself….”the case for the woodcutter photo showing Ned is still just a “maybe” argument”.
    However my thoughts remain the same, a REAL costume expert is needed here…no offence intended. (Unless of course you are an expert in 19th Century Australian historical costume, in this which case I apologise).

    1. Hi Anonymous, neither of us are experts in that area, but I am comfortable accepting Christies’ expertise until such time as equal or greater expertise with a different opinion surfaces. That’s all I can do.

  44. A couple of people have mentioned that the boxer Ned photo was one that was forensically compared with the death mask and the gentleman Ned photo (and perhaps some other known Kelly photos), and that the analysis ruled out gentleman Ned as Kelly but confirmed Boxer Ned as Kelly.

    Does anyone know where that was written up? It would help to know specifically what photos were used in that analysis and what exactly was reported if that is available. So far I can’t find any link to a write up.

    1. Sharon Hollingsworth says: Reply

      Stuart, I have no idea whether or not this was written up or documented on paper by Ogleby but in this link Ian Jones says he watched it being done and was finally convinced it was not Ned in the Gentleman Ned photo and that it was proved to be Ned in the boxing one.

  45. Hi Sharon, on the basis of that I’m fine with accepting that the 3D analysis demonstrated that the Boxing Ned photo is a genuine photograph of Ned. Now we can continue the conversation about when, where, and what it does or doesn’t signify. The article does however demonstrate why scepticism is necessary with regard to many claims made about Kelly; in this case with regard to the originally forcefully pushed Gentleman Ned claim. The same with his claim that samurai armour in the Burke Museum was Chinese armour that inspired the armour used at Glenrowan, in the first edition of Short Life.

  46. Anonymous says: Reply

    My issue here is the logic, boxing experts say so? which boxing experts? bare knuckled fights often/ regularly went to 50, 60 70 and even 100 a hundred rounds back in the day (do some research), but hey if anonymous boxing experts say so it couldn’t have happened it couldn’t have happened, take a look a look at Ali’s face after he almost died fighting the thriller in manilla, one little bump under his eye an hour later it couldn’t even be seen but it nearly killed him and he was never the same after, I am not saying what is being asserted here is wrong, but am saying the logic and supporting information is very strange.

    Good luck with your vendetta.

    1. The faulty logic here is yours . This is not a vendetta, its an attempt to make sense of the many facts that are inconsistent with the story thats been handed down about that Photo, that its a record of Ned Kelly beating Wild Wright in a sensational fight that resulted in Kelly being regarded as the unofficial Boxing Champion of the North East.One of the facts that you seem to have forgotten in your comparison with Ali, is that Kellys fight didnt happen in a clean boxing ring but out in the dust and the mud of a Beechworth yard – so not only was Kellys face unblemished, his clothes and all of the rest of his body was spotless.So either the image was a reenactment taken long after the fight was supposed to have happened, ny which time his face and his clothing had all b been cleaned up, or else it was taken just before the fight, but the problem with THAT suggestion is that nobody has found evidence that the Photographer, Chidley, was ever in Beechworth. Logic favours a view that the fight never happened and that the photo was a vanity project of a known self-obsessed boastful liar who fancied himself as a brawler.

  47. Anonymous says: Reply

    On the back of that in your view what is the book that you think tells the most factual history of Ned Kelly, because one thing I am sure your correct on is that the myth colours almost all of the historical accounts of the Ned Kelly story, if one exists?

    1. You still cant do better than read Ian MacFarlanes book, The Kelly Gang Unmasked. It requires effort and concentration as its very focussed and detailed. An easier read that as good is Grantlee Kiezas Mrs Kelly. Its actually about the entire outbreak, and covers much much more than just Ellen Kellys part in it. I used to recommend Ian Jones A Short Life but no longer do – its very cleverly written and a good read but is riddled with subtle lies and half truths and innuendo designed to convince you of a false view of the outbreak.

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