Friday, 20 May 2016

Two Years and 100,000 Visits later….


Its now exactly two years since this Blog started. Given that my two earlier attempts to provide an alternative to Kelly worship on the Internet had been sabotaged, I wasn’t sure how long this one would last, but here we are , two years later still going strong as the other places have mostly crumbled into irrelevancy. I cant claim all the credit for their demise but I am sure 'Death of the Legend Blog'  has contributed - its the only place in the world where challenging serious in-depth discussions about the Kelly story are taking place. The only two places still viable are Facebook pages. The Vault FB page and NK Central FB page are surviving because they have realised Kelly mythology is on the way out and they have adapted,  and begun to tolerate, if not promote suggestions that there might be another side to the kelly story. IO and the NKF haven’t adapted, and remain fixed in their belief that Kelly was a hero, the Police were to blame for everything that happened, and so like dinosaurs trapped in a swamp of their own making have died and are now virtually extinct. Their mythology is now becoming a historical curiosity.

Over the last two years I have learned two things about the Kelly world that particularly amazed me : the first was how little effort was needed to see through the Kelly myths, and the second was how unwilling Kelly sympathisers are to defend the essentials of their beliefs about Ned Kelly – apart from Fitzy of course, who at least made an attempt. However even he gave up almost a year ago, after antagonizing everyone else in the Kelly world with his  embarrassing failures.

The problem for Kelly sympathizers is that its inherently very difficult for them to defend something that’s easy to expose as a myth. Take Ned Kelly’s claim to have fired once and killed Lonigan: its easy to show that’s a lie because of the 4 bullet wounds in Lonigans body. To argue the opposite is much more difficult - that is why in less than a month we will have been waiting an entire year for Fitzy to make good on his claim to have worked out the way in which Ned Kellys single shot left Lonigan dead with four bullet wounds. Its just too difficult. He can’t do it.

Its easy to show that Ned Kelly was NOT Australias Robin Hood, because for one thing, as well as robbing from the rich - who inevitably had more things to steal - he robbed from the poor when they had something he wanted. For another, the only people who received money from him were people who were prepared to support and protect him, and they were mostly family and the closest friends.  Their poverty was beside the point but in typically misleading fashion the Kelly myth pretends it was everything. How hard can it be for Kelly sympathisers to defend the idea that Ned was Australia’s Robin Hood when Ian Jones posted a photo of Joe Byrne’s mother in a ‘fashionable dress undoubtedly bought with  proceeds of the Euroa or Jerilderie robberies’?  When the only records of  who was paying off debts and buying new clothes and saddlery after the Bank raids were Kelly family? Not a good look for the Robin Hood of Australia.

Its easy to show by looking carefully at each of the items on the charge sheets of Ned Kelly, of Dan Kelly and Jim Kelly, that police harassment and persecution was insignificant, and that the Kellys were NOT ‘police-made criminals’ as they claim. Its hard for the Kelly sympathisers to defend the idea that Kelly became what he did as a result of Police persecution when the police instruction that they claim proves their case wasn’t issued until 1877, and when you read it carefully it actually advocated leaving the Kellys alone. Its hard for the  Kelly sympathisers to claim the Kellys were persecuted unfairly when you discover how often charges against them were dropped, they received the benefit of often considerable doubt, sentences were remitted, and due process was followed to the letter of the law. Its hard for them to claim their arrests were Police harassment of them because they were Kellys, when Jim was arrested in NSW when he was living under an assumed name, Jim Wilson. Its hard for them to claim the Police had a policy of harassment from way back, when in the years that  Ned Kelly was supposed to be living inside the Law and working in legitimate employment, there is absolutely no record of any kind of police ‘harassment’ whatsoever. This historical fact makes it clear that those years when Ned Kelly went straight, he was left alone – the exact opposite of what would be expected if the Kelly myth about Kelly persecution was correct.  But it isn’t and the Kelly sympathisers cant and don’t defend it – its just too hard.

Seeing through the myth of the Republic of North East Victoria was child’s play. For a start Ned Kelly never ever mentioned it, and neither did any of his family or friends and supporters.  Not only that, Ned did actually say what motivated him – history writing is going to become impossible if it follows the lead of Kelly mythmakers who are suggesting that what REALLY motivated Ned was something he never mentioned, and NOT what he actually did mention. People have read ‘republican’ meanings into a very few words from the volumes of words that Ned spoke and wrote, and say that’s evidence but they’re clutching at straws.  They say nothing was said openly because it was  treason and a capital offence– but many other organisations and political activists had talked about it and not been executed! Another claimed ‘evidence’ for it is a rumour that some letters were taken from Ned at Glenrowan, and they may have included a statement about a Republic. It was supported by a claim that someone realized some time after seeing a document in the British Museum that it was actually a Declaration of a Republic of North east Victoria, but in 50 years of looking no-one else has ever seen it. The republic idea relies on stories told by an old man who admitted he would make things up to satisfy the people who pestered him with questions about the Outbreak, and he gave conflicting stories to different people. How can they defend a story based on ambiguous words in the Jerilderie letter, documents seen by one person fifty years ago and by nobody since, rumours and the memory of unreliable old men? Its just too hard, so they look the other way when I mention it on the Blog.

But its not just the big themes of the Kelly story that are fabrications. I have been amazed at how many minor details of the Kelly story  collapse with the slightest scrutiny. Theres one  about Kellys two day trial being rushed through – this claim was aired as long ago as 1967 at the famous Symposium on Ned Kelly where the Republic idea was revitalized. But  even though the idea that the trial was rushed was disproved at the symposium, its been repeated at every opportunity and parroted by every self appointed Kelly expert ever since. Remarkably, in the Beechworth Courthouse which every Kelly devotee makes a Pilgrimage to at least once in their life, visitors are informed that Murder trials lasted as little as half an hour on occasion. So much Kelly myth is just pure misinformation.

Ned Kelly is often paraded as some sort of innovator when it came to the style of his Bank robberies. Much is made of the fact that no shots were fired, hostages were given drink and food, and Ned Kelly treated women like a true gentleman. In fact these methods were copied from the style of other bushrangers of the time. – the “gentleman bushranger’ Harry Power was one of Neds earliest influences.  The technique was to parade yourself as friend of the poor bloke, avoid antagonising the mass of the ordinary people because you are going to need them later to give you food, shelter and intelligence about Police movements. As for firing no shots, this is simple testimony to the fear that was engendered by his notorious record of already having killed three policemen. Who was going to defy the same man waving a gun in their face? 

Sentimental nonsense is frequently written about Neds relationship with his mother. He is said to have been a devoted son, and he often claimed his hatred of the police originated from their treatment of her.  Despite Neds talk, in 1877 when Nicolson visited his mothers home, he found she was living in poverty and squalor, at the very time Ned was raking it in as a successful horse thief. He described himself as a ‘rambling gambler’ and was renowned for dressing in smart clothes and custom made expensive boots, travelling about the Colony partying, gambling and living it up when his mothers selection was neglected and she was living in squalor and poverty.  How can they defend the Kelly legend that Ned Kelly was a devoted son against facts like these? Its too hard, so they don’t.

Another one of the Kelly myths that dissolves readily if inspected closely, is the claim that the planning and execution of the robberies at Euroa and Jerilderie show that Ned would have made a great General.   These two successful Bank raids were the result of  Ned copying what other Bushrangers had done before him. Glenrowan, where he became a bit more adventurous and did his own thing was a disaster from the very start, when the vital element of secrecy was destroyed when Ned and Steve were forced to get help to rip up the railway line. The success of the whole plan was dependant on Police responding in certain ways and within a certain timeframe - critical elements beyond Neds control, elements that a real General would have eliminated so that he always had the upper hand. The iconic armour, Neds ‘greatest' achievement was so heavy and cumbersome it virtually immobilised the wearers, severely restricted their vision and ultimately proved useless, as Joe Byrne was overheard admitting during the siege. Once Police realised there was body armour hidden under Neds coat, they simply shot his legs out from under him. Any General who designed armour with such massive design faults, and a siege  which ended with three gang members dead and the General himself  on Death Row would never be called brilliant.   


What the Kelly devotees are hoping is that I will go away. They’ve destroyed some of my early endeavors to expose the myth in the real world, they’ve kicked me off  or made me most unwelcome on all their Forums and Facebook pages, they’ve attacked  and abused me on their own Forums, they’ve  tried to ignore me, expose me, block me from viewing their sites and even threatened to ‘visit' me (believeing they know who I am and where I live) The irony of course is that while they’ve been doing this, their own sites have collapsed and this Blog has bloomed! All they have left is to either defend their mythology, or bury their head in the sand and wait for me to go away. The easy choice is to bury their heads in the sand, so that’s what they’re doing. The other choice, to defend their mythology, is too hard. And would fail.

36 comments:

  1. Dear Dee Dee. Congratulations. You are indeed a survivor, if a little obsessive in your pursuit of respected and decent Kelly students. Beware though. Obsession is a Very. Bad Thing. It's like a virus. And then one day you wake up and there is nothing else in your life except for a Boba Fett like quest to see your adversaries destroyed. I gather you have quite a bit of time on your hands. Spare time is good. We all like to indulge in hobbies from time to time. But I fear that the demented vigour with which you seem to be operating with will be the death of you. Smell the roses sometimes. They are nice..

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    1. As I suspected Mark, you sound like some sort of damned hippy!

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    2. Dear Spudee. Bite me. Love Mark.

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    3. And a masochist to boot!

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  2. Dee, congratulations on the 100K and, perhaps, your most devastating blog so far. Brilliant!

    Mark has been a asp at your bosom for some time.

    Fitzy's main problem was his fundamental ignorance about Ned and the gang. As you know he has been wrongfully persecuting non-believers for many years.

    Dee if everything is as you say, it is time to move on to the pollies and publishers of Ned idolatry. I see the Aust govt's grovelling Ned webpage is still there. It is a national embarrassment. Drop a line to Big Mal!

    Forensic Psychiatrist Russ Scott has proved that Ned was a psychopath. There was something dreadfully wrong with the fellow.

    Keep up the excellent exposure of this national fraud...

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    1. Good Afternoon "Macca". "An asp at your bosom"? You are wordsmith. Nice. And possibly an interesting visual.. In fact, if you read what have been saying more carefully, you would have noted that I concur with a lot of what Dee says. It's just the method in which it is delivered is irksome to me at times. I just don't think it needs to be vengeful or nasty. Bless you though for your colourful turn of phrase.

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    2. For the record Ive never taken offence at anything Mark has written, and appreciate that he at least makes an effort to contribute something from the ‘other side’. Actually lately Ive started to worry he might suffer some sort of a backlash from all the other Kelly sympathisers who he has in the past been acquaintances and friends of. Some of them won’t be happy that he isn’t ignoring me like they are trying to. Remember what happened to Aaron?

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    3. Worry not Dee and friends. . I say it as I see it. Kind of endearing is it not? I am not sycophantic to any side. Something you blokes here would do well to remember. Ned was a prick at times, lazy, arrogant but also, as Sherritt said, "he was superhuman." (And often very decent.) Or Frank Harty: "Ned Kelly was the best best bloody man that has been on Benalla. I would fight up to my knees in blood for him"....Understand? There are two sides to everything. I am interested in both. I see good and bad on both sides. Please try to understand that before I start having to become really remedial...

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    4. Hi Mark, if you don't mind me asking, where did you see that quote from Frank Harty?

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    5. Hi Anon. Sorry, I thought Frank Hartys quote was well known. He was a respected irish farmer in Winton. His quote appears in a lot of the works on Kelly. Jones, Corfield, McMenomy etc.. It's a very colourful one but I got it slightly wrong, sorry. "Ned Kelly is the best bloody man that has been in Benalla. i would fight up to my knees in blood for him. I have known him for years. I would take his word more than another mans oath. " He was an alibi in court for Skillion during the Fitzpatrick trial. (and I think a truthful one..) Francis Harty died in Granville NSW in 1910. From what I have learnt, he appeared to be a feisty little bloke.

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    6. Thanks, can't believe I missed that in all my research, thanks again :)

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    7. cheers. You are welcome.

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  3. You smashed them.

    Bunkum needs to be unraveled.

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  4. Mark,

    Mark Anthony was the asp at Cleopatra's bosom...

    If you have discovered a way of breaking bad news pleasantly and gently, the loathesome, lazy pollies in Canberra will probably smother you with an Australian knighthood, and several orders of Australia.

    A bit more decorum in your comments would be appreciated.

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    1. Hi Macca. Sorry if you took offence. None meant. But I note you were OK to dump on Mick. Fitzy has excellent knowledge of the Kelly Saga. He gets a lot of bad press unfortunately. I am not totally pro Ned either. I see Neds bad points and black hearted moments and Fitzy has never dumped on me. I like the guy. He is very generous with his resources and knowledge.

      Every one of us has something to contribute. ("The powerful play goes on so that you may contribute a verse".) So perhaps your decorum comment was a smidge misplaced? Happy to talk to you at anytime in private. You can get my details easily.

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    2. Mark I don’t think its ‘unfortunate’ that your pal gets a lot of bad press in the Kelly world. I think its exactly what he has earned, by anonymously posting gross images with my name and other contributors names on them to my earlier forums, never ever contributing anything except destructive nastiness to them, starting up a page aimed solely at vilifying MacFarlanes book, and finally wrecking my Forums and boasting about doing so. Subsequently he mocked my Posts about SBC, declared he would prove me wrong and now nearly a year later all he has done is block me from commenting on the FB page where he attacks me, and still we wait for his SBC expose. I was surprised and delighted to read on that short lived SBC forum that at least there are SOME people among sympathiser ranks who disapproved and distanced themselves from all that obnoxious behaviour. Having said all that I agree everyone has some good in them somewhere but in some individuals and some contexts its very difficult to see any of it.

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    3. Hi Dee. I was not privy to the Forum Jar stuff so cant comment unfortunately. Fitzy has never done anything against me though. And I have been out spoken and disagreed with him before.

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  5. Dee, Congratulations on the 100k visit.
    Your analysis of Kelly history is exceptional and places you amongst the top Kelly writers.
    There's got to be a book in there somewhere Dee, so better strike while the www ebb tides are flowing out.

    I have been keeping track of your topic chapters now numbering 92, so wonder if your centurial posting will be your last.

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    1. Thanks Bill you’ve been a terrific contributor all along even though we disagree on many points. Because of your willingness to stick up for your point of view and state your case rather than just attack me or ignore me, I and everyone else who visits the Blog have learned all sorts of interesting stuff from you, and I thank you for being such a willing and interesting contributor. For your longstanding commitment to Kelly history, and for your dedication to historical truth, I hereby award you a Double Koala Stamp, and Bar! Well done and Congratulations!

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  6. The Kelly story is not as complicated as we thought it was thanks to you Dee. And I suppose we also need to acknowledge the work done by Ian McFarlane, Doug Morrissey and contributors to this blog like Stuart Dawson (the investigation into Fitzpatrick).

    The fact you called your website ‘Ned Kelly: Death of the Legend’ indicates you had a position on the man right from the get-go. That’s fine given the significant number of pro-Kelly websites. The difference is that you have investigated many of these myths and proven they have no substance. You have demonstrated the Kellys were not unfairly persecuted or driven to the point of madness as Ned said in his Jerilderie letter. On the contrary, you have shown Ned Kelly was a hardened criminal and possibly also a psychopath who, through the powers of his personality, had a hold over a group of like-minded criminals and border-line criminals, including within his own family.

    Your blogs have proven so much of what the ‘Legend’ was based on to have been false. Some have taken you to task for your efforts, but no-one has said you are wrong because you have backed up all that you have said with evidence that is indisputable. It is amazing that some of this evidence (e.g. some of the newspaper reports about Jim and Dan) had not previously been unearthed by local history groups or other researchers. On the other hand, it is now obvious that certain authors have misused other information or chosen to only use information which presented their subject in a favourable light. It makes me wonder what happened to some of those missing documents from the Public Records Office that did not show the Gang in such a favourable light (e.g. some of the threatening letters written by the Gang).

    My interest in the Kelly story has been largely driven by the ‘duality’ – the fact that Ned could be regarded as a villain by some and a hero by others. I have spent a lot of time reading books on the subject trying to get to the bottom of this mystery, but your blogs have to a large extent resolved this.

    The way the myth developed now seems obvious to me. The inability of the police to capture the gang after the Stringybark Creek murders led to the force receiving bad press and to the Gang’s exploits being glamorised. The exact same thing happened in the USA with the James-Younger Gang. The glamorisation in turn seems to have influenced the position taken by J J Kenneally in his “Inner History of the Kelly Gang” (which I now think is an atrocious piece of work), with this position then being adopted as the truth, and in some cases embellished, by a succession of subsequent authors including Max Brown (whose book is at least well written and a good read) through to Ian Jones’ “A Short Life”. Obviously Kelly family friends and associates were beneficiaries of this glamorisation and would not be in a hurry to let the real truth be known.

    I think it is time now for you to translate what you have done through this blog into a book.

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    1. Thanks Peter, I have had lots of help and encouragement from people like you and Bill, Sharon, Spudee, Stuart Dawson, Brian Mark and others and I really have appreciated it all. What I have been doing is quite simple really - just looking at what is already accessible out there and thinking about it from a fresh perspective. You’re not the only person who has been trying to get me to write a Book but thats a different thing altogether from doing a Blog. Maybe next year...

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    2. I too would like to see a book Dee. I would consider yours on important contribution on the Kelly shelves. (minus the emotion of course..)

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  7. I would also like to add my congratulations on what has been a terrific achievement. I'm not just talking about the number of visits to your blog, although that in itself is quite something, but to the quality of the work you produce here. While some may see your views as biased, I would dispute that view in the face of the evidence you are able to elicit. You often call on the naysayers to put up or shut up and in this respect, the cupboard is bare. Interestingly, the obvious success of your blog is in sharp contrast to those sites and Facebook pages once haunted by the dyed-in-the-wool Kelly mythologists. These have, to a large extent, been abandoned. That alone speaks volumes and gives us realists some hope that one day the truth of the Kelly story will find a wider audience. Well done!

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  8. Mark, I thought Dee was remarkably restrained in her comments about time-wasting internet serial pest Fitzy. Although I have never met the fellow, I disagree that he is knowledgeable about Ned and the gang. His modest overall contribution was to conclude that being born in Australia, Ned probably didn't speak with an Irish accent. Exceedingly obvious as this was, it probably needed to be said.

    I daresay we will run into one another some day. I live far from overcrowded Melb and don't like going there anymore.

    Dee, the book is mainly a cut=and-paste job. Bill has just indicated the size of the job, but those 92 blogspot 'chapters' can be severely edited to exclude less interesting stuff. You'll need a publisher too.

    Go to it!

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    1. We all have our place in the Kelly world Macca. You, me, Fitzy, Dee, Spudee, Sharon (her silence here is deafening..), Bill, Peter . The Powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?

      I note too that you compared me to a venomous snake a few posts ago. That's not very nice is it? A bit more decorum in your comments would be appreciated. (wink..) Love Mark.

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  9. Mark, on a blog called 'Death of a Legend', how on earth can Dee contribute to it without voicing the strongest of criticisms. She has done a splendid job of dissecting the myths. To use softer language would make her sound like Malcolm Turnbull or Bill Shortie, or any of the pollies who have wrecked the country.

    She is entitled to use the strongest terms to express her opinion without worrying about the sensibilities of Kelly sycophants. They've had a fair go. Now its Dee's turn.

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    1. Hello Macca. Good Afternoon.

      Dee has done a very good job. As I have said many times. But I think a little less arrogance and ceasing a seeming vendetta against other Kelly students by a perceived Johnny come lately wouldn't hurt.

      I believe Dee Dee is guilty of baiting me and others at times. But it looks like I am the only idiot to answer back. But my will to do so is waining. The info here is very good. But do not consider Kelly a hero as Dee well knows. Yet that is the baity comment she/he banged up on facebook.

      Anyway, enough from me, as I slide off into the undergrowth.. Hisssssssss......

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    2. Mark I have been so busy of late that I haven’t had a chance to sort out your issues. I am not ‘baiting’ anyone but expressing my views ab challenging others who have different views. In regard to you believing Ned was a Hero, perhaps you are right and I am wrong, but I had the view that you regarded him as a hero AND a villain, a complex man with some heroic quantities and some serious flaws. But I didnt mean to put you entirely with in the ‘hero’ camp in that discussion about Monis. However you did say there was no way these two could be compared, and I cant see why its invalid to compare them, because in some respects they were similar, at least in their methods if nothing else. So would you call yourself some sort of sympathiser?

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  10. Hi Dee, congratulations on 2 years of existence. My interest in the latest Kelly news was piqued when a mate of mine recommended I read Peter Fitzsimons book. I had some knowledge of the Kelly story prior to that reading and was appalled at the bias, lack of objectivity and plain fabrications contained in that 'novel'.

    It spurred me to look further and that's when I came across Ian McFarlanes book, your blog and finally Doug Morrisons work. All have been great contributors to a more balanced and factual account of the life and times of Ned Kelly and his cohorts. Well done.

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    1. Hi Mike. Good to meet you. Other good works to consider are McQuilton, Castles, McMenomy, Jones, Passey. Happy reading one of the most colourful stories in Oz history. .

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  11. Thanks Mark, already read 4 of those 5. Will chase up Passey.

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  12. Mike Jones, that was my experience too. FitzSimmons book was a long-winded regurgitation of past accounts that Dee is systematically demolishing. MacFarlane and Morrissey brought detailed, modern archival research. Australia owes them a huge 'Thank you'!

    Me too!

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  13. I'm nearly OK with Mark's recommended reading, but Castles never reached a conclusion, and Ian Jones came up with his body straps nonsense and some other wrinkles. McMenomy once towered above all until his second edition with the disputed Ned Kelly cover.

    This is a continuing debacle, I mean debate. It is clear that future publications will need to acknowledge the recent books and journals and not rely on now disputed and discredited past books.

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    1. Can I also suggest Kelvyn Gills: Edward Kelly: The Historical Record."

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    2. Jerry Crowford29 May 2016 at 21:38

      I couldn't afford that book, In terms of size it was probably good value. Is it true that there was no context or narrative to the archival documents?

      [An aside] Kel is a proponent of the Kelly Tree as being the site of the police murders at SBC in 1878. On a relatively recent forum about SBC. I was struck by his endless loquacity and occasional rudeness to Bill and others.

      Mark, perhaps you can say why you recommended this book.

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