Saturday 27 September 2014

Site Review: NKF


In my deleted forum, I had planned to present an overview of the various Internet Sites that currently exist, as a sort of Guide to what was available out there and what to watch out for. So I shall start again.

One of the easiest to find using your search engine is of course the Ned Kelly Forum, a place set up within the last couple of years. The Clue to what you will find there is contained on the welcome page, where the NKF is described as a "Pro" Ned Kelly and a "celebration". The Forum contains many discussions about a large variety of topics that are mostly peripheral to the core elements of the Kelly story, such things as members favourite Kelly songs, books and movies, discussions about the annual Ned Kelly Weekend at Beechworth, and items that appear in the news from time to time.

The most recent discussions have been about some old gates that were purported to have come from the old Melbourne gaol, the site of Neds execution. In fact as the material presented makes clear, there is not a scrap of evidence linking the gates to the Old Melbourne gaol and nobody has any idea where they came from. The source of that claim has been completely discredited because it also said the gates were erected in 1937 when in fact they were erected in 1930. Never-the-less the post is entitled "Old Melbourne Gaol gates at the Frankston Oval" and a couple of members seem to think that this has now been established and heartily thanked the person who brought this to their attention. Having said all that, it was an interesting discussion that showed how rumours and misinformation can be incorporated into accepted history, and that very careful research is needed to uncover the truth. This is a lesson that I think most of the NKF will have missed but is very relevant to the search for the truth about all historical claims, and no less important in the search for the real Ned Kelly.

The Gates at the Frankston Oval
In addition to the publicly accessible threads they have a Private Members Only thread not accessible to non-members . Security and the identity of members is a preoccupation of the people who run the site, and recently everyone was forced to change their passwords because it was thought that someone leaked another members phone number. Anyone who didn't change their password was immediately relegated to the status of Contributor rather than Member and would no longer have access to the secret Members Only area.

To me this preoccupation with identity and with secrecy seems quite paranoid. It is clear from the History of the site that members with alternative viewpoints are quickly set upon by the resident Bully and either resign or get expelled. There was a thread devoted to the Kelly Gang Unmasked book when it was first released but contributors who defended the book - as I would have - were expelled, and the thread removed, but there are still traces of what happened to be found at various places. For that sort of reason, and also because of the sort of vile attacks on me and other posters to my forum made online by pro-kelly people in the past, I would never consider joining such a Forum where people who have been proven to be vile internet pests can have free access to my identity and email. In my previous Forum I described the NKF as the North Korea of the Kelly World - and I still see it as an apt description, because it is a place where there is expected to be unquestioning acceptance and devotion to the dear Leader, a readiness to censor, delete and expel dissidence, a deep fear and distrust of "outsiders" and a rigid enforcement of ideology to keep the world of the NKF calm and free of controversy. Its worth a visit, but after a while the endless back slapping and hearty birthday wishes and trivial discussions becomes tedious.

Thursday 25 September 2014

The "Self Defence" Plea : what really happened at Stringybark Creek?

It may seem a bit pointless to ask what really happened at Stringybark Creek - everyone knows the Kelly Gang ambushed a Police party of four who were out searching for the gang and three of the Policemen were shot and killed.

The important thing to remember however is that this was the central event of the Kelly story, the action that ultimately resulted in Ned Kelly being found guilty of murder and hanged, and yet, Kelly sympathizers then and still today maintain that this was a miscarriage of justice, that the trial was a travesty and that Ned Kelly shouldn’t have been found guilty. They believe his claim that he killed in self defence, that it was either kill or be killed by corrupt Police. Of all things to do with the “Kelly outbreak”, this is the watershed event about which Kelly supporters disagree most with just about everyone else in Australia – either you regard Kelly as a police murderer who received his just deserts, or you regard him as a martyr and a victim of corrupt Police and Government, unjustly convicted and wrongly executed.

So how can it be pointless to ask again, what really happened at Stringybark Creek? Was Ned Kellys claim of killing in self defence credible, and would he really be likely to escape conviction if he were tried in a modern court and be defended by someone other than a novice lawyer, as some claim?

Now firstly I am not a lawyer and have had no training of any kind in the Law, but I can Google and I can read and I can think, so I am going to put my thoughts onto paper – well “e”-paper – and I will be interested in others thoughts and responses.

Firstly I have learned that in modern English law ‘self defence”  can be a complete and sufficient defence against a charge of murder. Not only that, it is not necessary for the defendant to wait to be attacked before responding –
Lord Griffith said in Beckford v R [1988] AC 130: "A man about to be attacked does not have to wait for his assailant to strike the first blow or fire the first shot; circumstances may justify a pre-emptive strike."Read more: Self Defence | Criminal Law Cases | Law Teacher

Furthermore, its not necessary for a defendants belief that he is under threat to be reasonable or valid – his belief may be entirely mistaken, yet still be acceptable as part of his defence :

In Beckford v R (1988), the defendant police officer shot dead a suspect, having been told that he was armed and dangerous, because he feared for his own life. The prosecution case was that the victim had been unarmed and thus presented no threat to the defendant. The trial judge directed the jury that the defendant's belief in the need to shoot in self-defence had to be both honest and reasonable. In rejecting this direction, the Privy Council approved the approach in Williams. Lord Griffiths commented that juries should be given the following guidance: "Whether the plea is self-defence or defence of another, if the defendant may have been labouring under a mistake as to facts, he must be judged according to his mistaken belief of the facts: that is so whether the mistake was, on an objective view, a reasonable mistake or not." 

What this all means for Ned Kellys trial, if it were held today under English Law – and as far as I can tell Australian law is much the same - is that its not necessary to prove that the police  really were going there to kill him, as Kelly always claimed.  Even if you could prove that they were NOT planning to kill him – which is the likely truth – that wouldn’t be enough to invalidate the “self defence” claim because all that’s necessary is for Kelly to claim that he BELIEVED they were. And that belief doesn’t have to be reasonable or evidence based. But it does have to be genuinely believed, and this is one thing a Jury will need to be convinced of.

Sympathizers these days don’t seem to have understood this point  as they still try to prove by various circumstantial means that the Police were actually planning to kill Kelly on sight. They claim for example that the Police were “disguised” – though the Gang had no trouble at all in identifying them; that the guns and ammunition they took could only have meant they were planning murder; that the Police took along the 19th century equivalent of body bags, specially made  “body straps”; that certain Police had vowed to kill Kelly on site then claim there had been a confrontation – and so on.

None of this is necessary – all that has to be claimed is that for whatever reason, however reasonable or unreasonable, Kelly believed his life was directly threatened, and that he had a right to strike pre-emptively, and shoot Lonigan. And for that matter the others as well.

So if Ned Kelly was tried again, the challenge for the defence would be to convince a Jury that Kelly genuinely believed he was about to be killed and so responded in a pre-emptive strike.  Kelly wouldn’t even have to claim that all he was planning to do was deprive the Police of their guns and horses. A successful “self defence” argument would at least reduce his possible conviction from murder to manslaughter, or even acquittal. No doubt a good defence would include the claims about the armaments the Police were carrying, the leather straps and the plain clothes, the failure to bring the actual arrest warrants and the reported comments by Inspector Brooke-Smith that he would shoot Ned Kelly then lie about the sequence of events. All of these alleged facts, whether true or untrue could be seen as contributing to Kellys view, however mistaken it may have been, that the Police really were coming to kill him. The defence would possibly elicit from McIntyre his reported conversation with Ned Kelly that Kelly said he hadn’t planned to shoot anyone, that he could have done so easily from his hiding place in the spear grass, and his one-time claim that Lonigan ran rather than surrendered and was reaching for his gun. Kellys defence would be that he had to disarm the Police or else he would be killed,  and he used lethal force to do so only because the police didn’t react the way he ordered them to.

The prosecution on the other hand would set out to try to convince the Jury that the “self defence” argument was merely a device to try to escape from a murder conviction, and that Ned Kelly approached the Police camp intending to kill them. They would remind the Jury that after the “blackballing” incident Ned Kelly had publically vowed to kill Lonigan, they would quote Ned Kellys threat from the Jerilderie Letter that anyone not obeying an outlaws orders would be speedily dispatched to “Kingdom Come”. They would probably get the post mortem report that casts grave doubt on Kellys version of events – it showed Lonigan had been shot three or four times not just once as Kelly claimed, they would no doubt mention the rifling of the dead mans possessions and suggest robbery was part of the reason for the killings and no doubt they would claim that what happened to Scanlan and especially to Kennedy, who was chased through the bush and killed, demonstrated the motive was to kill, not to defend. In modern Law it is not regarded as self defense to kill someone fleeing – I read of a case where the victims chasing after a violent rapist and killing him was not regarded as a killing in “self defense’ but as murder, though perhaps “self defense” may have been accepted if the killing had occurred during the attack.

I came across a transcript of a mock “retrial” of Ned Kelly staged by the Victorian Bar association in August 2000.  In fact there are two such transcripts so the Bar Assosciation must have run this mock trial twice that month, and they were broadcast on the ABC’s Law Report. The actual Lawyers playing the role of defense counsel attacked McIntyres testimony, saying there were inconsistencies between the various accounts he gave, and therefore he could not be believed. He also suggests somewhat obliquely that the wound in Lonigans left thigh had been caused by Lonigan himself, attempting to undermine the suggestion that Kellys testimony of having only fired one shot was itself false. The defines were trying to show that Lonigan went for his gun and thereby  Kelly was forced to shoot him or be shot himself. In fact, even if all Lonigan had done was run for cover, if Kelly had already formed a view that Lonigan and the rest of the Police party was there to kill him, the self defence plea wold still be valid. In any event, the audiences apparently acquitted Ned in both mock trials.

From an Australian Legal firms website we have this description of the Principles for a defence of  “Self Defence” :

There are two questions to be answered by the Court when self defense is raised:
1. Is there a reasonable possibility that the accused believed that his or her conduct was necessary in order to defend himself or herself and,
2. if there is, is there also a reasonable possibility that what the accused  did was a reasonable response to the circumstances as he or she perceived them

The first question is determined by a completely subjective point of view considering the personal characteristics of the accused at the time they carried out the conduct

The second question is determined by an entirely OBJECTIVE assessment of the proportionality of the accused response to the situation the accused subjectively believed they faced

The accused need not have reasonable grounds for their belief that it was necessary to act in the way they did in order to defend themselves as the common law required. It is sufficient that the accused genuinely holds that belief

The jury is not assessing the response of the reasonable person but the response of the accused. In making that assessment it is obvious that some of the personal attributes of the accused will be relevant just as will be some of the surrounding physical circumstances in which the accused acted. So matters such as the age of the accused his or her gender or the state of his or health may be regarded by the Jury.

Where the accused’s conduct involved the infliction of death and was not a reasonable response in the circumstances but the accused believed the conduct necessary to defend himself to prevent the unlawful deprivation of his liberty, the accused may be found guilty of manslaughter.

If I was on the Jury I would probably form the opinion that Ned Kelly did indeed believe the Police were there to kill him. I would regard this belief of his as more or less without foundation but explicable in terms of what is known of the accused from reading his Jerilderie Letter, and learning about his background and his personality and his state of mind  - it was such that his obsessional hatred of Police convinced him of this delusional belief, and therefore he killed believing it was in self defense. If it were up to me, he would have been convicted of  the manslaughter rather than murder of Constable Lonigan.

An often overlooked and seldom mentioned fact about the Stringybark Creek killings is that Kelly was never tried for the killing of  Scanlan or of Sergeant Kennedy. If he was, in the case of Kennedy I would not have accepted “self defense” as his justification for murdering the fleeing policeman. For that death, he would have to be convicted of Murder.

So he would have been hanged anyway!

Friday 19 September 2014


Lets state it bluntly : Ned Kellys plan for Glenrowan was to create a bloodbath. If carried out in modern times such an act would appropriately be called terrorism. 

His plan was to firstly murder Aaron Sherrit in the expectation that this would result in Police being sent by train from Melbourne. Just think about that for a minute - a man who Ian Jones says wasn't ruthless enough arranged for an old friend to be murdered in cold blood as a prelude to Kellys "colonial stratagem for Glenrown! But this is indeed what happened – Joe and Dan murdered their former friend at the front door of his home, and after some delays, a trainload of Police headed north from Melbourne. 

Next the plan was to derail the train and , wearing protective armour suits made over previous months, slaughter any survivors. Try to imagine what a merciless horror show that would have been - faceless men in armour picking their way through the mangled wreckage of a train wreck, killing the trapped wounded and maimed and half dead survivors, while the innocent women, the train drivers and horses bled to death or died from their wounds. 

But, in a nutshell, that was the Plan.

The intent of the well known imprisonment of hostages at the Glenrowan Inn, was to prevent anyone from warning the train of the carnage lying ahead. The Gang had assistance with this by secret inclusion among the hostages of a number of “sympathisers The armour was supposed to be used at the site of the train wreck, not at the Inn but this part of the plan failed because as we all know, Thomas Curnow tricked Kelly into letting him go. Bravely and despite grave threats to the lives of his family and himself, Curnow subverted the entire plot by stopping the train from continuing to its destruction on the other side of Glenrowan. The Police then surrounded the Inn and a prolonged shootout followed - Ned Kelly was captured and the other gang members were killed along with a couple of the gangs innocent hostages. Far fewer innocent lives were lost than would have been the case if the gangs plot had unfolded the way they intended. 

These facts about what happened at Glenrowan are more or less undisputed. What’s hotly disputed however is the question of motive. Had Ned Kelly’s hatred of Police and his fury at their treatment of his family reached such white hot intensity that all he wanted was revenge, to go on a rampage and kill as many cops as he could? Thats the scenario that fits all the known facts. Or was there something more to it? 

In his book “The True Story of Ned Kellys Last Stand” Paul Terry has these things to say in Chapter two: “When Ned Kelly and his gang held Glenrowan hostage in June 1880 they were committing more than a crime. They were trying to start an uprising, perhaps a full-blooded revolution., to create a republic of north eastern Victoria” 
And later : “…(Ned Kellys) plan for the uprising at Glenrowan was horrifying. Backed into a corner he was plotting the mass murder of two dozen people in a train crash and with it a call to take up arms against the government.” For Paul Terry, there is no doubt about it, and he presents it as established fact – Glenrowan was all about an uprising, a rebellion against the Government and the establishment of a republic of North East Victoria. 

Ian Jones, the Kelly authority second to none, is a little more careful: “To break the railway line on the high curve past Glenrowan, sending the Police train and its men and animals down to their destruction in the gully bed behind the locomotive, plunging like a comet, was perhaps another symbol. If it was, it was also an act of war. It had to be or it would be simply mass murder” Elsewhere Jones describes the Glenrowan incident as “madness” – unless of course its inspiration was some higher political vision, and in another place “The Glenrowan campaign is inexplicable without the central carefully obscured fact of the republic” 

By saying that the “fact” of the Republic was “carefully obscured” Jones creates a licence for himself to invent and then “reveal” from its obscurity anything he likes. The obvious example is his investment of the term “colonial stratagem” with republican meanings that disappear when the term is looked at in proper context. 

Another example is this: “One Police agent broke the inner circle of sympathizers and heard about the armor being made though he failed to learn of the republic” NOT hearing anyone talking about a republic is turned on its head by Jones to bolster a view that not only was such talk taking place but it was such a closely guarded secret that a person who “broke the inner circle of sympathizers” heard nothing about it. The much simpler explanation that doesn’t suit Jones is that the spy heard nothing about a Republic because it wasn’t a topic that anybody was talking about. 

The real problem here is that Jones just doesnt want to accept what is obvious even to him, that Ned Kellys plan for Glenrowan was indeed madness and was indeed intended to be mass murder. This reluctance leads him to invent an explanation that leaves his fondness for Ned Kelly undiminished – by sleight of hand a man planning mass murder is transformed into a visionary, a leader and a man of ideas and destiny. In fact, when you think carefully about it, there is something absurd in the suggestion that these two personalities– the visionary and the mass murderer – could reside in the one man – unless he was mad. 

The reality is however that in spite of Jones optimistic hope, there is no evidence that the visionary ever existed. As we have seen in our detailed analysis of the Jerilderie letter, it does not contain, contrary to Jones assertion, "…..the only available fragments of a rebel manifesto that underlay his attempt to proclaim a republic in the north-east.” In fact  as was shown in the detailed line by line review of the Jerilderie Letter, it contains nothing about the republic and is not a manifesto. These assertions can only be made by cherry-picking bits from here and there and quoting things in isolation from their context, and by illegitimately ascribing meanings to words and phrases to try to make a case. Nowhere does Ned Kelly discuss a rebellion or a Republic or an uprising – his talk of “a colonial stratagem” is about as near as it gets but that could have a dozen different meanings. 

The problem for Ian Jones and Paul Terry is that its not as if Ned Kelly had very little to say, and we have to sift through scraps of conversation or writing to try to discern his innermost thoughts and ideas. On the contrary Ned Kelly had LOTS to say, not just in the Jerilderie letter but directly to hostages during Bank Robberies and at Glenrowan and in other letters and interviews after his capture – NOWHERE does he talk about a revolution or a Republic or make reference to the wider community, or the poor in general. What he talks about is himself and his family, and it is clear from the Jerilderie letter that Neds family, and particularly his perception of the police treatment of his mother, along with his explosive hatred of the Police that motivates him. These intense personal obsessions are more than enough to explain the “madness” of Glenrowan. 

Interestingly, Jones quotes something attributed to Ned that supports this notion perfectly. “Ned claimed there was an alternative plan: capture the leaders of the Police and take them into the bush and allow the superintendent to write to the head of department and inform them that if they send any more Police after me or try to rescue him I would shoot him and that I intended to keep them prisoners until the release of my mother, Skillion and Williamson” In another statement of the plan “I was determined to capture Superintendent O’Hare , O’Connor and the blacks for the purpose of exchange of prisoners” This statement attributed to Ned - but unsourced in Jones book (A Short Life)- is as clear an indication of what his thinking was in relation to Glenrowan as any, anywhere: it was about family. His “colonial stratagem” was about obtaining liberty and justice for the sufferring "innocents", his mother and the others imprisoned after the “Fitzpatrick” incident. 

When it comes to understanding Glenrowan, what we have is mountains of evidence that Kellys preoccupations were with family and with corrupt Police whom he came to see as an enemy, and he formulated a mad plan to trap and kill as many of them as he could at Glenrowan in the vain hope that somehow this would result in freedom for his mother, perhaps by a prisoner exchange. He didn’t say anything about a Republic, nobody reported that he talked about a republic, he didn’t dictate anything about a Republic either before or after Glenrowan, and the claims made decades later about such a thing have nothing to support them, other than assertions made by old men, about notebooks and a document that no-one has seen in over 50 years of searching. To put it plainly there is no actual direct evidence anywhere that Ned Kelly ever thought about, let alone had a plan for a Republic of North East Victoria. 

And yet, Paul Terry has this to say “Today we still argue whether the plan was a declaration of war or a terrorist plot” The reason there is still a debate is because there are still people who in spite of the facts are unwilling to believe that Ned Kelly was not a visionary and a leader of men and a worthy role model and Icon. To their dismay when they look at Glenrowan, they see “madness” and “mass murder” - they have no option but to create an imaginary motivation for Ned , something that leaves them still feeling good about him but which has nothing concrete to support it. If you want to assert things about Ned Kelly for which there is no evidence, then you can assert anything – you could say with equal authority that Ned Kelly was planning to design and build the first airplane – theres no evidence for that either. But please don't talk to me about Ned Kelly and the republic of North east Victoria - that idea never entered his head.

Wednesday 17 September 2014

The Jerilderie Letter : Conclusions

One of the many remarkable things about the Jerilderie Letter is that the original document has been preserved, having come to light when it was donated anonymously to the State Library of Victoria as recently as 2000. The actual words had not been lost – a state copy of them was presented at Ned Kellys trial but not tendered as evidence, a Melbourne  Newspaper reprinted this text in 1930 and Max Brown, who coined the term The Jerilderie Letter, included it in his 1948 publication “Australian Son”. The actual letter however had been in the custody of its anonymous donors family for generations, and then latterly under the guardianship of Ian Jones, who was ultimately instrumental in facilitating its donation to the Library. 

Later that year, in its Journal, an article about the Letter appeared, authored unsurprisingly by Ian Jones, a man oft cited as the “doyen” of the Kelly  world, and a man rightly respected for his vast knowledge and his authoritative book on the   subject, “Ned Kelly : A short Life” – its my own favorite. However, the problem with Ian Jones is that his boyhood fantasy about Ned Kelly that he was “perhaps the greatest hero who ever lived” has remained with him almost unaltered, and this is nowhere more obvious than in his discussion of the Jerilderie Letter.  This is his summary of the Letter, taken from his article in the La Trobe Journal, Spring Edition,2000

“The Jerilderie Letter is a 7500-word document, handwritten on 56 pages of notepaper about the size of a video cassette. It is written in the first person and begins: ‘Dear Sir, I wish to acquaint you with some of the occurrences of the present past and future.’
The ‘occurrences’ reach from the brutal crushing of the 1798 Irish rebellion, on through the dark years of Australia's convict system in the early 1800s, and into the writer's present day with a bitter 1870s land war between struggling small farmers and big landholders who had the police as their all-powerful allies. All in a time of bad seasons, severe recession, unemployment and political chaos. Then, at last, on to a future where the writer promises a bright, new day for all those who have suffered the injustices of the past and the present”

Later he writes “It is a unique artifact of the Kelly Outbreak. It is a significant and deceptively complex literary work. It is the closest thing we have to an autobiography of Ned Kelly. It contains the only available fragments of a rebel manifesto that underlay his attempt to proclaim a republic in the north-east.”

You would have to think he was reading a different Jerilderie letter to the one everyone else reads to accept that description of it as anywhere near accurate. Jones has elsewhere declared that Glenrowan was “madness “ – unless some sort of Republican or other political agenda was in play. He is unable to accept that it was just “madness” plain and simple, just as  where he ascribes unpalatable bloodthirsty sentiment in the Jerilderie letter to  the influence of Joe Byrne whom he describes as “a  killer” Again, he is unable to acknowledge the inconvenient truths about Ned Kelly, that he may have been “mad” – as Wild Wright always claimed – and a bloodthirsty revengeful hate filled rebel rather than a noble reformer, which is Jones preferred image.

In my opinion to describe the letter as some sort of historical survey beginning with the Irish rebellion of 1798 that then sweeps through hardship and oppression of pioneering Victoria to “a bright new day for all those who have suffered the injustices of the past and present” is to completely misrepresent it. As is revealed in my 4 earlier posts dissecting the letter in detail it is predominantly about Ned Kelly and his justifications for what has taken place, it is intensely personal and focused on himself, his family, and his hatred of authority and the Police. There is nothing in it about the wider community, except in passing, it is completely devoid of mature insight and reflection, no sign of remorse or regret and there is nothing about proclaiming a republic in the north-east. Given this egregious misrepresentation of the Letter, and coming from someone of the stature of Ian Jones, its easy to see why the idea persists to the present that Ned Kelly was a heroic figure, and the Jerilderie Letter is some sort of founding political document.

Jones is right however to describe the Letter as the closest thing we have to Neds autobiography, but my reading of it doesn’t paint a picture of an Icon or a revolutionary leader in the making. Rather, as I have demonstrated it paints a picture of a man who as an adult was obsessed by an exaggerated sense of indignation and moral outrage at the things that happened to his family, who was completely lacking in any ability to reflect and be self-critical about the present or his past, who was in denial about his own ill-judged contributions to his and his families fate and never accepted responsibility for anything, and who became obsessed with a hatred for police and authority that resulted in murders and would have resulted in many more if he hadn’t been stopped at Glenrowan. All this is somewhat naively revealed by Ned Kelly in the Letter, but it is heavily camouflaged by its colourful language the witty turn of phrase, the use of caricature and hyperbole, and it has to be said the occasional grain of truth. Too many commentators have been bewitched by the side-show.

That he was a charismatic charming physically powerful imposing and flamboyant character who had a way with words is undoubted – indeed if he had just been a bloodthirsty bushranger without that colourful human dimension to his personality he would only be remembered as another undistinguished murderous bushranger like all the others.

Saturday 13 September 2014

The Jerilderie Letter: Part V

John Martin "The Seventh Plague" 1823
The rest of the Jerilderie letter, another 1600 words, could reasonably be called a “rant” by Ned Kelly. The letter began with a reasonably dispassionate, though self serving account of a couple of events from Kellys earlier life, but steadily becomes more and more fervent and emotional as he warms to his twin themes of Police corruption and the injustices of his families mistreatment at their hands. Finally he gives up on any attempt at telling anything more about his story and instead abandons himself to an angry unrestrained and hyperbolic attack on authority and the Police, and anyone who might support them. He singles out Irish police in particular, describing them as cowards and traitors to their “country ancestors and religion” because they
“…deserted the shamrock, the emblem of true wit and beauty to serve under a flag and nation that has destroyed massacreed and murdered their fore-fathers by the greatest of torture as rolling them down hill in spiked barrels pulling their toe and finger nails and on the wheel. and every torture imaginable more was transported to Van Diemand's Land to pine their young lives away in starvation and misery among tyrants worse than the promised hell itself all of true blood bone and beauty, that was not murdered on their own soil, or had fled to America or other countries to bloom again another day, were doomed to Port Mcquarie Toweringabbie norfolk island and Emu plains and in those places of tyrany and condemnation many a blooming Irishman rather than subdue to the Saxon yoke Were flogged to death and bravely died in servile chains but true to the shamrock and a credit to Paddys land”
This is powerful emotive language, an appeal to Irish patriotism, and an expression of resentments that many Irish would agree with. He’s on a roll but still manages to interrupt the flow to boast about himself and his ability to injure and defeat Policemen in a brawl, something which he thinks makes him a better man
“The Queen must surely be proud of such herioc men as the Police and Irish soldiers as It takes eight or eleven of the biggest mud crushers in Melbourne to take one poor little half starved larrakin to a watch house.
I have seen as many as eleven, big & ugly enough to lift  Mount Macedon out of a crab hole more like the species of a baboon or Guerilla than a man actually come into a court house and swear they could not arrest one eight stone larrakin and them armed with battens and neddies without some civilians assistance and some of them going to the hospital from the affects of hits from the fists of the larrakin and the Magistrate would send the poor little Larrakin into a dungeon for being a better man than such a parcel of armed curs”
Next he makes blood-curdling threats to any person who may assist the police in their endeavours to track him down:
"I have never interefered with any person unless they deserved it, and yet there are civilians who take firearms against me, for what reason I do not know, unless they want me to turn on them and exterminate them without medicine. I shall be compelled to make an example of some of them if they cannot find no other employment If I had robbed and plundered ravished and murdered everything I met young and old rich and poor. the public could not do any more than take firearms and Assisting the police as they have done, but by the light that shines pegged on an ant-bed with their bellies opened their fat taken out rendered and poured down their throat boiling hot will be fool to what pleasure I will give some of them and any person aiding or harbouring or assisting the Police in any way whatever or employing any person whom they know to be a detective or cad or those who would be so deprived as to take blood money will be outlawed and declared unfit to be allowed human buriel their property either consumed or confiscated and them theirs and all belonging to them exterminated off the face of the earth, the enemy I cannot catch myself I shall give a payable reward for"
These apalling threats of torture and extermination “off the face of the earth” demonstrate yet again Kellys tendency to regard violence as means to an end.
Also remarkable in this paragraph is his almost pathologically delusional belief in his innocence, something expressed again in the next paragraph where he embarks on a character assassination of Superintendent Smith, but says
“if there is any one to be called a murderer regarding Kennedy, Scanlan and Lonigan it is that mis-placed poodle he gets as much pay as a dozen good troopers”
It seems to particularly bug Kelly that the senior officers get better pay than troopers,
“send the men that gets big pay and reconed superior to the common police after me and you shall soon save the country of high salaries to men that is fit for nothing else but getting better men than him self shot and sending orphan children to the industrial school to make prostitutes and cads of them for the Detectives and other evil dis-posed persons.
“Send the high paid and men that received big salaries for years in a gang by themselves after me, As it makes no difference to them but it will give them a chance of showing whether they are worth more pay than a common trooper or not and I think the Public will soon find they are only in the road of good men and obtaining money under false pretences”
He then returns briefly to the killings at Stringybark Creek, saying that McIntyre was not a coward because he surrendered, but
“…it was cowardice that made Lonigan and the others fight it is only foolhardiness to disobey an outlaw as any Police-man or other man who do not throw up their arms directly as I call on them knows the consequence which is a speedy dispatch to Kingdom Come,..”
Statements like that were probably part of the reason Kellys defence counsel refused to enter the letter as evidence in his trial – how damaging would it have been for the Court to hear that Kellys view was that ANYONE who didn’t do exactly as he ordered would receive “a speedy dispatch to Kingdom Come,..”- exactly what happened at Stringybark Creek and nothing at all to do with “self defence”
Again, violence as a means to an end.
Finally, we come to another of those passing statements of Ned Kelly which some have tried to inflate into evidence that Kelly had a nobler agenda, and a grand plan for North East Victoria. He mentions a Stock Protection Society, a local organization set up to counter the ongoing problem of stock theft in the region: Kellys view is that the organization
“….only aids the police to procure false witnesses and go whacks with men to steal horses and lag innocent men”
 Kelly declares
“ I wish those men who joined the stock protection society to with-draw their money and give it and as much more to the widows and orphans and poor of Greta district…”
and later says
“I give fair warning to all those who has reason to fear me to sell out and give 10 pounds out of every hundred towards the widow and orphan fund”
He also claims that
“…it will always pay a rich man to be liberal with the poor and make as little enemies as he can as he shall find if the poor is on his side he shall loose nothing by it, If they depend in the police they shall be drove to destruction”
However, as usual he follows his orders up with threats of violence and, in the last words of the Letter has this to say
“do not attempt to reside in Victoria but as short a time as possible after reading this notice, neglect this and abide by the consequences, which shall be worse than the rust in the wheat in Victoria or the druth of a dry season to the grasshoppers in New South Wales I do not wish to give the order full force without giving timely warning. but I am a widows son outlawed and my orders must be obeyed.”(“druth” is a slang term for extreme thirst that follows excessive drinking of alcohol – according to Wikipedia)
Ian Jones describes these last few sentences as “wild rhetoric” but claims they could have formed the basis for a purported “Declaration of the Republic of North eastern Victoria”, a document he claims exists because someone reported seeing it in 1962. Nobody else has ever seen it, despite exhaustive searches : there is then no evidence at all that such a document exists or ever existed. Furthermore, despite Ian Jones fondness for the “Republic” idea, evidence for such a vision is completely lacking in the Jerilderie letter, Ned Kellys great “opus” the very place where it should be, if ever there was such an idea in the mind of Ned Kelly. But its not.
What is found in the Jerliderie Letter are distinct and repeated and clear references to Ned Kellys mother and brother and sisters, passing reference at the very end to the poor and widows and orphans of  “the Greta district” in the context of issuing threats to members of a stock protection Society, and nothing at all about the wider community of North East Victoria, nothing at all about political ambition or ideology or declarations of Independence. Instead there is a massive outpouring of resentment anger and hostility, and  graphic and violent threats towards Police and  anyone supporting them, rich or poor.

If it was going to be a founding document for a Republic, the Republic would be a place where violence was king, anarchy would reign and God help anyone who got in the way of the Kelly Gang.