Sunday 30 August 2015

The Origins of Modern Kelly Mythology

The moon landings are more recent than the Symposium that gave rise to the book “Ned Kelly Man and Myth” ! That’s how very long ago Ian Jones “New View of Ned Kelly” was first expounded – close to half a century ago – so it would be fair to say those views are not “new” anymore. In fact those “new views” have become the orthodoxy of Kelly legend and have remained at the centre of the Kelly Myth ever since, unchallenged until only very recently.

Its ironic that the Symposium claimed to be an attempt “to remove the layers of myth and legend, lies and innuendoes, half remembered truths and remembered half truths” because what the Book that resulted from it mostly contains are renewed myths, recycled lies and innuendo, and half truths, the very things the Symposium was supposed to be  sweeping away.  Its hard to find anywhere in that book a “myth” that is identified and then rejected. Rather, the myths are assumed as truths, and elaborated and expanded, nowhere more blatantly than in  the exposition of  Ian Jones “new view” . He presented his interpretation so persuasively that it has become the modern Kelly sympathisers “truth”, but in fact, it is almost pure myth. Jones creates his myth by confusing time-lines, by mixing up events which came late and proposing they influenced things that happened earlier, by simply asserting things which are untrue or unprovable, and by ignoring the actual behavior and the writings of Ned Kelly and the Kelly Gang.

Heres a very simple example of a myth being created to hide the truth: Jones writes “He was justifiably proud of his boxing ability” – casting Ned in a favorable light as an accomplished sportsman. But in the Jerilderie Letter Ned Kelly wrote “I had a pair of arms and a bunch of fives on the end of them that never failed to peg out anything they came in contact with” and in several other places boasted again about his ability to brawl and fight. During the Mc Cormick incident for example when questioned by Constable Hall Ned freely admitted to hitting McCormick because he accused him of stealing a horse, then said “ And I will do the same to you if you challenge me”.
This reality, this glimpse of the actual man rather than the myth, shows him to be a big powerful man who, if he was decent and of good character would not use his “boxing ability” to intimidate and assault people who said and did things he didn’t like.  But thats what Ned Kelly did – he bashed and intimidated people who disagreed with him. This is UNDENIABLE FACT!  And he was very successful at it too. But this was not justifiable pride in a sporting ability, as Jones tries to make out, but loud mouth boasting by an unsportsmanlike bully. So here’s your man and Myth moment: the man was a thug; the myth is a sporting hero: take your pick – the inconvenient truth or a convenient myth?

But what was Ian Jones “new view’? 

Essentially Jones  “new view” was a view which many now think of as a central truth of the Kelly story:  that because of Police persecution, Ned Kelly was engaged in a “personal rebellion” against the authorities and the grievance was about Land. Jones creatively discusses his view of the political instability of the time, of the uncertainty of financial markets, and the effect of seasonal variation and drought to paint a picture of seething volatility and disquiet among the Selectors of the North West.  This disquiet, according to Jones, was finding a voice in Ned Kelly whose personal rebellion merged with the selectors one.
Ultimately, according to the “new view” Glenrowan was Ned Kellys attempt to resolve this mess and declare some part of the North East a Republic.  Without such a lofty justification, Glenrowan was “madness” according to Ian Jones, ruthless and brutal, yes, “but it wasn’t a criminal act”. It was an act of war!

Again what we see here is pure Mythmaking.  Take the notion that the Kellys were persecuted, that, as Kelly said the Police drove him to madness, that all this came about because of Police mistreatment and harassment. Ian Jones develops this argument around the well known  instruction from Nicolson: “Without oppressing the people or worrying them in any way you should endeavor whenever they commit any paltry crime to bring them to Justice and send them to Pentridge. Even on a paltry sentence”

But this directive was issued in 1877, by which time Ned Kelly, his mother and two brothers  and many other members of their extended family and associates had been in trouble with the law, had been before the courts and served time in Prison.  It was the time when Ned Kelly admitted that he was himself engaged in “wholesale and retail horse and cattle dealing” , meaning criminal stock theft.  To quote this statement of Nicolson as if it was issued when the Kellys were innocent law abiding country folk, and as evidence of Police persecution is entirely wrong. Such a directive was in fact a perfectly legitimate Police response to the threats to law and order that the Greta mob and the Kellys  known behaviours represented. It came well AFTER   Ned Kelly had turned to crime and can’t in any legitimate way be implicated in the causation of his criminal career.

And another thing : if the Myth was true, that all his life the innocent Ned Kelly was persecuted by the Police, why did they stop persecuting him in his so called “Quiet years” between 1874 and 1877 when he was supposed to be going straight? If he WAS going straight, and we know there was hardly any Police interest in him during that time, then doesn’t this explode the Myth, that Police persecuted him even when he was innocent?  Don’t the facts instead show that when he was “straight” the Police left him alone, but once he reengaged with the criminal world, he was once again of interest to them?

So what we actually KNOW is that when going straight, Kelly was NOT hounded by the Police, and that Police interest came AFTER the Kellys had criminal records and not before. That is the truth. The opposite idea, that Kelly was a Police-made criminal is the myth. So what are you going to believe? The inconvenient truth, that the Police had a legitimate interest in Kelly because he was a known criminal and criminal associate, or a convenient myth that ignores Kellys own admissions about being a thief, and a bully, and portrays Kelly as a victim?

The actual reality of what Ned Kelly planned for Glenrowan was an apalling violent , personal revengeful criminal act, but  clearly such behavior doesn’t fit with the image of Ned Kelly as some sort of  folk hero and visionary  leader. The Myth about Glenrowan, that it was “an act  of war” and a prelude to a Declaration of the republic of North east Victoria – or some such political event - is a blatant fabrication, an interpretation elaborated by Ian Jones to enable him to avoid the obvious truth, that it was indeed “madness’ and “criminal”.  In proposing this model, reference is always made to Ned Kellys statement in the Jerilderie letter about his being “compelled to show some colonial stratagem “. The precise meaning of this short phrase is not at all clear, but it is the ONLY statement recorded of Ned Kellys anywhere which might possibly be a reference to something like the  Glenrowan  campaign, and so in desperation Jones and all the Kelly republican believers load it up with meaning and significance that is completlely unsustainable. In fact, if this IS a reference to Glenrowan Kelly makes it pretty clear that the motivation for it was revenge for the imprisonment of his mother and others following the “Fitzpatrick incident” :

“It will pay the Government to give those people who are suffering innocence justice and liberty. If not I will be compelled to show some colonial stratagem which will open the eyes of not only the Victorian police and inhabitants but also the whole British army and now doubt they will acknowledge their hounds were barking at the wrong stump and that Fitzpatrick will be the cause of greater slaughter to the Union Jack than St Patrick was to the snakes and toads in Ireland”

The only way anyone can regard this statement of Ned Kellys as in some way a hint that a political stratagem was afoot to declare the North East a Republic is by completely ignoring the logical meaning of it. Clearly, Ned Kelly is referring here to the Fitzpatrick incident, and his mother and others – those suffering innocence – and threatening violence if they are not given “justice and liberty”. This is most emphatically NOT a political campaign that he is preoccupied with in February 1879, but Jones ignores the inconvenient and obvious meaning, and states, quite inaccurately  “ But the fact is indisputable that by the beginning of 1880 the rebellion was taking shape” . 

The facts are that neither Ned Kelly or any other person involved in the Outbreak EVER said a single word about a rebellion, about a Declaration, about a Republic or an uprising or any sort of Political movement or lobby group – not one word!  And yet throughout this time there was considerable public discussion in the press about the politics of land reform, about Government  policy and about leadership and governance. But within the Kelly sympathizer ranks : no interest  was ever demonstrated. I mentioned in a Post on the Kelly republic last year one of the most absurd arguments put by Ian Jones in support of his thesis, and its worth repeating :

Ian Jones – and Kelly Republicans generally – claim it took a Century to uncover this truth because the idea of a Republic was treasonous, the penalty was death and so the whole plot was “carefully concealed”.   In fact, according to Jones it was so well concealed that “One Police agent broke the inner circle of sympathizers and heard about the armor being made though he failed to learn of the republic”. What we have here is Jones failing to find evidence of the republican Plot even from spies who infiltrated the “inner circle” but instead of accepting that as counting against the possibility that there was ever a Republican plot, he turns it upside down and says he has found proof of how incredibly secret it all was. This is approaching conspiracy theory madness – the lack of evidence for something is proof that it exists and has been suppressed by powerful enemies!  Utter and complete nonsense! The simplest explanation of why it was that the spy didn’t hear about a Republic, is that no-one was talking about it – a Republican plot was NOT on their agenda; if it had been, it would have been front and center of everything they were doing and talking about.

So here we are at another Man or Myth moment. Are you going to accept the evidence at face value, the inconvenient truth that Ned Kelly was never on about anything other than a personal mission of revenge, or do you prefer the convenient Myth that has nothing to support it, and that flies in the face of the actual evidence, that Ned Kelly was the brave leader of a movement that wanted to right wrongs and set the innocent free?

Thursday 27 August 2015

Kelly Myths and cockroaches : Hard to Kill Off

“Ned Kelly : Man and Myth” is a fascinating book that was published in 1968. It contains the results of a symposium that was held over  the Easter weekend of 1967 at Wangaratta. Presenters at the symposium included Professor Manning Clark, and a youthful Ian Jones. The  lectures are presented along with interesting discussions that took place on the floor after each of them. The symposium included a display of Kelly “relics, documents photographs and writings” as well as a conducted tour through Kelly country. It would have been a fascinating weekend I am sure. But that was 48 years ago, many of the participants have passed on, and many new Kelly books and much new research has been published since then.  Its time someone convened a new symposium.

Never-the- less much of the material presented is still relevant and interesting to read.

I’ve just read  Chapter 5 : Regina v Edward Kelly by Law  Professor Louis Waller. It’s about the Trial, as you would guess and is brilliantly written. He provides much background information about the way in which the system operated then, and  how it differs and where its similar to the system that now operates. His description of the trial itself  is the best Ive ever read and along the way he addresses many of the issues that are still raised about the adequacy and the fairness of the trial. For example one often reads that the trial was rushed through so that Justice that Barry could go to the Races – at the end a questioner asked if a two day trial for a capital offence was a “track record” and Wallers reply, demonstrating his detailed knowledge of the times, was that in fact by the standards of the time it was a LENGTHY trial. He noted there were instances of arraignment trial conviction and sentencing taking as little as “about a quarter of an hour”.

Even Peter Fitzsimons in his recent book perpetuates this falsity, writing in Chapter 17 : “Nothing is to be allowed to interrupt his (Barry’s)  attendance at the Spring Carnival” This example illustrates yet again how uncritical the Kelly Mythmakers are, ignoring known facts and expert opinion to enable a piece of Kelly Mythology to persist to the present day even though it was exploded nearly half a century ago!

The thing that particularly delighted me, was to read the Professors view about the defense of Self Defense which was never actually put at the trial but is often regarded as the defense Kelly wanted and Bindon, his Barrister should have presented. What Waller believed all those years ago was what I had concluded myself, and presented in a Post here last year though not nearly as coherently as Waller does, that “Self defense” could indeed have been successful, and could have resulted in a different outcome to Ned Kelly’s trial for the murder of Lonigan. He provides a detailed description of relevant case Law from Kelly’s times and modern times to illustrate his  argument, but in the end has to admit that the outcome MIGHT have been different rather than WOULD have been. In any event, even if his trial for the murder of Lonigan had found him not guilty, there was still the matter of Scanlan and of course Kennedy : Waller wrote  “It would be impossible to make out a similar argument in respect of Sergeant Kennedy”

In truth, notwithstanding the hyperbole and misrepresentations about deficiencies in the trial that ended up with Ned Kelly being sentenced to hang, even if the Lonigan case had been decided in his favour, its impossible to imagine that his ensuing trial for the murder of Scanlan  and then of Kennedy would have ended the same way. One way or another, Ned Kelly’s crimes were going to catch up with him and he was destined to hang.

Sunday 9 August 2015

And now, another “True” Story

The book that received the least votes in the IO Poll was another one claiming to tell a “ true story” called “The True Story of Ned Kelly’s Last Stand” by Paul Terry.  I have just read it again, while I have been thinking and writing about Glenrowan. The excuse given for writing yet another “True Story” was an archaeological dig in 2008 at the site of the siege at Glenrowan, a now empty block of land where Ann Jones Inn once stood.  The book, published in 2012 is given a glowing rap on the Iron Outlaw site where its described as “an important addition to the extended Kelly Library”.  Sharon Hollingsworth gives it  another glowing rap, and a much more thorough examination – as one would expect – on her Blog at Elevenmile Creek. Its well worth reading (here).

This book has two parts running in parallel, one documenting the progress and findings of the archaeological dig and the other purports to recount the story of the Kelly Gang, not just of the last stand but of the entire story of Ned Kelly and the Outbreak. These chapters are interleaved with the ones describing the dig.

Lets deal with the Dig to begin with. It was conducted on behalf of the Wangaratta Town Council who were hoping to develop a “Kelly interpretive Center of National significance” in Glenrowan and “it was felt that the archaeological survey would provide some of the data needed to make the right decision”. One struggles to find a description of the kind of “data” that might have helped the Councils decision  making, or a statement of the scientific objectives of the excavation, or for a question or a conundrum that a dig might shed light on, but these criteria should have been defined at the start. Rather it seems to have been something of a fishing expedition, on a site about which just about everything was already known.  Was the Glenrowan incident not documented and recorded as it happened in minute detail by photographers and journalists, and investigated in Court and by a Royal Commission? Hadn’t the site been picked over, indeed ransacked time and again by amateur fossickers and souvenir hunters for more than 130 years?  Hadn’t the site been built over and rebuilt and demolished innumerable times since 1880? Weren’t the lives of colonial Victorians already extensively documented and recorded in countless archives and academic works contained in museums and universities and libraries all over Australia? What on earth were these people hoping to find? What questions were they hoping to answer? 

There was never any doubt that they were going to find some sort of evidence of the original Inn, of a gunfight and of a fire, but there must have been almost no chance that they would find something unexpected. The low expectations of the scientific team are finally revealed in Chapter 13: the project had met its  scientific and historical targets once the Inn site and evidence of  a gunfight was found!

“The Inn had been found and there was tangible evidence of the gunfight seen in the molten scraps of spent bullets. It meant that the project had met its scientific and historical targets as now the diggers were right on top of the occupation layer they were looking for- Ann Jones Inn.”

As if they were unexpected, even trivial findings are reported with breathless hyperbole :
“When patient trowel work uncovered a thin disc of lead abut the size of a fingernail, Adam Ford knew he had fund what he had been looking for….they had found one of the hundreds of lead balls that had been fired into the pub during the siege….
…….This was a sensational find”

Sensational? Really? Given that HUNDREDS of lead balls had been fired into the Pub, I am at a loss to understand what was sensational about finding one? NOT finding one might have been sensational.

Because there were really no serious unanswered questions about the Siege that a Dig could hope to uncover, the Author attempted to resurrect the stupid conspiracy theory about Dan and Steve surviving in a cellar.  There have been several cranks over the years who claimed to be Dan Kelly, claims of the caliber of  UFO abductees  and 911 conspiracy, claims that were easily disproved years ago but to puff the book out a bit more the author needlessly raises  again, only to dismiss them in true trashy tabloid journalistic  style. There was no cellar.

All-in-all, though for Kelly enthusiasts of all kinds it might have been spine-tingling to see actual physical remnants from the siege, the scientific value of the Dig must have been almost zero.

The other technique Paul Terry employs to puff out his account of an almost pointless exercise in bad science, is to retell alongside it what he choses to call “the true story” of the Kelly Gang and of Ned Kellys last stand. Ian Jones says in his Foreword to the book “Few have written about Ned Kelly with such balance and with so few preconceptions….Here you will find no lofty and simplistic conclusions about Ned Kelly’s central role in this Wagnerian final act. Paul ignores the need for the hero or the villain of popular cliché…”

In fact, Paul Terrys “True story” is nothing of the sort – its pure myth of the kind relentlessly promoted by Ian Jones himself over recent decades. By claiming this work has “balance and … so few preconceptions”  Ian Jones reveals his own complete loss of objectivity in this matter, so utterly has he convinced himself of the rightness of his theory about the Republic and of the heroism and iconic status of Ned Kelly. The “Republic” idea is a conspiracy theory of Ian Jones that has almost nothing to support it, but Paul Terry, under the spell of Ian Jones has swallowed it almost completely:

“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 even a full-blooded revolution, to create a republic of North Eastern Victoria” 
Such a statement, which is pure conjecture, should not be in a  book claiming to tell a “true story” – either that or drop the word “True” from the title.

Heres more, all of it pure fantasy, the sort of thing an adolescent might write in a school essay about Ned Kelly but not something that is supposed to be “true” “balanced” and free of “preconceptions”:

  Driven into a corner he shouted his rage at the authorities but when they would not listen he went to war”

“Yet he was a man who spoke for a people with a legitimate grievance. These people were an underclass, grimly poor and DELIEBERATELY KEPT THAT WAY” (my caps)

“The best (land) went to the squatters and other men of money while the poor farmed stumps and rocks and lived in huts of bark and wood. When Ned Kelly found himself driven from society, his family dishonored and his mother unfairly slung in Gaol, he took a stand”

“Soon cash was flowing throughout the north east as dirt poor Kelly sympathisers suddenly found themselves flush with funds. Ned had not only pulled off a remarkable stunt worthy of Robin Hood, he had backed it up by robbing the rich to give to the poor”

Where does one start in trying to answer the myriad distortions, hyperbole and outright lies in these statements?  What I object to most about this book is its claim to be true, and its attempt to clothe itself in the respectability of scientific  endeavor.  Theres almost nothing of scientific value in this book, and this “True Story” is not the truth by any stretch of the imagination. I cant help thinking that the whole endeavor was really just another promotion for Ian Jones and his Republican mythology of Ned Kelly. Given the much more real and important controversy over the Stringybark Creek site, an Archaeological investigation in the Wombat ranges would have been a much more interesting and worthwhile project, but that probably wouldn’t have attracted the Public interest as much, or been as easy to film, and if I may say so, as convenient a vehicle to promote Kelly mythology.

And can anyone tell me what happened to the Interpretive Center?

Monday 3 August 2015

The Kelly Cash Cow : a nice little earner.

The NKF Key Master and the producers of this bit of Kelly Exploitation are running a competition!
It amuses me how on every news article, blog and Facebook page where devotees of Ned Kelly are able to make comments, whenever something happens that is what they would call “anti Kelly”, someone will always get a few lazy “likes” by posting an opinion that this is just about someone trying to make money off the name of Ned Kelly. “Likes” and indignant expressions of disgust and horror at the base commercial exploitation of their hero inevitably follow. “How dare these Kelly haters be so disrespectful as to take his name in vain, and try to make money off Ned!!”

Just a week or two ago on the Facebook Page of the Ned Kelly Forum, the Key Master posted exactly these thoughts about an advert for some garden  hose fittings that were part of the Ned Kelly Range. He wanted everyone else to express their disgust about it too – but almost nobody responded, and then after a woman reckoned it was a good idea to be claiming these hoses were tough like Ned Kelly, and authentic Australian, the whole post and its comments disappeared! But now he’s done a complete about face and is enthusiastically backing the exploitation of the Kelly Image by liquor merchants!(see Pic above)

As  this example illustrates distaste for people using the name of Ned Kelly to make money actually only applies when it suits them. If it doesn’t  then hypocrisy becomes the order of the day and this attitude of moral superiority disappears without trace – stick Neds name on a new brand of Liquor, make trashy little Tinny holders with Ned on them, gross plastic Helmets and cheap T-shirts with Ned blazing away with two revolvers, key holders, soap–on-a-rope…….the list is endless and not a peep out of the Sympathizers at all this crass commercialism.

There are of course plenty of people making money from Ned Kelly, especially out of tourists attracted to Kelly Country where the Outbreak occurred.  Most of these visitors wouldn’t have the faintest idea about the Kelly story, apart from some very rudimentary half remembered facts about bush-ranging, helmets and hanging, so year in and year out they make easy targets for soaking down by the Kelly mythmakers, hustlers and Tourist promoters. They relieve them of their cash and send them away full of sentimental fairy stories about their poor misunderstood hero. Even though sympathizer tour  and museum operators will no doubt parrot the line that there is still no answer to the question “was Ned Kelly a hero or a villain”, and make a pretense of being unbiased, will any visitors to Kelly Country hear more than a token word here or there about the other side of the story? Will any be told that Kelly was NOT Australias Robin Hood, that he was NOT relentlessly and unfairly hounded by Police, that he LIED about the Fitzpatrick Incident and about his murder of Lonigan, that the true hero of Glenrowan was a brave limping school teacher who prevented the Kelly gang from committing an atrocity, that the “madness” of Glenrowan arose out of Ned Kelly's obsessional hatred of Police, or that the “Kelly Republic of Victoria” is a device invented by sympathisers after Kelly's death as a kind of smoke screen to cover up the reality of what the armour was created for ? How many will go away realizing that the Armour was in fact not a brilliant innovation but a joke, an abject failure of design and functionality, that belongs in the lists of great flops, like the Titanic, like the Hindenburg and those flying machines that never took off and sometimes killed their inventors? How many will genuinely hear the other side of the confected “debate” about Ned Kelly when they go to Kelly Country, or go on Kelly Tours run by Kelly sympathisers, or hear the “Truth” from so called Neducators? I suspect none.

The highpoint of the Kelly industry’s year, where the Kelly Cash Cow gets well and truly milked is the Ned Kelly Weekend, at Beechworth, and its all happening again next weekend.  It claims to be a chance to witness historical re-enactments and an opportunity to explore the “stories behind the Kelly Outbreak” but in reality it’s a Tourist promotion, aimed at boosting visitors and cash-flow to the region and promoting the Kelly Tourism Industry. All the hotels and motels Pubs and restaurants are booked out weeks in advance and the tourist promoters and souvenir hawkers no doubt do a roaring trade.

I daresay as their Cash registers ring,  the local Businessmens Associations are very grateful for the handful of sympathizers who take Kelly Mythology seriously, grow beards, don period costumes and donate their time and resources to the weekends entertainment. But after having watched an old recording of the mock ‘retrial” of Ned Kelly, and having listened to the monologue at the Melbourne Gaol by a woman pretending to be Ellen Kelly, I have no doubt the re-enactments performed for the Kelly Weekend are very far from “Historical”. They will be emotive propaganda for the Kelly fairytales - cartoon characterisations featuring our brave Ned against the corrupt Cops and Squatters.

I read a report on IO from some years back about a presentation at the Kelly Weekend of the findings of the CSI@SBC team, and it reported open debates about their subject with Bill Denheld. I agree with the comment on this blog yesterday that Morrissey and MacFarlane should be invited to a Debate there, to make the weekend more interesting and more honest, but thats never going to happen.Kelly country and the Ned Kelly Weekend is about the retelling and maintenance of fairytales and no-body is going to let facts get in the way.

This year they are promoting violence mayhem and murder to kids, with a kids sized set of Kelly replica armour to be won - what an appalling example to be promoting to children, making light of the entire devastation of Glenrowan, as if it was something glorious. However, apart from all the usual stuff, I note that in this years programme there will be a talk given by Dr. Craig Cormick, the science writer who edited the book about identifying Ned Kellys bones called “Ned Kelly Under the Microscope” He identifies himself as a Kelly sympathizer but that didn’t stop Kelly Forum Member  Steve Jager from rubbishing him in this ignorant and uninformed Post on Facebook last year:
"a majority of the research used by the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine in this book was taken from Kelly researchers after the discovery of Ned's remains in Pentridge.. as it was required by law that the remains were to be identified at the VIFM, it hardly makes any of the contributors to the book "experts", when in all fact they are just doing their job and trying to profit from Ned's story..”
Theres that hatred of people trying to profit from Ned again! I wonder if Steve has the guts to tell this to Dr Cormicks face at his lecture?

Even more interesting would be to see if Mr Brad Webb is going to go to the lecture and apologise for calling the Dr a  “Clown” ?  Perhaps he can also tell  the good Doctor about how the Forensic experts got it all wrong when they identified the so called “Baxter skull” as being the one dug up from the burial site at the Melbourne Gaol in 1927 ?  What would mere “experts" know? Brad Webb will be able to tell the Doctor that his mate Des Anderson took Ned Kellys skull out of the display case in the 1960’s and put in its place a skull from a crate of bones that came from India! ( Webb made these now disproved claims in an essay in 2011 and has yet to correct it, and he abused me for pointing out his mistake, so I presume he still thinks he knows more than the forensic experts do..)
What one has to realize is that  Kelly Country, and the Beechworth Ned Kelly Weekend is all about maintaining the fairytale of Ned Kelly, and has very little to do with historical truth. The historical truth would wreck the Kelly Industry, because theres not much money to be made in remembering killers and psychopaths. I believe theres a Jack-the-Ripper tour you can do in London but somehow I think the fairy tales of princesses and Kings and Queens at Buckingham Palace draws a  much greater crowd. And so the fairytale of Ned Kelly will go on being told for some time yet - well, for at least as long as theres a buck to be made out of it!

(I am unlikely to get to many of these events, so if anyone who reads this Blog is planning to go, it would be most interesting to get a report back from you about what took place at the Cormick lecture in particular, but elsewhere on the weekend as well. An audio recording or video of the re-enactments or any other activities would be useful too.)