Thursday 31 March 2016

Neds brother Jim

A central part of the Kelly story is that Ned was unfairly  hounded, harassed and persecuted by the Police,  something which he eventually reacted against, becoming what is often termed a ‘Police-made criminal’. On this Blog a year ago I reviewed the criminal record of Ned Kelly in detail, looking for the evidence of this persecution. I listed and looked at all the incidents that he was involved in that resulted in criminal charges being brought against him, to see if they had the appearance of  being trumped up charges and harassment by the Police , but they didn’t. What I found was evidence for the Police and the Judiciary acting more or less appropriately, even leniently on occasion, giving him the benefit of the doubt on several occasions and discharging him without a conviction, allowing remission of sentences, and even making offers to try to assist him in the earliest episodes. There were also moments where Police behaved deplorably, for example brutally bashing him and even trying to shoot him, events that were inexcusable even in those harsh times, but these events occurred well along the path of Neds anti-social lifestyle and were not entirely without provocation, which of course is the Kelly claim.

The only ‘evidence’ – if you could call it ‘evidence’ – that Ned Kelly was persecuted and hounded by the Police are his own claims in the Jerilderie letter – but isn’t that what ALL criminals claim, that the reason they’re in trouble is because the Police were picking on them? The  truth seems to be that the idea that Ned Kelly became what he did because of Police persecution, this most central plank of Kelly mythology, is actually yet another of Ned Kellys lies – that’s what the ‘real’ evidence shows. Nobody challenged this assertion when I made it a year ago.

Now I am going to make a series of Posts in which the rest of the Kelly clan and their associates have THEIR criminal records examined. Again what I want to explore is the Kelly story claim that the criminality of the Kellys and their extended family and associates was the RESULT rather than the CAUSE of Police interest in them. The Kelly story teaches that when it came to the Kellys, instead of  doing their legitmate tasks of  maintaining Law and Order and trying to solve crime and maintain the peace, Police went out of their way to victimize them. 

I will begin with Neds  brothers, James – known as Jim . In 1871 when aged 12 Jim and his  younger brother Dan were arrested by Constable Flood and charged with ‘illegally using a horse’ owned by Mr Mark Krafft, a local Hawker.

This is how J.J. Kenneally tells the story  :

“In his anxiety to carry out Supt Nicolsons instructions  to root the Kellys out of the district Constable Flood in 1871 arrested Jim Kelly and his little brother Dan. Jim was about 13 years old and Dan was only ten. Jim was employed by a local farmer with whose consent  he rode one of the farmers horses for the purpose of going home to see his mother.  He met Dan on the way and took him on the horse behind the saddle. Before going much further they were intercepted by Constable Earnest Flood who arrested the two children on the charge of illegally using a horse.”

It was Saturday 9th September 1881. Flood took the boys to Wangaratta, and they remained in custody till the Monday morning when they appeared in Court and were discharged.

Kenneally goes on to paint a portrait of Flood as a serial persecutor of the Kellys, this case being an early example. He then quotes Floods answer  at the Royal Commission in 1881 saying that “They ( the Kelly brothers)  were discharged on account of their youth and their intimacy with the owner of the horses, one of the brothers having been a servant of the person who owned the horses’

Max Brown mentions this episode in passing, accepting Kenneallys  portrayal of it as unwarranted harassment:  “Constable Flood set out to pot the women and children starting with the 12 year old Jim who was working for  hawker, and his brother Dan still going to school in Greta. The boys were caught ‘illegally using’ the hawkers horse and locked up for two days

Unusually, this incident isn’t mentioned in Ian Jones “A Short Life” but  it gets a brief mention in Fitzsimons work, in an anti-police context, and also in McMenomys, where he characterizes the episode as a ‘joke’ and Flood as ‘embarrassed’ when the boys are discharged. 

Now read the Court Report from the Ovens and Murray Advertiser of September 14th 1871, the following Thursday : 

Illegally Using. — James and Daniel Kelly two boys, the one 12 years and the other 10 years, brothers of Young Kelly, were charged with illegally using a horse.—

Mark Kraft, a hawker, and travelling with a wagon and three horses, stated; on the 8th. of this month I camped at about 6. o'clock" at night at the Eleven Mile Creek, between Benalla and Greta. On the morning of the 9th (Saturday morning) I had the whole of the three horses. I put the horses in Mrs Kelly's paddock on the evening of the 8th— a fenced paddock ; it is small, about 300 yards wide and about 20 yards from Mrs Kelly's house! I camped near the place, about 20 yards from the paddock where I put the three horses. One horse was a bay, one a grey,- and one a chesnut; the grey is a mare. I have seen the horses in the police yard. On last Saturday morning l told my boy to go for a bag of chaff and for an axe that I had lost. I told him to do this the night before. I saw the horses in the paddock- at night. I next saw two of the horses in the possession of the police (the bay horse and the grey mare). I saw the chestnut horse with mv own boy. In consequence of what my boy told me, I gave information to the police. I did not give the two boys in custody permission to ride the two horses now in the police yard. . I have lent the oldest boy a horse to look for his own horses. He was formerly in my employ for five months ;.he left me about 10 weeks ago I am in the  habit of camping at Kelly's.

In reply to the mother of the accused the plaintiff stated he did not think the boys intended stealing the horses.

In reply to the police, the plaintiff stated that he gave the boys in charge for illegally using the horses.

Charles King, sworn, deposed that he was in the employ, of Mr Krafft, and travelled with him. We camped lit the Eleven Mile Creek on Friday night. We put the three horses in Mrs Kelly's paddock.  The fence is not a good one, but the horses' could not get out. The two horses in the police yard were put into the paddock. I took the chestnut horse and left the other two in the paddock. I went to look for an axe and a bag of chaff. I was away for an hour and a half. When I returned the two horses were gone from the paddock. I went to look for them, and saw the boys riding the two horses near' the brush fence. I called to them, but they galloped away. I was about 10 yards from them. I  said, Jamie, fetch the horses back. They took no heed, and rode over the ranges. I told Mr Krafft what I had seen, and went to the police station at Greta, and Constable Flood returned with me. The constable and I went to look for the hoys. We discovered them about three-quarters of a mile from Mrs Kelly's. When we saw them they galloped away, and the constable after, them.

Constable Flood deposed : I am in charge of Greta police station. I saw the last witness on Saturday morning, and he reported an offence. I went to Kelly's place, and after wards went into the bush. When about a mile from Kelly's, I saw the two boys on horseback at fall gallop. ... The eldest boy made three attempts to get over a brush fence. They were galloping away, from Mrs Kelly's. The youngest boy was riding a bay horse. . I followed the eldest boy, who was riding the grey mare I was in search of. I asked him his name. He first refused to tell me; he  afterwards told me his name. I asked him whose horse was that he was riding. He said he did not know. -I asked him if he did not
know it belonged to a hawker who had camped there the night before, and he said he did not. He said "You can have the horse; I was only taking a ride." I then took them to Mr Krafft, who gave them into custody.


When you read this account, you realize how very wrong the Kenneally version is : Jim NO LONGER worked for the farmer, Jim was NOT given permission to ride the horse, they took TWO horses, and they were NOT going to visit their Mother as the horses were taken from the paddock beside her cottage.  Floods involvement came by way of a specific complaint lodged by Krafft  who was clearly not amused by this prank. He is later listed as being a Kelly sympathsier ( Corfield) so his actions must have sprung from intense frustration, rather than from some sort of anti-Kelly agenda. Neither is there evidence in any of this of an act of ant-kelly Police persecution but rather of Flood responding to a valid complaint from a member of the Public, and taking the appropriate steps. The Magistrate exercised good judgement in the way he dealt with these two boys, but it must have concerned him that at such a young age they were so defiant and  already accomplished horse thieves and liars.

Kenneallys claim Flood was responding to Nicholsons famous order to root out the Kellys is also completely wrong, as this statement wasn’t made until 1877, six years later, by which time there had been many more incidents and contacts of various kinds between various members of the wider Kelly clan and the Police.

In my opinion this story provides a  fascinating window onto the creation of Kelly myth. In 1929 when Kenneally wrote his version of events the newspaper  report would have been virtually inaccessible to the general public, and clearly was NOT the place from where he obtained his information.  The story Kenneally told was what had been handed down to him, in other words the oral tradition. This has then been accepted as the truth by later writers and incorporated as fact into the story.

Now, with  easy access to the news report made only a few days after the event, and exposure of the truth of what actually happened we can see how the  telling and retelling of the story over the intervening 50 years has changed it from a silly mischievous prank that inconvenienced several people and wasted Police time and resources, into an act of absurd Police persecution of two innocent boys. The Kelly myth is a comprehensive misrepresentation of the truth. 

The reality in relation to Jim Kellys first brush with the Law is that it has none of the appearance of being an example of unwarranted Police persecution of two innocent Kelly family members, which is how the Kelly legends portray it. In fact when you read the original source material, this incident appears to be a perfectly legitimate and sensibly handled response to some foolish behavior by a couple of wayward kids. Jims first interaction with the Law was NOT an example of intrusive Police harassment. Another Kelly myth is debunked.

And as this news report details, kids like that and incidents like that are still happening today:

A 12 year old girl has been detected driving at 122kmh on Illawarra Main Road in the State’s north.(Tasmania, 2015) On Saturday night at 10.37pm, police allegedly detected a speeding vehicle travelling at 122km/h on Illawarra Road. The vehicle was intercepted on Youl Road, Perth, and police were shocked to discover the driver was a 12 year old girl. A 21 year old man and a 16 year old girl were passengers in the vehicle. The girl was charged and bailed for false name and driving offences. Sgt Phil Summers, of Westbury Police station, said police were stunned.

Sunday 27 March 2016

The Sleeping Giant !

A couple of months ago a moribund Kelly related forum stirred, as if it was coming back to life, made a few unpleasant comments about me and some of the others who contribute to this Blog, called for this blog to be boycotted and then sank back into its death-bed and hasn’t moved a muscle since. I was rather rudely referred to as ‘BO’ ( Blog Owner ) – but Ive been called much worse, so that’s not an issue - and much of what was posted isn’t worth reading, but some of the commentary requires a response to set the record straight.

1. “The BO legitimately created the said Blog page as a personal vendetta against the owner of the NKF and other individuals.” Well no, that’s not why I created the Blog. I created it to break the monopoly that the opinions of Kelly sympathisers had in the on-line world. I joined a forum to make my views heard but was bullied and then expelled; I then created my own Forum but it was sabotaged and deleted by a Ned Kelly Forum member who repeated this act of virtual vandalism when I made a second attempt on the same platform ( ProBoards , you suck! ) Finally with Blogger I have a more secure site that’s been growing for nearly two years. The reasons for its existence are stated at the top of the Page.

2. The mastermind and sole blame must go to all but one, whom has close ties with the owner of the NKF. I lay blame onto him, for it was he that woke the sleeping giant. The said persons acted on what they believed was a cause worth pursuing. It is clear they have failed and the consequence is now where it stands.On behalf of those of us that refuse to be a part of any malicious and vile attacks on the Blog page and to it’s followers; we have since distanced ourselves from such persons.” I have long asked why no Sympathiser ever attempted to stop this bully, because even blind freddy could see that his ignorant blundering and bullying was damaging the sympathizer  ‘brand’.  Its now apparent that though some in the sympathiser ranks disapproved of his behaviour, nobody was game to take him on, or was it perhaps they deliberately looked the other way while he went about doing the dirty work for them,  hoping his ‘malicious and vile attacks’ would result in me going away.  Whatever their motivation was for doing nothing  - either lack of a moral backbone or hypocrisy - or both -  when he failed they turned on him! However as this writer says, he did worse than fail because he instead woke ‘the sleeping giant’  and ‘the consequence is now where it stands’. They’ve finally distanced themselves from him, but they left it much too late. Yes, the sleeping giant is awake and its name is Dee!

3. "I call all contributors to cease making any future contributions. Your intentions as a contributor or shall we say going in to bat for Ned will be in vain. Continue to do so will prove more disastrous than what we are currently experiencing." Here we have a remarkably frank admission from the Sympathiser camp that the effect of the Death of the Legend Blog on their mythology has been ‘disastrous’ and so he is sounding the Bugle to announce a retreat, a withdrawal from engagement. This is good news because it reveals they have lost confidence in their ability to defend their mythology – though it has to be said that hardly any of them even tried.

4. Was I supposed to let half-truths or lies or incorrect things stay unfixed for others out there to be misled by? Yes, You helped grow Dee’s blogpages to where it is today. It was only a matter of time before Dee’s blog would have been a thing of the past. This is perhaps the only reprintable extract from a long  and disgraceful personal attack on Sharon. Here we see perhaps the most sickening thing of all : these sympathizers  reserve their most hateful vitriol for one of their own, a self declared “fully fledged Kelly sympathizer” who as she explained, contributed to the Blog to correct ‘half truths or lies or incorrect things’  How ON EARTH could any reasonable person object to that? Many more unkind and slanderous things were written about her, which reveal their jealousy, their disrespect, their misogyny and their total lack of concern about historical truth. I’ve  previously alluded to the similarities between some Kelly sympathisers and Religious fanatics and its perfectly demonstrated here – their Dogma is more important than the facts.  Its really disgusting. These personal attacks are an outrageous and sickening disgrace, and that writer owes her an apology.

I am sorry that Sharon seems to have disappeared from all Kelly discussions over recent weeks and I would be even sorrier to think it’s a result of this horrendous bullying. Her knowledge of Kelly history is second to none, her contributions were always on the mark, helpful informative relevant and free of any interpersonal animus, and she ought to be respected and honoured for her longstanding commitment to the Sympathiser cause, not threatened and bullied in Cyberspace by fanatics.

Another leading intellect in the Sympathiser camp that has been silenced by bullying from within is Brian McDonald.  Honourable NKF members, if there are any should not just distance themselves from the  bully that tipped McDonald out of the NKF, and silenced Sharon, they should expel him in disgrace.

5. Takes no Einstein to figure out the relics in Sutton’s possession is the real McCoy.Dee, I’ll put my money where my mouth is, prove Sutton wrong and I will deposit $5,000 in an account (Charity) of your choice. Thats a great offer, but its a trick because even if I could comprehensively disprove every argument Darren made for believing he had a piece of Joes original armour, that would still not prove that he didnt!  This is simply a truth about the way in which logic and argument work, something I have said before on this Blog - scientific claims can never be disproved, they can only be proved, and its up to the proponent to make his case and convince us.So if this person intends to only pay up if I can prove that Darrens metal is NOT from Joes suit, then his money is safe.

On the other hand if all I have to prove is that SUTTON is wrong - which is what he actually wrote but I suspect is not what he really meant - then that might be possible, because what I will simply have to show is that his arguments and reasoning are wrong. We will have to wait and see what they are when he launches his book in four months, but the thing he has to explain is the presence of lead in Joes suit, and the complete absence of lead in the metal he found.  This important difference is the reason ANSTO concluded his finding had not come from the same metal that Joes armour was made from. His argument will have to be a valid scientific demonstration of how lead completely disappeared from his piece or else how it got into the suit. The lead related to a bullet fired at the suit is a red herring because there is lead throughout Joes armour, not only at the place where the bullet struck.

Sutton has repeatedly alleged that the ANSTO testing was ‘flawed’  - 6 years later he has had more than enough time to prove the truth of that allegation so I will be looking for a scientific expose of these flaws.

6. Thus far Dee has masterfully and shamelessly exposed major inaccuracies on a number of topics. I congratulate you. Well, he got one thing right! Nothing needing correction there! Thanks for the complement.

Sunday 20 March 2016

Ned Kelly wasn’t a Bushranger: he was a Terrorist

"The notion that any political agenda would justify the killing of innocent people like this is something that is beyond the pale.”
So said President Obama last night ( March 22nd 2016) when discussing the terrorist attacks yesterday in Belgium. No-one is posting pictures of the dead, but the ones below of survivors should remind Kelly sympathisers of exactly what it was that Ned Kelly wanted to see in  Glenrowan.

Abu Hamza, convicted terrorist
Ned Kelly, convicted terrorist.

Both these men planned violent acts of protest involving guns, murder and explosives. Both had grievances that seemed real enough to themselves, and perhaps in part might have been legitimate. Both stood up for what they believed in, were prepared to fight for what they thought was right, and both planned to directly confront what they regarded to be corrupt Authority.  One of them planned to attack members of the Armed forces at a Defence Establishment in New South Wales. The other planned to attack and kill Police on a train in Victoria. One of them killed several people and by his actions a  number of others died. The other never actually killed or even hurt anyone - but he was found guilty because he was planning to!  In Australia today though most people regard both of these men as criminals and enemies of society, some regard one of them as a hero and an icon. Could anything be more ridiculous? They are  both the enemies of decent society, two peas in a pod, and both are deserving of our utmost condemnation. 

Ned Kelly planned to use the murder of an innocent man to lure Police into a trap, in which many would die in a train wreck, and survivors would be killed by a gang in armour. He was hanged for an unrelated killing.

Abu Hamza, an Australian citizen, was sentenced to 20 years in an Australian prison because he was planning an attack on an unnamed Sydney “Defence Installation”. He was the first person to be convicted under new provisions of the Criminal Code which made it a crime not only to commit acts of terror but to plan them:

Criminal Code Amendment  (Terrorism) Act 2003
No. 40, 2003  

An Act to amend the Criminal Code Act 1995, and for related purposes…..
101.6  Other acts done in preparation for, or planning, terrorist acts
           (1)  A person commits an offence if the person does any act in preparation for, or planning, a terrorist act. 
Penalty:  Imprisonment for life. 
             (2)  A person commits an offence under subsection (1) even if the terrorist act does not occur.

terrorist act means an action or threat of action where:
                     (a)  the action falls within subsection (2) and does not fall within subsection (3); and
                     (b)  the action is done or the threat is made with the intention of advancing a political, religious or ideological cause; and
                     (c)  the action is done or the threat is made with the intention of:
                              (i)  coercing, or influencing by intimidation, the government of the Commonwealth or a State, Territory or foreign country, or of part of a State, Territory or foreign country; or
                             (ii)  intimidating the public or a section of the public.
             (2)  Action falls within this subsection if it:
                     (a)  causes serious harm that is physical harm to a person; or
                     (b)  causes serious damage to property; or
                     (c)  causes a person’s death; or
                     (d)  endangers a person’s life, other than the life of the person taking the action; or
                     (e)  creates a serious risk to the health or safety of the public or a section of the public; 

                     (f)  seriously interferes with, seriously disrupts, or destroys, an electronic system including, but not limited to:
                              (i)  an information system; or
                             (ii)  a telecommunications system; or
                            (iii)  a financial system; or
                            (iv)  a system used for the delivery of essential government services; or
                             (v)  a system used for, or by, an essential public utility; or
                            (vi)  a system used for, or by, a transport system.

Its pretty clear from these definitions that what Ned Kelly planned for Glenrowan, was an act of what is now recognised as ‘Terrorism' : the cold blooded murder of an innocent man to provoke a Police response, ripping up railway tracks,  endangering peoples lives by taking them hostage, being in possession of dynamite, guns ammunition and armour, and planning to wreck a train to kill Police and any survivors. Its no defence to say that back then there was no such word as terrorism - now we know what it was, and we have a name for it. We also have a name for the person planning such outrages against society : Terrorist. The difference between a terrorist and a bushranger, made clear by these definitions, is that the Bushranger is not acting to advance a political agenda or intending in any way to influence the Government at any level. The Bushranger was simply trying to make a living by highway and other forms of robbery.  

Fortunately what actually happened at Glenrowan was a near complete failure of Ned Kellys terrorist plans for the train and the Police. He successfully murdered Aaron Sherritt, the easiest thing in the world for armed thugs against a defenceless victim at his front door in the night - nothing heroic there! - but after that his plan unravelled into utter failure. However  failure doesn’t make the plotter any less a terrorist, or his plans any less an outrage. 

Because of Thomas Curnows bravery the violence and  hate  that occupied Neds mind was never made entirely manifest. However it WAS expressed quite graphically in the Jerilderie Letter. There, blood curdling threats to kill and to torture and to seek revenge are set out in page after page of angry defiant outburst. Its fashionable to laugh these words off as the colourful hyperbole of an Irish larrikin with the gift of the gab, but if Ned Kellys plans for Glenrowan had proceeded as he intended, those words would have accurately described what happened : ‘But if I hear any more of it I will not exactly show them what cold blooded murder is but wholesale and retail slaughter something different to shooting three troopers in self defence and robbing a bank’

Thanks to Curnow, Ned Kellys planned acts of ‘wholesale and retail slaughter' at the site of the intended train wreck never became a reality and it became possible for sympathisers to pretend those plans and those thoughts were never there in the first place. But as was demonstrated with Abu Hamza, who never harmed even a fly, a terrorist is defined by his motivations and by what he plans and prepares to carry out against society, not by how successful he might be in carrying them out. And so it is with Ned Kelly - his intent, and his preparations and plans by themselves define him as a terrorist.  We should no more accept as mitigation the idea that Kelly was a poor selector fighting for a republic and therefore was not a terrorist than we would accept a claim by Abu Hamza that he was a freedom fighter.  Ian Jones was absolutely correct to describe Neds plans for Glenrowan as ‘mad’ - and by this I am sure he didnt mean just a little bit silly but close to ‘insane’, the work of a person losing touch with reality, a psychopath. And  just as the Court decided on the basis of the incriminating evidence in his possession when arrested that Abu Hamza was a terrorist, so Ned Kelly must also be regarded as a terrorist, albeit a failed one like Abu Hamza. 

This unpleasant reality is something Kelly sympathisers refuse to face. If they talk about Glenrowan they focus on what the Police did, or on how the hostages were supposed to have played games and danced at the Inn, or how brave Ned was to stand there in his armour fighting them all singlehandedly.  Ive searched the entire Ned  Kelly Forum for discussions about Glenrowan and the only things I found were discussions of books about Glenrowan , and three Posts on June 28th 2014 expressing sympathy for Ned Dan Steve and Joe on the anniversary of the siege. Sympathy for the terrorists!  

When are they going to accept the awful truth about Glenrowan that it exposed what was really inside Ned Kellys mind, an angry and violent desire to rain death and destruction on the Police? When are they going to cast  aside the myth that it was a heroic ‘Last Stand’ and accept it was supposed to have been an act of terrorist mass slaughter?  When are they going to accept that if Ned Kelly had succeeded at Glenrowan their fanciful legend would have been still-born, that in its place Kelly would only be remembered as a violent serial killer, a mass murderer, a 19th Century terrorist,  and his Jerilderie Letter seen as a bloodthirsty and chilling forecast of what was to come? When are they going to stop pretending to themselves that Kelly was trying to establish the Republic of NE Victoria, and that this somehow turns him into some sort of revolutionary and a hero, and renders his murderous intent somehow less evil? There is no evidence for the republic but masses of evidence of Ned Kellys desire for revenge and to kill.

Any person who plans and carries out an attempt at mass killing can only ever be utterly condemned. The excuses made for Ned Kelly are ridiculous. He was NOT picked on and persecuted, he was NOT a Police made criminal, he was NOT Australias Robin Hood, he was NOT a revolutionary and he was NOT a hero. Whatever he may have been as a kid, whatever sympathy you might have for his origins and for whatever influenced him, by the last few years of his life he had become a violent angry and murderous criminal whose focus became the Police.

The great irony of Kelly mythology is that it only exists because Ned Kellys  ‘colonial stratagem’ failed, and because sympathisers are in deep denial about what Ned Kelly exposed of his true nature at Glenrowan. The last thing they will want to do is discuss it here.

Monday 14 March 2016

Discuss the Kelly Gang Unmasked

The Author and his landmark challenge to Kelly mythology
I have repeatedly written that my intention in this blog is not to change the minds of the die-hard Kelly sympathisers, but to provide corrections to the errors, and balance to the arguments made by such people about the Kelly story, so that interested and open-minded readers will be better informed. Hopefully then the people who venerate the horse thief turned Police-killer, Bank Robber and wannabe mass murderer will be reduced to a minimum and the age of the Kelly Icon consigned to history. Kelly himself, and the Kelly Outbreak  will of course never be forgotten, such was its startling impact on the Nation at such an early stage in its history,  but what will be remembered will be accurate history and not mythology.

The futility of trying to educate and change the minds of Kelly sympathizers is nowhere better illustrated than in their responses to the 2012 publication, ‘the kelly gang unmasked   by Ian MacFarlane. This book provides a massive body-blow to Kelly mythology and the Kelly sympathisers are justifiably afraid of it. Its publication  provoked an acrimonious discussion on the Ned Kelly Forum, - a place that declares itself to be ‘the home of the TRUE Kelly gang sympathisers’ - between a tiny minority of open minded Kelly sympathisers who wanted people to read it, and the majority who condemned it out of hand, who proudly announced they would never read it and who attacked anyone who may have defended it, or even its right to have a point of view. In the end various NKF members were expelled and the entire discussion excised from the Forum and further discussion about it banned! No one is allowed to  discuss me or this Blog on that site either!

Absurdly, one of the NKF members then set up a Facebook page devoted to ‘unmasking’ this book that he refused to read.  He was completely out of his depth and quite quickly gave up on his attempt to ‘unmask’ the book, and instead preoccupied himself with attacking me. He now insists that I am the author of that book - but earlier insisted I was the ex-wife of the author -  and therefore attacking me is the same thing as debunking the book. He also maintains that I write all the Comments on this blog, because according to him they all have the same grammar and  spelling mistakes! The wait for his promised explanation of Lonigans gunshot wounds  has now exceeded eight months. He also announced in June 2014 "I have been busy working on other projects, one of which will blow the whole Fitzpatrick Affair out of the water and prove that it was all concocted” Need-less to say nothing ever came of that claim either. 

Another  NKF  member, Lisa, wrote a “Review” of the Kelly gang unmasked for the Iron Outlaw  website, where it remains among other book reviews, such as the one describing J J Kenneallys book as ‘the first true account of what happened in Kelly country ’ (see my review of  The Inner History of the Kelly Gang HERE). In contrast to all the other published reviews that I have seen which give it high praise,  Lisa describes the  Kelly gang unmasked book as ignorant, extremely one-sided and  THE most biased/pro police book I have read yet.’ Theres an air of outrage and indignation thoughout the ‘review’ that Ian MacFarlane could DARE to suggest that Kelly mythology could be wrong! For example she writes "He even questions the fact that Ned and his mother were close?!?”  implying its an outrage to even ask the question about that relationship! But as readers of this Blog would  know, there are indeed good reasons to question that claim, and a reviewer ought to be able to consider the reasonableness of challenging it, and not simply overreact to a challenge to her cherished beliefs. This ‘review’ fails, like the ‘unmasking’ Facebook page fails because they are not attempts to critically evaluate the book but are hysterical over-reactions to the challenges the book contains, and both completely miss the point. 

The entire point  of the book is to challenge and analyse the narrative about the Kelly Gang that has been relentlessly advanced in book after book after book for decades, and to provide  and make the case for an alternative view. It was long overdue and is a groundbreaking publication because this kind of analysis had never been attempted before. 

The allegation that TKGU is ‘biased’ and ‘pro-Police’ is the one most frequently leveled at it.  Captain Jack is critical of the books ‘selective use of facts and its aversion to printing anything that may contradict its hypothesis  a criticism that could just as easily be leveled at the pro-Kelly works. However, in its defense I would say there was no need for it to rehash all the ‘pro-Kelly’ and ‘anti-police’ narratives – they’ve been told and retold in just about every Kelly publication for 130 years, and ought to be familiar to anyone with an interest in the story. Reduced to its simplest, the sympathisers Kelly story is about the bad Police and the good Kellys. Inevitably, to counter that succesfully, at its most simple MacFarlane’s book would have to show the Kelly’s weren’t so good, or the Police so bad.  And that’s exactly what he does.

Importantly though, MacFarlanes writing is heavily referenced, and almost nothing is asserted without original references to back it up. It is packed with factual information and  logical argument  to make its case.

The best review of this book is found on Sharon and Brians Blog at 11 Mile Creek .  It’s the best available because, unlike all of the others it was written by someone with a detailed knowledge of the Kelly stories, Brian Stevenson. He levels a number of criticisms at the book, for example MacFarlanes failure to mention Constable Halls brutal bashing and attempted shooting of Ned when he was 15, but his overall assessment of the book was very positive.   Everyone should read all three parts of his brilliant review.

Finally, it goes without saying that this book should be read by everyone who has an interest in the Kelly story. It really does show up the gaping holes in Kelly mythology, and its blatant distortions and misrepresentations.  And if you discern in it that the author developed a dislike of Ned Kelly, you’ll realize it was for very good reasons : Ned Kelly and his extended family were not admirable downtrodden and persecuted country folk – as portrayed in the mythology – they were a criminal rabble.