Saturday 26 November 2016

The Unforgotten Photo of Ned Kelly

For $8 you can look at this valuable Kelly photo for about 5 seconds at the Kelly Vault.
I’m not going to do what the Vault did, and play games with everyones interest in this Photo, subjecting us all to drawn out guessing competitions, exposures of tiny bits of the image, a long slow campaign of promotion and cranking up of interest and expectation, hints of controversy and uncertainty about it; I am going to tell you straight away what I think about this Forgotten Image: its Ned Kelly.

Actually, it was the cheeks that did it for me, and their relationship to his eyes. Ned Kelly’s cheek bones are quite high, plump and rounded like small fruit - plums maybe -  and they’re easily seen in the photo taken before he was hanged, and in the death mask. They’re  also visible in the Police Mugshot taken in 1870 at Kyneton when he was 15, and in the two taken in1874 : the Mugshot before he was released from Pentridge, and even in the ‘Boxing Ned’ photo. And  if you look at the blown up bit of the “Forgotten Photo” that’s visible behind Matt Shore in the newspaper Photo that’s posted to the Vault and the NK Central FB pages, you can see them there too! Sharon has posted a comparison of the Forgotten  Photo with the Boxing Ned image and again, you’ll see what I mean. Ive looked at a few other photos of Kelly sympathisers from the time, and no one has cheek bones like Neds!

However, as Matt Shore himself has said, its impossible to be 100% certain of the identity of that strapping fellow in the bush, these are all highly subjective assesments but this is my rationale for deciding its Ned Kelly. For a start, we know the activity portrayed in the image is exactly what Ned was employed doing for a short period of his life after Pentridge. The provenance of this Image seems to firmly link it to the Kellys, and theres also the fact that apparently this image was treasured by his mother. What better reason would there be for her to treasure it than that it was her son? And lastly of course, there is the physical resemblance between the person in this image and the other images we have of Ned Kelly. 

There are however some really important questions that still need to be answered about this image, and in making my own pronouncement I am assuming these questions have all been answered in a satisfactory way. Thus far however, the Public have been kept in the dark about these answers, and on Facebook attempts to get them recently by myself and another person were met firstly with responses that were evasive and ambiguous, and then with direct attacks on our identity. Leigh Olver clearly is more deeply involved and is privy to much more than he lets on, insists that these are all questions for the Vault to answer but the Vault has remained silent.  Never-the-less these are serious questions and they  require answers. 

The first relates to the fact that a woman called Elsie Pettifer claimed that the man in question was her father. Elsie Pettifer was a grand-daughter of Neds mother Ellen, and was at one time custodian of this and other  Kelly memorabilia, but she died in 2000. On Facebook last week Kelly descendant Leigh Olver claimed Elsie was wrong when she claimed this was a photo of her father and not of Ned, but when asked how he could so confidently assert that a woman couldn’t recognize her own father, he declined to elaborate. The interesting thing is that in 2002 when this same photo was put up for Auction by Christies, Elsie Pettifers opinion was accepted by Ian Jones and others, and for that very reason the photo was withdrawn from the Auction. In 2002 nobody thought this was a photo of Ned. It then became the ‘forgotten photo’.  So the question that really needs answering is what changed between 2002, when Elsies view was accepted, and 2016 when Elsies  view was dumped?  All kinds of innocent and not so innocent explanations are possible – was it realized that Elsies eyesight was so poor, or her aged mind and memory so infirm her opinion could not be relied on? Was she trying to wrest back control of an image that she thought could be worth a lot of money if it was known to be Ned, by falsely saying it was her father? Equally, could modern day Kellys have decided that because if it was Ned the image could be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, they would discredit Elsies view and promote one that would greatly benefit whoever has control of it in 2016?

You see, there is definitely a very real power struggle going on between various Kelly factions at the moment. Last year, when Joanne Griffiths  started her Ned Kelly Center Facebook Page to promote her plans to create a unified Kelly family organization, almost immediately the almost identically named, but anonymously backed Ned Kelly Central sprang up. It soon broadcast declarations from Leigh Olver that he and a different group of Kelly descendants didn’t endorse or support Joannes group, and at various times over the last year, he has made various critical and unsupportive comments in relation to activities the NKCenter  has been engaged in.

Enter the Ned Kelly Vault:  According to the Vaults own publicity, one of the Kelly factions approached the Vault with an offer about the ‘forgotten image’ .  Given there appear to be only two factions, it was either someone from Joanne’s group, or someone from Leigh Olvers group, but  not a single mention has been made of this Image on the NK Centre FB page.  Additionally, a report from the Age newspaper has surfaced from 2002, quoting Leigh Olver making a comment about these very images at the time they went to Auction,so it stands to reason that Leigh Olver and his faction is behind this Kelly Image Project. They wanted the image to be made public but they made very strict and specific demands of the Vault if they were to have access to this image : specifically, the identity of the Kelly faction involved was to be kept secret,  no-body was permitted to copy it, it was not to be made available on the Internet or anywhere else, and  the Public  could only have access to the image at the Vault.  Poor Matt Shore  had no real choice - the diehard Kelly collector and enthusiast would probably have cut his arm off to get it if they had asked him to – this was the Kelly find of the Century, he could barely conceal his enormous excitement and delight at the chance to see something he was told had never been made Public before, a photo of Ned Kelly that would be only the second that wasn’t a Police mugshot.  Not only that, the photo was in great condition and so different to all the others, a photo of a happy relaxed natural looking Ned out in the bush, at work making an honest living. No question:  a sensational find.

I’m guessing of course, but I would imagine that Matt Shore isn’t all that pleased with the strait-jacket the Kellys have forced him to wear. I imagine that what Matt Shore would have wanted to do is cover half a wall with a huge blown up version of this great Photo, be very open and informative about the exact provenance of it, tell a fascinating story of its history from 1874 to 2002 when it was withdrawn from Auction to 2016 when it was ‘unforgotten’, why Elsie Pettifer got it wrong,what the Professor did, what its market value might be, and make it widely available so everyone can share his delight and fascination. When I saw that newspaper article where a bit of the Photo was visible in the background, massively enlarged, I  was encouraged.

But readers, let me warn you, if you go to Beechworth expecting something magnificent like that, you’re in for a massive shock and deep disappointment. I cannot imagine for a second that what the Kellys have forced Matt Shore to do with this image pleases him in the least. In fact I think it might be an embarrassment to him, because , like the imprisonment of a magnificent wild animal in a tiny cage, this image of Ned is imprisoned in a bizarre little box with a tiny viewing window at the top. And when you look in its not even the actual photo itself that you see, or the high resolution image they have made of it but a sort of perpetually scrolling video that begins with a washed out version of the original that fades out and is replaced by the new one, and if I remember rightly a close up of the face which is then superimposed by the death mask and other Ned images one by one for a few seconds and then it starts all over again. Meanwhile, you’re stooped over this box and kids behind you are noisily jostling for their turn to be next, as you watch it a second time in disbelief at what you just saw, desperate to try to fix the image in your minds eye before its replaced with the death mask and the beard obscures the face….I cannot begin to describe how disappointed I was, even somewhat annoyed that after all these months of hype and promotion of this ‘find of the Century’, all I get to see is a few seconds of video in a stupid little box:

The stupid little box at the Kelly Vault that hides the 'Kelly find of the Century'

I don’t really  blame the Vault, or Matt Shore for this farce, I blame the Kellys, and if Leigh Olver has something to do with all of this he needs to own up to it and give the public an explanation of just what the hell they think they’re playing at. They’re  happy to have the State Government spend a million bucks on restoring a Kelly house, but the Public have to pay up if they want to see the Kelly find of the Century!

I wish Matt Shore could have told them in March where to stick their Photo if the only way the Public could get to see it was to pay to do so and in conformity with their ridiculous demands for secrecy and security. Maybe now he is wishing he had.

The only possible reason that I can think of for all these restrictions around the Public showing of this image, is that its about money, not so much for the Vaults coffers but for the Kellys. By having the Vaults experts offer an opinion that undercuts Elsies, and having the Public interest aroused and a belief generated that it is indeed Ned in that photograph, you can be sure the next time it goes to Auction it wont be passed in. Remember the photo of that dodgy trio said to include Ned that sold for $16,000 earlier this year? Matt Shore was asked what the value of this Photo would be in an ABC interview you can listen to by following this link ;he declines to provide a number, but you can sort of hear him shaking his head in wonder when he says it could be worth “anything”. He’s right!

I wrote elsewhere that I and  many others felt we had been ‘jerked around’ by the Vault in its manipulation of Public interest in this Photo, but now I think the Vault has been jerked around too. I think the Vault has been caught up in the Kelly wars, and has compromised itself in the way it has given in to their absurd demands and created this sad and miserable little display that completely fails to do justice to the image and its significance for not just Kelly history but Australian history as well. An opportunity for something magnificent has been missed. 

Given that I am persona non grata at the Vaults FB page and at NKCentral, where Leigh Olver hangs out, I somehow think my questions will go unanswered but these are the questions the Kellys and the Vault should be answering :  
  • Why are you so sure Elsie was wrong?
  • Why do the experts no longer accept the view of the experts in 2002 who said the clothes these men were wearing belonged to well after 1874?
  • How exactly did Professor Spring the photographic forensic expert analyse the Photo, and what were the facts that led him to conclude it was very likely to be Ned Kelly?
  • Did the Kellys not tell Matt Shore that the photo HAD been seen before, and that it had been published in a Christies Auction Catalogue of 2002? ( The initial Vault publicity suggested this was a photo that had never been seen before)
  • Ian Jones was reported to have been at the unveiling of this Photo at the Vault on November 12th. Has he changed his view of who is in the photo, and if so, does Matt Shore know what it was that led Ian Jones to change his mind?
  • What happened to the analysis of the writing on the back of the Photo?
  • Where is the actual Photo now? Hidden in the Vault or back in the hands of the Kellys?

Wednesday 23 November 2016

Expelled from the NKC : the Emails

For the record, here is the entire unredacted actual content of the email discussions I had with Ned Kelly Central about my expulsion from their Facebook Page. Here also are the email discussions about their actions afterwards when they posted a Comment of mine from my FB page, allowing anyone to attack it in any way they wanted, safe in the knowledge I could not respond. They couldn’t see that gagging one side of a debate is an appalling abuse of the freedom of speech. 

But this Chapter is now closed. Ned Kelly Central is a place for Kelly Sympathisers to swap pleasantries about what a wonderful hero the mass murderer Ned Kelly was, and to outdo each other in expressions of hatred for the Police and anyone who doesn’t agree with their mindless sycophancy. Nobody with a contrary view will ever waste their time and energy as I have been doing challenging any of their false beliefs, or misogyny, cop hate-speech, ignorance of Kelly history or outright lies, having seen how my attempts were responded to with personal attacks against me, lies about me, the invention of rules to  get rid of me, and eventual expulsion. Like the NKF which also expelled people with contrary views,  NK Central will steadily decline into irrelevance, and eventually disappear.

November 16th

Dear Anonymous administrator 

You have expelled me from the NK Central stating that it has been done according to the guidelines of the pages Impressum. Ive been familiar with your impressum for some time and was not aware of any indication within it relating to the use of more than one avatar. If there was I would have been more careful to only use one. 

I am writing to protest against this unfair action that has been taken without giving me any sort of warning or  the opportunity to either explain myself or modify my behaviour.  Given that this situation is NOT mentioned in the Impressum, it is doubly unjust to summarily expel me. The truth I think is that you’ve expelled me because of what I am saying. 

If you have simply decided you don’t want people like me to appear on your Page and challenge the views of others there, then I think you ought to have the courage of your convictions and simply make that plain. I think you ought to make it plain that NK Central is really only interested in pro-Kelly discussions, and put away the pre tense to being a forum for anyone interested in the Kelly story. However, to announce that I have been expelled for breaking a rule, when that rule doesn’t exist is dishonest and mean.

I would be interested in your explanations

Hi Dee, we have been messaged over a period of time by concerns to Admin regarding what is deemed to be your continual 'personal harassment of targeted individuals' using more than one false profile. 

Unfortunately this problematic situation has escalated again today and has been actively discussed by the administrators as to what our response would be.
As you can understand continued comments that scrutinise individuals can anger, cause distress, provoke others and create negativity, and this does become very difficult to deal with as moderators. 

The 'Ned Kelly Central' Facebook site is primarily a sharing site with different viewpoints and discussion.  Intense debates are definitely interesting, but are not always easily 'moderatable', and I believe we have discussed this with you before and thought this was clarified.

We believe there are some followers who occasional comment with false profiles and have overlooked this at times if it is manageable, without offence and appears to be in keeping with the Impressum guidelines.  However this site cannot encourage or condone multiple profiles from one person that are false, especially if they continue to scrutinise individuals in what has been deemed personal strikes or ongoing targeted criticism. 

You have been temporarily blocked, under the Impressum guideline "on a case by case basis".  In this "case" you have been deemed (without warning), for the obvious use of more than one profile, which you have declared openly that you use on our site.  

This site has tried to protect your views for over a year now, and also look after the way you operate, we also appreciate comments you have made, just like any other follower that has chosen to post or comment here. Different viewpoints and beliefs are welcome regardless of your criticism of our site in your email. 

You have put Admin in a very difficult position with some of your past commenting behaviours.  Agreed we have not clarified multiple profile use in our Impressum (we may/may not choose to review this) but it does fit into our "case by case" basis, and is further qualified by stating "all decisions made by 'Ned Kelly Central' are final".  Facebook also states that fake "personal profiles" are against their policies (not ours).  Ned Kelly Central is not run from a personal Facebook "Profile" and does conform to use an organisation name of "Ned Kelly Central" with its own avatar, just like any other business or organisation webpage can on Facebook.

If in the future we choose to unblock you, we do hope you can participate openly, fairly, without exception, and know the boundaries, without trying to reform us and our site.  

We do try and encourage all points of discussion, but will not tolerate ongoing issues going against our Impressum.

Due to the response we have had privately we think there will be some sole searching tonight by a few individuals.  

Ned Kelly Central

Dear NKC

thank you for your response.

In relation to the complaints of ‘continued personal harassment of targeted individuals’ would you be kind enough to point out the specific instances where this occurred in relation to my contributions? I do not believe there have ever been any, and certainly not today. What actually happened to day was that Leigh for reasons of his own was unwilling to answer a specific legitimate question which I asked politely twice. I did not pursue him harass or abuse him in any way but pursued in a reasonable way the point I was trying to make. This is simply robust debate, not personal attack as someone tried to make out. He then resorted to criticising me for using a pseudonym, as did Fitsimons who at the last minute joined the attacks on me, escalated the whole thing into a major drama and then he also attacked  ******, accused her of being a fake and probably me and claimed that I had abused Leigh.All this is typical of that appalling man. 

I am going to give you some advice. If you want to run the NKC as a place for ALL people interested in Ned Kelly, then you are going to have to accept that there are some who think he was a hero and others a villain and both viewpoints are going to be expressed and at times clash. Then when people come grizzling and complaining to you that they don’t like what certain people are saying, determine whether or not that person is abusing or attacking another person and the complaint is legitimate,  or  is that person actually making a legitimate point that the complainer just doesn’t like. If its the former, warn the person concerned or delete their posts. If its the latter, tell the whinger to argue back, make the case for their own point of view, join the debate and learn something, or go away. That is what you should have done today. 

On the other hand if you want to run the NKC as a place just  for Kelly sympathisers for gods sake announce it, give up the pretence of being a neutral player and let the sympathisers enjoy their Ned time in peace. At the moment they seem to think this is already such a place, and every time I appear I get told to go away. 

So you guys have to decide - do the easy thing and make it a place for Sympathisers like the NKF, or do the hard thing and adjudicate fairly, stand up to whiners and complainers who try to stifle debate on topics they don’t  like, and go with the flow.

Your call

Ned Kelly Central sees "everything" that gets posted or private messaged on our site (including many automatically filtered comments), and we don't have to reveal any of the conversations, nor reasons as to why we have taken action to help protect our site and its members.  

Ned Kelly Central and its Admin team have already explained why we took the necessary action that we did, our decision is final, and we will not be told how we need to run our site.

As you have been previously warned in the past, other members today were also given their first and second chances at explaining themselves, and reminded of our conditions. 


I wasn’t wanting you to tell me about other peoples messages and postings but the ones that I made myself that you considered constituted harassment of targeted individuals. I didnt think there were any but maybe Im missing something.

So is there now a rule that you get two warnings and then get expelled without further notice? If there is such a rule shouldn’t you explain that to everyone, so they can understand exactly what the rules are?

HI Again

you don’t see a problem with putting my Post up on the Facebook Page that I have been blocked from? 

Isn’t it natural justice to allow a person the right of reply? You have denied me this right. 

May I ask exactly what is your thinking on this?

Hello again
its not clear to me what you mean by saying you have offered this one off reply back concession to the Blocked member? It reads as if you’re saying I have the right of reply, that you’re doing this to be fair, but at present I am still unable to post to your FB page.

Just wondering if I am understanding what you’re posting correctly or not.

And one other thing, given that you’ve asked people to  "Please keep your comments without personal attacks and connected to the thread.”, what are you going to do with the posts from Mick Fitzsimons?

You are blocked and remained blocked, however anyone can tap on your 'Ned Kelly:The True Story' share (from our Facebook page), and this should then give the opportunity to comment to your site.  Users familiar with Facebook should understand this.  You can also of course reply to any of the comments you receive via your own page.  

As for Mick Fitzsimons, maybe this will be the last time he will make comments about you on this Facebook page. 

Furthermore 'Ned Kelly Central' has always remained independent of any topic discussed by our members.  Other sites should not be using our page as a platform to discuss our members, their comments, or to negatively target another organisation.  

'Ned Kelly Central' will continue to moderate on a case by case basis, and use our Impressum guidelines as a standard for fairness.

Just to be clear then, people can respond to the post of mine that you have transplanted into your site safe in the knowledge that I have been gagged and no matter what they write, I can't respond. It's like tying me to a post and saying here everyone, have a free hit at Dee. 

And you  never really intended to act on what you wrote about people posting abuse? 

You talk about fairness but what you're doing to me is exceedingly unfair.

The post is now removed, thanks for your participation on our site and it's unfortunate that after allowing you many opportunities and providing much support for your views (with often high levels of moderation required), it has come to this last final criticism from you in regard to providing a 'right of reply'.

This site is now achieving what it aims to be and I hope you can appreciate from our perspective that your insightful contributions will be missed. However this is not a Facebook site for interrogation of 'individuals' nor does it offer a platform for intense 'attacking' debates. These actions have been deemed as not allowable in our Impressum guidelines on a 'case by case' basis.
We cannot support a nameless person either, who is addressing others using multiple profiles with what appears to be an intent to antagonise. 

We hope you can understand our final decision to block your profiles.

Thanks again for your involvement,

Friday 18 November 2016

Please Explain...

This is the image published in the Christies Auction House Catalogue in 2002.
Ive removed the Post from “Anonymous” that James Gray and Leigh Olver objected to, having thought about their complaints overnight and seeking an opinion from a friend.  Ive removed it even though in my opinion it was  a valid expression of frustration, suspicion and opinion in relation to the now publically displayed “Alleged Ned” image and the long promotional campaign that the Vault has been engaged in for the last six months. Ive removed it because I don’t want the important points it raises to be submerged in an argument about politeness and the manner rather than the substance of the comment.

To that end I am going to rephrase the questions it posed and add a few comments of my own.

Essentially what this person was objecting to was that now, having seen the image, he (or she?) feels that what was delivered was not what was promised, and feels ripped off and angry. I haven’t yet seen the image itself or what the Vault has done with it, but certainly I don’t think anyone would argue that the Vault didn’t deliberately create massive expectations and ramp up the status of this Image, sensationally describing it as the Kelly find of the Century, mysterious, the most significant discovery of its type in 54 years….and so on. The promotion included Radio interviews and Press Releases, and various Posts on Facebook like the montage of several Ned Faces…

The expectations of the public were repeatedly set back by delays in the date of the Images public showing, and an air of secrecy was maintained about many of the details in relation to it, but I for one, and obviously many others also expected that once it was finally shown at the Vault, all would be revealed.

In fact what has been revealed is that much of the hype was less than accurate – in particular the claim that the Image had never been seen before : it had been published in an Auction Catalogue but didn’t sell because of doubts about who the figures were. Secrecy about where the image came from has been maintained, and access to the Image has been restricted to the Vault so it can only be seen by paying an Entry Fee ( $8 minimum ) 

On Facebook the other day, when searching questions were asked of Leigh Olver about his involvement with this promotion and why he could confidently assert that Elsie Pettifer was wrong to claim one of the people in the photo was her father his response was dismissive : you’ll just have to trust me on this one he said. Leighs earlier comments seemed designed to give the impression that he was not involved in this promotion in any way, but when asked about a 2003 article in the Age which quoted him discussing these very images, again he became defensive and evaded giving a direct answer. This reticence only fueled suspicions in some peoples minds  that the Public was being taken for a ride – I called it being jerked around – by the Vault.  There was a distinct lack of openness and transparency about the whole thing. There was a patronizing attitude to non-Kelly related people who were expected to believe Leigh because he was a Kelly descendant. The Vault itself maintained a silence that was increasingly obvious, given their failure to keep the agreement made weeks ago to answer questions posted to Facebook before the unveiling. Leigh and the Kelly bully Fitzsimons attacked a Female contributor, accused her of being me or being some other Fake person, or Sharon…In the end I was banned from the Ned Kelly Central  Facebook Page for breaking a rule that didnt exist and all my comments and questions for the Vault disappeared. 

So, we come to the Comment that I have reluctantly deleted because it upset some Kelly people.  It was not written by me or anyone I know but I completely understand the frustration and the anger this person expressed because like me he (or she) feels dudded by the Vault and the Kelly people who are trying to extract the maximum out of this image, who say they cant be 100% sure its Ned but woe betide anyone who doesn’t agree with them, who say they had Photoshop work done on the Image but are angered by someone asking exactly how much did they do to the Image, who are clearly going to make money out of this enterprise but who from some perspectives treat the paying public with contempt, behaving as if they owe us nothing, who seem to expect us to swallow anything that come out of the mouth of a Kelly.

I really do believe the Vault and Leigh Olver have some explaining to do. They are welcome to do it here.