Saturday 31 December 2016

Dee owns the Kelly Story

Does one of these towns own the Kelly story?
On the Kelly Facebook Pages they're arguing about who owns the Kelly story and who has the right to tell it and where it should be told from. Theres a Glenrowan Camp led by Joanne Griffiths, who is an actual Kelly descendant apparently, and the Beechworth Camp centred around the Kelly Vault, an annexe to the Burke Museum that houses the private collection of a Kelly enthusiast, Matt Shore, along with the public collection of Kelly related objects from the museum.

The latest skirmish has been provoked by a letter to a local newspaper backing Joannes proposal. The Vault and the Ned Kelly Center both almost simultaneously posted an image of the letter, then proceeded to dismiss the points its author was trying to make. 

Frankly, the arguments between these two groups are unedifying and childish, and unlikely to enhance Public support for either side. I think the Vault is making a serious mistake in taking sides and aligning itself with Leigh Olvers group, though the Vault is probably in debt to it now because of the preposterous deal they made about exhibiting the Unforgotten Image. More than one person suggested if  the Vault hadn't made those compromises then 'the Public' would  never have had the chance to see the photo. Well, yes but so what? Matt Shore said the Photo added nothing to the Kelly story, but the Vault seriously compromised its professional status in agreeing to  the peculiar demands of the Kelly faction that owned the Photo. Was it worth it Matt, to compromise your Museums reputation for something that added nothing to the Kelly story? Is the Vault going to reduce itself to the status of travelling Freak Show, now simultaneously exhibiting 'the greatest Kelly discovery in 50 years' and ' the Kelly find of the Century'?

Instead I think the Vault ought to have stayed neutral and strongly urged these two factions to settle their differences behind closed doors. What I would suggest they do is create some sort of Kelly descendants Organisation, register members and get them to vote for half a dozen members to form a committee to represent them all, for the committee to then elect a spokesperson and for everyone to support one leader and one policy in the Public space. At the moment the egos of Joanne Griffiths and Leigh Olver are not just getting in the way of progress, but actually ruining the prospects of ANYTHING being achieved by Kelly descendants.

So why have I called this post "Dee owns the Kelly story"?

Its because yesterday I received my copy of "Edward 'Ned' Kelly : The Definitive Record"  by Kelvyn Gill. Its over 1200 pages long, in two huge volumes. What the author has assembled is an exhaustive collection of every document and publication he could find that was issued at the time by newspapers, government and other sources that related to the Kelly outbreak. They are presented in chronological order  beginning from well before Ned was born, to well after. He makes a point of NOT including 'oral history and anecdotal material' - a wise move because todays oral history and anecdote are an almost bottomless pit of untestable tales, many of which would have only the barest trace of something historical at the bottom of them. On the other hand official records, telegrams, newspaper reports, and personal recollections made at the time have a far greater authority as source material. But there also numerous photos, old diagrams and lists, the text of the Cameron and Jerilderie Letters,  and The Royal Commission. And much much more. Kelvyn Gill has produced a marvellous academic resource and deserves huge congratulations and respect for what must amount to being almost a lifetimes work.

This is an invaluable collection that anyone SERIOUSLY interested in the Kelly story should own. Its a resource that will prove invaluable for any research you might want to do, but its also a fascinating place to randomly open and begin reading - there is something to learn and be surprised by on every page.

According to the original email I received about this work from Kelvyn Gill, only a limited number of these volumes is being printed. At present they can be ordered from him directly at a cost of $160 including Postage, but this is going to increase substantially once the book has wider retail release - he suggest it will be at least $200. For anyone wondering about the cost, try going to  a University Bookshop and buying a standard text book on any subject : many are double the price of this work which has taken Mr Gill 30 years to produce. Believe me, its well worth the purchase price : his email is

I wish everyone all the Best for 2017. The Kelly story is not going away and neither am I.

Saturday 24 December 2016

2016 In Review: Part Two :

On the Facebook Kelly places this year the dominant item of interest has been the Unforgotten Image. Ironoutlaw and Ned Kelly Central both ignored it because  of personal animosities, but even Matt Shore admitted at the end of the year that the image added nothing to our knowledge of  Ned Kelly or to Kelly history.  In the end it was just an amusing sideshow that exposed some of the Kelly descendants to be manipulative,  secretive and inclined to be bullies.  Just about everything else that appeared on those Facebook pages were just reposting of Kelly related stories from the news – the house sale, the Beechworth Gaol sales, a Play about Neds love life and so on. Attempts to start discussions on Kelly history never got past a couple of likes. The liveliest discussions were ones that I stimulated - I challenged comments that were sexist, misogynist, bullying, anti-Police hate speech or just plain wrong but once I was banned from Ned Kelly Central and the Vault Facebook Pages, those discussions have disappeared. Bill is stirring them up a bit at the moment and already has been warned by NK Central - so he’s  skating on thin ice: be careful Bill - if you make them too uncomfortable you’ll be banned too!

In contrast to the declining interest, censorship  and lack of ideas on the  Facebook pages of whats left of the online Kelly World, Death of the Legend Blog went from strength to strength in 2016.  Here are the stats that prove it : In December 2014 there were 2768 visitors, in December 2015 there were 6119, and in December 2016, with another week to go there have already been over 10,000!  

Blogger Stats shows me that TODAY more than 10 different blog posts have been visited : for example 2 people visited and read the post and discussion about Peter Carey’s book, 2 people visited and read the article about Bill Denheld’s discoveries at Stringybark Creek, several people read the post about why Ned Kelly hated the Police and 9 people read the Post about Ian Jones entitled ‘The Last Kelly Warrior’. These visits are so much more meaningful than Likes and Clicks to comments on Facebook pages – these are visits by people who read and are informed by entire essays on Kelly topics and the viewpoints and opinions of readers who post comments and digress into other interesting corners of Kelly history. Here are some of the topics we discussed on the Blog in 2016 :

ü  The myth of the Kelly Republic ( a fantasy designed to hide Ned Kellys murderous intent): read it again HERE

ü  The murder of Lonigan at SBC ( Ned Kelly lied - it wasn’t self defence): read it again, and 60 readers comments HERE and HERE

ü  The myth about John Monash meeting Ned Kelly during the Jerilderie Bank Robbery ( he didnt!) : read it again HERE

ü  The criminal career of Dan Kelly ( petty thief and delinquent) : read it again HERE and HERE

ü  The criminal career of Jim Kelly in three parts: (he briefly changed his name to Jim Wilson and stole horses in NSW) read them again HERE , HERE and HERE

ü  The myth of Dan Kelly and Steve Hart surviving the Ann Jones inn fire  ( they didn’t) : read it again HERE and HERE

ü  The myth that Ned Kellys last words were 'Such is Life'  (  They weren’t) - a review of the latest research by Dr Stuart Dawson) : read it again HERE

ü  The true site of the Police murders at SBC : read it again HERE

ü  The myth about Police persecution being the cause of the Kelly Oubreak (it wasn’t) : read it again HERE

ü  A new view of Red Kelly - (this is ground breaking insight even if I say so myself!) : read it again HERE

In 2016 we also discussed all these books:

ü  Ned Kellys Last Days by Alex Castles ; Reviewed HERE (excellent book)

ü  Ned Kelly Knight in Aussie Armour by Eugenie Navarre ; Reviewed HERE and HERE (rubbish )

ü  Ned Kelly the Man behind the Mask by Hugh Dolan ; Reviewed HERE (interesting Comic)

ü  The Kelly Gang Unmasked by Ian MacFarlane ; Reviewed HERE (the BEST new era Kelly book, and absolute MUST READ)

ü  The Trial of Ned Kelly by JBPhillips ; Reviewed HERE
 (worth reading)

ü  The True History of the Kelly Gang by Peter Carey ; Reviewed HERE (a prize winning novel , historically inaccurate but a moving read) 

ü  The Complete Inner History of the Kelly Gang by JJKenneally ; Reviewed HERE (a classic piece of extreme Kelly propaganda)

ü  Ned Kelly : A Lawless Life by Doug Morrissey ; Reviewed HERE (the brilliant second of the new era Kelly books, short-listed for a Literary Award but not the winner - another 'must read')

ü  The Myth of the Lost Cause ; Reviewed HERE (an interesting comparison of  historical Myths)

ü  The CSI@SBC Report ; Reviewed HERE (a brave but unsuccessful attempt at making a case for an alternative to Bills site for the SBC murders)

ü  The Reports of the Royal Commission ; Reviewed HERE (The Classic official resource : HUGELY misquoted and misinterpreted by Kelly propagandists)

Ned Kelly Volume 1 by Dr Michael King ; Reviewed HERE ( an e-book full of conspiracy theory garbage)

We also reviewed something called “Neducation” which is the word invented by a Kelly Propagandist to  describe the telling of lies about Ned Kelly to children, and we looked at several children’s books, HERE. We also had a couple of Guest Posts from Peter Newman, one of which was the  review of Eugenie Navarres book, and the other about the burial sites of Kelly gang members. We also had the second report from Dr Stuart Dawson, ( about Neds last words) , there was a post, which is 4th in the list of the Top Ten all time favourite posts, about the Kelly biographer and former giant of the modern Kelly world Ian Jones, we ran a Poetry competition and after more than 365 days of counting  we gave up waiting for the Kelly troll to front up with his promised explanation of how Lonigan received his wounds. Instead, with the help of Blog readers I solved the century old mystery myself.

We covered a lot of ground in 2016, we had some really interesting discussions and I believe we all learned a great deal about the Kelly legends.

Its hard to believe that about a year ago someone said I had covered just about everything there was to cover in the Kelly story and I was going to run out of topics before too much longer - well that certainly didnt happen and I am pretty sure we will find plenty more to discuss and discover and argue about in 2017.

I want to thank all the contributors and readers of this Blog for your interest and attention all year long, and for helping the Blog grow and continue to be successful and become now, undoubtedly the centre of the online Kelly world. Long may it continue.

May you all greatly enjoy the Festive season and your summer holidays, and have a fruitful and fulfilling New Year.

Monday 19 December 2016

2016 : The Kelly Year in Review. Part 1

In this Two Part Post, I am going to review what happened in the wider world of Ned Kelly in 2016. The second Part will be about this Blog, but Part one will be about everything else. The contrast is  quite amazing, as you will see when you read Part Two in a few days time but today I will start where 2016 began and finished, with the Ned Kelly Vault, the driver of the only Kelly game in town this year, with its relentless promotion starting in March of a ‘forgotten photo’.

At the start of the year I posted a two part review of the Kelly Vault, the annexe to the Burke Museum at Beechworth.  I was critical of the fact that the information attached to many of the objects on display heavily favoured the Ned Kelly hero mythology and Ian Jones unproven theory about a Kelly republic, whilst  ignoring the alternative view of Ned Kelly, that he was a psychopath, mass murderer and outright villain. In a Museum, one expects at least an attempt at balance, but this was lacking.  I also objected to the display of what they claimed was ‘the most significant Kelly discovery in 50 years’ a piece of metal that Scientific analysis had PROVED was NOT what the Vault was claiming it was.   

The Vault answered some of my criticisms and made encouraging noises about review and renewal of its displays in the future, so in response I wrote a conciliatory Post entitled “The Vault Fires back”. At their request I also removed the word ‘Forgery’ from the title of the Post about the metal find, though it was really just a playful pun on the fact that the metal was claimed to have been found at the site of a bush forge. Additionally, an assurance was given by the man who discovered the metal that in August 2016, he would at last publish the results of the testing he had commissioned himself in 2010 that he said proved that the Vaults claim about his finding was indeed correct. In fact, the Book was never published, a limited release of Information announced as a substitute for the Book didn’t occur, and neither did a special Facebook page on the subject  that was going to go live in September. When I visited the Vault in November 2016, the metal was still on display and the Kelly Republic misinformation was unchanged.

In addition to the “most significant Kelly discovery in 50 years” the Kelly Vault also now has on display  “the Kelly find of the Century”, the arresting ‘forgotten image’ which though unprovable, is possibly of Ned Kelly in 1874, at work in the Bush, aged 19. They began promoting this photo in March but it wasn’t revealed until November, and in between produced a steady stream of postings related to it, to keep up the interest.

Nobody ever dares mention it in the Kelly world, or at the Vault but that charming young man with the winning looks at that very same time when the Photo was taken, was a seriously delinquent youth, a onetime member of the antisocial Greta Mob with a rap sheet as long as your arm. By the time that Photo was taken Ned had been lucky to be acquitted of various charges related to his involvement in numerous armed holdups whilst learning the Bushranger lifestyle from Harry Power, acquitted of charges relating to an assault on a chinaman, had been convicted and served time in prison for assault and indecency, and a second term in prison for receiving a stolen horse. I think if people were told the truth about him, that here in this photo is a violent young convicted criminal, a thief and mass murderer in the making, when they look at it they will feel a chill go down their spine, and maybe get an insight into how his charm, his looks and his personality were able to allow the  transformation of an appalling life of violent crime into the absurd modern legend. Instead the public is fed the utterly unhistoric line that Kelly was a victim, a poor put upon, and persecuted selector , a Police made ‘criminal’, and when they look at his smiling face they cant help but believe it. Well, he soon got sick of the hard slog of splitting timber and turned to a far more lucrative profession : stock theft, and not too long after that sealed his fate by wrecklessly confronting and killing Policemen doing their lawful duty.

The Vault extracted every last ounce of publicity possible for itself in promoting the imminent release of  this image, calling it the “forgotten image”  with radio interviews and newspaper promotions, but when it was finally made available to the Public, it was only possible to see it by paying money and by squinting, one person at a time into an absurd little “viewer’

Actually, to be correct, what the Vault has on display is NOT the Photo but a sort of slide show of a digitally enhanced copy of it, not much more than a very short video. .  Imagine how you might feel if you went to the Louvre to see the Mona Lisa but all you got to see was a video image of it  viewed through a tiny hole in a wall!

They haven’t said where the actual Photo is except that it still belongs to unidentified “Kelly family” who by now probably have it secured in a different Vault altogether, a Bank Vault! I am sure the Kelly family will be delighted that by its publicity and by its attempts to have the photo authenticated the Vault has turned a Photo that couldn’t be sold at Auction in 2002  into an object of considerable worth today : $100,000 at Auction perhaps?

Matt Shore effectively admitted in his recent interview that he’s not happy with what the anonymous Kelly owners forced the Vault to do with this Photo. Frankly I think he’s been outmaneuvered by a cynical and manipulative Kelly faction, making use of his passionate interest in the subject to advance their side in the publicly obvious and damaging internecine Kelly war going on for control of the whole story. I think he has been bullied by the anonymous Kelly people, as I have also this year by one who isn’t anonymous. 

The Vault have now removed from their Facebook Page a statement that used to say the Vault was “a Museum not a shrine”. The pretence  at being a museum and not a shrine has been exposed : they haven’t altered any of the  unbalanced Kelly Republic Mythology, they have continued to display an article that science has shown is not what they claim it is, and now, they’re being told what to do by heavies in the Kelly family. On their Facebook Page, the only voice that offered alternative opinions regarding Kelly mythology has been banned : it was mine of course!

The Unforgotten Image saga was one of the few positive and interesting events in the Kelly world in 2016. Another positive was the release of two Kelly books this year. The first was the kelly story told in cartoon form, 'Ned Kelly The Man Behind the Mask' by Hugh Dolan, a Jacquie Lambie Network  senate candidate at the last election. I  quite liked it and  reviewed it HERE.  The other Kelly book released this year was ‘Ned Kelly: Knight in Aussie Armour’  by Eugenie Navarre which Peter Newman reviewed HEREand after I had a chance to read it added my own thoughts HERE. This book was a joke : it contained the predictable memories of old people in Kelly country who were handing down family oral history about their hero Ned Kelly, it made all manner of ridiculous claims about the Kelly Outbreak and recycled the stupid nonsense about Dan Kelly surviving the inferno at the Ann Jones Inn. I wrote about and completely debunked that possibility in the post I called “Well yes, actually you WERE burnt to a cinder” This title was a reference to a book called “Burnt to a cinder was I?” – which claimed Dan Kelly survived the inferno, a feat which is simply physically impossible as I showed in that Post in January 2016.

The other bit of good news that cheered up the Kelly sympathisers somewhat was the decision to spend a million dollars restoring a house that Neds father built at Beveridge in 1860. To placate people who might resist the idea of a million dollars of Public money being spent preserving the home of a mass killer, they are pretending the house is being saved because it has some unique architectural values relating to the way early Irish settlers built their homes.

Just about everything else that happened in the Kelly world in 2016 was bad news, as people seem to be losing interest in Kelly mythology. The big one was the abandonment of the annual Beechworth Ned Kelly Weekend. It seems a small group of enthusiasts had been organizing it year after year and were getting worn out, but there wasn’t anyone else willing to take it on. There were also disputes within the organization between the old hands who resented newcomers throwing their weight around, and this was the final straw.  They said they needed a break and would be back in 2017, but the signs are not encouraging - nothing has happened on their Facebook page for months. Its got to be a bad sign for Kelly believers if there weren’t enough of them in Beechworth, the beating heart of Kelly Country of all places, to keep a tradition going. 

The Ned Kelly Forum and its Facebook page have also disappeared, thanks again to infighting between members. This Forum had its best days back in 2012 when it first began, and many of the people whose names I see on Kelly related Facebook pages in 2016 signed up and were active contributors to all kinds of discussions back then, some of them worth reading. Sadly the Kelly troll Fitzsimons bullied so many of the contributors there that important members left, and hardly anyone else could be bothered posting. Finally it seems the ego of one of the two “Key Masters”, the wannabe movie star, got the better of him and because he couldn’t get his way he blew the whole thing up. This kind of puerile behavior must infuriate the many people who made thoughtful contributions to that Forum posting Photos and ideas in the belief they might be there for a long time to be used as a resource by other interested people . Instead they were destroyed by a disrespectful Kelly moron. That was a place peopled by some particularly virulent anti-Dee characters, so I am delighted to see their voices have been silenced but mine continues stronger than ever! 

Iron Outlaw, once the sort of online Mecca for Kelly enthusiasts has remained moribund all year, even its Facebook page barely changes from one month to the next, and they cant even be bothered attacking me any more. The only reason IO still exists is probably because its all run by one person so internal disputes are impossible. However, he has clearly run out of ideas and lost interest.

Ned Kelly Centre Facebook page, set up by Kelly family descendant Joanne Griffiths also is running out of ideas and the promised Web site hasn’t appeared. Her Crowd Funding attempt to raise $8million failed completely, an indicator of how little support there is for Kelly projects these days. Almost nothing happened on that Facebook Page this year.

Ned Kelly Central Facebook Page, set up in opposition to Joanne  Griffiths by an Anonymous person seems to be the private domain of  another Kelly descendant, Leigh Olver,  who is its most prolific contributor by a long way. Every so often he or one of his factions spokespersons announces they dont support Joanne or her endeavours, exposing the Kelly wars to all and sundry and weakening the prospect that anyone would want to support either side of these bickering Kelly descendants. NKCentral Facebook page began with high hopes of being a place where all points of view could be shared and discussed, at one point even encouraging me to post there, but they have ended the year firmly in the Kelly sympathizer camp, after choosing to ban me for trying to defend myself against bullies and liars who attacked everything I tried to post. My posts were of course challenges to Kelly myths and nonsense, but also to anti-Police hate, misogyny and sexist comments posted there, but in the end I was banned, my posts all deleted and the bullies, misogynists and Police haters remain, along with the Kelly sympathisers and their delusional uncorrectable beliefs about the Kelly story.  I wrote about it  here and here. In 2017 it will decline into irrelevance, getting a few Likes to news articles it reposts and nothing much else.

In retrospect then, the cause of the Kelly sympathiser went downhill in 2016 : the Ned Kelly Weekend disappeared, the Ned Kelly Forum disappeared, the two Kelly books published were a cartoon book and a joke, the Ned Kelly Centre stalled, and the Facebook Pages of the Vault and Ned Kelly Central have been dominated by interest in a photo of Ned Kelly. They have both also demonstrated a surprising readiness to censor and repress alternative viewpoints, preferring to ban a voice for balance, logic and historical truth and keep the company of police haters and misogynists, all of whom are free to continue to Post there as they wish.

In the next Post, in a few days time I will review the continuing remarkable rise of the Death of the Legend Blog in 2016, a place where there is amazing diversity, avid interest in the Kelly story and nobody is banned or censored.

Friday 9 December 2016

The Myth of the Lost Cause and the Kelly Legends

General Robert E Lee rallies the men in the Blue and Gray
Ive just finished reading a really interesting book called “The Myth of The Lost Cause, and Civil War History”. Its about the American Civil War, and how the side that was defeated promoted a particular view of what happened in the hope that history would record things somewhat differently from the reality of what actually happened. Its often said that history is written by the Victor, but this is an example of the losers attempting to write it. I found the insights into the way history is interpreted and used to meet cultural  needs very interesting indeed, and realised that this is a universal phenomenon that springs out of a deep human desire to make sense of failure, defeat and loss. An excellent Lecture about the Lost Cause given at the Smithsonian can be viewed HERE.

The ANZAC Legend is the obvious example from Australia. The other obvious example from Australia is of course the Kelly Legend, created to make sense of failure, defeat and loss by a psychopath whose charisma seemed to have induced in a few farmers of the North East, a delusional view that somehow he represented hope. 

“White Southerners emerged from the Civil War thoroughly beaten but largely unrepentant. Four years of brutal struggle had ravaged their military–age male population, vastly altered their physical landscape and economic infrastructure and destroyed their slave-based social system. They grimly acknowledged the superior might of the United States military forces and understood the futility of further armed resistance. Yet the majority of ex-confederates who had remained hopeful of establishing a new slaveholding republic until late in the conflict did not believe they had fought the war for an unworthy cause. During the decades following the surrender at Appomattox they nurtured a public memory of the Confederacy that placed their wartime sacrifice and shattering defeat in the best possible light. ….

Widely known then and now as the Lost Cause explanation of the Confederate experience it drew strength from the pages of participants memoires, from speeches at Veterans reunions, from ceremonies at the graves of soldiers killed while serving in Southern armies and other commemorative events, and from artwork with confederate themes.
In terms of shaping how Americans have assessed and understood the Civil War, Lost Cause warriors succeeded to a remarkable degree”

I doubt there would be few people with an interest in the Kelly story who would read those words I’ve quoted from the Foreword to the book, and not notice some interesting parallels between the Myth of the Lost Cause and the Legend of Ned Kelly. Certainly, in a similar way Kelly Warriors - the last of whom was Ian Jones ( see my post HERE ) -  have also succeeded to a remarkable degree in the way they have shaped how Australians assessed and understood the Kelly Outbreak. 

Both myths are accounts of historical defeat and failure reworked to sound like heroism and something noble, the ultimate failures of their leaders General Robert E Lee and Mr Ned Kelly ignored in the creation of an image of them as heroic and valiant. Like the Civil War myth, the Kelly Myth has also been created and sustained by the ‘memoires’ of participants, speeches, graveside ceremonies, ‘other commemorative events and ‘artwork’ : think of the Jerilderie  Letter, the Kelly symposium, November 11th  execution remembrances, the Sydney Olympics opening ceremony, the Ned Kelly Weekends, the Nolan series of paintings, the numerous Ned Kelly folk songs, plays, movies and books for adults as well as children that promote the Kelly myth.

Jubal Early, someone I had never heard of before, was one of Robert E Lees principle Lieutenants, and one of the prominent creators of the Lost Cause Myth. He was a sort of Jerome J Kenneally, in that he sought to write a record that not only glorified the memory of the defeated South, but blackened the name of Ulysses  Grant,  the Union General, and belittled his resounding successes. JJKennealy was of course the writer who in a similar way so dramatically laid out the vision  of Ned Kelly the hero and so determinedly spread about the myth of Police and Judicial corruption  being the cause of all the mayhem that was the Kelly outbreak. Much of what Kenneally wrote is now seen as unsupportable hyperbole and historical misrepresentation, but the effect of the book was perhaps to propel the Kelly myth into an orbit that has been sustained by others – such as Max Brown, Molony and Jones -  even as the Kenneally booster rocket fell away. (Read my Post about JJKenneallys book HERE)

The obvious big difference of course is that one Myth is about an Army of rebels seeking to establish a Republic, whereas the Kelly myth is really just about one rebel, Ned Kelly. In the Kelly legend, the entire notion of a Republic was invented afterwards as part of the process of converting murderous criminality into something ‘noble’, whereas in the Civil War, it was indeed the whole point of the conflict.

The last Chapter in this book is called “The Immortal Confederacy”. It records how for many people in the South, belief in the Lost Cause acquired many of the appearances of a religion, with devotees pledging their allegiance to it in dramatic ceremonial proceedings in which symbols of the Confederacy were elevated to the status of sacred relics, emblematic of the Lost Cause and the sacrifices made by Confederate Soldiers in its defence.  I thought of the Green Sash, the Kelly Armour, Joanne Griffiths praying at the OMG on November 11th, and Ian Jones saying that Ned Kelly was portrayed in a book that influenced him as a 10 year old, as ‘an unbeatified saint, the greatest hero who ever lived’. I remembered my own observations, reported in a Post when this Blog was just beginning, over two years ago and worth reading again HERE, in which I likened Kelly followers to religious fanatics. Kelly followers denounce people who disagree with them as ‘anti–kelly’ in the same way Mormons, for example, denounce writings that don’t support their religion as ‘anti-Mormon’. People often refer to me as being ‘anti-Kelly’ but I am not. What I am ‘anti’ is Kelly claims that are wrong, that are unhistorical, that are lies or exaggerated. I am not ‘anti’ anything that is true about Ned Kelly.  The other similarity between religious fanatics and Kelly followers is that they never allow reason and logic and actual facts about their story to count against it. (For example, the fact that Ned Kelly made so much money from stock theft - and he boasted about it - that he dressed well and lived well while his mother and sisters were living in documented poverty and squalid filth is never seen as evidence against the claim that the Saintly Ned Kelly was devoted to his family)

At present in Australia, its hard to know exactly how successful the Kelly Mythmakers have been, but certainly many Australians don’t realize that much of what they understand to be the truth about Ned Kelly is a collection of Myths. I am in no doubt however that since The Kelly Gang Unmasked was published, and with Morrisseys book, and with a little help perhaps from this Blog, the numbers of Australians who are seeing through the mythology is growing steadily. One proof of that is the demise of NKF and the IO sites, the absence last year of interest in holding the Ned Kelly Weekend and the skyrocketing interest in this Blog. One of the myths that I think would help to be dispelled sooner rather than later, is that Ned Kelly is only interesting if he is regarded as a hero and an Icon. Replacing the myth with the truth about Ned Kelly won’t destroy the Tourist trade of the North East, or the Kelly Trail, or of the Kelly Vault. Crime, criminal behavior and murder, as the many TV crime shows attest, is hugely popular. I think if the North East accepts that truth, they will be less inclined to defend the Kelly myths and instead embrace the historical truths about him that they can teach without cringing. They will eventually look back and say how on earth did we ever get conned into promoting the lie that a serial cop killer, bank robber, liar and psychopath was some sort of icon? When you stand back a bit and think about it, the kelly myth is preposterous. Another Lost Cause.