Saturday 25 March 2017

200,000 Visits.

Prince of Wales Mine

The Blog passed 200,000 views on Friday! 

It took two years to attract the first 100,000 views, but only ten months to get the second 100,000 a very pleasing growth in readership. Since May last year while we endured the Kelly Vaults long drawn out promotion of the Unforgotten Photo, and the Ned Kelly Weekend was cancelled for ever,  I was banned from two Facebook sites but it was Ned Kelly Forum that blew up and also disappeared for ever. The True Story Facebook page has taken off, the Ned Kelly Central Facebook site has abandoned its attempt to be open minded and fair to all and instead sided with the Kelly fanciers, but the Death of the Legend Blog continued to grow, going from strength to strength. In the last 10 months, among many other things weve decoded Lonigans murder, exposed the CSI@SBC Report as pseudoscience, proposed a new view of Red, run a Limerick competition, promoted Kelvyn Gills massive Definitive record had Stuart Dawson clear up Neds final words, identified and analysed the greatest of all the Kelly myths, reviewed the latest Kelly book and helped bring the Two Huts site to the attention of the powers that be! And there is still much more to come this year!

I wrote a celebratory look back at those first two years in May last year, when we had reached 100,000 views and today, because it was such a good one, I am simply going to repost it:

Friday, 20 May 2016

Two Years and 100,000 Visits later….

Its now exactly two years since this Blog started. Given that my two earlier attempts to provide an alternative to Kelly worship on the Internet had been sabotaged, I wasn’t sure how long this one would last, but here we are , two years later still going strong as the other places have mostly crumbled into irrelevancy. I cant claim all the credit for their demise but I am sure 'Death of the Legend Blog’ has contributed - its the only place in the world where challenging serious in-depth discussions about the Kelly story are taking place. The only two places still viable are Facebook pages. The Vault FB page and NK Central FB page are surviving because they have realised Kelly mythology is on the way out and they have adapted,  and begun to tolerate, if not promote suggestions that there might be another side to the kelly story. IO and the NKF haven’t adapted, and remain fixed in their belief that Kelly was a hero, the Police were to blame for everything that happened, and so like dinosaurs trapped in a swamp of their own making have died and are now virtually extinct. Their mythology is now becoming a historical curiosity.

Over the last two years I have learned two things about the Kelly world that particularly amazed me : the first was how little effort was needed to see through the Kelly myths, and the second was how unwilling Kelly sympathisers are to defend the essentials of their beliefs about Ned Kelly – apart from Fitzy of course, who at least made an attempt. However even he gave up almost a year ago, after antagonizing everyone else in the Kelly world with his  embarrassing failures.

The problem for Kelly sympathizers is that its inherently very difficult for them to defend something that’s easy to expose as a myth. Take Ned Kelly’s claim to have fired once and killed Lonigan: its easy to show that’s a lie because of the 4 bullet wounds in Lonigans body. To argue the opposite is much more difficult - that is why in less than a month we will have been waiting an entire year for Fitzy to make good on his claim to have worked out the way in which Ned Kellys single shot left Lonigan dead with four bullet wounds. Its just too difficult. He can’t do it.

Its easy to show that Ned Kelly was NOT Australias Robin Hood, because for one thing, as well as robbing from the rich - who inevitably had more things to steal - he robbed from the poor when they had something he wanted. For another, the only people who received money from him were people who were prepared to support and protect him, and they were mostly family and the closest friends.  Their poverty was beside the point but in typically misleading fashion the Kelly myth pretends it was everything. How hard can it be for Kelly sympathisers to defend the idea that Ned was Australia’s Robin Hood when Ian Jones posted a photo of Joe Byrne’s mother in a ‘fashionable dress undoubtedly bought with  proceeds of the Euroa or Jerilderie robberies’ When the only records of  who was paying off debts and buying new clothes and saddlery after the Bank raids were Kelly family? Not a good look for the Robin Hood of Australia.

Its easy to show by looking carefully at each of the items on the charge sheets of Ned Kelly, of Dan Kelly and Jim Kelly, that police harassment and persecution was insignificant, and that the Kellys were NOT ‘police-made criminals’ as they claim. Its hard for the Kelly sympathisers to defend the idea that Kelly became what he did as a result of Police persecution when the police instruction that they claim proves their case wasn’t issued until 1877, and when you read it carefully it actually advocated leaving the Kellys alone. Its hard for the  Kelly sympathisers to claim the Kellys were persecuted unfairly when you discover how often charges against them were dropped, how often they received the benefit of often considerable doubt, how often sentences were remitted, and how always, due process was followed to the letter of the law. Its hard for them to claim their arrests were Police harassment of them because they were Kellys, when Jim was arrested in NSW when he was living under an assumed name, Jim Wilson. Its hard for them to claim the Police had a policy of harassment from way back, when in the years that  Ned Kelly was supposed to be living inside the Law and working in legitimate employment, there is absolutely no record of any kind of police ‘harassment’ whatsoever. This historical fact makes it clear that those years when Ned Kelly went straight, he was left alone – the exact opposite of what would be expected if the Kelly myth about Kelly persecution was correct.  But it isn’t and the Kelly sympathisers cant and don’t defend it – its just too hard.

Seeing through the myth of the Republic of North East Victoria was child’s play. For a start Ned Kelly never ever mentioned it, and neither did any of his family or friends and supporters.  Not only that, Ned did actually say what motivated him – history writing is going to become impossible if it follows the lead of Kelly mythmakers who are suggesting that what REALLY motivated Ned was something he never mentioned, and NOT what he actually did mention. People have read ‘republican’ meanings into a very few words from the volumes of words that Ned spoke and wrote, and say that’s evidence but they’re clutching at straws.  They say nothing was said openly because it was  treason and a capital offence– but many other organisations and political activists had openly talked about it and not been executed! Another claimed ‘evidence’ for it is a rumour that some letters were taken from Ned at Glenrowan, and they may have included a statement about a Republic. It was supported by a claim that someone realized some time after seeing a document in the British Museum that it was actually a Declaration of a Republic of North east Victoria, but in 50 years of looking no-one else has ever seen it. The republic idea relies on stories told by an old man who admitted he would make things up to satisfy the people who pestered him with questions about the Outbreak, and he gave conflicting stories to different people. How can they defend a story based on ambiguous words in the Jerilderie letter, documents seen by one person fifty years ago and by nobody since, rumours and the memory of unreliable old men? Its just too hard, so they look the other way when I mention it on the Blog.

But its not just the big themes of the Kelly story that are fabrications. I have been amazed at how many minor details of the Kelly story  collapse with the slightest scrutiny. Theres one  about Kellys two day trial being rushed through – this claim was aired as long ago as 1967 at the famous Symposium on Ned Kelly where the Republic idea was revitalized. But  even though the idea that the trial was rushed was disproved at the symposium, its been repeated at every opportunity and parroted by every self appointed Kelly expert ever since. Remarkably, in the Beechworth Courthouse which every Kelly devotee makes a Pilgrimage to at least once in their life, visitors are informed that Murder trials lasted as little as half an hour on occasion. So much Kelly myth is just pure misinformation.

Ned Kelly is often paraded as some sort of innovator when it came to the style of his Bank robberies. Much is made of the fact that no shots were fired, hostages were given drink and food, and Ned Kelly treated women like a true gentleman. In fact these methods were copied from the style of other bushrangers of the time. – the “gentleman bushranger’ Harry Power was one of Neds earliest influences.  The technique was to parade yourself as friend of the poor bloke, avoid antagonising the mass of the ordinary people because you are going to need them later to give you food, shelter and intelligence about Police movements. As for firing no shots, this is simple testimony to the fear that was engendered by his notorious record of already having killed three policemen. Who was going to defy the same man waving a gun in their face? 

Sentimental nonsense is frequently written about Neds relationship with his mother. He is said to have been a devoted son, and he often claimed his hatred of the police originated from their treatment of her.  Despite Neds talk, in 1877 when Nicolson visited his mothers home, he found she was living in poverty and squalor, at the very time Ned was raking it in as a successful horse thief. He described himself as a ‘rambling gambler’ and was renowned for dressing in smart clothes and custom made expensive boots, travelling about the Colony partying, gambling and living it up when his mothers selection was neglected and she was living in squalor and poverty.  How can they defend the Kelly legend that Ned Kelly was a devoted son against facts like these? Its too hard, so they don’t.

Another one of the Kelly myths that dissolves readily if inspected closely, is the claim that the planning and execution of the robberies at Euroa and Jerilderie show that Ned would have made a great General.   These two successful Bank raids were the result of  Ned copying what other Bushrangers had done before him. Glenrowan, where he became a bit more adventurous and did his own thing was a disaster from the very start, when the vital element of secrecy was destroyed when Ned and Steve were forced to get help to rip up the railway line. The success of the whole plan was dependant on Police responding in certain ways and within a certain timeframe - critical elements beyond Neds control, elements that a real General would have eliminated so that he always had the upper hand. The iconic armour, Neds ‘greatest' achievement was so heavy and cumbersome it virtually immobilised the wearers, severely restricted their vision and ultimately proved useless, as Joe Byrne was overheard admitting during the siege. Once Police realised there was body armour hidden under Neds coat, they simply shot his legs out from under him. Any General who designed armour with such massive design faults, and a siege  which ended with three gang members dead and the General himself  on Death Row would never be called brilliant.   

What the Kelly devotees are hoping is that I will go away. They’ve destroyed some of my early endeavors to expose the myth in the real world, they’ve kicked me off  or made me most unwelcome on all their Forums and Facebook pages, they’ve attacked  and abused me on their own Forums, they’ve  tried to ignore me, expose me, block me from viewing their sites and even threatened to ‘visit' me (believeing they know who I am and where I live) The irony of course is that while they’ve been doing this, their own sites have collapsed and this Blog has bloomed! All they have left is to either defend their mythology, or bury their head in the sand and wait for me to go away. The easy choice is to bury their heads in the sand, so that’s what they’re doing. The other choice, to defend their mythology, is too hard. And would fail.


  1. As an independent observer, I think the two most innovative posts over the last year were Peter's guest post that first identified the woodcutter photo, later claimed to show Ned, as the one in the Christies catalogue, and Dee's set of posts exposing the persecution myth by time-lining it. I see the photo has now gained the acceptance its current owner/w anted, as being a photo of Ned and maybe Dan, against concrete statements to the contrary in the Christie's catalogue, in which it was identified by Mrs Elsie Pettifer as showing her own father, Walter Knight, and another guy. Also the identification of the clothing by a Christies expert as being a decade after Ned's execution.

    Against that we have the claim by an academic, based as far as has been stated on some unexplained comparative technique, that it is "likely" a photo of Ned. This of course has gained acceptance, even in the labelling of the photo as of Ned in Keiza's "Mrs Kelly" book. To me this is on a par with Ian Jones labelling a photo of the Burke Museum's samurai armour as Chinese armour in the first edition of his "Short Life", i.e. of no value at all. The debate is still inconclusive, and will stay that way until the rationale for the academic's claim is made public. Indeed, the fascinating thing about this is that not a single word of explanation has emerged apart from the claim that the identification is "likely", a far cry from certain, and a claim that fails completely to address the question of the dating of the clothing. It is presumably based on facial similarities alone, which, given the related bloodline, are unsurprising. But Peter's first noticing and publicising the existence of the photo in the Christies catalogue is a first rate piece of sleuthing, as without awareness of its descriptive write-up, there would be nothing to contradict the "Ned's photo" claims. And in any case, who cares if there are another 20 photos of Ned somewhere. It's not like it changes the chain of tragic historical events that he triggered (pun!).

    Dee's exposure of the persecution myth is of immense value when re-reading the claims Ned makes in his Cameron and Jerilderie letters, as the fabric of lies falls apart. Much of Ned's early criminality has been white-washed from the story by a couple of influential Kelly historians, or twisted to fit with the usual "fit-up" claims. Against this, not only Max Brown's undocumented telling of Ned's life, but more importantly Kieza's telling of it as part of his new book, show just how merciless and grasping much of his activity was. Interesting stuff.

  2. Stuart, the Ned photo has been 'reassessed' by the SLV and verified by two granddaughters that it is not Walter Power (their grandfather) who Elsie was quoted as saying it was.
    Elsie Pettifer was asked to make a statement over the phone and was not alive when it was first auctioned to confirm this statement.
    Elsie had said if it's not Ned it must be my father. Which we all know now it isn't.
    The Ned Kelly Vault have always cautioned that it is an alleged photo of Ned Kelly.
    The photo was owned by Mrs Kelly - a fact!
    The professional photo analysis by others determined that they cannot disprove the photo is not Ned.
    Bill Denheld's theory has failed to convince anybody.
    Joanne Griffiths claim that her grandfather dismissed the photo as not Ned, has been proven by descendants as an inaccurate claim associated with possibly deliberate misleading information.
    You wonder why it has gained acceptance?...seems fairly obvious to me.

    1. Correction : Elsie's father was Walter Knight not Walter Power.

    2. Nobody has answered the question about the clothing which was said to have been typical of a later time than when Ned was alive. I have no idea who the experts were who are supposed to have made that assessment but what have todays experts decided about the clothes and the opinion of the earlier experts?

      Ive been happy enough to believe it could be Ned, and if so its an immensely intriguing photo, because the image has real charisma and charm, a beguiling quality, yet one is looking into the eyes of an already toughened criminal. That fellow looking relaxed and comfortable is familiar with the inside of a prison and with the faces of terror during armed hold-up, a man already practised in the art of lying to the police and authorities, a man accustomed to beating up people whom he disagreed with and who in the near future would mercilessly slaughter three police, be so consumed by hate that he would plan to slaughter many more. You cant see any of it in that photo which makes it a frightening thing, to think what such a charming face can conceal.

    3. Has the SLV actually published a statement as a result of its "reassessment"? And when can we see Professor Spring's assessment?

    4. I have asked this and also what techniques etc. Prof Spring used to arrive at his conclusion but as yet, have not received an answer. Seems pretty straightforward to me, so why the silence?

  3. Anonymous, these points were all discussed in "The Unforgotten Photo" blog late last year. Someone raised the problem of how come the grand-daughters said it was not their grandfather (their mother’s father), when their mother had said it was in fact her dad. That one seems to come down to who knows best. As I have said, I don’t care who the men are in the photo, but I am very interested in the logic of the arguments put up here. And the clothing question still remains unanswered. But let us review the key evidence :

    What I said on that "Unforgotten Photo" page on 30 November, clarifying the dates, was, ‘Mrs Pettifer identified the man on the left as her father, Walter, who was born in 1876,
    She identified the man on the right as Jack Kelly/king, born March 1875 (Corfield, Kelly Encyclopaedia). That puts the men in their 20s in the mid-1890s. Christies identified the clothing as 1890s - see the Christies catalogue text.’ Ian Jones discussed this identification with her, and accepted what she said as correct.

    Next, we are presented (above) with an apparent misrepresentation of Mrs Pettifer’s phone statement, that she said, ‘Elsie had said if it's not Ned it must be my father.’ That initially sounds pretty convincing – except that we now discover from another post what Mr Shore said:

    “Anonymous 2”, on 3 January 2017 said ‘According to Matt Shore's interview "What we think likely is that Elsie (in conversation over the telephone) said, it was a photo of Ned, but then when questioned further commented if it wasn’t Ned, it would be ‘Dad and Uncle Jack’". It is only a wild self-serving guess by Mr Shore and whoever else his "we" are that Elsie Pettifer MIGHT have said this. He (or they) have made it up. Now the Anonymous is trying to turn a wild guess into a true fact.’

    It seems from the above that this is Mr Shore’s guess as to what Mrs Pettifer said to Ian Jones – not an interview between Mr Shore and Mrs Pettifer, as it is being presented above. The post continues, ‘The professional photo analysis by others determined that they cannot disprove the photo is not Ned.’ That doesn’t seem to help much.

    But we now have a new point added by Anonymous today, that I have not seen before: ‘Joanne Griffiths claim that her grandfather dismissed the photo as not Ned’. Well, she is a direct descendant, I gather, from some other comments here, which would seem to give considerable weight to the view that the photo should be rejected as being Ned. As both Mrs Pettifer (Walter’s daughter) and Christies (the clothing experts) likewise said.

    So yes, there is no compelling evidence apart from some family oral history to believe the photo is of Ned and another guy; and three pieces of plausibly sound evidence to suggest it shows Walter Knight and apparently Jack Kelly/King. Outside of that, it is seemingly a dispute between various descendants as to who the photo shows. But the above summary seems to cover the key points that have been put forward about it.

    Maybe it is Ned; maybe it isn't. What would I know? I just look at the arguments put forward to date. Believe what you want, but the evidence on three points to date leans against its being Ned, and they were all raised last year. Are you trying to suggest that the allegation that the photo is Ned should no longer be questioned by anyone? I can see that this view has gained acceptance, but it is not obvious that it should have.

  4. (I see that galah 'anonymous' is back spouting more gibberish).

    He or she states "The photo was owned by Mrs Kelly - a fact"!

    Says who?

    Stop wasting our time, you useless dummy!

  5. George Ashworth26 March 2017 at 23:26

    The absence of clothing experts is typical of all aspects of the Kelly mythology. When you need an expert, there isn't one.

    The Kelly story is riddled with make believe and fabrication.

  6. The clothing mystery is answerable Dee and Stuart.
    - Christies photo looks like Ned is wearing a singlet (or a 'Jackie Howe')
    - The NK Vault (high definition) version looks like Ned is wearing torn sleeveless Long Johns
    Whoever analysed the photo at Christies probably thought Ned was wearing a singlet, and thus the confusion regarding the clothing dates.
    The 'Jackie Howe' singlet style became fashionable in the late 1800's and would not probably fit the period of the photo, whereas torn Long Johns fit very accurately into the 1870's period. A solution to the clothing dilemma!

    1. Renae I would expect that the Christies analysis would have been made on the actual photo, which could only have been at least as good as the 'high definition' version, so if the hi def image shows 'torn long johns' then thats what they would have seen surely? And one question - aren't long johns underwear?

  7. The difference here Dee is that the Vault has digitally cleaned the image (not manipulated or enhanced it). I have seen this actual image when it was auctioned in the cabinet at Christies years ago and I thought it was a singlet Ned was wearing, even using my glasses to enlarge what I saw. When you look through the viewer at The Vault it is certainly not a singlet. Long Johns were underwear but not unusual for a man working to have his shirt off.

    1. I looked at the image through the viewer as well and seem to remember him having long trousers like jeans and what I took to be a singlet on top, tucked in. I thought Long Johns had long sleeves., so can you explain what it is about the top that says its long johns (without sleeves) rather than a singlet? I hope its not one of those circular arguments that says it must be long johns because they didn't wear singlets in 1874, and we know the photo was taken in 1874 because he's wearing long johns!

    2. A good point Dee, but I am convinced they were Long Johns of some kind (perhaps cut to be sleeveless) as you can quite distinctly see a button row 'flap' running from the top neck and chest area down to his pants. Whatever it is I would certainly declare it is not a singlet.

  8. I think we can likely rely on the Christies auction expert as regards the clothing date range, rather than the speculative guesses of various bloggers.

    1. Well that's a smug put down Stuart.
      Do you know who actually wrote the catalogue entry? How can we rely on this as reliable when the photo was in the same auction as the Gentleman Ned photo discrepancy.
      Have you seen the photo at The Vault?
      Have you seen the original at Christies?
      Please tell us all.

    2. My guesses from any of the photos would be no better than anyone else's who was not an expert. So I haven't made any.

    3. So I gather you are saying the following Stuart.....
      -no I havent seen the original at Christies
      -no I haven't seen the improved digital clean at The Vault
      -no I don't know who wrote the catalogue entry

      Am I an expert Stuart? I would say I was a competent reasonably intelligent individual reporting what I have noticed and seen first-hand. Possibly more learned than someone who has not seen this first-hand.

    4. Hi Renae, I gather what you are saying is:
      If I didn't see the original photo in a case at Christies in 1992, and,
      If I didn't queue up at the Kelly Vault for a 5 second look in the photo viewer, and,
      If I don't know who wrote the item description in the catalogue of a leading auction house;
      Then I shouldn't be commenting on the photo dating in respect of clothing. Hmm. I have seen and greatly admired many things first hand which I have no expertise or ability to evaluate. Tribal art, for example; ancient coins and pottery; my long-gone uncle's photographs of paratroopers landing in Egypt in WW2, etc.

      Perhaps if the people who have the enhanced digital photo would put it online, everyone could have a good long look at it and at least meet condition 2? In the meantime I shall retire from this debate marked down as a rude, unlearned chap; yet one still not persuaded beyond some irksome level of doubt that the identification as Ned is correct. I see I am not the only one, so perhaps some other person will solve this puzzle to everyone's satisfaction.

    5. That was of course the Christies catalogue and auction from 2002, not 1992. The mistake was made by a monkey.

    6. The irksome level of doubt is understandable Stuart, given that the photo may always be without 100% confirmation - seal of approval.
      You are obviously 'learned' and with some 'good manners' but perhaps a little bit opinionated about this photo for some reason and your argument strikes me as dismissive without explanation of fair reason. Although maybe the photo doesn't interest you that much.
      I have had some long and ongoing experience working with antiques and curiousities and have a bit of an eye for the unusual but I am not calling myself an expert.

    7. Hi Renae, fair enough, it may remain disputed. I reviewed 2 things here.
      First, the claims made as to who the men were, in my 2 posts on 26 March above. From what I can see, the evidence that various people have put forward leans toward the main disputed person being Walter Knight.
      Second, the dating of the clothing, in which I have no expertise, but am pretty confident that Christies do. That puts the photo a fair bit later than Ned's death, which therefore tends to support the 'Knight' argument.

      So from an outsider's point of view, the various things that have been written here and in the earlier "Unforgotten Photo" blog and comments, seem more strongly, even quite strongly, to support that it is Walter Knight.

      On the other side, supporting the photo being Ned, there is some alternative, later, contradictory oral history, plus an uncertain argument about clothing dates. Again, it is an interesting argument, but not I think compelling.

      Perhaps someone will solve it one day. In the meantime I go back to my original comment on the "Unforgotten Photo" page, that it is a great photo of a couple of bushmen, regardless who they are. But there is still no visual basis at all for connecting this photo with the Saunders and Rule sawmill (as Spudee pointed out there), except wishful thinking that the photo shows Ned.

      So the publicity given to it via the painted-up Vault viewing box (top right photo above) is groundless and therefore misleading, no matter who the men may be. The viewer is in practice led to assume that, because of a claimed but non-existent link to Saunders and Rule, based in turn on the Jerilderie letter, that the photo in the viewer must be Ned. That's why I got opinionated about it, because the logic is totally backwards. The claimed link to the S&R mill is entirely imaginary. At least we should be able to agree on that much.

    8. Stuart, you are failing to acknowledge, trust and accept all the evidence collected and submitted online by Matt Shore (The Vault). However you are prepared to trust a catalogue entry written after Elsie's death that actually states that the photo is Ned and Dan Kelly in its first descriptive line.

      From descendants who know the photo intimately, they have stated it is definitely not Walter Knight or Jack King. The granddaughters would know their own grandfather and they have explained the issue with their mother's quote.
      Jack King is visually known throughout many photos at the SLV, how can you possibly even contemplate that either man is Jack King. It is plainly obvious to anyone who has seen other photos of Jack that neither is him.

      As for wishful thinking about Saunders and Rule, that was one theory put forward for the image (by The Vault) to be presented to the public as a discussion point anyway.

      Yes Stuart I agree leave it to the experts, and in this situation many experts have already made a support argument from sighting the original photo and knowing more about its provenance.

      Renae Andrews has put forward I believe a very valid case for the clothing fitting the era (although she doesn't consider herself an expert)....well done Renae.

    9. Hi Anonymous, I acknowledge all the evidence that has been collected and put forward that I have seen so far; that's what I was reviewing. Since some of the discussion involves the digitally improved photo, which is unavailable online for public study, the discussion is still a bit privileged in favour of those who can speak about it after leisurely review. Nevertheless, I do like to see all sides of a debate set out clearly, and review all the evidence available.

      Trust of course is irrelevant when reviewing evidence that is disputed and interpretive. It's like saying I fail to trust all the statements made by Ned Kelly in his Jerilderie letter, by saying that as he was there he knew more than anyone who wasn't.

      Acceptance of something as historical fact depends on the evidence being compelling. You seem to be saying that I (or anyone else) should find what has been put up compelling, but it is not. It is interesting, it is plausible (hence the debate), and Renae has now added some excellent but still not compelling points about the clothing - well done Renae.

      Once again there are some experts disputing with other experts, and I am happy leave it to them. I'll maybe have another look next year and see how it is travelling, if I can be bothered. But demanding that anyone has to accept one view over another simply because they themselves happen to find it compelling is hardly scientific or objective. It might help if you could find out the basis for the dating of the clothing by Christies; and what can be said for or against that, as that seems to have a bearing on the whole thing. You seem better placed and more motivated than I am to investigate such things. It's still an interesting bush photo; if it wasn't for the passionate dispute about who it shows, we could all just enjoy it for what it is. (As I do.)

    10. “Stuart, you are failing to acknowledge, trust and accept all the evidence collected and submitted online by Matt Shore (The Vault)…”

      I’d like to step in here and point out that Matt Shore himself is not clear on the evidence. Matt has said: "I can’t state that the image is 100% Ned – I want to be clear on that point… I believe it should be on public display for people to evaluate for themselves”. (Which is what we are doing!)

      As for the SLV investigations: “State Library staff were wonderful in helping us date the print, offer advice on where to look for further clues, show examples of similar photographic formats and share their wealth of knowledge… They confirmed it was a silver-gelatin print… We have been told that silver-gelatin photographs were common in Australia from about 1885. At first that piece of information was a significant setback for the owner…. But Ned’s face was such a close match it warranted further investigation”. (So because it looks like Ned, we think it is!).

      In response to a question about whether they had had the image looked at forensically, Matt said “Unfortunately the jury is still out as far as a forensic verdict is concerned. One forensic pathologist looked at the image and compared it to Ned’s death mask. After months of waiting we were told simply ‘not sure if it’s Ned’. Another professional within the forensic area cannot disprove that it is Ned which is suggestive of a more positive confirmation statement. But we certainly do not have a clear or definitive statement from a scientific point of view at this time”.
      Instead Matt turns the onus of evidence around by saying that because there has so far been no visual forensic evidence, the photo cannot be disproven as Ned Kelly.
      I understand Professor Spring has now come up with evidence that the photograph is likely to be of Ned. Is this evidence in writing? That is the evidence we would all like to see!

      There are some other comments Matt has made that to my mind are typical of the way arguments are turned around when it comes to Kelly. After saying he finds it fascinating Mrs Kelly didn’t show the photograph to Brian Cookson the Sydney journalist, or mention it to Detective Piggot when he visited in the early 1920s, Matt says this indicates the photo was something very special to her which was reserved for family only. Well to me, it perhaps indicates she simply didn’t have the photo to show.

      So in response to Anonymous, I say the evidence is simply not yet in for us to acknowledge, trust and accept.

      By the way, I personally believe it is Ned. But I'm a non-expert hoping to see expert evidence that confirms my view.

    11. "I understand Professor Spring has now come up with evidence that the photograph is likely to be of Ned. Is this evidence in writing? That is the evidence we would all like to see!" This is precisely what I was saying when Dee first blogged about this photo and as yet, nobody has provided information on how Prof Spring arrived at his 'likely to be Ned'conclusion. What techniques did he apply, or did he simply look at it alongside other confirmed Ned photos and arrive at his less than 100% guarantee? Why the mystery about this very important aspect of the Vault's findings?

    12. Spudee sprung Prof Spring who should produce his evidence here or pull in his head.

  9. Young Jack Howe began shearing in the 1880s. Jackie Howe found the sleeves of his flannel restrictive so one day he tore out the sleeves and wore his flannel with no sleeves. Finding it much more useful with the sleeves out, Jack then got his mother to convert all his flannels into ‘singlets’ and later she started making them especially for Jack.

    Renae says "you can quite distinctly see a button row 'flap' running from the top neck and chest area down to his pants" in the enhanced Vault photo. That sounds like a 'Jackie Howe'. That fits the late date for the photo, which rules out Ned, and rules in Walter.

    1. Yes 'Confused' I can see some similarity with an early flannel but it's not the same match for the Ned clothing I saw at The Vault (as a high definition image). I would say what I saw was more like a torn (home made) sleeveless Long John top with buttons. However I do remember the other figure in the photo and that did appear to show the chap wearing something like a traditional buttoned short sleeved flannel.
      According to your information re Jackie Howe, the buttoned flannels must have been common well before he invented his singlet. The singlet he invented was after the flannel was remodelled late 1800's by tearing it sleeveless and his mother making the version into what we know as a singlet.
      So the singlet is not of the era of Ned Kelly, but flannels certainly were and so were Long Johns. So it is fair to assume that both figures clothing fits in very well with the period of Ned Kelly it is referred to as. So that rules out Walter and rules back in Ned.

  10. George Ashworth27 March 2017 at 21:26

    It is obvious that Ned in the photo is wearing one of his mum's blouses...

    The blog is going off-track big time. A clothing expert is required. There may be one at the Nat Gall of Vic or Museum Vic. Can you expedite Renae?

  11. There had also been discussion about the beard on the fellow thought to be Ned. It was not as luxuriant as the beard of the Boxing Ned photo taken later in 1874, but rather more than the Photo taken in Pentridge in 1873, and these observations were taken as being consistent with Neds employment by Saunders and Rule, earlier in 1874. There was also a claim on a Facebook page I think that ANOTHER photo was taken at the same time, presumably with "Ned" in it but apparently also included several other men around sawn logs. And finally we have the trolls suggestion the photo was taken late in 1877 when Ned was building a new place for his mother. I read somewhere else - maybe in the 1993 symposium transcript - that the timber for that place was 'adzed' which might rule out the 1877 theory, which would also be out of phase with the "Beard sequence ' but then maybe he shaved it all off every so often? It was certainly a massive growth by 1880.

    I LOVE this! Its really intriguing, and a good discussion, on all sides.

    1. I will throw another possibility into the mix. The timber being cut may have been used for shoring up a mine that Ned was working in 1874. And I don't mean Bullock Creek.

    2. Ned took over the Prince of Wales Mine near Stanley for a short time in 1874, and recovered about 3/4 oz of gold to the ton of quartz. The timber may have been cut for the collar of a shaft

    3. This is the first I have heard of this. can you tell us more? Is this the so-called Kelly Mine Cave that Matt Shore has previously talked about?

    4. I have never heard of this in Ian Jones or anywhere else. Please provide some newspaper or other reference for it.

    5. Not sure if this is the same mine you are talking about Darren but it seems to have been a pretty large commercial operation.

      Where is your source for Ned having worked it please?

    6. Peter Newman it is not the Kelly Mine/cave that Matt Shore has spoken of. That's in a different place completely.
      Anonymous, you don't get a reply, as I do not respond to anonymous posters. Stump up with your real name.
      Spudee, it is a different mine altogether. Much much smaller. I have been to the mine site.
      I have a written document from the time. Not saying what at this time unless anonymous reveals his real name and withdraws his post.
      I put my name to things I do, and I don't think it's too much to ask for others to do the same.

    7. And in a further response to anonymous, there are a lot of facts that are not known by Ian Jones or any other Kelly authors at this time. The reason many of us keep quiet is because of anonymous posters and posters using false names who then see fit to attack people who post credible facts, and use their real identity.. I only posted re the mine as it may be where the photo was taken. The terrain in the background, is very similar and the heavy timber is similar to what you would have to collar a mineshaft.

    8. Hi Darren, I am also intrigued by your comment the Ned Kelly was involved in a commercial gold mining operation in 1874, and like Spudee am interested to know what the document or source information you have for it is.

    9. The source is an article by the Mines Inspector and posted in the Ovens and Murray advertiser.

    10. Hi again Darren, many thanks for that. Would you be able to give a date for the article by any chance, as it sounds hard to find on Trove without more detail? Regards, Stuart

    11. This thread is starting to be a bit of a minefield.

      There is no actual proof that Ned and Dan built a pink granite house at Lake Rowan, or that Ned worked at Saunders and Rule - or that Ned was a miner who cut wooden supports for that other mine. There are few company records for that era obviously. Melbourne Uni Archives have a few. Historian Michael Cannon gave clues about what corporate records remain in his many books that address the subject.

      Eventually, contemporary documentary records are needed to support Ned's employment history. I fear they may no longer exist.

      What we are then left with is just myth.

    12. Darren,

      That means you have to come up with a contemporary document that proves Ned was an employee of that gold mine. Without it you have n o t h i n g.

      I hope you do.

    13. Hi Darren, searching Trove for the words 'mines inspector kelly' between 1873 and 1876, I found only a couple of potentially relevant references, to a Mr Kelly M.M.B., a member of the Beechworth Mining Board (O&M 10/1/1874, p. 4) and a Member for the Goulbourn (11/3/1875, p. 2). A 'Mr Kelly" of Violet Town had a licence renewed in the Violet Town Licensing Court, O&M 19/12/1874 p. 4, but it doesn't say what for; the same court renewed someone else's hawker's licence the same day. None of these look like it. Would you be able to point me to a specific O&M date, or some specific key words? Regards, Stuart

    14. Here we go again. Rick Sayer, This is no myth as I have written evidence that Ned Kelly worked the Prince of Wales Mine near Stanley Victoria. Yes Ken Anglin, I have that document. Stuart Dawson, the mine was a small mine and Ned workeda shoot in the mine. That would be just one or two men at most, not a commercial mining venture. You won't find the article doing a Trove search. I came across it by chance while doing the research I do daily on the mining history of North East Victoria. I find it offensive that people simply make statements of disbelief just because they don't get their own way when they want to see the document. Well I run a professional mining business, and I do not reveal all my information and sources because what I find, is often used as part of MY BUSINESS. I do not share it with anyone. If you want to see it, you can pay for the privilege. I posted here to provide another option for the location of the photo. That's all. You can believe me or not, I don't give a stuff.

    15. If I can work out how to post an image here, I would be happy to post the article I have mentioned, just so a few of you can choke on your words.

    16. Hi Darren, for me, I'm not denying anything, just trying to track down further info. If you are happy to email me a scan with the source info, I'm at stuart.dawson AT

      I am always interested to check out info I haven't seen on any area I look at, and I never assume I know everything (or anything) in advance!

    17. My apologies Darren the links that used to work and enable people to post pictures in their comments no longer seem to work. Google has made changes to the way Bigger works and its made it impossible to post photos, unfortunately. You could post a link perhaps...

    18. Hello Darren, I do remember a discussion years back perhaps on KC2000 where you mentioned Ned and the gold mine.

      I am disappointed that this Blog can't show pictures like a few years ago.
      One way I get around this was to use a HTML webpage to show a picture. If you were to email me the picture I will create a htm page and upload. I will email you the exact weblink and then you can make a posting using Select Profile = 'Name and URL' at the point of publishing on this Blog. I know this works using a PC Windows system but not on an I Pad as I just tried before, it asks for a Gmail address which I don't have. You can email me

      For example here is a htm webpage with two newspaper scans from the weekend papers.

      I also used the Link at the bottom of this page with anchor text to open the URL
      In the Sunday Herald Sun and Queensland Courier Mail

    19. Darren - salutations - A mine chute is an opening used to pass ore into mine cars. A mine ore chute is an inclined passage for the transfer of ore to a lower level.

      If your article or document uses the word 'shoot' instead of 'chute' that is a problem. However, I'm keeping an open mind as you upload your image.

      Fingers crossed.

    20. Ken Anglin, with all due respect you haven't got a clue, so stop criticising what I am saying here. The article says an ore shoot and that is exactly what it is. Bugger me, I can't believe I have to explain this. An ore shoot is an enriched section of a gold bearing quartz reef, which is usually typified by abundant mineralisation, and gold. A chute is a completely different thing as you described. Ned worked a new shoot which was part of a reef between 2 and 5 feet wide. Mate, I work as a full time gold miner so please don't try and make out I am a fool. Thank you.

    21. Ken, a shoot in a gold mine underground is a thin vain of gold bearing quartz worked either horizontal or vertically. That's what Darren means by shoot.

    22. Hi Darren. You say there are a lot of facts that are not known by Ian Jones or any other Kelly authors at this time. However if these unknown facts are not made known then there is a danger they will just be forgotten over time. I don't think it's good to keep things quiet for too long. A case in point is that rediscovered photo. If that had been made public before Elsie Pettifer's death in 2000 the opportunity would have been there for her to actually view the photo herself and state categorically whether it was her father or not. With that lost opportunity, we now have the lingering doubts. I have no reason to doubt that Ned did work in a mine, and would be very interested to see the article if you were willing to make it available.

    23. It will be posted here in due course, but for those who want to know it is in the Ovens and Murray advertiser, August 8, 1896. It is included as a description of a group of mines. One of which is the Prince of Wales. It is merely a shaft and small workings. Not a big corporate mine, but probably in the early days worked by just a couple of miners.

    24. That's a very interesting article on local industries, particularly the reference to local mines. The following is what it had to say about the Prince of Wales, and I am interested in how it so matter of factly references Ned Kelly without saying anything about him being the late Outlaw:

      This property was first developed in '72, and has a reef of from 2 to 5 feet. It was first worked by a man named Whitton, better known as "Ballarat Harry." He sank a shaft about 100 feet, and proceeded successfully for several years, and then abandoned it on account of the water. It then fell into the hands of one Ned Kelly, who labored on a new shoot which realised 25 dwts. to the ton. Latterly McKibbin. Clingin and Stone took it up under miners' rights, and this party recently celebrated a satisfactory crushing. With a view to raising a capital sufficient to efficiently work that property, it was placed a few months ago into the hands of Messrs. Coles and Co., of Melbourne who are understood to be floating it on the market. It is owned by the proprietors of the Birthday, and has a reef of from 2 to 5 feet".

      Thanks Darren for bringing this to our attention.

    25. Great find, Darren! Fascinating.


    26. Gee Darren you've really got them interested!

      Ive added the article from the O&M as a picture at the top of the page where the other pictures are.Its easy to find even from Google if you just do a search for O&M August 8th 1896

    27. Yes indeed. It seems Ned was a bit of a jack of all trades - horsebreaker, sawmiller, timber feller, house builder, gold miner and bank robber.

    28. There are still many many parts of the Kelly story which are unproven or simply not known. It's the little gems like this article that helps to set the record straight.

    29. It makes no difference if you are a Kelly sympathiser or hater. It's about exposing facts and untruths that is important here. Thank You.

    30. Further to that, the article is on page 8 of the O&M, 8 August 1896. I think it's great that Darren was happy to share this info, and anyone who has a problem with the news clipping should be complaining to the O&M, not to Darren. I recommend time travelling, one way. It's a bit much having a go at someone who's found and provided an interesting and previously unnoticed snippet that might be the same Ned as all the controversy is about.

    31. Darren,

      Apologies! It just looked like one of those stupid spelling mistakes often found on pro-Kelly sites.

      NOW I KNOW BETTER (gold mines have shoots, weird). Thanks to you and Bill!

    32. Bill, thanks for posting the weekend Herald-Sun articles. More care in future will be necessary to properly signpost the SBC site.

      Like others on this blog I was lucky enough to see Bill's presentation at his site. When he showed his large 1878 Burman photograph it was clear to us all that this was where the police murders took place.

      Why has it taken so long for Bill's site with its layers of conclusive evidence to be accepted and properly signposted? Malfeasance?

  12. Talk about Christies experts is kind of laughable when the following article is taken into account:

    Oops - they shot the wrong Ned Kelly

    By Andrew Rule
    May 18 2002

    The collector paid $19,080 for the most prized photograph in a collection of Ned Kelly memorabilia auctioned by Christie's seven weeks ago.

    Christie's judged the photo so precious that it reproduced it on the cover of its glossy sale catalogue for the March 26 sale. "This is a unique print of an important Kelly portrait the only known image from his honest, hard-working years," it boasted.

    Except for one small problem the the man in the photo is not Ned Kelly. This might come as a shock to the collector who bought it. It will also probably shock the former owners of the photograph, descendants of Ned Kelly's cousin, Tom Lloyd. The man in the picture may well be a Kelly relative or sympathiser.

    But the revelation will not necessarily be a complete surprise for Christie's head of rare books, manuscripts and sporting memorabilia, Michael Ludgrove.

    On April 9, Mr Ludgrove took a call from a retired dental surgeon and amateur historian, Dr John Chapman, who warned him that the photo was not Kelly. Dr Chapman, 73, who has collected Australiana most of his life, instantly knew this when he saw the catalogue.

    The face simply does not match the real Ned Kelly, as shown in authentic police photographs of the bushranger. Nor do the hands or ears.

    Dr Chapman said Mr Ludgrove at first suggested a meeting between them and Ian Jones, the Kelly historian who authenticated the photographs for the sale. But when Dr Chapman called back days later, Mr Ludgrove had changed his mind, saying Christie's had decided to stand by the authentication.

    Yesterday both Mr Ludgrove and Mr Jones said they would stand by the authentication until they saw proof to the contrary.

    However, The Age newspaper went to forensic experts, who insisted it was not Ned Kelly.

  13. Red faces at Christies and the Jones household when the auction house had to refund the dosh when proof was provided.

  14. Michael Ludgrove was a perfect Christie's salesman. Although Indian, he had a broad Oxford accent, immaculate suit and made authoritative pronouncements.

    I daresay these days he wishes he had never heard of Ned Kelly

    Me too!

  15. long-time supporter Jim Hastings31 March 2017 at 22:55

    GIGANTIC CONGRATS on the 200,000 visits Dee. Your's is a superlative, informative, well-thought out, abrasive blog that doesn't mince words. Bet you didn't think this possible two years ago. In doing so you toughed out a certain person - in all his different online forms - who tried to deflect, discourage and delete you. He failed. Actually, you had many enemies who have self-destructed since.

    All Power to you!

  16. Frank Middleton6 April 2017 at 23:50

    Stuart, I'm afraid your 1879 book copy will be quickly devoured and up for sale on the net, if it is not already.

    The Macfarlane book was never made into an eBook - yet there are several website criminals offering it for sale. It does not exist. You will be ripped-off.

    People who steal authors' books are disgusting human garbage. Authors' make little enough on each book sold without it being stolen by crooks.

    Hall will be wriggling convulsively in his grave.

    1. Hi Frank, it would be hard for anyone to charge money for my free transcript of Hall's Kelly Gang book, as the cover states that it is not to be sold. I can't actually be "ripped off", as I have given it away free in the interests of historical research, but I appreciate what you are saying about people being ripped off. If people are searching for that book on Google, they are likely to find a few entries for Hall's book, but it should be pretty obvious that mine is a free PDF of Outlaws of the Wombat Ranges.

    2. Frank Middleton7 April 2017 at 23:30

      Stuart - Heck with a quick cut and paste I could make your cover different. Yes you have given it away free, but this an open invitation for the book crooks. I'm not being critical in any way. But your work and many trips to SLV will be stolen and sold because the book crooks have no scruples.

    3. Frank Middleton7 April 2017 at 23:49

      Brian McDonald has already published his version of the Hall book. He reckons it is an OK version.

    4. I'll bet that McDonald is less than impressed with Stuart's freely available copy!

    5. Hi Frank, go for your life, I couldn't care less. If you pinch my introduction and notes, then as Tex Perkins sang, "Better get a lawyer, son; better get a good one". But why would you waste your time when it's already out there free? I enjoyed going of to the SLV to do it, to hold the original book carefully in my hands, to enjoy reading it, and to think what a fascinating task Hall set himself back then, regardless of making a buck out of it. He was a printer, after all.

      Spudee, Brian McDonald did his print version in 2004 and has had over 12 years to do a digital version. He did a great job then, but we are in the age of digital document search. I don't think he will be at all troubled; it is all part of boosting accessible history. I highly recommend his 2005 book, "The Kelly Gang from Within: Articles written by Brian W. Cookson for the Sydney 'Sun' 27 August to 24 September 1911", an invaluable source of interviews with people involved in the Kelly saga, including Mrs Kelly, Jim Kelly, and Alexander Fitzpatrick, amongst many others. Brian scanned it from the original articles, cleaned it all up, and added a number of excellent footnotes and annotations to make a brilliant historical resource that is well worth the money.

  17. 2 0 0 0 0 0 visits -- amazing, especially while the pro-Kelly sites are disappearing or dying.

    Dee, you will have to lobby PM Malcolm to remove the odious Ned Kelly Australian government webpage that praises the lousy cop killer and makes Australia the laughing stock of the world by romancing a disgusting crook and killer.


1. Moderation is back on. I haven’t got time to be constantly monitoring what comments are made and deleting the mindless rubbish that Kelly sympathisers have been posting lately. Please post polite sensible comments, avoid personal abuse and please use the same name whenever you Post, even if its a made-up name.