Monday 18 December 2017

Dee Looks Back at 2017

The Kelly myths continue to shrink into the distant past.

In no particular order, here are what I think were the main events in the Kelly Calendar for 2017, a year which was a universally rotten one for Kelly sympathisers, as the Kelly lies and legends were rolled back relentlessly, and the only comeback by its hard-core supporters was  abuse and vilification and a retreat to the comfort of the tired worn out old myths.

1. The History Channels series Lawless : the real bushrangers”.
I think the episode about Ned Kelly was the biggest Kelly event this year, in terms of its reach and its impact on public perceptions of Ned Kelly. Thousands upon thousands of Australians saw Ned Kelly demonstrated to be a callous killer, and the documentary rejected his claim to have killed in self-defence. They also demonstrated the way in which Lonigans wounds were created by a single shot using a quartered bullet, validating the explanation I devised a year or more ago.  The Ned Kelly episode of Lawless was a significant blow to the Kelly mythology, which is why Kelly sympathisers rubbished it. Read more HERE.

2. Mrs Kelly by Grantlee Kieza. This was undoubtedly the best Kelly book released this year, and is one of the few really good Kelly books of all time. A very well researched and comprehensive biography which inevitably chronicled the entire Kelly saga, and exposed Ned Kelly as a dangerous criminal. Another blow to Kelly sympathisers who took a while to realise what Kieza had rather cunningly done to their hero. Read more HERE.

3. The Legend of Ned Kelly Movie Kickstarter Campaign. This was an ambitious attempt by Australian award-winning movie maker Matthew Holmes to raise funds for a movie that he claimed would tell the Kelly story "based solely on the facts and the evidence we have on hand, not based on a novel or an opinion”. Given that one of the scriptwriters was going to be an extremist Kelly fanatic, and that Holmes blocked me from commenting or challenging him and the scriptwriters on their Facebook page, it was very clear this movie at the very least would have been some form of apology for Ned Kelly and most likely a dishonest retelling of the myths. The Kickstarter campaign was a spectacular flop, and demonstrated how sick and tired people in Australia are of hearing about Ned Kelly. Only a tiny minority regard him as a worthy hero and only 400 Australians were prepared to offer financial support for Holmes movie. Another blow to Kelly mythology. Read more HERE. 

4. The Updated CSI Report. This Report was first released 5 years ago and presented arguments for a particular place at Stringybark Creek being the site of the Police camp and the murders of Lonigan and Scanlon. It was unconvincing. The update included dishonest claims about Heritage Victoria taking an interest in their site, and an argument based on a  bullet found there some years ago by a man whose later admissions  have so undermined his credibility that inclusion of his evidence in the Updated CSI Report makes it even less credible. The Update also includes an explanation of Lonigans injuries using the insights I developed on the Blog a  long time before they did, and which accurately implies Ned Kelly’s version of events was a lie, a useful observation but of no relevance to their faulty arguments about the site of the Police camp. Read more HERE.

5. Dr Stuart Dawsons Historical Commentary on the demise of George Metcalf. This was the third of Dawsons forensic examinations of particular incidents in the Kelly story. This time he debunked the sympathisers false claim that it was the police who injured Metcalf at Glenrowan. The actual historical documentation shows it was Ned Kelly who caused the injury to Metcalfs eye, an injury which it is thought eventually resulted in Metcalfs untimely death a few months after the siege at Glenrowan. Another Kelly myth debunked! Dawson also made available for free download an online transcription of The Kelly Gang or the Outlaws of the Wombat Ranges, 1879, by G.Wilson Hall. Read more HERE, and HERE.

6. Ned Kelly : Iron Outlaw by Brad Webb. Written by the Iron Outlaw Webpage creator, this attractive looking little paperback was a massively cynical retelling of the entire tired old Kelly mythology. It contains nothing that will be new to anyone familiar with Kelly mythology but will deceive people who aren’t, because the book claims to have been written by a historian, which Mr Webb is not. The history it contains is fake. Read more HERE.

7. Upgrades to Stringybark Creek. For several months DELWP have been engaged in a process aimed at upgrading the tourist experience at Stringybark Creek. Its good news that they want to increase recognition of the sacrifices made by police at the site and take the focus away from the Kelly Gang. Its also good news they have at last recognised that Ian Jones advice has led them and the public astray for several years, and so they will discontinue misidentifying a place on the eastern side of the Creek as being where the Police camp was. However its not such good news that for reasons they refuse to explain, they’ve decided not to make  an attempt to find the police campsite on the eastern side. This process is still ongoing, and many of us have made submissions to Heritage Vicoria in the hope they will be persuaded to agree that identifying the actual site should be a priority, as it’s the main thing people drive  way out there to see. Read more HERE.

8. The Ned Kelly Center. This concept that went nowhere about a decade ago has been revived by Joanne Griffiths who runs a FB page with the same title. Her Fundraiser was a disaster nobody is interested in it so she has asked the Wangaratta Council to give her a few million dollars to get it off the ground. Its not going to happen. If anyone wants to gauge how much public interest there is in her project they only need to check out her FB page its as dead as a dodo. Read more HERE.

9.The other Ned Kelly related Facebook Pages. The pro-kelly places kicked me out over a year ago and I predicted they would decline into irrelevancy, and that’s what’s happened. All they do is re-post items of news and the pages from other Kelly places. Certainly none of them have any detailed discussions about anything, and nobody challenges police hate posts or plainly false Kelly beliefs. On the Unmasking page there are only three people who ever post comments, about 80% of them are childish personal attacks on me, and they never discuss the book the FB page is supposed to be debunking. Their most recent post is a link to an article that 30 or more people liked yet not one of them made a comment about the  litany of inaccurate and plainly wrong statements about the saga made in the article (such as that the Jerilderie Letter was published in 1879, and that Ned Kelly  wounded numerous officers before he was captured at Glenrowan )  There are two FB pages dedicated to Bushranging in general, the one curated by Aidan Phelan links to an interesting Blog Page but almost nobody comments on his articles. The only  Facebook place where anything interesting ever happens is on my Ned Kelly: The True Story Facebook site (TTS). As a case in point, on all those other pages there have been no new comments for several days. On TTS my comment on Sunday morning had reached 435 people by evening! Read more HERE.

10. An Introduction to Ned Kelly : A Pictorial History of an Australian Outlaw. This overpriced 2017 publication consists of about 100 colour photos of various landmarks in Kelly  country accompanied by  an entirely unoriginal text which supports all the usual Kelly myths. I suppose bad photos might be better than none in the eyes of some readers, but I remain convinced better photos of all the named places can be found for nothing on Google Images. Read more HERE.

11. 50th Anniversary of the landmark Kelly Symposium at Wangaratta. I wrote a series of reviews of the presentations made at that Easter 1967 Symposium which did indeed herald a kind of resurrection of Kelly mythology, reaching its peak  in the 80s. We have now entered the new age where mythology is in decline and being replaced by Kelly historical truth-telling, but its fascinating to look back to see where it all began, and how hopeful the Kelly future seemed to be back then. Read the first of six posts HERE.

12. Death of the Legend Blog. We had our third birthday this year and  continued to be the only place on the Internet where interesting ideas and thoughts about the Kelly legends are debated and discussed in detail. In addition to all the topics mentioned above, there were also discussions about such things as the reliability of the Ned Kelly Encyclopaedia, the identity of the greatest of all the Kelly Myths, the life of Sir Redmond Barry, a review of the terrific movie The Legend of Ben Hall, and what should new owners of the siege site at Glenrowan do with it. We also asked when exactly did Ned Kelly stand up for his family, or do something truly heroic, and exposed him time and again as a notorious liar.  As usual there was plenty about the Fitzpatrick Incident.

13. No Ned Kelly Weekend for the second year in a row. Its finished.

Sunday 10 December 2017

Were the Charges against the Kellys “trumped up”?

Its recently been alleged on  various Facebook pages, in support of the Kellys and the Lloyds and the Quinns, that many of the charges police laid against them in the lead up to and after the Kelly outbreak were trumped-up. “Trumped-up”, according to the dictionary means “deliberately based on false information so that someone will be accused of doing something wrong and punished”.

This is what Bob wrote on the True Story Facebook page

If you check the court appearances listed in Kelvyns Definitive record pages 1093 to 1096 it lists about 82 appearances of the Kellys, Lloyds and Quinns…….In nearly 50% of the court decisions the defendants were either found not guilty or dismissed. This is why I believe in a lot of cases but not all, many were trumped-up charges and were charged on reputation and false evidence produced by the police.

Actually, by my count there were 78 charges listed in the “Definitive Record”, 31 of them were dismissed and another 6 resulted in a finding of ‘not guilty’. Bob seems to be basing his belief that charges were trumped up on the fact that almost half of the charges laid were dismissed, but a statistic about how many charges were dismissed proves nothing. Look at the record of notorious gangster and Mafia boss Al Capone – he was only ever gaoled once, and that was for Tax offences but does anyone seriously believe that all the other charges laid against him and that failed to result in a conviction were all “trumped up”? Or that he was being picked on and persecuted by the police?

Instead of doing what Kelly sympathisers have been doing for ever – making nasty accusations and then never backing them up with evidence – what Bob should have done was to actually look at all those cases and see if his theory is right, by pointing out the facts relating to the charges that were based on ‘false evidence produced by the police. Then there wouldn’t be any need for guesswork. Isn’t that what someone who was genuinely interested in finding out the truth of the matter would do? Or would you rather just throw mud and hope some of it sticks?

But Bob I am not afraid to look at the record and see what it shows, and I will start right here with Ned Kelly’s list of 13 charges, 5 of which were dismissed. Let’s look at all of them and see how many of those charges were based on ‘false evidence produced by the police.

The first charge followed a complaint not by police but by Ah Fook in 1869 that Ned Kelly had assaulted and robbed him.  Given that the evidence wasn’t provided by the police but by Ah Fook, this charge was not ‘trumped up’ by police. It was dismissed.

The next charges related to Neds time as Harry Powers apprentice. They were certainly made by police but I don’t think even Kelly sympathisers think that the story of Ned being Powers accomplice was ‘false evidence produced by the police’. Those charges were also dismissed. Nothing trumped up there.

The next charge resulted in a conviction for assault, and for sending an indecent letter. The complaint wasn’t made by Police but by Jeremiah McCormick. So again, no ‘false evidence produced by the police’ - nothing trumped up here either.

The next charge against Ned  Kelly resulted in him doing time for ‘feloniously receiving’ . This charge was laid by police, but unless Kelly sympathisers want to deny that he was riding a horse that DIDN’T belong to him, they can only agree that it had to be perfectly legitimate for him to be arrested and charged. Again, no ‘false evidence produced by the police so still  nothing trumped up.

In 1876,  Lydeker charged Ned and his cousin Tom with stealing a horse and foal. When it got to court some months later, Lydeker withdrew the charges. This case didn’t involve the Police producing any evidence, let alone ‘false evidence so again, no trumped up charges.

In 1877 Ned was arrested for being drunk and disorderly. He claimed the police spiked his drink, and if it were true would perhaps make this event the only possible example of police setting him up for a conviction. But Ned Kelly wasn’t the first or the last person to use that excuse, and he has a reputation for being a notorious liar, so who knows?. However, given the fine for being drunk and disorderly was only 1/-, one would have to wonder why the police would bother with such a trivial misdemeanour. Ned himself made the whole episode sixty  times worse by refusing to be handcuffed when he was being taken to Court the next morning and engaging the police in a huge brawl that he boasted about at length in the Jerilderie letter. The charges that followed for assaulting police and resisting arrest were therefore not ‘false evidence produced by the police’ so yet again, the charges were not ‘trumped up’. His own over-reaction meant instead of a 1/- fine he was fined more than 60/-.

Finally we come to the last warrant that was issued against Ned Kelly before the Fitzpatrick affair exploded into the Kelly Outbreak and the police murders. This was for horse stealing in relation to what is known as the Whitty larceny. The police charges weren’t based on ‘false evidence’ and  Kelly later freely admitted in the Jerilderie letter that he had indeed stolen them:  Farrell the policeman stole a horse from George King and had him in Whitty and Farrells paddocks until he left the force. All this was the cause of me and my stepfather George King taking their horses

So Bob and every other Kelly sympathiser who believes Ned Kelly was the victim of ‘trumped up’ charges by the Police – close scrutiny of every single one of them does NOT provide a single shred of evidence that what you believe is anything but a fantasy.