For more information on Sharon Hollingsworth and Brian Stevenson please see the sidebar for the About Your Humble Bloggers link.


Friday, February 25, 2011

Article Alert: Ned Kelly's Armour Travels to the National Museum

From google alerts..

The State Library of Victoria's news blog has a posting called "Ned Kelly's Armour Travels to the National Museum" (for the Not Just Ned exhibition opening March 17). There is a really cool photo of the helmet being put in a traveling case and the text says that the armour will be back on display at the Library in mid-August. I had read elsewhere -  - that the exhibition would be going to the National Museum in Dublin, Ireland for 6 months once it was done in Canberra (it ends in Canberra at the end of July). [NOTE: The exhibition's visit to Dublin has now been cancelled due to budget constraints per an article linked in the comments dated March 23, 2011...but who knows what may occur between now and then? will keep you posted!] The first article confirms my thoughts that not all of the armour would be going overseas with the exhibition. I remember when they had the Ned at the Dead exhibition in Dublin a while back and they only had acquired Dan's helmet for that after much negotiating. No way would the 4 original suits be allowed to leave Australian shores all at the same time! It remains to be seen what will be going. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A bushranger survey - guess who wins! [Brian Stevenson]

Ned Kelly is one of the best known Australians ever to breathe, no arguments about that. Indeed, he has been famously declared to be the only Australian that will be remembered in a thousand years time, and over thirteen decades after his execution, there is no sign of interest in Ned, or public awareness of him abating in a great hurry. No arguments about that, either, but two academics, Bruce Tranter and Jed Donoghue, both from the University of Tasmania, decided to quantify the interest and awareness of Ned, and took a survey that they published in a 2008 issue of the Journal of Sociology.

Tranter and Donoghue consider bushrangers an important feature of the Australian mythscape where 'the myths of the nation are forged, transmitted, reconstructed and negotiated constantly.' Elements of our 'mythscape' such as convicts, pioneers and bushrangers are fundamental to notions of our national identity. So it was worthwhile for Tranter and Donoghue to find out how aware contemporary Australians were of bushrangers.

The academics surveyed 1914 people and asked them to name four bushrangers. Over 80 percent named Ned as one of the four, with nearly 70 percent naming him first. Ben Hall was named in 28.9 percent of responses, but only 6.6 percent of respondents named him first. Those with colourful names did well and made up much of the balance - Captain Thunderbolt, 'Mad' Dan Morgan, Captain Starlight and Captain Moonlite, while trailing way behind Ned and Ben, all polled respectably, with all except for the benighted Moonlite being named by over 10 percent. The only other bushranger named by over 10 percent was Dan Kelly - it is fair to say that without his surname, he would have been of the same cellar dwelling status as Steve Hart
(2.8 percent), and Joe Byrne (2.5 percent.) The only other bushranger mentioned was Frank Gardiner, named by over 5 percent. And I wonder if Captain Starlight achieved his high ranking because memories of the real one were added to memories of the fictional bushranger in Rolf Boldrewood's novel, Robbery under arms.

Some of what you could call 'middle ranking' bushrangers missed out altogether. By these, I mean the ones well known to aficionados, but not household names. My old and much missed friend Edgar Penzig would have been upset at the apparent non-interest contemporary Australia takes in Johnny Gilbert, who he used to like describing as one of the most prolific (in terms of offences) criminals ever. Not too many seem to remember the urbane and homicidal Matthew Brady, the grotesquely transplanted Black Caesar, the hideous Michael Howe, the charmed and charming Martin Cash, the survivor Johnny Vane, the old windbag Jack Bradshaw, the 'brown paper bag' bushranger Harry Power, Queensland's own Alpin McPherson ... it is a long list. Even Jack Donahoe missed out, despite his name sometimes being used in 'The Wild Colonial Boy.' No room for the untypical bushrangers, either - the 15 year old Gus Wernickie, the Chinese Sam Poo or the female consort of Thunderbolt, Yellow Mary.

Some of the respondents rather missed the point and named politicians as 'bushrangers.' Every Prime Minister between Gough Whitlam and John Howard was so tagged, as well as Menzies and Queensland Premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen. One person, in what I can only presume was either extreme ignorance or light frivolity, named the famine-busting rock singer who hated Mondays, Bob Geldof. Mythical, but very Australian characters like the Jolly Swagman and the Man From Snowy River were also cited, as were Abel Tasman (dead for a century and a half before the time of Black Caesar) and contemporary or near-contemporary businesspeople like Christopher Skase and Alan Bond (the respondents may have had a point there.)

Tranter and Donoghue worked out other sorts of interesting stuff. There was hardly any difference in awareness of bushrangers between men and women, and they felt that those respondents who read the newspapers were more aware of the bushrangers, because of the way Ned and Co bob up in them from time to time. Slightly less than a quarter could name four bushrangers, and 17.5 percent could not name even one. Only eleven people took what would have been the easy way out for the edified and educated readers of this blog by naming the four members of the Kelly Gang. (It is a little surprising that Steve seems to be slightly better known than Joe, although not one respondent mentioned Steve first.) Middle aged and older Australians did a bit better, and (no surprises here) those born in Australia did a lot better than those born overseas.

The authors of the report saw the personal qualities of Ned, Ben and Thunderbolt as playing a part in the robustness of their memory. Like Kelly (when he wanted to be, that is), Ben and Thunderbolt were courteous. All three were daring, and led the police a merry dance for a prolonged period of time - seven years in Thunderbolt's case. While Kelly was violent, and a killer, Hall and Thunderbolt were not, although Edgar Penzig would have argued most passionately that the former certainly tried hard enough. All three enjoyed significant local support.

But there were 'three interlinked elements' in Kelly's case. Firstly, the press has played an important role in ensuring that he was remembered as a folk hero. Over time, press attitudes have changed from predominantly critical to largely sympathetic. Secondly, the armour, which for five generations or so has provided him with a readily identifiable and iconic image. Heavens, it was even used in the opening ceremony of the 2000 Sydney Olympics! Thirdly, the well known series of Sidney Nolan paintings have ensured that connoisseurs of the higher elements of Australian culture have not forgotten Ned. Tranter and Donoghue conclude: 'In life he was an outlaw who captured the national imagination, but in death he has transcended his bushranger status to become a national symbol. Although supporters and critics are divided as to his standing as hero or villain, Kelly symbolises a romantic and rebellious aspect of national identity in contemporary Australia.'

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Etched in Memories But Not Carved in Stone [Sharon Hollingsworth]

It seems that the Kelly Gang really did light up a few lives.

It is interesting to read some of the obituaries and death notices from some of the old newspapers at the Trove website (formerly the National Library of Australia's historical papers site). Back in the old days there was a great deal of name-dropping going on where the deceased were tied in with people of note and some of those had the most tenuous of connections at times. The Kelly gang seemed to be popular figures to reference. Understandably, those in the police force or others who had prominent roles in the Kelly saga had mentions of Ned Kelly or the Kelly gang in their death write ups, but what really surprised me were the number of just average folks whose write ups contained references to their run ins and associations with the gang! 

Let's take a look at few, starting with the police.

Of course, the earliest police deaths that would mention the Kelly gang would have been those of Michael Kennedy, Michael Scanlon and Thomas Lonigan. Oddly, years later when certain members of their families passed away the gang got a mention. When Mrs. Lonigan died the gang was referenced as well as when a daughter of Michael Kennedy's died in 1953.

There was this somewhat incongruous/misleading newspaper headline from 1924 for Alexander Fitzpatrick:


In June of 1899 there was this sensational headline for Ernest Flood:


The one for Sgt. Steele in 1914 read:


Then, oddly, there was this one in 1938 for Mrs. Steele and a son, who each died within a short while of each other:


Charles Nicolson had the coolest headline of the police:


That makes him sound like an international man of action! You will recall he was in on the capture of Harry Power as well as being in charge of the Kelly hunt for a time.

I guess if you can't have your own glory you can bask (albeit posthumously) in the reflected glory of others..Michael Lawler died in 1895 and his obit had this version of six degrees of separation:

"Five years of active life were spent in Victoria, and he was associated in the Force with Messrs. Nicolson, Hare, and A. Grubb...the two former having subsequently taken part in the capture of the famous Kelly gang."

Then we have John Henry Stow, who was police sergeant at Violet Town during the hunt for the Kelly gang. "Mr. Stow was the officer who brought Ned Kelly to Melbourne after his arrest at Glenrowan."

Yeah, him and quite a few others!!!

James O'Meagher died in 1933, he was "a member of the Victorian police force...his lively and intimate reminiscences of the Kelly gang were always entertaining."

J.M. Hewitt was said to have been "the last survivor of the police present at the capture of the Kelly gang." While William Canny was said to have been "the last survivor of a band of six mounted police which was among the force that went to Glenrowan to capture the Kelly gang."

Not to be outdone by the Victorian police, Mr. William John Anderson died in October of 1934 and his claim to fame was that he "was one of the last survivors of the NSW police force who took part in the pursuit of the Kelly gang."

Other policemen with mention in their obits of the Kellys and their part in the pursuit are as follows with the most prominent being: John Sadleir, Francis Hare, Brook Smith, Frederick Standish, Sgt. Devine, James Dwyer, Henry Pewtress, James Whelan, Hugh Bracken (a very special case as he committed suicide),Tom King, and the two black trackers Hero and Jack Noble.

Other lesser known policemen whose obits have mention of the Kellys include: Oscar E. Hedberg, Sr. Constable Boulton, Patrick O'Loughlin, Robert Henry, William Whitaker, William John Anderson, Constable Healy, Michael Hanlon, Samuel Mooney, and James Allwood.

There was another lesser known policeman with an unusual headline:



Seems that in 1932, Frederick Manning, who had been a police trooper and who had claimed to be in on the capture of Ned Kelly, had mistaken a bottle of iodine for medicine with tragic results.

But not as tragic as the terrible irony of


This was in 1929 and was for Constable Robert McHugh (which the article mistakenly refers to as Thomas McHugh) who was at Glenrowan for the siege.

Let's look at some of the other non-police folks whose obits and death write ups reference the Kelly gang.

There are those whom I know to have been prominent in the saga such as Judge Redmond Barry, Robert Ramsay, Jesse Dowsett, Anton Wicks, Bishop Matthew Gibney, and William Elliott.

Others who had been at Glenrowan (besides Gibney) were prisoners Michael Reardon and John Charles Lowe (the article said he was "believed to be the last survivor of the people imprisoned in the Glenrowan Hotel by the Kelly gang." He died in 1950. I suppose that the babe in arms, Bridget Reardon who died many years later did not come into account as she was not aware like the others were?).

Thomas Curnow's obit mentioned the gang, as well as the one for his sister, the one who had been wearing the red llama scarf/shawl that Curnow used as a warning signal to help stop the train.
In all the books she is listed as Catherine Curnow, but in a news article detailing her death she was listed as Kathleen Trudgian (as she had married John Trudgian in 1882 according to an online record). Surely "Kathleen" is a typo as the same online record had her as Catherine. Anyway, it said that "Mrs. Trudgian often spoke of the courtesy extended by Ned Kelly when she and her brother were held prisoner, and said it seemed inconceivable that he was such a notorious outlaw."

The Jones children, Johnny and Jane also had the gang mentioned in connection with their deaths, as did their mother, Ann Jones who died in 1910. In one article she was listed as "Mary Ann Smith." We know she married Henry Smith after the death of her husband Owen Jones, but I have never seen her first name as Mary before. Maybe another newspaper mistake? Has anyone seen her death certificate? Or am I just talking to myself as usual?

Of course, the death of Kelly family members made mention of Ned Kelly and the Kelly gang.

Kelly author J.J. Kenneally also had mention of them in his write up, as did reporter Joe Melvin who travelled in the special train to Glenrowan with the police.

Oddly, there is someone I have never heard of named Thomas Power who is billed as a sports writer who was said to have been the first newspaper representative to reach Glenrowan. Perhaps that meant other than the pressmen who got there with the police?

There were a few folks who had been in the banks when the Kellys raided whose write ups told of the fact and there was one who had in his obit that he was a bank manager at Benalla at the time of the outbreak (lucky for him the gang never robbed one there!). Another bank manager had been issued a gun to use if the Kelly gang tried to rob his bank, instead he accidentally shot himself with it and he developed tetanus and died! Folks who were bailed up at Jerilderie or who had helped run the telegraph service there had the Kellys mentioned in their write ups.

Ok, now the fun begins, we get to those with really tenuous ties...

There was one fellow whose obit simply stated "He had met Ned Kelly." There was one who was said to have been "nursed through an illness by Mrs. Kelly" and there was one who ran a butter company who bought milk and cream from the Kellys. A few even had in their obits that they had been schoolmates with either Kate Kelly or Steve Hart and one old fellow's write up said that he had played cards with Ned Kelly. Another old timer, not yet dead at the time, had claimed that Ned Kelly taught him how to smoke. Another fellow's obit claims he rode with the Kellys and some others had met them when the gang members worked for their families in their pre-outlaw days.

One old dear, who was the late wife of a policeman had a write up that claims "she arrived in the Riverina 54 years ago, travelling in one of the first trains to pass through Glenrowan after the capture of the Kelly gang"! Talk about tenuous! That is downright gossamer!

This has to be another of my favourite headlines (from 1945):


She was one of many if all the oral histories are true!

There was one for a lady who had drank tea with Ned (ditto the above statement) and one who recalled seeing Kate Kelly ride a horse with the shoes on backwards to throw the police off the trail.

Here is another dubious headline:



It details about Joseph Grigg who was an unwilling participant in the making!

We have several folks whose obits say they came from Kelly country, and there was one who was a head porter at Wangaratta "at the time the Kelly gang was active." Another fellow who died in 1933 had a mention about the time "he was accosted late one night by Steve Hart, a member of the Kelly gang, who made no attempt to molest him when he explained that he was a stranger in the district." (Hmm...since when did that ever stop Steve, who seemed to have really poor impulse control, from taking what he wanted?)

There was another guy who claimed that he fought Ned for 13 rounds and lost, but then challenged Ned to a wrestling match and won and he also saw the last stand of the gang at Glenrowan.

There were at least a couple dozen more obits that I had read which referenced the Kellys and I am sure there were more that I did not find. And what might be in papers not archived at Trove?

And I almost forgot...there were at least two wedding anniversary articles that mentioned ties with the Kellys!

Close brushes with the Kellys during life were etched in many memories even if they were not carved in stone upon death. As far as I know I don't think that anyone's (original) tombstone actually remarked on their link with the Kellys, the one exception being the grave markers for Kennedy, Lonigan and Scanlon. Neither Ned Kelly nor the Kelly Gang are mentioned by name, but reference is made to the three policemen being "murdered by armed criminals in the Wombat Ranges near Mansfield" on the stones. There are a few in modern times, however, that have had markers put up by historical societies on previously unmarked graves, stating that they died at the Siege of Glenrowan (Johnny Jones and Martin Cherry) or that he (Red Kelly) was the father of Ned and Dan.

Michael Ball told me about a memorial plaque put up by the grandchildren of Thomas McIntyre on his grave in Ballarat Cemetery in 1988 (McIntyre died in 1918). It states that McIntyre was

photos courtesy of Michael Ball

Also it looks as if someone later might have attached a very small name plate at the bottom of the memorial tribute. The name plate merely says NED KELLY. It does not look like part of the original design (though I could be wrong, and if so, I hope someone will gently correct me.). It is quite a mystery. A friend of mine said that it seems that Ned is haunting Mac in death as he did in life!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day! [Sharon Hollingsworth]

In my previous blog posting I alluded to a romantic interlude in Glenrowan at the time the Kelly Gang were about in "A Strange Woman From Benalla." In this posting I don't reference the Kellys any further but I do commemorate one of the best holidays of the year, at least for those of us who are incurable romantics! Oh, yes, February 14th is nearly upon us and it is a time for all the good things in (or silly) greeting cards with declarations of love and affection...dinner out...and it is a holiday that does not require one having to deal with in-laws! It is full of win!

The photo below of two of my (sadly, late) cats, Bluster and Solomon Grundy (the one-eyed wonder cat!), aptly illustrates a very famous and beautiful quote about love written by Antoine de Saint Exupery that bears sharing today:

Life has taught us that love does not consist in gazing at each other but in looking outward together in the same direction. 

 And here is one from Dr. Seuss that is good to ponder on:

 You know you're in love when you can't fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.

And there is this one from Lord Byron:

Love will find its way through paths where wolves would fear to prey.

      HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!          

Thursday, February 10, 2011

A Strange Woman from Benalla [Sharon Hollingsworth]

With St. Valentine's Day coming up soon, it is time to be thinking about romantic interludes! Read on to find out about one that occurred at Glenrowan when the Kellys were about.

During the siege of Glenrowan there were around 60 or so prisoners being held at Ann Jones's Inn. We know the names of many of them, but there is one that was alluded to but we never were told her name, she was simply referred to as "a strange woman from Benalla."

In James Reardon's testimony for the Royal Commission he said:

"...Ryan and his wife, and three or four children, and three of mine, and a strange woman from Benalla, they rushed out, and the firing was on them as hard as it could be blazed, from the drain.."

How she came to be bailed up and held in the Inn can be found in a letter written many years later by John Charles Lowe describing his experiences during the siege.

Below is a portion of the letter courtesy of Dave White.

John Lowe writes:

 I was not twenty years of age at the time, and lived with my Pa at Benalla had a horse and dray of my own and was engaged to go to Glenrowan to cart metal for the main street in Benalla. We pitched camp about two chains from Mrs Jones' hotel, and about three chains from the railway station - almost in a direct line. We were there about a month when on a Saturday night we were having a bit of jollification, and we were late before we went to bed. It was about 12 o'clock. (The occasion was one of our mates had a female visitor from Benalla with him in his tent, and we were doing all we could to annoy him, and having some fun.)

My tent was on the railway fence, the others at the back of it. Between one and two o'clock, I was awakened by a man at my tent door who ordered me to get up. I told him to go to "....", as I thought it was one of my men keeping up the joke. Then a voice from the back of the tent said: "Put a bullet through him, Straughan, if he resists." He then said: "We are Police. You had better get up," which I did.

When I got outside I recognized both of them, as I knew them. Before they went out, Kelly asked me if I knew them. I said I did and had often seen them in Benalla. He then told me they had shot Sherritt near Beechworth and that there would be a train load of police along at any moment and he wanted men to help him pull up the line so as to wreck the train.

He cautioned me very severely and assured me he would do me no harm as long as I obeyed him. He then asked how many men were in the other tents. I told him. He said: "Tell them to get out," which I did. He was with me at each tent door and had a look in at the last tent. They refused to move.

There was some argument and Piazza [this would be Adolphus Piazzi] the boss, was one of them. He lifted his gun, which he kept beside his bed and sat up, threatening to shoot. Kelly ripped the tent door open and said:

    "You ......! You lift a gun to me," and fired his rifle at Piazza. As he fired, Piazza knocked the gun with his arm and the charge went down beside his leg and through his bunk into the ground. And the visitor from Benalla gave a terrible scream as she was in the bunk with another Italian.

    Kelly then turned on me for telling him in the first place there was two in the tent and not letting him know there was a female there, and he was very annoyed, but I excused myself by saying she was not a regular. All out, he asked all hands did they know him when the female said: "I know you, Ned Kelly," and put her arms around his neck and attempted to kiss him, to which he objected. He then repeated what he told me re what he wanted and the police and the train and further cautioned us and that he would not harm us.

He thought we were line repairers and that we knew all about the job. We told him we were not and had no tools that would do the job. We then went over to the lineman's tool shed and directed him where the repairers lived about a quarter mile up....

To read more... the full letter can be found at

Later, all of them were to wind up at the Glenrowan Inn where the strange woman from Benalla was able to escape early on (as related by James Reardon), but Lowe and his mates and many of the male prisoners were there until a truce was called Monday morning allowing the remaining prisoners to come out.

Oddly, this woman from Benalla got a special mention on national television in the documentary on the archaeological dig of the Glenrowan Inn entitled "Ned Kelly Uncovered" hosted by Tony Robinson. One of the onscreen experts was talking about Ned Kelly bailing up the workmen in the tents and said that when they came to the foreman's tent, he (Piazzi) had a woman in bed with him! Reading John Lowe's eyewitness account above tells us that is not entirely the time, the woman was in the bunk with the other Italian man in the tent and it was him that she had come to visit. (Just think, if it was Joe Byrne she was trying to come on to with the arms around the neck and the attempt to plant a kiss on, he would have probably been a tad more open and accepting than Ned was to the overture!)
These are the tents between the Glenrowan Inn and the railway station in which John Lowe and the other navvies were residing when the Kelly Gang (and the strange woman from Benalla)  came to visit.
As an aside, I am wondering who was the "other Italian" besides Piazzi in the tent?  There was testimony in the Royal Commission where Sadleir was asked if he had ever heard of a "Frenchman named Amidie" who had offered to storm the Inn at the siege along with others. Sadleir had not heard of the man, but Whelan had but had not heard about his offer to storm the house. I am wondering, if instead of being French, maybe the man was Italian? And maybe his name was spelled Amadei (Italian for "son of Amadeo") instead of Amidie (which is a French name)? Wouldn't they be pronounced about the same? It is just conjecture, but could he have been the man in the tent with the strange woman from Benalla? Something to think about!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Article Alert: The Big End of Town (The Big Ned Kelly Statue)

From Google Alerts:

The Weekly Times Now has done an article called "Big End of Town" in which Chris and Rod Gerrett of Kate's Cottage gift shop in Glenrowan go into detail about the Big Ned statue which they had commissioned and donated to the town.

From the article:

At any one time Chris can look out to the street to see hordes of people taking Ned happy snaps - one time a fleet of army tanks posed with him, while another time a group with cut-out buckets on their heads were taking shots.

"Some people might think it's kitsch, but it really has been the best promotion for us as a town. It's the most photographed thing in the whole area," Chris says.

To read more and see photographs go to

For even more on Big Ned with an elaborate history and extensive photos of Big Ned being built and being loaded on the truck for transport see the Big Ned page at Dave White's site:

Time Team's Tony Robinson in front of Big Ned. Courtesy of Dave White.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

(Part Two) Constable Tom King: Hero of the Maryborough Great Flood of 1893 [Greg Young]

Note from Sharon Hollingsworth: Today, guest blogger Greg Young (great-great grandson of Tom King) continues the saga I began in (Part One) Tom King: Hero of the Maryborough Great Flood of 1893 located at  In that I told about the illuminated address Constable King had been awarded by grateful citizens. (Am just thinking that back in those days they did not have helicopters and motor boats like the present day rescuers are lucky to have, King and others only had strong arms to row with!) In this installment Greg tells about his quest to track down the present day location of the illuminated address and provides a few more details of how highly regarded his ancestor really was and gives a brief biographical sketch as well as a few other interesting bits and pieces that tie in with the Ned Kelly story!

Greg Young writes:

As a child I had discovered the fascinating story of Ned Kelly and was reading everything I could find on the subject when my visiting maternal grandfather told me that his grandfather, Thomas King, had been part of the police hunt for the Kelly gang. This only added to my interest and it reminded me that history is closer to us then we sometimes think.

As amazing as my family connection was, I was reticent to find out about Thomas Irvine Orton King. Would he be a typical man of his times? A brutal overseer of the trackers? Perhaps he was a member of the ferocious and feared Native Police; a force of white officers who led teams of trackers to “disperse in the usual manner” any aboriginals deemed a “problem.” Dispersing meant killing all members of camps - men, women and children of all ages, no matter what the alleged crime. (Thankfully, he was not!)

My search for the truth about Ned Kelly has continued for over 42 years and in the last decade I have found many anecdotes and stories of Tommy King that show him to be a most amazing man, respected and admired by all who knew him.

When it was announced that King (who had "fists like sledgehammers") would be travelling to Victoria with trackers from Fraser Island, the Courier Mail wrote: "The Kellys have got after them the best man, on horseback or as a tracker that Queensland can produce" and, it continued, "a more honest or brave heart than his has never trod the path of duty." The QLD Police refer to Tom King as their most famous policeman, his name associated with the capture of many Queensland criminals.

The search for Tom King led me to investigate the Queensland town of Maryborough where Tom spent many of his years as a policeman and where he is buried.                                                                                                                   
Maryborough still retains many of its colonial buildings, one of which houses the Maryborough Historical Museum. It is there that the illuminated address presented to him is now kept. Ironically it is flood damaged from the 1956 floods that inundated the city. King's police handcuffs were also displayed there but were stolen from the Museum in 2009.

My visit to the Museum and my request to see the illuminated address was met with blank looks until one of the volunteers remembered where it was kept locked in a drawer, awaiting restoration. When I told the volunteer staff about the "Hero of the Maryborough Floods" and my relationship to him, stories and links to other descendants in the area were forthcoming.
Greg Young holding the flood-damaged illuminated address that had been presented to his great-great grandfather Tom King.

King came from a family of Policemen, his father Walter was a Sergeant in Ipswich, QLD who resigned from the force in the early 1860s, leaving his family in Australia to fight in the American Civil War. Walter returned to Australia in 1865 and re-enlisted in the QLD Police, remaining in Ipswich until his death in 1896. Tom's brothers Nathanial, William and Walter also joined the Queensland Police Force. Tom King's association with the local Butchulla people and his knowledge of their tracking practices were invaluable and there was a mutual respect between this Irish-born policeman and the local aborigines. King was made a Bunda ("a father, brother, son combination and a respected person, allowed to sit in the Dora or Bora" - "A Dulungbara Perspective" by John Dalungdalee Jones).

His attitude to justice is clearly stated when he was chastised by journalists in 1894 for allowing an Aboriginal prisoner that he had apprehended to escape, though he later recaptured the suspect.
“Why did you not shoot him in the back?” he was asked. He replied “A man is innocent until proven guilty, and I do not shoot innocent men."

The citizens of Maryborough did not forget Tom King's bravery and years of service, and when he died in 1917 he was honoured with a state funeral. Horse drawn funeral carriages paraded through the streets of Maryborough and the grateful residents lined the streets to pay their respects. Strangely, this honor did not extend to a headstone and Thomas King is buried in an unmarked grave in the Maryborough cemetery.

Tom King in 1912. Taken when he was a member of the Pialba Shire Council. 

The trackers he took with him to join O'Connor in Brisbane for the trip to Victoria  included Gary Owen who was called Barney, Jack Morris (Jacky) who had befriended a Catholic priest in Victoria and adopted his name to become Jack Noble, and Willy Woondunna or Wondunna. In 1980 a suburb between Torquay and Urangan (not far from Hervey Bay) was named Wondunna in honour of the tracker and a plaque placed upon his grave in a small cemetery in Hervey bay.
A little known Kelly connection is worth noting: Willy's son Frederick Woondunna created a scandal when he fell in love with (and married) the sister of the local Missionary - Ethel Gribble - daughter of J. B. Gribble - the man to whom Ned Kelly returned his watch at Jerilderie (after it was souvenired by Steve Hart).