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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

[Part Two] Ann Jones: New Beginnings and Same Old Endings [Sharon Hollingsworth]

At the end of part one of Ann Jones: New Beginnings and Same Old Endings found at I had this bit:

But let's rewind back to 1901, Ann had lost her (second) husband of nearly a decade (actually she had lost 2 husbands in a dozen years), but she still had her wine shop to tide her over financially until the probate of the will and then the UK legal wrangling was done. In November of 1901 she transferred her Colonial Wine License to Mrs. W.H. (Sarah) Hill. Mrs. Hill rented the wine shop from Mrs. Jones and tragedy struck for Ann yet again in just a few months. History seemed to be repeating itself.

That tragedy was yet another fire at Ann's place in Glenrowan.
From the Argus of  Saturday Jan.  18, 1902:


, Friday.

A fire broke out early this morning in a wine-shop (the site of the Kelly's fight), at present occupied by Mrs. W. H. Hill. So rapidly did the flames spread that a piano and a few small articles of furniture only were saved, Mrs. Hill's youngest daughter and a lodger (Mr. Loslar) having a very narrow escape. The alarm brought all the residents of Glenrowan to the scene, and at one time it appeared that the adjoining residence of Mr. W. J. Curry, contractor, owned by Miss J.Twamley, would be saved, but a fresh wind suddenly set in from the north-west, and it was soon seen that nothing could save it and the residence owned and occupied by Mr. A. M'Evoy, retired railway employee. Mrs. Hill will be a serious loser by the fire, as nearly the whole of her furniture was destroyed, and none was insured. The buildings were insured for £250 in the Commercial Union Company......

NE Ensign Friday, Jan. 24, 1902 had the following bits:

GREAT FIRE AT GLENROWAN. SEVERAL PLACES CONSUMED. A most disastrous fire occurred at Glenrowan about 1 a.m. on Friday last, whereby the " Cafe Royal," the property of Mrs Smith, was destroyed. After closing the house for the night, Mrs Hill, who recently became licensee of the premises, was aroused by her daughter, ill in bed at the time, who gave the alarm of "fire!" It was then realised that a bedroom was alight and in a few minutes afterwards the entire place was in flames...... In a little over an hour, the four houses were levelled to the ground, and what was a neat row of well built buildings, now only remains a heap of blackened ruins.


Our correspondent at Glenrowan sends us the following additional particulars: The licensee (Mrs W. H. Hill) was about to retire to rest and was aroused by her daughter's cries that smoke was coming into her room. Two or three young men who were on the point of leaving for their homes did all they could to arrest the flames, but their efforts were futile, and the buildings, containing 12 rooms, were soon reduced to cinders. Mrs. Hill lost nearly all her furniture; but managed to save a new piano. She also had the misfortune to lose 10 pounds in notes and some silver.....A police investigation has been made into the origin of the fire, but no other conclusion was arrived at than that it resulted from a pure accident. Mrs Hill has obtained a permit to conduct her business on premises at the rear of the building destroyed, pending the erection of a new edifice.


Ann and Henry in front of the second inn that burned down in 1902. From Cookson's The Kelly Gang From Within.

This is a photo of the third inn that was built sometime after the burning of the second one. From Cookson.
 On January 31, 1902 someone wrote a letter to the editor of the North Eastern Ensign appealing for help for Mrs. Smith:

"To the editor, sir, I desire to make an appeal to the public through your paper for Mrs. A. Smith, whose premises were burnt recently, everything being totally destroyed. There was an insurance on the property, but there was a mortgage also. Mrs. Smith has no means left her sole income being the rent of the property consumed. She has been struggling for the last 20 years - ever since her house - on the same site, was burnt during the taking of the Kellys. I shall therefore be pleased if you will publish this and accept contributions. Yours, etc. W. Acock"

Remember that Ann had not yet received any funds from her late husband's estate at this time.

The inn was rebuilt yet again, this time in brick.

Mrs. Jones ended up her days in a three room cottage attended to by a housekeeper.

 B.W. Cookson interviewed Ann Jones in 1910 (but it was not published until the following year) and noted that the cottage was "scarcely a stone's throw away was the site of the old inn where the unfortunate woman had seen her boy slain, and where her own life had been wrecked."  It is a hard interview to read, as Ann was often bitter, tearful and raging about what happened when the visit from the Kellys in 1880 changed her life forever. 
Ann died on October 7, 1910 (aged between 77 and 80, depending on what is her correct year of birth) and was buried in the Wangaratta Cemetery.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

James Dwyer: A Little Known First Hand Account of the Capture of Ned Kelly [Brian Stevenson]

James Dwyer, then a constable but later a sergeant in the Victorian police has a few claims to fame besides his mere presence at Glenrowan. It was he who aimed a kick at the prostrate Ned Kelly only to clownishly recoil from the armour, which, whatever its flaws, was still stronger than flesh. It was also he who saw enough of the corpses of Steve Hart and Dan Kelly in the Glenrowan Inn to give the 1881 Royal Commission convincing testimony, including a vivid description of Dan Kelly, that the young outlaw pair were indeed dead.

What I did not know was that Dwyer had also given an account, thirty years later, of the events of 1880 that he was associated with. His account was published in a magazine called Life (in production long before, and not to be confused with the celebrated American pictorial magazine) and reprinted in the Euroa Advertiser of 11 March 1910. The newspaper called him O’Dwyer for some reason. Dwyer raised quite a few points of interest in his take on the exciting events of three decades before.

Dwyer believed that the capture and destruction of the Kelly Gang arose directly from a remark made by Aaron Sherritt between 8 and 9 pm on Thursday 24 June 1880 to a mounted constable. While entering the bar of ‘a certain hotel on the Chiltern road, in the suburbs of Beechworth’, Sherritt noticed the barmaid talking to a miner, and, ‘stung by jealousy’, remarked to the constable that the girl met Joe Byrne every Saturday night. After Sherritt and the constable left, the constable went back again and questioned the girl, apparently named Maggie, about seeing Byrne. Maggie took about five seconds to figure it out. ‘The devil a man could have told you that but Sherritt.’ The constable denied it, but it was too late, and Maggie said that soon Joe Byrne would know it too.

[This is along the lines of what was portrayed in the Ian Jones TV miniseries 'The Last Outlaw', although it seems unlikely that there were only two days between the date that Dwyer gives and the actual death of Sherritt on 26 June. If this incident precipitating the slaying of Sherritt actually occurred, the time lag was almost certainly greater.]

Dwyer then diverts from his narrative a little by claiming that the hiding place of the Gang during their bushranging career was an old mining shaft, twenty-five feet deep, and about one hundred yards from the junction of three roads, to Chiltern, Yackandandah and Kiewa, about eleven miles from Beechworth. The location is pretty specific – perhaps someone with more knowledge of the area could check it out sometime and comment. Dwyer claimed that Ned told him of the subterranean hideout while he was on a seat beside the dock in the Supreme Court, while waiting for Redmond Barry to get back from his lunch. Dwyer asked Ned why he hadn’t told him of the existence of the shaft at Glenrowan. Ned’s answer was simple: ‘Because there was as much provision there as would do ten men, and I did not want you to have it.’

As was the case with Mrs Devine, wife of the policeman at Jerilderie, Dwyer dreamed of the Kelly Gang a couple of nights before the Glenrowan siege, even down to the detail of the armour Ned wore. He travelled from Wangaratta to Glenrowan on the pilot engine brought down from Beechworth, a distance of eleven miles that took 35 minutes. Jesse Dowsett, the heroic railwayman soon to earn himself a footnote in Australian history, was also aboard the train. Like the train famously stopped by schoolteacher Thomas Curnow, this train was also halted by a red light, this time held by the Benalla auctioneer Rawlings who would make himself very useful on that day.

At one stage, Superintendent Sadleir asked Dwyer to take a message to the station and wire to Benalla for more ammunition and refreshments for the men. As Dwyer rose to start his mission, ‘the whizz of a bullet knocked my hat off.’ Later, Reynolds, the Glenrowan postmaster, said that Joe Byrne had seen Dwyer leave the trench and fired at him from the window. It was Joe Byrne’s last shot – a stray police bullet killed him minutes later.

Dwyer got the message sent and returned in time to see Ned Kelly firing at the constables around him. ‘As I ran towards Ned, who was about sixty yards in front of me, I heard someone say, “Boys, let us rush him.” Someone behind me cried “Look out, Dwyer, he has you cornered” and, looking, I saw Ned Kelly with revolver pointed straight at my face. I turned my head to the left shoulder as the bullet whizzed past my right ear.’

Just then, Steele shot Ned in the thigh with ‘a charge of small swan-shot’ and Kelly fell to the ground as Steele, Senior Constable Kelly, Constable Mountiford, Dwyer and Dowsett were on him. As Ned struggled, Dwyer took the helmet from his head. Dwyer’s account of the conversation Ned now had with Steele is different to other accounts. Steele said: ‘Well, Kelly, I have got you at last.’ Ned replied: ‘Yes, Steele. Don’t let them kill me. I never shot or injured one of you.’ Dwyer chipped in ‘You tried hard to do so, just now: your last shot whizzed by my ear.’

Dwyer helped undo the leather straps holding Ned’s armour in place, and offered his captured enemy a nip of brandy. “Will you have a nip of brandy, Ned?”

“Yes, please, if you’ll give it to me.”

“Certainly, why shouldn’t I?” I answered.

“Put it to my lips, I cannot take it in my hand.”
As Dwyer took the glass from Kelly’s lips, some of the brandy fell on his beard.

And it was here that Dwyer’s account ended. It is interesting that he said nothing about helping to retrieve Joe Byrne’s body from the burning hotel, getting a good enough look at Dan and Steve to identify them after their deaths, or relieving his undoubted hatred of Ned Kelly by kicking the fallen outlaw chieftain. But few others were as close to the action on that terrible day as James Dwyer, and for this alone his first hand account must be, at the very least, very seriously taken into consideration. 

Friday, October 14, 2011

Article Alert: On the Trail of Ned Kelly's Father, John 'Red' Kelly

From google alerts..

The Sydney Morning Herald of October 15, 2011had an article called "Kicking Over the Traces" in which writer Tim Richards follows the trail of John Kelly, petty thief and father of Ned.

The article begins with:

'He was like all troublemakers - they were disenfranchised, angry young men with no jobs, no future at all, with no stake in society, they were the bottom of the pile," says Terry Cunningham, as we chat in McCarthy's Hotel, an atmospheric old pub in Fethard, deep in Ireland's County Tipperary. The particular angry young man we have in mind is John "Red" Kelly, a poor local tenant who stole two pigs in 1840 and was sentenced to transportation to Australia....

To read more:

Thursday, October 13, 2011

[Part One] Ann Jones: New Beginnings and Same Old Endings [Sharon Hollingsworth]

Have you ever wondered what happened to Mrs. Ann Jones in the years after the siege and after her fight for compensation for both the burning of the Glenrowan Inn and the death of two of her children?  Many know that she rebuilt the Inn in 1882 with the meager proceeds from the compensation for the Glenrowan Inn and she rented out those premises to the police for a barracks for a few years. During that time, she had built a small cottage next to the barracks so she could take in boarders to have some income. After the police took other quarters she opened up the larger premises as a wine shop. There are those researchers and writers who say that Ann Jones did not get a Colonial Wine License until 1895 but I have found that to be untrue. The earliest record I have found is that she had one at least by 1888!!! She surely must have had one earlier as she opened the wine business before then, right? I found the information in a couple of newspapers from 1888 in which Ann Jones was charged with selling whiskey without a license (sly grog selling). In it was the statement that "she is a holder of a Colonial Wine License." She was fined 25 pounds and court costs. Also charged in the case, but the charges were withdrawn, was Henry Winstanley Smith. The following year Henry Winstanley Smith was again charged with selling whiskey without a license. The article said that he was "employed as barman at Mrs. Jones's wine shop." That case wound up being dismissed. Henry Winstanley Smith was a young Englishman (born in 1860) who came out to Australia in 1886. I have no idea what he was up to in the previous two years in the colony before turning up in the papers in Glenrowan but he was to play a major role in the life of Mrs. Jones for more than a decade. Remember that at this time her husband Owen Jones was still alive (though many writers have wrongly said she was a widow at the time of the siege in 1880!). Owen Jones died on June 20, 1890 at Toorak at age 63. He was buried in the Wangaratta Cemetery. The newspaper article about his death (The North Eastern Ensign of July 4, 1890) said that he was a native of Carnarvon (Wales).

Yet, in the 1910 interview that Ann Jones gave to B.W. Cookson for "The Kelly Gang From Within" newspaper series she made the comment: "I have been married twice..both of my husbands were Englishmen."

Less than a year after Owen's death, Ann Jones wed her employee Henry Winstanley Smith on May 15, 1891. (Why do I keep hearing that old Billy Paul soul classic "Me and Mrs. Jones" running around in my head?)  I have read two different years for the birth of Ann Jones, one 1830, the other 1833. I am not sure which, if either, is correct as I have not seen any official records, but,  regardless, it seems that she was still quite a bit older than her new bridegroom. 

There is a photograph of Ann and Henry standing in front of their wine shop. The sign reads:




compare that with the sign that was in front of the Glenrowan Inn back in 1880:




Photo from B.W. Cookson's The Kelly Gang From Within

There were a few more bits and pieces I have been able to find about the Smiths during the 1890s.

 In 1894 Ann complained to the council about "cattle straying about the streets and trespassing on adjoining properties." She also complained about "a dangerous drain 3 ft deep" and suggest that the build a small footbridge for it.

 In 1895 Ann tried yet again to get a publican's license so she could sell whiskey. Her previous conviction for sly grog selling probably did not help her cause. She was denied the publican's license but she was allowed to renew her Colonial Wine License. That same year Henry Smith had an unfortunate accident. He was attempting to  remove a cartridge from a revolver and put the barrel in his mouth to blow grit out. You can guess the rest. The gun went off and split his tongue and lodged in his neck. He was charged with attempted suicide by the police. He was remanded with no bail for a week. It was eventually ruled an accident and he was let go.

In 1896 Henry Smith took part in a concert during the annual Glenrowan picnic. He accompanied a singer (the article did not say what instrument he played) and they garnered much applause.

In 1897 Ann had trouble with a bad drain in front of her premises and asked council for a row of sleepers to be put down but the council would not fix it for her despite her pleas. One council member "moved that no action should be taken." Another moved to refer it to the engineer. Cr. Ashmead (yes, the Ashmead who wrote the Kelly manuscript we refer to now and then on this blog) "denied that the drain was a deep one" and agreed with no action being taken. Yet another council member "remarked that Mrs. Smith wanted a boarded floor in front of her premises" and agreed to no action being taken. Two years later she was still trying to have it fixed even offering to pay up to a certain price for repairs. This time it was approved by Ashmead. Maybe it was deep enough for him by then??

In 1898 Ann again had trouble. She had rented a paddock to graze her cows on and a neighbour built a fence that denied her access to the cows. Once again she went to the council with her complaint. The council decided to wait a month to decide! I have no idea what the decision was. What about those cows needing attention and milking in the meantime while these councilmen put her off?

Also in 1898 a Corporal Hennessy of Glenrowan who was a Victorian Rifleman was visiting London with the Rifleman where he received an invitation to dine with "the sister and brother-in-law of H.W. Smith of Glenrowan." The address was a swanky one...Sheen House, Mortlake.
I suppose Henry had written or telegraphed ahead for the invite for his friend.

Tragedy struck again for Ann when Henry Winstanley Smith passed away on March 4, 1901 at age 40.  In the newspaper write up about it it said:

"Mr. Smith had been for some little time ailing and his medical advisor did not anticipate any serious results until the day of his death. Deceased had been for some years past in the Navy and also came from a distinguished military family. His uncle Lieutenant-Colonel Smith was a Crimean war veteran.....Deceased leaves a widow for whom much sympathy is felt."

I looked for his name in the Royal Navy Archives and found a couple of dozen Henry Smiths, with no middle name given, and of the other Henry Smiths with middle names not any of them Winstanley as a middle name for the pertinent time period. In looking in old newspapers I did find a seafaring bit presumably about him. In 1879 a Henry Winstanley Smith was an apprentice on board the Hermione docked in New Zealand when he was charged with deserting the ship. He plead guilty, but the master did not press the case and Smith was ordered on board the ship. 

I made mention of Henry's will in an earlier blog post called "Ann Jones Makes Her Mark." In his will Henry Smith left Ann 2000 pounds which had been in a residuary trust fund left to him by his late father. Henry had made the will out in 1891, the same year he and Ann were married.

Of course, this, like everything else in Ann's life did not come easy! I found something in the London Gazette in early 1902 where there was a listing for a legal case of  Jones V. Smith. In that there was being sought information on whether Henry Winstanley's first wife was still alive and if there were any children sired by him.(they married in 1882, he left for Australia in 1886, per the listing.)

Ann must have triumphed in this as I remember reading about this 2000 pounds in B.W. Cookson's "The Kelly Gang From Within" series in the interview with Mrs. Jones circa 1910:

"I don't want any help now. I get my living - enough to keep me - from England - from my last husband's estate. His name was Smith.

My husband - the last one - was a gentleman. He came from the West End of London. And I am living now on the interest of 2000 pounds that he left me when he died."

But let's rewind back to 1901, Ann had lost her (second) husband of nearly a decade (actually she had lost 2 husbands in a dozen years), but she still had her wine shop to tide her over financially until the probate of the will and then the UK legal wrangling was done. In November of  1901 she transferred her Colonial Wine License to Mrs. W.H. (Sarah) Hill. Mrs. Hill rented the wine shop from Mrs. Jones and tragedy struck for Ann yet again in just a few months. History seemed to be repeating itself. Details of that will be in my next blog posting! Stay tuned!

Part two can be found at

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Mrs. Jones Makes Her Mark [Sharon Hollingsworth]

Was Mrs. Ann Jones of the Glenrowan Inn illiterate? That is something I had not thought about previously until reading an article in Meanjin magazine last year called "Ned's Women A Fractured Love Story" which was written by Clare Wright & Alex McDermott. The article, which contrasts and compares the lives of Ann Jones and Ellen Kelly, had the following statement:

"Their origins may have been practically identical—illiterate, poor Irish Catholic girls—but their paths diverged radically."

I had read in Ian Jones's "A Short Life" where Ellen Kelly could read but could not write. But concerning Ann Jones I started to wonder how that could be that she was illiterate since there were all those letters she wrote to officials and the newspaper regarding her compensation case. It was not until the past few weeks when I started to do some very  in depth research into Mrs. Jones's life for some upcoming blog posts that I harkened back to that statement about her being illiterate. What I found confused me.
I saw a handful of letters Ann wrote and I immediately noticed that they were all not in the same handwriting (also saw where she allegedly signed something else..more about that later). To my untrained eye a couple of the signatures looked closely alike but a couple of them were nothing like the others. One of the letters had handwriting that was quite elegant and professional looking, another not as elegant but legible and one of them had a very childlike chicken scratch scrawl. Perhaps she dictated the letters to someone? Maybe to a clerk at her lawyer's firm? Maybe a family member? Or did she write one of them and some done by others?

What makes me really confused was looking at the probates and wills for Ann and her second husband. In the probate affidavit for her second husband (wherein her name is given as Ann Smith) in 1901 there is this bit:

"...I certify that previously to the said Ann Smith swearing the affidavit before us we as foresaid the same was read over and explained to her in my presence and she seemed perfectly to understand the same and made her mark thereto in my presence she being illiterate and unable to write."

Then at the bottom of her will and testament there is this:

"Signed and acknowledged by the said Ann Smith the Testratrix by her making her mark hereto she being unable to write..the same having been previously read over and explained to her and by her declared to be her last Will and Testament in the presence of us both present at the same time who in her presence at her request and in the presence of each other have hereunto subscribed our names as witnesses."

In both of those there is a large X and they have her name and say it is her mark.

Then in another section I read where one of the undersigned witnesses said:

"...said will was then read over and explained to her in our presence both present and at the same time and she said "that is right" and she then signed the same making her mark thereto unassisted by any person where it now appears she being illiterate and unable to write..."

So was she illiterate? From these legal forms it would seem so, but there is a fly in the ointment. Back during the compensation inquiry there is something that is signed with her name and it then said under it  "witness to the signature W.S. Montfort." This signature was one that was somewhat like another I saw in the letters. Unless she had made an X that was incorporated into her name later by a clerk I am more confused than ever!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Article Alert: Losing the Plot: Archaeological Investigations of Prisoner Burials at the Old Melbourne Gaol and Pentridge Prison

While looking around the Public Records of Victoria site I found a very interesting article called Losing the Plot: Archaeological Investigations of Prisoner Burials at the Old Melbourne Gaol and Pentridge Prison written by Jeremy Smith. In it he details about the search for Ned Kelly's bones and about the 1929 incident at the OMG where graves were disturbed and subsequently removed to Pentridge for reburial. There are good photos of all the boxes used to house the bones, some were coffins and some were axe boxes, one of them from an American company. He has an informative postscript to the story as it was written before the DNA confirmation to catch us up to date.

To read it go to:

After reading that go to the search box on the same page and find more Ned Kelly related articles. Nothing much was new to me, but it is a good refresher, nonetheless.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Happy First Birthday/Anniversary to Our Blog!

October 3, 2011 marks the one year birthday/anniversary of the Eleven Mile Creek blog. Brian Stevenson (who is an amazing co-blogger and proven to be a stalwart friend) and I started adding posts here on Oct. 3, 2010 and went live with it on Oct. 25 (we wanted to have a few postings under our belts before opening the doors). I am surprised that we have had so much to blog about! I was worried about running out of steam/ideas after so many years contributing information elsewhere in the Kelly world, but it seems that there is always something new to find out or to see from a different angle. We have been driven to keep things fresh and exciting for our readers. We have learned many new things about the Kellys and the people/places/things in their orbit during this time. If we do start to slow down a bit and don't post as often as in our first year, we hope that everyone will still stick with us and keep tuning in.

In the past year we have done 130 postings...of those, 45 of them were researched and written by me, Sharon Hollingsworth, and 26 were by Brian Stevenson, with Greg Young and Michael Ball each contributing a guest blog. Then I have put 55 article alerts and 14 other alerts and announcements. We have had visitors from 59 countries and areas and have had nearly 8,000 page views. I guess we are small potatoes page view-wise when compared with other Kelly sites, but whether you love us, or hate us, you cannot deny that we are offering (in great quantity and quality) what few others are!

I want to thank everyone that has made comments on our posts this past year. It is always good to know what others think or if they have something to add to what we have written or have corrections to what we have found during research. We have put all that we have received on the blog except for one that accidentally went to the spam folder and another that was actually spam. If anyone has tried to comment and not seen it here that is because it did not show up! I have had friends tell me that they had commented but it did not show up (and I had to add for them under their name) and I and another had tried to comment on another blog of someone they knew and those did not show up according to the blog owner (and they added for us). There does seem to be some sort of issue with the commenting form at times, so if you have tried to comment and it never appeared, please know that you have not been dissed or dismissed!