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


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Article Alert: Dan Kelly's Gun Sells for $122,000

from google alerts..

The Sydney Morning Herald of Nov. 22, 2012 has an article called "Dan Kelly Gun Sells for $122,000."

It begins with:

A private collector has paid $122,000 for a gun that may or may not have belonged to the Kelly gang.

Bidding at Charles Leski Auctions in Hawthorn started at $75,000 with six bids made, all by phone, up to the successful bid of $100,000. Auctioneer's commission brought the price to $122,000.

The catalogue for the sale described the modified East India Company Cavalry Pistol as Dan Kelly's pistol.

The description says: ''It was reported that a muzzle-load single-shot pistol was found on a Kelly pack-horse at the Glenrowan siege, it is possible that this is the gun.''

But no evidence is given of a link to Dan Kelly; instead the catalogue states that the weapon has remained in the one family, the Hansens, ''since being acquired in 1900''.

Historian Ian Jones, a Kelly gang expert who was present at the auction, said it was a good buy.

''There's a degree of faith involved, but it's understandable; there is evidence this could be Dan Kelly's,'' Mr Jones said.

To read more:

Monday, November 12, 2012

Article Alert: Ann Jones and her children were held hostage by Ned Kelly during his gang's infamous last stand

from google alerts..

The Herald Sun
of Nov 13, 2012 has an article entitled "Ann Jones and her children were held hostage by Ned Kelly during his gang's infamous last stand." Where they mention the "new documents found revealing she rebuilt her shattered life by lodging police officers in Glenrowan," that information is not new as many of us already knew that she rebuilt the inn and leased it to the police for a barracks for a few years in the mid 1880s.  Also where they say she talked to the Advertiser in 1911 that is not quite true either, as she died in 1910, but not before being interviewed by B.W. Cookson for the Kelly Gang From Within series for the Sydney Sun that was syndicated to many other papers throughout Australia.

from the article:

Sunday marked the 132-year anniversary of since Ned Kelly was hanged. We take a look at the tragic life of the woman at the centre of his gang's demise.

Ann Jones, the proprietor of the Glenrowan Inn, was left heartbroken and nearly penniless after police shot two of her children and burned down her livelihood during the gang’s infamous ‘Last Stand’.

For months, Mrs Jones had been accused by both the police and the Kelly Gang of helping the other, but maintained she had simply been caught in the middle and took no sides.

“Let me begin by saying that I was between two fires there ... the police were suspicious of me, because they believed I assisted the outlaws. I did not,” she told The Adelaide Advertiser in 1911.

“The Kellys hated me because they believed I gave the police information about them.

“I got nothing but abuse and mischief from both sides. And I never had anything to do with either.”

Mrs Jones said she had refused to help police in their bid to catch Australia’s most famous bushranger.

"The police have said things about my character. Most of them never had any,” the feisty Mrs Jones said.

“And they've come to me and asked me to befriend them, and I have refused. It wasn't wise to go against the police in those days. But I didn't care.”

But two years after the siege, Mrs Jones appeared to have put her grievances aside, with the new documents found revealing she rebuilt her shattered life by lodging police officers in Glenrowan.

Among the items found at the Supreme Court was her lease.

    It was a terrible day - and when the police came and started firing bullets into the house - it was full of people - it was awful

Mrs Jones, described in newspapers as “buxom and talkative”, rented the land, cottage and stables that housed the police for a mere £57 per year.

It was quite common for those in regional Victoria to supplement their income by boarding police officers, even though Mrs Jones clearly held police to blame for the deaths of her children.

In 2008, thousands of artefacts were uncovered during a dig at the site of the former Inn, including bullets and cartridges expelled during the siege.

When it came time to prepare for their ultimate conflict with police in June of 1880, the Kelly Gang had chosen the Glenrowan Inn as their battleground.

Donning their home-made armour they took up to 60 townsfolk hostage, including Mrs Jones and six of her children.

"I well remember Kelly coming to my place that dreadful night,” she recalled in the 1911 interview.

“It was raining, and very wet. He took me and my dear little girl away, and locked my two little boys up in a room by themselves.

“He made me turn the key - said he would shoot me if I refused to do everything that he told me. I begged him to lock myself and my daughter in my own room, but he wouldn't.”

The gang holed up at the hotel, awaiting the arrival of the police.

When they arrived and shots began to fly, Mrs Jones feared her children would be “massacred”.

"It was a terrible day. And when the police came and started firing bullets into the house - it was full of people - it was awful,” she said.

“Brave police! They lay in the gullies, and behind the trees, and shot bullets at the house, knowing that it was full of people. My poor innocent little children suffered most.”

Her fears were soon realised when her son and daughter were hit by police bullets.

“When my dead little boy was hit he stood up, looked around, and then fell down. ‘Oh God,’ he cried, in such a piteous voice. ‘Mother, dear mother, I’m shot!',” she said.

A correspondent for The Australasian newspaper who witnessed the later stages of the siege described the tragic scene:

“Everything remained quiet for about an hour, except an uneasy movement now and then amongst the horses in the paddock, as if someone was trying to catch one.

“At the end of that time, in or near the hotel, we heard a woman screaming in the most heart-rending manner, 'They've killed my child, they've killed my child; Oh, the wretches, they've killed my child'."

Mrs Jones told The Advertiser: “I never got hit. I wouldn’t have cared if I had. I was mad with grief."

She is reported to have told the bushrangers after the shooting of her children: "You cowardly vagabonds, why don't you go outside and fight, as you promised."

Ned Kelly was shot amid the face-off with police, but survived his wounds. Three members of his gang - Joe Byrne, Dan Kelly and Steve Hart - died.

The siege ended with Kelly’s arrest after the Glenrowan Inn was burnt to the ground.

A grieving Mrs Jones was arrested for being an accessory on the act of felony and harbouring the deadly Kelly Gang.

On her arrest she told The Herald she was innocent.

"As true as God I know nothing of them, and I never harboured them. They made me take them in,” Mrs Jones told the newspaper.

“They bailed us up, me and my daughter Jane, and turned us out on the road from late in the evening until 8 o'clock in the morning.

“The reason they came down upon me was because the police used to sleep at my house, and I got the name of helping them and being a spy. They bailed up the other publican, but they let him go home.

“I never had any dealings with them, and was in bodily fear of them because I used to take in the police.

"I had never seen them before, except Steve Hart. I knew him, but he stopped out in the yard at first, and did not come up to the house.

“When they knocked I asked them to wait while my daughter dressed herself; but Ned Kelly said if I didn't open the door he would smash it in. My daughter was 15 years old.

“It is very hard on me when I have done nothing wrong. My poor boy was shot in the fight, and my daughter was wounded, and my house burnt down. I think I've suffered enough for a lone woman."

After being tried at the Beechworth Assizes, Mrs Jones was acquitted of all the charges.

But her daughter later died from her injuries.

Mrs Jones lodged a writ for 1000 pounds in damages for the deaths of her children, but in 1910 she stated that she had walked away with less than 300 pounds in compensation.

“Those that persecuted me are dead, and in hell! In hell, long ago!” she said almost three decades later.

Ned Kelly was convicted of three counts of capital murder for the killing of three policemen and was hanged at Old Melbourne Gaol on November 11, 1880 - 132 years ago on Sunday.

The location of his remains had been a mystery until late last year. Scientists identified his bones through DNA testing of two dozen skeletons exhumed from Melbourne's Pentridge Prison site.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Article Alert: Possible Kelly Gun Up For Auction

from google alerts..

The Age has an article entitled "Possible Kelly Pistol Up For Auction."

It begins with:

When Dan Kelly burnt to an unrecognisable husk at the siege of Glenrowan, it is said police discovered an old muzzle-load single-shot pistol among the weapons used by the Kelly gang.

''But it disappeared, as far as I know,'' says Kelly historian Ian Jones, speaking from Beechworth. ''I've never seen records of it remaining in police hands.''

On November 22, an East Indian Company Cavalry pistol - the kind that uses powder and a lead ball instead of a cartridge - is going under the hammer at Leski Auctions in Hawthorn, and is expected to sell for up to $125,000.

The stock of the gun has been marked with a knife ''1876/DAN KELLY'' - a fact that's been on record since 1900, 20 years after Dan's last stand.

So, if this is the real thing, what happened in those missing 20 years? According to a report from the Rockhampton Morning Bulletin, reprinted in the Leski catalogue, the gun was bought by a local gunsmith named H.P. Hansen from an unnamed ''townsman''.

The gun was covered ''in dirt, rust and grease'', but Hansen cleaned it up.

Hansen said the townsman had claimed to have found the gun ''years ago on the banks of the Murrumbidgee'' and there seemed to be ''no doubt'' it had been owned by a Kelly. The gun has remained in the Hansen family until now. Says historian Ian Jones: ''It's seems unlikely, on the face of it, but when I had a look at the thing and the pedigree, it's much more credible than it seems....''

To read more:

Link to the auction listing:

Monday, November 5, 2012

Article Alert: Bacchus Marsh Author Questions Ned Kelly Folklore

from google alerts..

The Melton Weekly of Nov. 5, 2012 has an article called "Bacchus Marsh author questions Ned Kelly folklore."

It begins with:

The federal government calls him one of Australia's greatest folk heroes, but the Bacchus Marsh author of a new book believes new evidence suggests Ned Kelly was a glorified cop killer.

In his latest book, The Kelly Gang Unmasked, Ian McFarlane argues Kelly's hatred of police was long-standing.

"The Kelly gang has been glorified in movies, books, plays, poems and songs. Many people honestly believe in the folklore version; I don't agree," McFarlane says.

"In the pro-Kelly books, Ned is presented as a bonza bloke who was always kind to his mother and always repaid his debts.

"The Ned I found in the archival documents was waving his gun in people's faces and threatening to 'blow their brains out'."

To read more:

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Article Alert: Ned Kelly's Family to Receive Remains

From google alerts..

There is a article called "Ned Kelly's Family to Receive Remains" on Nine MSN dated Oct. 29, 2012.

 It begins with:

"Anthony Griffiths, whose great-grandmother was Kelly's sister, said the way was now clear for Kelly's remains to be returned to the family after an appeals period against their return passed two weeks ago without any appeal being lodged.

"There's no question the remains can be returned," Mr Griffiths told AAP on Monday.

Representatives of the family will now sort out the details around handing over the remains with the state government and the coroner's office on Monday.

But Mr Griffiths said the actual handover was likely to be a long way off with many legalities and practicalities to be sorted through.

He said the family was yet to decide on any burial or ceremony plans and would begin discussing it over coming weeks.

They were yet to decide whether they would hold public or private events....."

To read more:

Sunday, October 7, 2012

My Review of Paul Terry's The True Story of Ned Kelly's Last Stand [Sharon Hollingsworth]

In mid-September my husband and I played host to a couple of delightful Australian visitors, Nick and Anna. Nick is the son of my very good friend Michael Ball of Sydney. When Nick and Anna arrived they gave me some lovely gifts, among them were some Tim Tams (what we Americans call cookies but are known as biscuits down under) and a copy of Paul Terry's "The True Story of Ned Kelly's Last Stand," a book that I had done an upcoming book alert on back in June of 2012. I knew to expect the book, and had been anxiously awaiting it, as Michael had promised to send it along with them.  I devoured both the Tim Tams and the "The True Story of Ned Kelly's Last Stand" in one evening! Both were excellent.

"The True Story of Ned Kelly's Last Stand
" (hereafter referred to as "the book") is very well written and it really kept my interest up. It seems that he has Ian Jones's seal of approval as Jones has written the foreword to the book, so that should be incentive enough to any Kellyite to go out and get it! The book doesn't go very deep into every aspect of the Kelly's exploits, but Paul Terry manages to cover every major event quite concisely and there is even information about the piece of armour which perfectly matches Joe Byrne's suit that Darren Sutton found along with a bush forge a while back. The book is a good jumping off point for anyone who wants to learn about the Kelly Gang and about the archaeological dig at the site of the Glenrowan Inn back in May of 2008. Paul Terry is a television producer and was formerly a radio/tv/newspaper journalist.
He headed up the crew that filmed a documentary of the dig, entitled "Ned Kelly Uncovered." Alternating chapters in the book lay out the discoveries made by archaeologist Adam Ford of Dig International and his team about the Glenrowan Inn and the siege of Glenrowan and with those he makes quite interesting segue into events in the Kelly timeline in the other chapters. The archaeological bits are very illuminating, they read like a mystery drama. You are always left dangling (but get satisfaction later on in the text) as to will they find anything left at the site to tie it into the siege as there have been so many relic hunters with metal detectors and shovels that have gone over the site in the past. All sorts of set backs in the proceedings occurred, including  weather delays, and with time of the essence, we are hoping that they get the dig done before their scheduled stop work deadline. There are false starts, dashed hopes and great breakthroughs that are documented by Paul Terry. We are treated to inside information on the relics found and what they meant in relation to where the members of the gang were inside the Inn during the siege, down to what sort of table Ann Jones would have set for her customers. This is all some good stuff. What is annoying, though, and I am not the only one who has voiced this concern, is the use of QR codes throughout the book that enable smart phone users to access video of the dig by scanning the codes. My phone must be dumb as a box of rocks because it does not have that capability. What would have been nice would to have had photos included of certain things that were alluded to as being on the video (perhaps in addition to, rather than in place of, the codes).

Though I really, really loved the book, I was not very enamored with the fact that it went on for several pages detailing all about the fake Dan and Steves and I was going to scream if I read the word "cellar" one more time! How I wish that the dig would have lasted long enough to do the excavation on Ann Jones's residence behind the Inn, so that the cellar myth would have (hopefully) been laid to rest for all eternity. Though I highly doubt it, the day may come that a cellar is found beneath Ann's house and many of us may have to eat our hats (will try to make sure mine is small and soft!) but until that day, I am sick to death of the "theory."
I give kudos to Paul Terry and Adam Ford for wanting information on Ann Jones to reach a wider audience. They say that she is one of the least known and least remembered women in the Kelly story. I suppose it might be that way for the general Australian public, but in my circles Ann is mentioned on a regular basis, and I have done extensive research into her life, especially in her later post-compensation years.

 One thing Paul said in the book that is really a great quote is:  "More than a century after the telegraph helped to kill off the last bushrangers, the internet is helping to keep them alive." This is so true and may it ever be so!

This is a great book and I hope everyone will pick it up. Now, here is what everyone who knows me has been waiting for....the errors, or what I have questions or doubts about. I took notes as I read so I could double check what did not sound right and have come up with far fewer bits wrong than I did for Ian Shaw's "Glenrowan." Seems that Paul Terry really did his homework to a degree.

Before the book was released it was said on a Kelly forum that the author knew of a few errors that had somehow "slipped through the editing" and that they would be corrected if there was a second print run. I only wish that he would have given us a list of the errors via the forum, perhaps he was waiting for someone to tell him what some of them are? The only one that was mentioned was about a wrong date. I am assuming it is the one in the siege timeline at the front of the book that speaks of Saturday June 26, Sunday June 27 and then has Sunday June 28 and Monday June 29. It should have been Monday June 28 and Tuesday June 29, but it is an easy enough mistake to make and we won't penalize for that.

Here in no particular order are my findings:

The book says that Ann Jones's husband, Owen, died in 1890 and that she married Henry Smith "in that year." Also it says that "some time later Ann and Henry won a license to sell wine." Ok, here is the go....Ann remarried in 1891 and she had been issued a Colonial Wine License as early as 1888. Many places on the net and in books say that she did not get one until 1895. They just did not look in the right newspapers to find out about her earlier licensing. For more info on her second marriage and the license see my blog post called "Part One: Ann Jones: New Beginnings and Same Old Endings" found at

In three separate sections of the book "the strange woman from Benalla" is alluded to as having been a bedmate of Piazzi. I debunked that whole thing in my blog post called "A Strange Woman from Benalla" found at In that it details how the woman was in bed with another gravel worker who was in Piazzi's tent. Maybe Piazzi had a go with her (or maybe not)??? But she was not exclusively with him as everybody seems to assume and infer.

Reference was made as to Assistant Commissioner Charles Nicolson and Superintendent Hare being in at the capture of Harry Power.  Technically, this is correct, as both men were there, but in 1870, at the time of the capture, Nicolson was further down the ladder, being only a Superintendent at the time, but he was Assistant Commissioner of Police during the Kelly Outbreak.

The book says that Constable Scanlan "lived with his sister." I have found no reference to that anywhere. I have read that Scanlan came to Australia with his brother and have also read that Scanlan had no relatives in the colony (thus why his possessions were auctioned off at the Police Depot).

The book says that the Cameron Letter was written in Euroa. Actually, the letter was already written prior to the Kelly's visit to Euroa, but what Joe Byrne did while at the Faithful Creek station was make "fine copies" of it to be sent off.

The book says that Glenrowan schoolteacher Thomas Curnow set out on foot and then heard the train coming. Actually, he was in the act of harnessing up his horse when he heard the train and only then did he go on foot.

The book says that Curnow "later told of his secret life under a new name in the 'wilds of Gippsland,' and of threats made against him. Ok, I am wondering what the go is on this. In 1911, B.W. Cookson in his "Kelly Gang from Within" newspaper series spoke of meeting up with Curnow who was living under an assumed name and who had until recently (1910 was the time of the interview) been "teaching a small school in the wilderness of Gippsland." What I have deduced is that it was former police spy (known as the Diseased Stock Agent) and schoolteacher Daniel Kennedy who moved to Gippsland and was wrongly suspected of being Curnow under an assumed name. See my blog entitled "Former Police Spy is Visited by Wild Wright and Mistaken for Curnow found at Looking at newspaper articles I see that Thomas Curnow retired from teaching in Ballarat in 1915, the article said that he had lived in Ballarat for over 30 years. Also, during Curnow's Royal Commission testimony in August of 1881 (a year after the siege) he was already teaching school in Ballarat. 

The book has a common misconception in it. It says that Mrs. O'Connor and her sister Miss Smith were on the police special train. While Smith was the maiden name of the sisters, both were married women, with Louisa O'Connor's sister Catherine being married to Thomas Prout Webb at the time of the siege.

The book has Constable Armstrong helping Rev Gibney to retrieve Joe Byrne's body from the burning Inn. Actually, it was Constable Dwyer who helped Armstrong carry the body.

The book says that Rev Gibney found the bodies of Dan and Steve laying on beds. But, in his testimony before the Royal Commission Gibney said that the bodies were laying on the floor. Yet, Constable Dwyer testified before the RC about how just after he and Constable Armstrong carried out Joe Byrne's body from the burning Inn, that Rev Gibney said "Go back, constables, the other two men are on the beds." Then Dwyer said that he found the bodies laying on the floor with their feet on the beds. But he was the only one out of all the witnesses that said that the bodies were not laying together but were six yards apart! So, he seems to be a tad confused in that respect, I think. Even Armstrong testified before the RC that maybe it was Dwyer's "imagination" in respects to being the only one to say that the bodies were not together in the same room.

The book says that Joe Byrne was buried at Wangaratta. He was buried at Benalla.

The book says that in the 2003 Heath Ledger Ned Kelly movie that Ned Kelly romanced a "fictitious squatter's daughter." In the film it was not the squatter's was his wife!

The book says that "after Ned's death, Ettie appeared in public with Kate Kelly in a short-lived stage production of the Kelly story." Jim Kelly, Kate Kelly and Ettie Hart did appear on stage but not in a "stage production of the Kelly story."  According to reports, they were merely seated on the stage with Kate holding a bunch of flowers. Not sure if they spoke or were just on display. Later it was said that Jim and Kate appeared elsewhere riding Kelly horses for the entertainment of the crowd. Again, I have no idea if they spoke or took questions or were just there to be admired or gaped at by curious patrons. None of this lasted long as the police shut them down at every turn. Hardly a stage production of the Kelly story.

In the book it gives the names of several black trackers and says that "although they missed out on the reward money, the troopers were presented with breastplates commemorating their service." One of the names on the list, Sambo, maybe should not be there as he was already dead before the siege of Glenrowan and, thus, was not eligible for the reward nor a recipient of a breastplate.

And there you have it, my review of Paul Terry's "The True Story of Ned Kelly's Last Stand." Run, don't walk, to get a copy (don't even take time to hitch up your horse and buggy!).

Friday, September 21, 2012

Article Alert: Ned Kelly featured in Sept/Oct 2012 Archaeology magazine

Thanks to Greg Young for alerting me to this.

The September/October 2012 issue of "Archaeology" magazine has an article about Ned Kelly's remains being found. The article is called "Final Resting Place of an Outlaw." The cover of the magazine has the blurb "The Hunt for the Australia's Baddest Outlaw." Too bad (no pun intended!) that an image of Ned is not featured on the cover.

To read the article in full go to:

Thursday, September 20, 2012

New Book Alert: Australian Bushrangers, the Police, and God by Al Heffrin

Al Heffrin, the author of "Australian Bushrangers, the Police, and God" recently sent in a comment to this blog on a related post telling about his recently published book. I decided to use the comment there and am now giving him a whole new post to help get the news out.

He had written:

The book is factual story is about “Australian Bushrangers”, including Ned Kelly, who had the opportunity to trust in God, either before, during or after capture. The Australian bushranger may have committed what appear to be dreadful crimes, and as such they became outside of the law of the land. This story is about just a few of these bushrangers, who have had the opportunity to trust in God, either before, during or after capture. Most of these men committed the crime known as ‘Robbery Under Arms’ and as we have seen from the movie industry, the likes of the story ‘Robbery Under Arms’ is glamorised to the extent that we cannot but admire their exploits.

This very real and dangerous drama cannot be what it is, or what it was, without acknowledging the valiant and possibly more dangerous part played by the God consciousness, police and troopers, of the day. During a trial of a bushranger a magistrate stated: “Take the case of these constables, were they not brave men also? It is a strange thing that we hear little of the undoubted police bravery, yet, if there is the slightest courage shown by a bushranger, he is lauded as if he were a hero of romance”.

The book includes real faith facts of numerous Aussie Bushrangers including Bushranger Power.

The following link will give information on purchasing the book:


Copies of the book (70 pages in A5 size) can be obtained for AU$20.00 (post paid) from the author:-

Al Heffron
9 Hiscock Court
Benalla, VIC, Australia. 3672
Phone: +613 5762 6889

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Oh, Danny Boy [Sharon Hollingsworth]

Oh, Danny Boy

These days whenever I hear the popular Irish song "Danny Boy," I think of Dan Kelly. Seeing as how it was written in 1910 and the first recording of it was in 1915 I wonder if Mrs. Kelly or Jim ever heard it and thought of their Danny boy with lyrics like

"Oh Danny boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling
From glen to glen, and down the mountain side
The summer's gone, and all the flowers are dying
'Tis you, 'tis you must go and I must bide...."

So many of the descriptions of Dan Kelly during the short time he was outlawed are somewhat negative (I will just concentrate on the time he was part of the Kelly Gang and not on his pre-gang Greta Mob days). J.J. Kenneally in "The Inner History of the Kelly Gang" had it right when he said "All accounts of him [Dan Kelly] show that he was of a quieter and less forceful nature than his brother Ned, although the general public have been led, through the vicious misrepresentation by the police, to regard him as a treacherous and bloodthirsty scoundrel."

From Sadleir calling him a "ferocious little savage" to Hare extolling him as "a cunning, low, little sneak who prowled around half the night.." to McIntyre saying Dan was shouting "shoot that fellow! shoot that fellow!" as he was escaping at Stringybark Creek it would seem that Dan Kelly was gleefully painted as a blackguard.  There is even further anecdotal evidence against him. After Joe Byrne shot Aaron Sherritt it was said that Dan said a polite "good evening" to Aaron's widow and her mother as he entered the house and smiled as he looked at the corpse. Then there was the allegation that Dan wished to interfere with lady prisoners at Euroa, something that was sure to inflame the Victorian readers:

 "The prisoners in the storeroom, I may mention, were all men, the female cook and some other women employed at the station being allowed to remain in the house. None of the women were molested, as far as I learnt, in any way, though from some remarks dropped by Dan Kelly (who appeared the greatest ruffian of the lot, and a thorough type of the 'larrikin'), he did not desire to leave them untroubled. He said something about 'having a lark with the women,' but apparently he was restrained by his brother." 

J.J. Kenneally wrote that during the time Dan was outlawed "he killed no one, he shot no one, offered violence to no neighbour and insult to no woman."

I suppose that the wanting to have a lark with the women doesn't count as "insult to a woman" as Ned nipped that idea in the bud!

All of the above would make folks think twice about being in close quarters with Dan. The press and police surely did their job in that regard.

 McIntyre also had this to say: "Dan Kelly was nervously excited and was laughing with a short laugh almost hysterical; there was something grotesque about his appearance; all his clothing including his hat was much too large for him and when he turned his back to me to cover the tent there was very little of the inhabitant of the clothing visible."

That description is very telling as it is obvious that Dan Kelly was perpetually overshadowed and outsized by his elder brother(s).

Yet, Ellen Kelly, his mother, once said that Dan was "always a better general than Ned...." even though she also said that "My boy Ned would have been a great general in the big war - another Napoleon - whichever side he was on would have won."

That could be true, I suppose, because as far as strategy goes, there were times that Ned should have heeded Dan's advice, most notably when Dan wanted to handcuff McIntyre.

Mrs Kelly also told B.W. Cookson in 1910 when he asked about the rumours of Dan Kelly and Steve Hart still being alive:

"If Dan Kelly was alive all these years, wouldn't he have come to me? Would he let me want and go hungry,as I have done? Would he have seen me ending my life in this misery and done nothing to help me?..."

I choose to think that if Dan had survived he would have tried to contact his mother and helped in any way possible despite any so-called "statute of limitations." But we know that Dan did not survive beyond 1880.

At Glenrowan Dan was making sure that the prisoners were safe. Mrs. Reardon testified that Dan told her that if she got out of the inn safely to go to Hare and "tell him to keep his men from shooting till daylight, and to allow all these people to go out, and that we shall fight for ourselves." Dan had promised her that neither he nor any of the gang inside would shoot while the prisoners were trying to get out. (However, we know that some of the police fired on those prisoners!)

In the symposium paper entitled "The Trial of Ned Kelly: 'Mr Bindon Knows Nothing of my Case'" written by John H. Philips, he had this closing passage that shows a surprisingly softer side of Dan:

"...Kelly spoke to to his solicitor in the condemned cell. "How long have I got?" he asked.
"It can't be more than three or four weeks, " said David Gaunson.
"Three or four weeks, then I'll be joining Dan. You never met Dan, did you, Mr Gaunson." Gaunson shook his head. "He was a lovely man, my brother. Did you know Dan had a great gift, the gift of song? Oh, Mr Gaunson, if only you had heard Dan sing."

I have not sourced out where Philips found that passage but it is right in line with an 1889 reminiscence by a prisoner of the Inn (whom I have deduced to be Tom Cameron, also known as T.H. Cameron) who told the papers "Dan Kelly gave us a sample of his vocal abilities in the shape of a song about the Kelly Gang."

So, we have two different Dan Kellys presented, one by those prejudiced against him and another by those who were biased in his favour. He was either a vicious, cold blooded little thug intent on mayhem and mischief or was a tactically smart, artistically talented, solicitous, yet misguided, fatherless young man ( with "a fine pair of eyes" and "rather a pleasing look when smiling" according to a Jerilderie witness) held in total thrall by his towering elder brother. I think the real Dan Kelly lies somewhere between the two and closer to the latter...closer to sunshine than shadow.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Article Alert: Cave Link to Bushranger Ned Kelly

There is a new article in the September 17, 2012 Herald Sun entitled “Cave Link to Bushranger Ned Kelly.

It begins with:

“A Ned Kelly enthusiast believes he’s unearthed the cave the bushranger may have used as his hideout.
Steve Jager, 28, says Google Earth photos and historical documents led him into the Warburton Ranges national park, where he found an open-air cave behind a boulder that he thinks was the bushranger’s lair…”

To access/read you must sign up at:

Note that Steve Jager is one of the founders of where Brian and I (plus many more Kelly researchers and fans) are members. New members are always welcome!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Event Alert: Book Launch for Kelvyn Gill's "Edward 'Ned Kelly' The Historical Record"

ISBN: 978-0-9873615-0-9 (hbk).

The Celtic Club
316 – 320 Queen Street. Melbourne.
Tel: (03) 9670 6472


Beechworth Gaol Unlocked
Corner Ford & Williams Streets. Beechworth.
Tel: 1300 774 766

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Upcoming book alert: Is Ned Kelly in Heaven?

There is a new book by Kerry Medway that is tentatively scheduled to be released in November 2012 called "Is Ned Kelly in Heaven?"

Below is the blurb from her website located at -

"...One book has the working title.. IS NED KELLY IN HEAVEN? During my research on the book TEENAGE BUSHRANGER, I stumbled across this story of an Irish Doctor who treated Ned Kelly in Melbourne Gaol just before Kelly was hung. Dr John Singleton was an amazing man with a passion to see lost souls won for Christ. 1000's of men & women came to Christ under his influence. Did he bring Kelly to Christ? This will be my research & hopefully a book that will persuade many in our nation to turn to Christ."

Ok, me [Sharon] again....By the way, in case you were wondering, Teenage Bushranger is about Johnny Dunn who joined up with bushrangers Ben Hall and Johnny Gilbert and who was subsequently captured and hanged.

Regarding Dr John Singleton, I looked under google books and found the text of his book "A Narrative of Incidents in the Eventful Life of a Physician." In it he tells of visiting Ned Kelly at the Old Melbourne Gaol after Ned was captured at Glenrowan and how he had seen him and talked to him about salvation, said he would be praying for him and gave him a copy of the New Testament. Ned told him that when he was in Pentridge that he (Singleton) was known as the "prisoner's friend." Singleton wanted to see Ned again and Ned wanted to be seen by him but the Roman Catholic chaplain of the Gaol, Dean Donaghy, would not allow it as Singleton was of the Protestant faith and Ned Kelly was Catholic. Castieau took the Dean's part in it. Seems they tried to play politics with a man's salvation! Singleton still managed to send in gospel tracts to Ned. Singleton said in his book: "Kelly, I understand, sent his love to me on the morning of his execution, and from various things I have known since, he looked to Christ alone for forgiveness and salvation."
Something else I recall along these lines was when Ned was laying wounded at Glenrowan and Rev Gibney came into to minister to him. Gibney later said "I asked him to say 'Lord Jesus have mercy on me,' and he said it, and added 'it's not to-day I began to say that'."

Here is a link to a photo of Dr. John Singleton taken in 1864, sixteen years before he ministered to Ned at the Old Melbourne Gaol. 

Article Alert: I Have Ned Kelly's Head

from google alerts:

The NZ Herald has an article from August 26, 2012 entitled "I Have Ned Kelly's Head."

It begins with:

"A New Zealand great-granny says she is in possession of one of Australia's most sought after relics: Ned Kelly's skull.

Anna Hoffman, 74, was given the skull 30 years ago while on holiday in Melbourne by a security guard who told her it was "Ned's head".

When she read recently that the famous outlaw's skull was missing, she was determined to get to the bottom of the mystery. "When I heard that my heart skipped a beat," she said. "It made sense because of all of the secretiveness around it."

The discovery has raised the interest of the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine, which matched Kelly's remains to the DNA of a surviving relative....

To read more:

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

New Ned Kelly Forum Now Open

Seems there is a brand new Ned Kelly forum that has just been started up by Trent Cupid and Steve Jager. I hope everyone will go over there and make it a big success. I have already registered!

Here is just some of what they say over there about the "Ned Kelly Forum" -

The Ned Kelly Forum is an online place for anyone with an interest in the Ned Kelly story to meet, learn, share and ask questions relating to the history that has fascinated Australians for over a Century!

The Kelly Sympathizers worked together to achieve a goal and now it is our turn to share the story with the World!

This forum is a celebration to the Australian Legend and we encourage open minded and considerate discussion in our forum. We welcome those from all over the globe to share in our conversation.

Check them out at:

They also have a facebook page for the forum at:

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Article Alert: Ned Kelly's Remains Handed Back to Family

from google alerts..

The Sydney Morning Herald of August 2, 2012 has an article entitled "Ned Kelly's Remains Handed Back to Family."

It begins with:

The remains of Ned Kelly have been returned to his descendants who will hold a private burial 132 years after his death.

The Herald Sun says the property developer behind the Pentridge Village where Kelly was buried has been forced to hand over the bushranger's remains.

The Victorian government on Wednesday issued a new exhumation licence for Kelly's remains, which scuttles the plan of developer Leigh Chiavaroli to use the remains as part of a museum.

Later in the article is this:

It's expected he will be laid to rest in a small cemetery in the Greta churchyard south of Glenrowan, where Kelly's mother Ellen, several of his brothers and sisters and other relatives are buried in unmarked graves.

To read more:

Friday, July 27, 2012

Possible Upcoming Archaeological Investigations in Glenrowan?

 It seems there is the possibility of further archaeological investigations going on in Glenrowan this year. I looked around and did not see any reference to this on any other Kelly sites yet, though some may see this and will start spreading the word. We need to keep our eyes open for more information and starting dates on this venture.

 Here is what I have found so far:

From the NE Water Community News from December 2011 concerning the
Glenrowan Sewerage Scheme:

An archaeological impact assessment and management report was carried
out by DIG International and has been submitted to Heritage Victoria
in support of an application to carry out works within the Glenrowan
heritage precinct. A permit has been granted with a key requirement
being to undertake detailed archaeological investigations in certain
areas including Siege Street....

I did some searching for the permit (which was dated March 12, 2012) and it says in part:

The sewerage infrastructure works are to be in accordance with the
three models presented in Appendix B of the report Glenrowan Sewerage
Scheme – Archaeological Impact Assessment and Management Report 2011
(Dig International, July 2011). Infrastructure works and installation
are to be in accordance with details outlined in the Proposal section
of the report (pages 4-5).
3.      Detailed archaeological investigations are to be conducted, prior
to the commencement of infrastructure works, in the following areas:
immediately adjacent to the site of the Glenrowan Inn; in the vicinity
of the gravel haulers’ camp; along Siege Street between Beaconsfield
Parade and Bank Street; along Beaconsfield Parade between Siege Street
and Church Street; and in the land immediately north of the site of
McDonnell’s Hotel on Gladstone Street.
4.      All potentially significant historical archaeological features,
deposits and/or relics that are exposed are to be investigated in
detail, recorded and presented in the project report....

Also says that the permit is good for one year. If you want to read more about any of this it is all findable via google using the proper keywords.

Event Alert: Ned Kelly Interpretive Centre - Re-Scoping Study Stakeholder Briefing set for Aug. 13, 2012

Just stumbled over info for this upcoming event...

Ned Kelly Interpretive Centre - Re-Scoping Study Stakeholder Briefing

Council is providing an opportunity for the community and relevant stakeholders to hear about the recent Ned Kelly Interpretive Centre Re-Scoping Study final report from consultant, Sally Hirst (Hirst Projects).

    Monday 13th August 2012
    Glenrowan Primary School
    40 Beaconsfield Parade, Glenrowan
    From 7.00 pm

To read more or to find out how to register your attendance (must register by August 8, 2012):

Friday, July 20, 2012

Article Alert: Wangaratta Council Backs Ned Kelly 'Theme Park'

The Border Mail of July 18 has an article entitled Wangaratta Council Backs Ned Kelly 'Theme Park.'

 It begins with:

 "An $8 million Ned Kelly Centre at Glenrowan could be financially viable within four years of opening, according to a revised plan the Wangaratta Council backed last night.

The project, first promoted a decade ago, would still rely heavily on federal and state government money to become a reality.

But the new study prepared for the council suggests the siege site could become the North-East's equivalent of Sovereign Hill at Ballarat...."

From later in the article:

"A small band of people, including a venue manager and volunteers would operate the centre seven days a week.
A cafe capable of seating 90 people would open for breakfast and lunch each day and possibly for dinner three to four nights a week.
Key attractions of the centre would be the Ann Jones Hotel, Kelly’s capture site and a railway platform...."

To read more:

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Article Alert: Glenrowan's Ned Kelly Centre Proposal

from google alerts..

The Weekly Times of July 18, 2012 has an article called "Glenrowan's Ned Kelly Centre Proposal."

It begins with:

"The $8 million project, which includes $2 million for digital equipment to share the Kelly Gang's story, will be taken to tourism stakeholders to offer input after gaining approval from Wangaratta councillors."

 Later in the article there is this:

 ". . . there's been refinement of the centre and this concept is a series of smaller buildings keeping with the feel of the town," Ms Keith said.
She said the changes made the centre's concept move from a "museum-type building to an interactive centre".
Within the first year she said a conservative estimate was for 60,000 people to visit the centre..."

To read more:

Friday, July 13, 2012

Event Alert: New Play "His Mother's Son: The Story of Ellen Kelly" to be performed in Beechworth Aug. 4, 2012

Earlier this year I had done a post about the then-upcoming Jerilderie Letter Event and had mentioned that there would be a Kelly play written by (and starring) Christine Middleton as part of the proceedings. Ms Middleton has just sent in a comment on that particular post, but I figured to give her a bit more promotion by also making the comment a featured posting.

Here is what she wrote:

    "Hi My name is Christine Middleton. I was commissioned by the Jerilderie Shire Council to write the story of the audacious raid on the town of Jerilderie by the Kelly Gang on February 8th 1879. I wrote, produced and performed this story as a multimedia Play titled "Ned Kelly Came By" to an enthusiastic audience in the Jerilderie Civic Centre for the Jerilderie Letter Event 2012. In this Play I took the role of Mary Devine, the wife of George Devine, Senior Constable of Police, Jerilderie. What a story it is!! I will be putting further information on this Play onto my Website shortly.

    My journey with the Kelly Story commenced with the reading of the book "Ellen Kelly" by Dagmar Balcarek & Gary Dean" which I had purchased at the local petrol station in Jerilderie. This little book inspired me to write a Multimedia Play titled "His Mother's Son (The Story of Ellen Kelly)" which I have been touring with over the past 18 months. I will be presenting this Play at the Beechworth Ned Kelly Weekend in the Town Hall on Saturday 4th August at 10.30am. Great to have a blog to share stories and keep up to date. Well Done"

(Thank you for your comments, Christine!)

Here is the link with further information for the performance:

I hope everyone who attends the Ned Kelly weekend enjoys the performance of "His Mother's Son."

While I am doing a bit of cross-pollination and promotion I might as well add some links from the Eleven Mile Creek archives since Sr. Constable George Devine and his wife Mary were made mention of as concerns an earlier Middleton play and some of our new readers might have missed these earlier postings concerning the couple.

 Back in March of 2011 I had done a post called "For Jerilderie's Constable Devine life after the Kelly Gang's visit was anything but divine!" which can be read at

Then in April of 2011 I did a post called "Who escorted Mrs. Devine to the Jerilderie courthouse?" which can be read at

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Event Alert: Beechworth Ned Kelly Weekend - August 3rd - 5th 2012

The program for the 2012 Beechworth Ned Kelly Weekend (Friday August 3rd through Sunday August 5th) is now online.

Article Alert: Unions Fight for Ned Kelly's Bones

from google alerts..

There is an article in the June 27 Herald Sun called "Unions Fight for Ned Kelly's Bones."

It begins with:

"Unions are fighting for a decent burial for Ned Kelly.

They have threatened to shut down a major housing project at the former Pentridge Prison if the developer continues to demand money for the bushranger's remains.

The Victorian Trades Hall Council has warned it will stop all work at the site after developer Leigh Chiavaroli asked the State Government for $3 million in compensation to release Kelly's remains for a family burial..."

Later in the article it says:

"Former Pentridge chaplain Peter Norden welcomed the unusual pairing of the Baillieu Government and Trades Hall fighting together for Kelly's final wish..."

For more (must sign up for free pass to read):

Monday, June 25, 2012

Article Alert: Vandals Damage Kelly Gang Site

from google alerts..

The Weekly Times has an article entitled "Vandals Damage Kelly Gang Site."

It begins with:

Vandals have damaged trees and done circle work on a camping reserve, which was the site of Kelly Gang and police shoot-out....

To read more:

Friday, June 22, 2012

Article Alert: Pentridge Developer Lays Claim to Ned Kelly's Remains

from google alerts..

The Herald Sun of June 23, 2012 has an article entitled "Pentridge Developer Lays Claim to Ned Kelly's Remains."

It begins with:

The developer of the former Pentridge Prison says he is the rightful owner of Ned Kelly's remains and wants compensation for the bushranger's bones.
Kelly's final burial, promised to descendants last year, has been delayed by the row...

and later in the article there is:

The remains are at the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine, where they were identified using DNA from a family member. After the remains were identified, Attorney-General Robert Clark decided they should be handed to Kelly's descendants for burial.
But that process has become complicated because the exhumation licence stated the remains would be returned to Pentridge.....

To read more (you must sign up for a free pass to do so):

Monday, June 11, 2012

Douglas Morrissey Thesis, Chapter 5, Part 2 [Brian Stevenson]

It's been a while, folks. First and foremost I want to thank my co-blogger Sharon for her forbearance during the long period I did not contribute. She is a great co-blogger, but more than that she is a terrific friend and is extremely understanding when someone finds themselves unable to blog for ... well, quite a long time. Thanks to all, especially Sharon, for waiting.

My post this time is a follow on from one I did a long time ago, another condensation of a section of Douglas Morrissey's excellent unpublished thesis, 'Selectors, Squatters and Stock Thieves: A Social History of Kelly Country.' Morrissey covers the social milieu of the Kelly Country in the time preceding, during, and immediately following the outbreak.

Morrissey's main theme is not necessarily a popular one, but he has done his homework. He researched whatever primary sources he could find on the area to build up a profile of the social conditions and environment of the district that the Kellys knew. His conclusion was that the Kellys and their sympathisers were atypical of the region, most of whom were quiet and law abiding citizens who preferred to go about their business rather than complain about police oppression, something which tended to be experienced only by those who had in the past given the police reason for concern.

Morrissey's Chapter 5 is entitled Social Order and Authority. It's a long chapter, fifty pages or so. I have not attempted to summarise the whole chapter, but rather to look at some of the things Morrissey has covered, particularly with regard to the Kellys.

Most of the people in the districts covered by Morrissey were Protestant, with Catholics comprising approximately one third of the population. The areas less suitable for agriculture were hilly and stony, and these were the areas where the Catholics tended to live. The Kellys were atypical of these farmers, raising livestock rather than crops. There was not really a significant difference between the defaulting rate of Catholics and Protestants, but the Catholics were more likely to be behind in the rent.

Many of the Protestants were temperance advocates. Morrissey cites the case of one publican refusing to sell Jim Kelly and Wild Wright a pannikin of spirits, saying that he did not sell liquor to travellers as 'the Lord has shown me a better way.'

Interestingly, the Salvation Army had a minor presence in the region and in the summer of 1886 they called on Mrs Ellen Kelly at Greta. The visitors gave Mrs Kelly some issues of their periodical, the War Cry and she promised that she would read them. 'Before we left she knelt down with us and prayed', according to the War Cry  for 27 November 1886.

Methodist wowserism coexisted with a rollicking Irish and Catholic 'pub culture' though of course some Protestant families did not mind participating in or imbibing that which said culture had to offer. But the role of the pub was changing and by the late 1870s the realities of farm economics meant that the pub declined in its role as a community meeting place. People were simply too busy working or too broke to buy liquor on a regular basis. Around this time, many young men, the Kellys and their associates included, went to New South Wales at certain times of the year to shear. Morrissey might have been unaware of this, when he stated:

'There was, of course, a residue of hard drinking labourers, bush larrikins, petty criminals and horse and cattle thieves who spent most of their time and a great deal of their money loafing, brawling and drinking in the region's pubs. With a few exceptions, the Kellys and their friends belonged to this free wheeling criminal fraternity who regularly indulged in flash and riotous living.'

Mixed marriages were tolerated in a community where many Catholics and Protestants lived in close proximity. Ellen Kelly and her daughter Maggie, for example, married Protestants. Illegitimacy was rife as well. Ellen Kelly and at least two of her daughters, Maggie and Annie, had illegitimate children. Illegitimacy was not confined to the 'lower' classes either. The widely respected William Maginness (spelled McInnis by Ned in the Jerilderie Letter), the miller and magistrate who famously put the handcuffs on Ned Kelly after the celebrated brawl in the Benalla bootmakers, was pursued in the courts by a servant girl, Margaret Moloney, and forced to pay child support. Morrissey mentions the apparent 'flexible moral ambience' of the Kelly household, noting that Jane Graham, a 'loose woman' of the district lived for a while in the Kelly home and seems to have been on intimate terms with Ned's uncle, the perennial reprobate Jimmy Quinn. But the police never accused the Kelly women of prostitution.

Max Brown, iconic Kelly author and perhaps second only to Ian Jones in this regard, emphasised in Australian son the relationship between respectability and the rich and powerful, implying that the higher the class the more higher the moral ground was inhabited. But the moral 'looseness' undoubtedly shown in so many of the Kellys, their relatives and their associates in so many different ways was at variance with the typical selector. Most selectors were hardworking people of good character who were closely identified with traditional values. The conflict between squatter and selector for control of the land had been decided in favour of the selector a decade before the Kelly Outbreak and the selectors, content to live in in relative harmony with their wealthy neighbours, were more interested in traditional values and the pursuit of traditional goals. Even Ned, in the Jerilderie letter, demonstrated his regard for traditional values.

On this last point, Morrissey states that in the Letter Ned:
makes clear his acceptance of traditional values. The opportunity to acquire and farm a selection of land, the care of widows and orphans, the acceptance of the notion of what constituted 'a fair fight' and the view that the rich and powerful should not oppress the poor were among the more obvious beliefs drawn from traditional sources and accepted by Ned and his friends.

Even the 'rowdy and unruly' behaviour of the Ellen Kelly and her associates was atypical of the time and place and 'simply cannot be accepted as representative of selector women in general.' From time to time, Ellen and her mates rode furiously about the district, drank and engaged in socially unacceptable behaviour that most selector women would have shunned. As Morrissey wryly remarks:
It is difficult to imagine the wives and daughters of Greta's Primitive Methodist selectors or the womenfolk of the district's respectable Catholic farmers engaged in similar activities as the Kelly women. Traditional values, social convention and no doubt the women's selector husbands and fathers would have intervened and nipped such 'unwomanly' behaviour in the bud.

Finally, Morrissey has a brief comment on the police in the district. He admits that Flood and Fitzpatrick bore a lax moral character. To this list I would add the brutal Hall and the oleaginous and serpentine Ward, and, with some qualifications, the self-righteous zealot Steele, but none of the three victims at Stringybark Creek could be placed in the same category. Lonigan's 'dirty grip', if it occurred at all, needs to be weighed up against other aspects of Lonigan: the dedicated family man who thought enough about religion to convert from Catholicism to Protestantism a short time before his death. Kennedy, also a family man, had one of the most exemplary records in the force, and the bachelor Scanlon was highly regarded.

According to Morrissey, most off duty policemen spent their time playing football and cricket and writing letters to their family rather than frequenting pubs and brothels. (My own thought: the low wages may well have had something to do with this!) The Benalla police even organised themselves into a singular association that they called The Benalla Police Temperance and Harmonic Society, in which, according to the unpublished reminiscences of one Constable Maguire:  Off duty policemen nightly applauded the comic antics of their comrades as they performed popular plays, sang songs, recited lengthy poems and even delivered lectures.

So there we have it, folks. A society where traditional values predominated and where selectors much preferred to live harmoniously with squatters (or at least to the extent of not helping themselves to their livestock.) A society where most women were quiet and law-abiding, unlike the chief maternal influence on Ned's life. A society where most police were decent enough fellows.

A society nothing like the one that Ned Kelly claimed had a down on him.

Such is life.

[Note that this is the 5th installment of an ongoing series. Chapter 5 part 1 can be found at
 The series begins at  and you can follow the links in each post to read all the installments in proper order. Stay tuned for future postings in this series.]

Monday, June 4, 2012

The Insurance Claim for the Glenrowan Inn [Sharon Hollingsworth]

 There was a recent google alert for an article called "Insurance Records Reveal Ned Kelly History" that was in the Herald Sun on May 16, 2012. At the time it first came out I did not put it here at the Eleven Mile Creek blog. After thinking about it a while I have decided to add it and to address something in it that does not seem to fit in with known facts (the known facts being that Ann Jones did not have an insurance policy on the Glenrowan Inn and that the policy was held by someone else who collected on it). I am sure that many Kelly researchers are aware of these facts, but the average reader who has not delved deeply into the Kelly saga would believe that Mrs. Jones was compensated by the insurance company after reading the newspaper article, when she actually wasn't.

Here is an excerpt from the Herald Sun article:

"The insurance claim for a fire that destroyed the Glenrowan Inn as the bushranger Ned Kelly sheltered inside is one of 3000 historical records donated to the Victorian State Library.

The documents have history buffs salivating and provide a window into Australia's past, says state library spokesman Matthew van Hasselt.

"On the surface they look like dry corporate records," he told AAP on Wednesday.

But the records, donated this week, can help historians piece together the small but crucial details that allow us to unlock past events, Mr van Hasselt said.

"Historians like to get into the nitty gritty details and the peculiarities of the time."

The records, provided by Suncorp Insurance, chronicle the Australian insurance industry from 1833 to 1970.

The documents show the police destruction of the Glenrowan Inn in the famous 1880 confrontation with the Kelly gang resulted in a 100 pound insurance claim being paid to inn operator Mrs Ann Jones.

The Colonial Mutual Fire insurance company paid the sum but later successfully claimed the money back from Victoria Police....."

To read more:

There are quite a few other news articles that echoes the same information that is in the Herald Sun, but the State Library of Victoria blog - -does not directly say that the insurance claim was paid to Ann Jones.

The SLV blog has this bit of information on interesting items in the papers donated to them:

 Minute Book: Colonial Mutual Fire Insurance Co Limited: Board Minute Book 1878-1880 re Ned Kelly Pub fire

Contains a report on the Ned Kelly siege at Glenrowan and destruction of the Glenrowan Inn operated by Mrs Ann Jones. The claim shows £100 was paid with a request for reimbursement forwarded to Victorian colonial Chief Secretary.

Ok, I can see from the proceeding where the press might have gotten the wrong idea that Mrs. Ann Jones was paid by the insurance company. But the following shows that it was not the case.

The Public Records Office of Victoria has the Minutes of the Board appointed to enquire into claims made by Mrs. Jones for compensation of the Glenrowan Hotel.

In testimony before the Board from November of 1881 William Robert Jarvis, a storekeeper, said that he helped Mrs. Jones build the inn by "finding the means to build it." He also helped supply some of the materials, though the actual construction was done by another party.

In the testimony there was this exchange regarding the Glenrowan Inn between Jarvis and Mr. Chomley (on behalf of the Crown):

Chomley: Was the house insured?

Jarvis: Yes.

Chomley: In what office?

Jarvis: The Colonial Mutual, I think.

Chomley: For what amount?

Jarvis: 100 pounds.

Chomley: To what, the entire building and stock?

Jarvis: The building only.

Chomley: Did Mrs. Jones herself effect the insurance?

Jarvis: No, I did.

Chomley: How did you come to?

Jarvis: Directly after it was built because we had a lien on it and knew if it got burnt down and Mrs. Jones not able to pay we should lose, so we insured it for the amount of our lien.

Chomley: Was that the only insurance on it?

Jarvis: Yes.

Chomley: Was there any on the stock?

Jarvis: Not that I am aware of.

Chomley: Was that insurance [could not make out word] up to the time of the fire?

Jarvis: Yes.

Chomley: Has it been paid?

Jarvis: Yes

[Asked] By the Board:  To whom?

Jarvis: To us.

Then later in the same PROV papers there is a letter from the Colonial Mutual Insurance Company, complete with company seal, that has this bit in it:

Referring to the destruction of Jones' Hotel Glenrowan by the police, which Hotel was insured with this company and the claim on property of such insurance amount 100 pounds paid 20 July, was refunded by the Goverment on 21st July....

So, it seems that the insurance company paid Mr. Jarvis for his loss, and then the insurance company got paid by the Government for their loss due to the Victorian Police's action. Seems that the only one not getting money out of the deal was Mrs. Jones, and she had lost more than anyone.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Article Alert: Hunt for Relatives of Policeman Slain by Ned Kelly Gang

from google alerts...

The Herald Sun of June 4, 2012 has an article entitled "Hunt for Relatives of Policeman Slain by Ned Kelly Gang." You have to sign up to be able to read it in full, but it does start off with:

"A policeman killed by the Kelly Gang is at the centre of one of the force's oldest and most unusual "cold case" investigations.
Police historians have appealed to the public for clues to help them track down the families of Constable Michael Scanlan and two other murdered police.
The Police Historical Society needs to find descendants of the three
men so it can get permission to restore their neglected graves...."

It went on to say that Scanlan was single and the police force knew of no next of kin.

For more (you do have to sign up to read):

Regarding Scanlan having no known next of kin (to claim his belongings), remember where in McIntyre's unpublished memoirs there was a letter from another policeman saying:

"....I have to sleep in the store room on an old gun case. My pillow is made up of a kerosene tin and a bundle of unclaimed clothes. Poor old Scanlon all his things are in here.."

Also, bookmarked under my favorites for a while has been this page:

Click on "chapter 27: Fossa Personalities"
for some background on Scanlan's life.

Note that in Corfield's Ned Kelly Encyclopaedia it gives Scanlan's birthplace of Fossa as Foosa.  Why am I not surprised?

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Book Alert: Upcoming Book: The True Story of Ned Kelly's Last Stand

There is a new book called "The True Story of Ned Kelly's Last Stand: New Revelations Unearthed about the Bloody Siege of Glenrowan" by Paul Terry that is coming out in August of 2012.

From the publisher's website:

Using science, history and family lore to unearth a new understanding of how a legend was made this is the full story of the most famous siege in Australian history - the man and the myth; the people great and small.

When Ned Kelly fought his 'last stand' at Glenrowan, he made his suit of armour and a tiny bush pub part of Australian folklore. But what really happened at the Glenrowan Inn when the Kelly Gang took up arms against the government? Who was there when the bullets began to fly and how did their actions help to set the course of history?
Almost 130 years after the gunfight, a team of archaeologists peeled back the layers of history at Glenrowan to reveal new information about how the battle played out, uncovering the stories of the people caught up in a violent confrontation that helped to define what it means to be Australian....

To read more:

Monday, May 28, 2012

Article Alert: Bearded Ladies will have Ned Kelly in Stitches

from google alerts..

There is an article in the Border Mail called "Bearded Ladies will have Ned Kelly in Stitches."

From the article:

The Ned’s Needles competition, inspired by Ned Kelly’s beard and the winter cold, aims to find the best, most creative and most realistic knitted beard.

Indigo Council’s art and culture development officer Susan Reid said there would be no lack of inspiration about town.

“We seem to have a disproportionate number of bearded men in Beechworth, and always have,” she said.

In fact, the idea for the competition arose from that very observation.

“We were having a conversation with our tour guides, those guys all have very interesting beards, and I offered to knit a woman a beard to keep her warm, and the idea took off,” Ms Reid said.....

To read more:

Thursday, May 24, 2012

My Review of "Glenrowan: The Siege that Shaped a Nation" [Sharon Hollingsworth]

Back in the early days of this blog I had bemoaned the fact that there were only the juvenile primer-type Ned Kelly books being published on a regular basis and had asked when the next big in depth Kelly tome would be published. I guess that the newly released book by  entitled "Glenrowan: The Siege that Shaped a Nation" fits the bill as being big and in depth. (This blog was also the first Kelly site to announce that the book was  being released this year and after publication a friend told me how I got a mention in the bibliography for which I was very pleasantly surprised.)

This past week I was sent a copy of the book by one of my new Kelly blog friends, Neal from NSW. I am very grateful to him for being so kind, helpful and generous.

Looking around the Kelly sites I have seen a few bits and pieces of what others have had to say about the book, so I guess it is my turn to give it a go. Get ready!

When I heard that the book was coming out I assumed that it was going to only be about the Siege of Glenrowan (silly me!). I suppose it had to have the bits leading up to the siege and what the aftermath was so that those not aware of the full Kelly story could come up to speed or those who were familiar with it could have a refresher course. It would have suited me fine to be only about the siege, though! At least the chapters on the siege take up the bulk of the book. Those chapters are easily the best in the book.
Mr Shaw did a really admirable job overall with "Glenrowan." 
Shaw has some good insights into certain characters in the saga, as well as the social fabric of the area. It is a very good book, but it could have been a great book if only a bit more care might have been taken in fact finding and research. There are a few errors in the book and those will be looked at in depth in a bit.

When you start the book there is a list of the "Cast of Characters." You have to love something that tells it like it is, like with Hare: "ambitious protege of Standish" and Steele: "opinionated and driven" or Sr Constable John Kelly: "experienced but unambitious." Of Constable Kirkham he says: "Sociable and very mobile at Glenrowan." Later in the book he repeatedly drives home the somewhat irresponsible social butterfly aspect of Kirkham's behaviour at the siege. I was taken a little aback at it, as I really like Thomas Kirkham - he was goring my ox! I did, however, get a big laugh at the running joke about Constable Dwyer and the "bottle."

I like the part in the book where he says that no one saw the big picture of the siege but that when all of the little moments everyone experienced were put together it made the big picture come into view. He called it a "mosaic." I also liked where he described what I call wheels within wheels about the different levels of Kelly sympathizers radiating out from a center.

Ok, now on to the errors part. As I was reading the book I kept a pad and pen to hand to jot down page numbers and notes about what just did not sound right to me fact-wise. Some checked out to be true, but I found quite a few that were very wrong. I am going to list some of them (though there are more and there might be some I have missed) and give the correct information. I will only give the source in a place or two as I am writing a conversational type blog, not a book!  Besides, I don't want to spoil anyone's fun in seeking out the information for themselves. I don't put these corrections here with malicious glee to show how smart I am or to big note how well acquainted with the Kelly story I am. I put them here to help out readers to aid them in getting to the truth of the Kelly saga. That is the only thing that matters.

Note that in the back of the book Ian W. Shaw tells about using primary sources to piece the story together and he had this interesting bit:

"If there are errors, they are mine, and they reflect my beliefs about the most likely occurrence of sequence in a particular setting, based on what is happening elsewhere and how the characters behaved previously."

(I guess that is what was done with the Dan and Steve and the laudanum bit where no one really knows the go?)

Ok, with all that said, here are a few of the things I picked up on:

Names gotten wrong:

Charles Tettleton should be Charles Nettleton

Father Doraghy should be Father Donaghy

Dr Baker should be Dr Barker

Sherrit should be Sherritt

Mary Barry should be Ellen Barry

Jock McHugh/Neil Jock McHugh  should be  Neil McHugh

Dr Hutchison should be Dr Hutchinson

Arthur Loftus Maul Steele should be Arthur Loftus Maule Steele

WH Cookson should be BW Cookson

Neil Metcalfe should be George Metcalf

James Simson should be James Simpson

Diseased Stock Inspector should be Diseased Stock Agent (DSA)

In the list of prisoners at the front of the book it has "Catherine Mortimer, sister of Isobel Curnow, who lived at Glenrowan." It should be Catherine Curnow, sister of Thomas Curnow."  Catherine was visiting Glenrowan from Ballarat.

The list of workers bailed up at the quarrymen's tents has mistakenly added John Delaney's name. There is also a name on it that I am not familiar with, "John Maitland."

Book has John Nicolson in a place that should be Charles Nicolson in reference to him resuming his position in the hunt for the Kellys.

Book has the Felon's Apprehension Act being called The Outlaw Act, it should be The Outlawry Act.

The book has both McIntyre and Lonigan sitting on the log when the camp was bailed up, only Lonigan was, McIntyre was by the fire stirring the pot.

The book has McIntyre "discarding" his boots while on the run from Stringybark Creek. He actually arrived at McColl's farmhouse with one boot on and one under his arm, so they were not fully discarded.

The book has Standish moving headquarters from Melbourne to Wangaratta. It was moved to Benalla. Remember how he was always staying at Craven's Commercial Hotel?

The book has the Euroa bank raid taking place on December 12, 1878 when it was December 10, 1878.

The book has Ned Kelly dictating the Jerilderie Letter to Joe Byrne in one session at Faithful's Creek Station at the time of Euroa. Not so, Joe Byrne merely made copies of the Cameron Letter at that time and place.

The book says that Aaron and his bride moved into a two room slab hut he had built on his property. It was a two room abandoned hut that he merely took over and had to pay off the real owner (with money borrowed from one of the policemen staying in the hut with them) when he returned!

The book suggests that gossip around the Woolshed was that Detective Michael Ward was the father of Mrs Aaron Sherritt's unborn child! I had read about him interfering with young schoolgirls in the area, but not Ellen Barry Sherritt by name.

The book says that there were half a dozen canvas tents near the Inn in Glenrowan. There were only four of them. (Maybe the "half a dozen" idea came from an illustration of Glenrowan showing the tents on which the number 6 is overlaid? The 6 is a key which indicates what it is on the page and captioned at the bottom, and is not the number of tents.)

The book has Bracken as previously having been a guard at Beechworth Prison. Actually, he was a guard at the Lunatic Asylum in Beechworth.

The book has Superintendent Hare sending an invitation to Charles Rawlins to join the contingent on the police train. Not true. Rawlins himself testified for the Reward Board saying that:

"On Sunday afternoon I was in Benalla, and I heard about the murder of Sherritt, and I went down to the station, and, hearing a train was going away, I spoke to the station master, and he told me that the train had left Melbourne at half-past ten o'clock that evening. This was about eleven o'clock that I was there. He said a train would be at Benalla about half-past two o'clock. I went on to the station when it reached Benalla, and met Mr. Hare, and I told him that the station master said that providing Mr. Hare would allow me to go on the train he would have no objection. I have a free pass on all the Victorian Railways."

Book has the Glenrowan postmaster Hillmorton Reynolds seeing Ann Jones and Ned Kelly talking in the breeze-way at the Inn when Ann said "look out, Ned, he is going to escape!" It was not Hillmorton Reynolds, as he was left at  home during the siege, it was his brother Edward Reynolds.

Book has Martin Cherry and Dave Mortimer carrying the wounded Johnny Jones to the kitchen at the Inn. Ann and Jane were the ones who did it according to their testimony.

Joe's final toast before his death is worded differently in the book than it is in Ian Jones's A Short Life.

The book has Dan and Steve lifting and moving Joe Byrne's body and taking it down to one of the bedrooms at the Inn. Rev Gibney and others testified to finding the body in the barroom where he fell. They may have had to lift him off of a couple of prisoners that he fell across, but they did not take him down the passageway into a bedroom.

The book has where when Ned said his feet were cold that a tin of warm water was brought in for him to soak his feet in. Actually, in testimony, it was said that a kerosene tin of water was heated and placed against his feet.

The lights proposed to be brought to Glenrowan were not designed by the Gov Astronomer. They were designed by Lt Thomas Draper. See my blog post called Part 1: Calling for a Cannon and Asking for a Light for more info:

In the book it says that Dan and Steve committed suicide by taking laudanum. It was said that the previously sought for lost packet was found and that is what it contained. While this may be what happened, there is no actual proof.

Book has 3 policemen  dragging Joe's body from the Inn. It was actually two, Armstrong and Dwyer.

Book has the cannon and artillerymen actually arriving in Glenrowan. Not so, they were turned back at Seymour as the siege was over by the time they reached that station. See Part 2 of Calling for a Cannon and Asking for a Light:

Book has Aaron's inquest on the same day as Joe Byrne's. Not so, the papers said that Aaron's inquest was on Monday June 28, not Tuesday, the 30th like Joe's was.

The Book has Ned Kelly leaving Melbourne under guard on a train bound for Beechworth on Monday August 9, 1880 for a preliminary hearing. The actual date that Ned left Melbourne was on Sunday August 1, 1880.

Book says Owen Jones (Ann Jones's husband) died in the late 1880s. Owen Jones died in 1890.

Book has Michael Reardon getting a government pension of a pound per year. It was actually a pound per week...52 pounds per year!

Book has Hare's memoirs as coming out in 1891. It was published in 1892.

Book has Kate's baby Catherine being born in 1889. Baby Catherine was born in 1898.

Ok, there you have it. If anyone would like to chime in about any of this, please feel free to do so.

Friday, May 18, 2012

20th Anniversary Edition of The Shenandoah Affair Now Available

Regular readers of this blog may recall that I had done a review of the
based-on-fact historical novel "The Shenandoah Affair" by Paul Williams
back in March of 2011 which can be read at
A few months after that posting I was contacted by the novel's author
himself who thanked me for the rave review. A little later on I did a
review of another of Paul's books "Matthew Brady & Ned Kelly: Kindred
Spirits, Kindred Lives
" and I did an e-mail interview with him regarding
the book which can be found at
 Paul and I became regular correspondents and fast friends in the
ensuing months. Paul expressed a desire to re-release "The Shenandoah
" this year (2012) as it marked the 20th anniversary of it first
being published. To that end Paul has rewritten and enhanced the book and has added extensive author's notes.  These notes runs to well over 12,000 words. It is like getting two books for the price of one.

 I was able to help by doing what I do best -
research in old newspapers, archives and books - which augmented Paul's already extensive study. I also helped with proof-reading and being an all round sounding-board. The novel, that was an excellent read before, is even better now
with a new and more factual ending (in the original he had the
Shenandoah blowing up for literary effect. In this new edition that
event does not happen and the course is set for the real events to
unfold). At the end of the novel, the author's notes, entitled "The True Story of the Cruise of the CSS Shenandoah" tells of the trip Paul took to the United States from his native Australia in the early 90s in a quest for more information for his novel. What he found out, though it confirmed some of his earlier deductions, was quite astonishing to him and eventually more pieces of the puzzle began to fall into place. When he began research for the 20th anniversary edition of the book he uncovered what caused Captain James Iredell Waddell of the C.S.S. Shenandoah to circumnavigate the globe and head for Liverpool (despite a mutinous crew who were horrified at the prospect of attack by a Federal cruiser) after hearing of the end of the Civil War, rather than go to the nearest safe port. All of that is given in full detail.

For those who have read the book,
you need to read it again and for those who have not read it,  I highly recommend that you get a copy. The Author's Notes are worth the price of admission
alone. (One advisory, the book has some rather erotic passages so it's
not recommended for children nor for those who wish to avoid that type
of romantic writing.)

The Shenandoah Affair by Paul Williams is available through

(Note: Please but sure to get the 2012 edition to get the added author's notes, as some re-sellers on the net are offering the original book from 1992.)

Now, here are a few thoughts from Paul Williams:

When commencing research on the Shenandoah back in 1990 for a first novel, having only written screenplays before, I had no idea what an amazing journey I was embarking on, a journey that would rewrite the story of the Shenandoah. When I first read of the angry Mrs Nichols leaving the ship saying "I wish that steamer may be burned" it was my intention to have her involved in a gunpowder plot to destroy the vessel. [Mrs. Nichols was a real-life Yankee "prisoner of war" after her and her husband's ship was captured and burned] But what a different picture emerged when I started sifting through the documents! Firstly a true love story unknown to history, and then 20 years later, when researching for a new edition with your invaluable help, the true reasons for the Shenandoah being the only Confederate ship to circumnavigate the globe. And it all went back to the beguiling Lillias Nichols. As I said, an amazing journey.