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


Friday, March 30, 2012

New Book Alert: Encounters with the Kellys: A Plea for Freedom from Dan and Ned Kelly written by Delta Shannon

While searching on the net for information on another book on the Kellys I stumbled across this fascinating new one on offer that none of the other Kelly sites seem to have reported on yet - Encounters with the Kellys: A Plea for Freedom from Dan and Ned Kelly - by Delta Shannon, released by Balboa Press in February of 2012.

The synopsis/blurb for it from Balboa's website:

“I first met Dan Kelly in a museum gift shop …”

So begins Delta Shannon’s journey of discovery with Dan and Ned Kelly. For five years after that first meeting with Dan, her life would be consumed by the Kellys, as she channelled their spirits. Together, they now work to share this message, as well as the truth about the Siege at Glenrowan, with the public.

Dan and Ned Kelly speak here, to and through Shannon. They want people to know that their spirits are earthbound, that they are restless and angry, and that they no longer wish to be bound to this plane. Somewhat ironically, it is the iconization of their name and legacy (not to mention the merchandising of the Kelly name) that keep them from achieving peace, and they want it to stop.

The people of Australia can release Dan and Ned and allow them to go beyond the higher realms and heal their souls. In Encounters with the Kellys, Shannon lets the men share their side of the story and shares how modern-day readers can help these two trapped souls find rest.

Their message is clear: They are lost. They are in pain. They want to be free.

Go to the link below and click on "Free Preview" for the introduction to the book. It will give you goosebumps, particularly where it says that Dan Kelly's spirit was quite upset over the recent archaeological diggings in Glenrowan and that he wanted the photo of his charred remains removed from the museum gift shop!

I fully intend to get my hands on a copy of this as soon as possible!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Article Alert: Kelly Clan Gathering to Hear of Genetic Links to Australian Outlaw Ned Kelly

from Google alerts..

The Irish Times of March 26, 2012 has an article called Kelly Clan Gathering to Hear of Genetic Links to Australian Outlaw Ned Kelly.

Excerpts from the article:

The genetic links of one of Australia’s most notorious and controversial outlaws – Ned Kelly – will be the focus of the next Kelly clan gathering in Dundrum, Co Tipperary, in May.

Key speaker at the May 17th- 19th gathering will be Australian Aidan Kelly, the clan’s chief recorder on genetic genealogy, who will be presenting the latest analysis of the Kelly Y-DNA study (the genetic links of the male line).

To read more:

Article Alert: Ned's Last Stand Not a Solo Affair (newspaper review of Ian W. Shaw's new book Glenrowan)

The Australian
of March 24, 2012 had an article entitled Ned's Last Stand Not a Solo Affair by Tom Gilling in which Ian W. Shaw's upcoming book Glenrowan: The Legend of Ned Kelly and the Siege that Shaped a Nation is reviewed.

An excerpt:

Shaw does an expert job of depicting the siege not just as the
culmination of Kelly's outlaw career, but as an event that altered the
lives of dozens of ordinary people who happened to be in Glenrowan on
the day the Kelly gang rode into town. He digs deeper than other
authors into the tensions and rivalries that existed among the police
rank and file. In remote country areas law and order rested on the
actions of individual police, so Shaw's meticulous account of what
happened in the police lines as they waited nervously for the final
shootout sheds useful light on some of the broader issues surrounding
Kelly's years as an outlaw.

But it comes at a price. By concentrating, in sometimes pedantic
detail, on exactly who did what, where they stood and what weapon they
were holding, whether they were cowering in the kitchen or the
bedroom, Shaw risks diminishing the very thing that makes the Kelly
story so captivating, namely Kelly. There are times in the book when
he seems almost a peripheral character while his namesake, senior
constable John Kelly, takes centre stage

The end of the review says:

Literally, Shaw may be right to say that Glenrowan "is about Ned and
Charles and all the others who were there", but this ignores the fact
that without Ned there would have been no Glenrowan. Someone else,
more or less brave than Charles Johnston, could always have been found
to set fire to the inn after Ned had been shot down. The author who
sees no difference between Ned staggering out of the mist in his
inadequate home-made armour and Johnston skulking with his kerosene
and matches has perhaps missed the point of the story.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Article Alert: New Hare Letter Added to University of Melbourne Archives

From google alerts:

The University of Melbourne has acquired a new Superintendent Francis Hare letter regarding the capture of the Kelly Gang which will be added to their Archives.

See here for more info:

Go here for a larger image of one side of the letter:

You may recall that this is the same letter that was recently found and subsequently bound for auction.

See here for more:

Even more background on the letter can be found here:

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Part 2: Calling for a Cannon and Asking for a Light [Sharon Hollingsworth]

Before I continue on with information about the cannon that Superintendent Sadleir called for, I want to reiterate a little of what I had written in In Part 1 of Calling for a Cannon and Asking for a Light.

 I started off with the following few paragraphs...

The Siege of Glenrowan came to an end around 3 PM on June 28, 1880. Joe Byrne was laying dead inside the Glenrowan Inn and Ned Kelly had been captured early that morning, leaving Kelly Gang members Steve Hart and Dan Kelly inside with dozens of policemen surrounding the building. The police feared that the two desperate - and now leaderless - young men would somehow attempt to escape under cover of the night if the siege were to last into the evening, so Superintendent Sadleir ordered a cannon to be sent up from Melbourne to blow the house down around them. Meanwhile, the Chief Secretary in Melbourne had consulted with Robert Ellery, the Government Astronomer about getting an electric light apparatus sent to Glenrowan so that the aforementioned escape fear would not eventuate.

Seems that fate took a hand, in the person of Senior-Constable Charles Johnston, so that neither of those two devices would be needed.

Here is part of what Senior-Constable Charles Johnston said before the Royal Commission in 1881:

7159. Were you present when the proposal was made to burn the house? - I was; I made it.
7160. Had you any idea at the time that you would be burning the bodies, or did you think it would drive them out? - To drive them out.
7161. Did you expect it would injure any human beings besides them? - I did not. I was not told there was any other person in the hotel.
7162. You were not told at that time that Byrne was lying at the hotel dead? - I was not told where he was; I was told he was shot.
7163. Were you present at the consultation about burning? - I was. I went to where Mr. Sadleir and Mr. O’Connor were standing, and I said to Mr. Sadleir - I asked him what he was intending to do, and he said, “I have sent for a cannon to Melbourne, to be here about three o’clock.”
7164. The proposal was to batter the house down? - Blow the house down with cannon. I said, “Surely you will not send down for a cannon; cannot you take other means to get them out.” I said, “Why not fire it?” Mr. Sadleir said, “How would you do that?” I said, “By getting some straw and kerosene and to get at the windward of the building it could be fired, and perhaps they would come out then.

After Johnston did the deed, Father Gibney, rushed into the Inn just as the fire was starting to take hold, and found Dan and Steve to be dead already. Their bodies, along with the body of a hapless dog that had been caught in the crossfire, were later retrieved from the ashes. The cannon ordered by Sadleir to blow the Inn down was turned back on its rail journey as it was no longer needed. One wonders what would have happened if that cannon would have gotten there much sooner and been utilized or been threatened to be used. Would the mere threat of using it have caused them to surrender (that is if they were still alive at that time), thus saving Ann Jones's home and business? Or would the artillerymen have been ordered to just open fire with no warning thus destroying life, home and livelihood? (In part two of this blog post I will be going into more depth on the call for the cannon.)
There is much to ponder. Since there weren't any CSI type forensics teams (nor the science and technology) around in those days, we will never know the true time and cause of Dan Kelly's and Steve Hart's deaths. We can only surmise whether any of the ideas from a cannon to using an electric light apparatus would have worked if they had lived long enough. The Kelly saga is truly full of "what ifs."

It was at this point in part 1 that I went into further details on the electric light apparatus that was requested by the Chief Secretary. That can be found at

Now, as for the cannon...

Superintendent John Sadleir had this to say in the RC:

"There were several, I think, of the reporters of the press who urged sending for a gun - a heavy gun.
[Question was asked: "A cannon?"] - Yes; and this thing was pressed upon me by frequent repetition, by different persons frequently saying it; and I yielded to their persuasion, and telegraphed to Captain Standish, asking him if we could have a gun. That was the first mention of a gun, and I am responsible for it; it was entirely upon my own motion."

Sadleir must have had a memory lapse, as all of the reporters questioned by the RC denied mentioning a cannon to him.

Years later, in 1913, when Sadleir's book, Recollections of a Victorian Police Officer, was published, he neatly deflected all the blame:

"It was while I was considering the situation that Dr. Nicholson, of Benalla, approached me. The question of the police rushing the hotel came up and he very vehemently spoke against it, and urged that a small gun should be requisitioned from Melbourne to knock the building to pieces. To this I assented without giving the matter much thought then or during the subsequent proceedings. Hare, while lying wounded in Benalla, and without any communication with me, appears to have anticipated me in the matter, by sending a telegram to the same effect. The proposal was quite justified under the circumstances."

Here is Dr. John Nicholson's affidavit about the situation written soon after the siege:

"Mr. Sadleir asked me whether I thought he was justified in making a rush upon the house; I said that to do so against men in armour, such as we saw, was certain to result in several men being severely, if not mortally wounded; and, as the day was young, it would be best to wait some time before attempting anything,  as there was no possibility of their escape. I then said it is a pity we have not got a small gun with us, as their armour would be no protection to them, and the chimney would be knocked about their ears. Mr. Sadleir said that Captain Standish was starting from Melbourne, and would be up a little after mid-day, and he would immediately telegraph to him and mention the matter, but as no time could be lost, he would send a telegram at once. The telegram was sent about five minutes after the gun was first mentioned; possibly, if there was time for mature deliberation, it would not have been sent at all." 

So he could assess what size field gun to bring, Colonel Anderson of the Garrison Artillery sent a telegram asking for more specifics of the building. Sadleir sent the following:

"Weatherboard, brick chimney, slab kitchen. the difficulty we feel is that our shots have no effect on the corner, and there are so many windows that we should be under fire all day. We must get the gun before night or rush the place."

Colonel Anderson then selected a twelve-pounder Armstrong field gun, which was then dragged to the station by artillerymen and placed on a special train at Spencer-street station.
(For a photo and description of the Armstrong 12 pounder field gun go to the Australian War Memorial website -
At 2:20 PM the train, along with a detachment from the Garrison Artillery, headed towards Glenrowan at 40 miles per hour. The mileage was pre-arranged so that they could reach their destination before dark. (As an aside, during one of those night exhibition football games played under the electric light apparatuses discussed in part 1 of this posting, some of the East Melbourne Artillerymen were pitted against men from the Collingwood Rifles in a tug-of-war during the break in the game. It was said that the Artillerymen easily won as they were "used to drawing heavy guns about.")

The newspapers stated that: "Seymour was reached in due average time, but before the soldiers had time to step upon the platform came the not altogether unexpected though disappointing news that the gun was no longer required, as the whole of the outlaws had been taken. The train proceeded no further, and the gun, officers and men returned by the first passenger goods train to Melbourne."

Interesting that they went up via special train and had to get back on the goods train! I suppose time was no longer of the essence and the cost would not have been justified (to use a seemingly favorite word of Sadleir's).

Before the Inn was fired, newspaperman and artist Thomas Carrington heard rumors about the cannon and approached Sadleir who confirmed to him that a cannon was on the way, but to keep it to himself until it arrived.

Later on in the RC Carrington said:

"I heard a rumor of a cannon being sent for, but I thought it was a joke; that someone was amusing himself. The idea of a cannon to blow two lads out of a house seemed to me something very remarkable - a house surrounded by something like fifty men armed with Martini-Henry rifles."

And then, when asked by the Royal Commissioners:  "From what you have seen, did you approve of that action of burning the hotel?" He replied  "Certainly not - most ridiculous. I never heard of such a thing in my life. Of course I do not know much about military tactics, but it seemed to be almost as mad as sending for a cannon. If the police had joined hands round the hotel the outlaws could not have got away, they could have sat down on the ground and starved them out."

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Very Strange Phenomenon

There is a very strange phenomenon in the Kelly world that I finally have had enough of through the years. (there are others I may bring up sooner or later but this one cries out for airing now) Just because one person (be it myself or some other individual) has found some information in old newspapers or in archives and used in a book or article or blog or forum posting it does not mean that they OWN that information and that no other person who takes the time to search the newspapers/archives for themselves and put facts together independently does not have the right to use it....OR that they MUST cite that first person who ever published it as a "source" when that source was not even seen until one's research and writing were done! When I write, the sources used to glean the information are cited as they should be.  Even if I quote from a  book I give the source when I have not found the same information independently in papers/archives beforehand. For instance, when I did a certain blog post, I found all that information on my own using Trove and other internet databases. Everyone who knows me knows that I love to research, I am compelled to get to the original source information and not just take others words for it.  Only after I had finished the research and written the blog did I ask someone to scan in the pertinent pages from a book that had information on this subject so I could compare what I had so that I could check that I was not stepping on any toes. Seems that I had actually more and better information (and as concerns one certain thing, more correct info) on that aspect of the story I was covering than they had!  If anyone thinks that Sharon Hollingsworth ever takes the easy way out they can get the heck out! I sometimes take hours, days or weeks researching just one small aspect of the saga...but even after all that I don't own it! The information is there for all to find. It is a blessing to have those resources so close to hand now! Trove and the PROV are like giant cookie jars (for Aussies it would be a biscuit jar) filled with chocolate chip cookies!
  It shouldn't be a crime that some of us are better at researching and putting it all together in a lively readable form than others are capable of doing! If so, then put the darbies (handcuffs for those non-Australians) on me now!

Waffle (with butter and syrup) over!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Article Alert: Childhood Sweetheart Ned's Secret Love

From google alerts...

In the Brisbane Times of March 3, 2012 there is an article entitled "Childhood sweetheart Ned's secret love."

It begins with:

The wealthy grandmother who died in Balmain hospital in 1926 seemed much like any other.

Ettie Williams, age 65, had come from Victoria to look after the surviving children of her daughter, who had died in childbirth four years earlier.

But before she died, Ettie told her grandchildren stories about her youth. Back then, she said, she'd been the childhood sweetheart of Ned Kelly, Australia's most notorious bushranger.

To read more: