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


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: