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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

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

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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

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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

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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

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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: