Saturday, 20 August 2016

Unpalatable Truths


In May on the Facebook Page that I have created called Ned Kelly : The True Story I wrote that unpalatable truths about Ned Kelly never get a mention on Kelly Facebook pages like Ned Kelly Center and Ned Kelly Central. The anonymous administrator of Ned Kelly Central  (NKC) challenged me on that, saying that unpalatable truths ARE discussed on his FB page and I was welcome to share them there. 

This is part of the reply I made in response:

I am quite certain if I posted ‘unpalatable truths’ there if I wasn’t just ignored I would receive a mostly hostile reception, I would have to defend myself against negative and sarcastic commentary and  (there would be) no actual constructive debate. I appreciate your willingness to at least allow such debates to be started but I have no confidence that they would achieve anything other than make me an even more reviled person in the Kelly world, and annoy people who don’t really want to hear anything but saccharine about Ned Kelly.  

Since then I have posted brief comments on NKC about my Blog Posts so that people who are interested  can go there to read and participate.  But not wanting to be accused of somehow abusing NKC I didnt make it easy to find the Blog by providing a link - I left it for people to search and find it themselves. However even these minimalist Posts routinely provoked outraged reactions from Kelly thought Police who want to wipe me off the face of the Planet. I was accused of trying to Hijack the Page!

Last week, to advise NKC readers of my latest Blog topic I posted this to NKC :


'The title of the latest post on my Blog is “Bill is right about Stringy Bark Creek” but Ive also called it ‘The idiots Guide to SBC’ . Bills clever work in identifying the Two Huts site should be acknowledged and listed by Heritage Victoria as the true site of the Police Murders in the Wombat Ranges.'



NKC decided to elevate this brief notice of mine from its near invisible place on the sidebar to a main posting at the top of the Page, and they posted this heading :

'NED KELLY : DEATH OF A LEGEND' BLOG DEFENDS THEORY ON STRINGY BARK CREEK LOCATION...


What followed was exactly what I had predicted would happen in May if such an ‘unpalatable truth’  became a topic for discussion on NKC : "a mostly hostile reception, I would have to defend myself against negative and sarcastic commentary and  (there would be) no actual constructive debate....( I would become) an even more reviled person in the Kelly world, and annoy people who don’t really want to hear anything but saccharine about Ned Kelly."  

Not one person attempted to discuss the ‘theory’ of the location of the murder site; (saying “its wrong” is not a discussion! ) Instead I was relentlessly vilified and attacked, three different people called me  a liar, the old phurphy of my identity was dragged out by several people, I was called a divisive troll, a racist, biased, ridiculous, a bully, I was  accused of belittling people, and of abuse, I was said to ‘know nothing'. "Is there anyone Dee hasn't insulted, abused, belittled or told lies about?” wrote the notorious ignorant bully who has repeatedly and proudly claimed to be the person who sabotaged my earlier sites and who, when he realised he couldnt work it out failed to supply his promised Part Two about Lonigans murder.

Quite a few people announced they never read my Blog and then supplied their opinion of it and me - all negative.

Yet, despite all this abusive provocation, I think the most controversial response I made was this :
"Isn’t it time Kelly enthusiasts stopped ruining their credibility with unsupportable claims and became a whole lot more rigorous when it comes to making claims about the historical truths of the Kelly story?

It was an absolute debacle of a ‘debate' that the NKC administrator tried to control by initially deleting a few threads of abuse and hysterical attacks directed at me and issuing a stern warning. However the abuse continued and later when he deleted someones vile accusations against me while guessing I must be a Cop, that person spat the dummy and threatened to take his bat and ball and go home and never return. At that point the NKC administrator deleted the entire thread, which of course delighted the Kelly fanatics because once again they had succeeded in censoring discussion on something they don’t want people to think about.

As soon as the thread was deleted, there was a flood of Likes” as the line-up of usual suspects ticked off their approval at the successful sabotage of a valid topic and the bullying of the administrator. I commended him for at least trying.

The irony of course is that they may think they won a battle, but they are losing the war. What they do in behaving in this way is play perfectly into my ongoing tactic aimed at exposure of kelly fanatics as mostly ignorant bullies and thugs. Here was a perfect opportunity for them to answer the claims Bill makes about the Two Huts site, to put up their reasoned case, their evidence and their justification for saying he is wrong but instead they went for my throat. In the same way, on this Blog any of them who wants to can present their case for the site they prefer, and say why it makes more sense than Bills but nobody does. But no, instead of trying to advance their cause or defend their beliefs they stay away and excuse themselves with stupid hypocritical statements about not wanting to have anything to do with someone who is anonymous. The fact that the NKC admin is anonymous has never worried them : its MY identity they’re obsessed with, and is why later, on a different thread one of them made a darkly threatening comment about a few people wanting to have ‘an up close chat’ with me : the implication of that disgraceful threat was clear, and I believe it : there are people who given a chance would assault me for daring to challenge their kelly mythology. That wasn’t the first time such threats have been made.

The other irony is that they think that I write this Blog for them to read, that I am trying to change their minds and convert them to kelly scepticism, and that when they boast to each other that they don’t read my Blog I am disappointed - not at all! Ive learned long ago they are not interested in historical truth about Kelly history, or in rational discussion about it, or in a fair debate about the controversies, as this weeks Dee hate-fest on NKC has shown once again. I write this Blog for the two hundred or so visitors who check it every day from all over Australia in their pursuit of knowledge about the Kelly story. I write this Blog to inform the curious about Kelly mythology and about historical truths and, as I say at the top of the Blog, to expose the vicious campaign waged by modern kelly fanatics against anyone who dares to oppose them. Visitors will read and I am certain be persuaded of the truth about the Two Huts site, and of the way Lonigan died, and of the numerous other lies and myths that are spun about Ned Kelly and debunked at The Death of the Legend Blog, and they will go away better informed. They will also go away with an appreciation, and I would expect an abhorrence of the character and tactics of Kelly fanatics, which have once again been put on magnificent display on NKC. They don’t seem to realise what a huge favour NKC did them when the whole thread was removed! 

They seem to have forgotten the advice given them by one of their own earlier in the year :"Your intentions as a contributor or shall we say going in to bat for Ned will be in vain. Continue to do so will prove more disastrous than what we are currently experiencing."

Saturday, 13 August 2016

Bill is right about Stringy Bark Creek



INTRODUCTION:
For the entire time that I have been producing this Blog, I have been trying to decide if the contentious subject of Bill Denhelds research, trying to identify the exact site at which the Stringy Bark Creek Murders took place, is something that should also be discussed here. I’ve hesitated for a number of reasons not the least of which is because on the Forum of mine that was sabotaged by Kelly bullies, SBC was the subject that provoked the most interest but also the most anger and vitriol, and possibly was in large part why that Forum of mine was destroyed. I’ve also noted there have been long bitter discussions on several other Forums on the topic over several years which seem to have ended in tears but no agreement or resolution about the site, making me doubt that any further discussion would end any differently. In any case for those that are interested, Bill has a comprehensive site of his own (HERE) which provides exhaustive detail and makes a very compelling argument that the place where Lonigan and Scanlon were murdered is the place he’s identified at Stringy Bark Creek.  How could I possibly hope to add to it? Lastly, this subject is not really about the Mythology of the Kelly Legend but is closer to pure historical research, a dispute not about what happened and why but about exactly where, a kind of niche within Kelly history where ‘place’ is mostly well known.  It’s not a dispute between ‘pro’ and ‘anti’ Ned people, but a dispute between amateur researchers.

In the end I decided I would write about SBC because anyone exploring the Kelly Legend will inevitably come across it and I expect might hope to find something about it on this Blog as well. Its about time the controversy surrounding it was settled, and that’s what discussion here will help to do. I also didn’t want to allow the Bullies who silenced the discussion last time to have the last word on the subject. This time I will moderate with much more attention to personal abuse, to relevance and to fairness.

I am not going to present two sides of this story because having participated in a  long discussion between both sides of this subject a few years ago on the Forum of mine that was sabotaged, and having read all of Bills site, I have no doubt that he is right in his belief that he has identified the true  site.  Instead I am going to present my understanding of what Bill has proved, but in a way that I hope will be easy to understand. One of the problems with Bills site is that there is so much detail and the arguments are at times so intricate that an ordinary person is likely to find his eyes glazing over as he tries to wade through it all. I am going to provide the Idiots Guide to SBC. (with apologies to Bill!) 



Stringy Bark Creek : the last debate:


According to the Tourist brochures that direct everyone to it, the famous Kelly Tree in the Wombat Ranges not far from Mansfield is the place where the Kelly Gang ambushed the Police search party and killed two of them. On this point though I think all sides are in agreement: its not!  Historical records show that the Kelly tree was a more or less randomly selected tree in the general vicinity of the ambush site, at a place that could conveniently be visited by tourists. Ian Jones drew this to everyone’s attention in 1993 when he announced that he and his son had identified what they believed was the true site after  lengthy research and… field work’. Jones said he had ‘absolutely no doubt’ that the true site of the ambush was ‘several hundred meters south of the accepted location (which is marked by the Kelly Tree) and on the opposite, eastern bank of the Creek’  (Footnotes to Chapter 9, A Short Life by Ian Jones)

Despite the fact that Jones said it was “unarguable that the battleground was on the eastern bank’  (The Age: Oct 19 1995) I think everyone now agrees that this second site, the Jones site is also NOT the right place. (by ‘everyone’ I mean all the people who have a particular interest in this subject and who participate in these discussions) The reason is provided by McIntyre, the sole Police survivor of the ambush who says this in his “True Narrative of the Kelly Gang” :

“Sergt Kennedy has selected a clear place near an old burnt hut as the most suitable for our camping ground as it was out of danger of any timber which might fall from the forest trees. Our tent was pitched near the north west corner of this clearing, which was partly natural and partly caused by human agency. The entrance to the tent was facing east and also the creek which was about 70 yards distant.”

If the tent was facing east, and facing the creek, then the tent and the site of the ambush can only have been on the western side of the creek. Period.

But where exactly?


McIntyre wrote a detailed account of the attack, some of which I have already quoted, and he also provided a couple of diagrams of the site, one drawn with much greater care and a lot more detail and many years after the first one.


McIntyres first sketch of the scene of the ambush. 
He has inaccurately drawn the ends of the logs crossing over each other

Remarkably, there are also two amazing photos of the exact site, taken within a week of the murders, the so-called Burman photographs. Burman was a commercial photographer who cashed in on the massive public interest in the Kelly story by selling photos of the scene at  Stringybark Creek, and other sites  as “Cartes de Visite”. His informant and guide at the ambush site was Edward Monk who in turn received his information directly from McIntyre when they both returned to SBC with the Police search party to SBC to search for the dead policemen the day after the ambush.


The ambush of Kennedy re-enacted, showing on the left, “McIntyre" seated on the log, “Kelly” crouched down hiding beside him,
both looking towards the north at the returning Kennedy, and one of the posts of the burned hut on the right. 

Burman placed people into the clearing to recreate the ambush scene for his photos, but without McIntyre or his diagrams to help, his recreation was not entirely accurate. Burman has McIntyre seated at one end of a log with Kelly kneeling right next to him, but behind the log; McIntyres drawing shows they were at opposite ends of a log and the ‘north-south’ log was between them.(M3 and EK2 on McIntyres diagram shown below) Thus, McIntyres diagram identifies mistakes in Burmans re-enctment of the scene when Kennedy returned.

So, having excluded two places that were NOT the site of the ambush, could all these separate pieces of information be drawn together to find the place that WAS the ambush site?

Obviously 140 or more years after the Burman photos were taken, things at the site will have changed in many ways. There would be no point looking for the fallen logs for example. However, McIntyre said that the tent was 70 yards away from the creek and the creek wouldn’t have changed much.  He also said the site was near  ‘an old burnt hut’, and that would certainly be something that might have left discoverable traces of itself.

What else did McIntyre claim?

Following on from the quote cited above he writes: “Standing at the tent entrance and facing the creek there was upon the left front a felled tree nearly 4ft in diameter at the thickest part. It lay nearly east and west. About midway this log was joined by another which lay due north and south and terminated where it joined the other. These two logs thus formed two right angles the point of junction being  25 yards from the tent. On your right or the south side of the clearing the ground was free of timber and being of a swampy nature there was a luxuriant growth of rushes and other coarse herbage. These together with a slight declivity in the formation in that direction afforded good cover to within 20 yards of our tent for any party wishing to attack our camp and it was from this position we were attacked, the south side or up the creek.”


McIntyre drew a diagram to illustrate these points (above) but its important to notice that he did it somewhat inaccurately: McIntyre wrote that the north–south log joined the east-west one ‘midway’, and formed ‘two right angles’.  From this description you would expect his diagram would show the logs arranged as a kind of  “T” but what he drew was more like a “7”. He has drawn the north-south log meeting the east-west log at one end of it, not midway, and so his diagram shows only one ‘right angle’. When you look at the Burman photos of the scene you realize there are actually three big logs in the photo – two seem to be more or less in a line end to end, and lying roughly east to west, and the third lies behind them at an angle to these two, lying roughly north to south. The ‘north’ end of this log appears to be near where the other two meet – ‘midway’ along, and creating the two ‘right angles’ that McIntyre remembered.

The photos also show two prominent blackened posts, which must have been some of the ruins of the burnt hut McIntyre mentioned, though he didn’t include them in his map either. Behind the man with his raised arm, who represents the returning Kennedy, there is a clearly seen wooded slope.  This is a distinctive feature of the site, and a key to locating it, as will be seen later.


So somewhat curiously, the diagram that revealed the inaccuracies in Burmans photos – in relation to where he placed the actors – is itself corrected by detail revealed in the photos – the true number and position of the logs in the clearing!.

It is clear from this that the two logs McIntyre included in his drawing are the ‘third’ log (the north-south one) and the log at the right of the photo, running roughly east-west. At M3 He indicated where he sat on this log as ‘ordered by Ea Kelly’ and at EK3 Kellys ‘place of concealment awaiting  men on patrol’ on the other side of the north-south log, near where the fire was. His diagrams didn’t include the log nearest the camera.


The other critical information we can obtain from the Burman photos is the direction in which Burmans Camera was pointing.  This task is made easy by the fact that Burman sat someone pretending to be McIntyre at the end of the log nearest the camera, and someone pretending to be Ned Kelly crouched down just behind him, both looking in the direction from where Kennedy and Scanlon returned, which was from the north. There is no logical explanation for the positioning and the posture of the people Burman placed in those photos, on and  concealed behind  logs, other than that they were looking northwards in anticipation of Kennedy and Scanlans return.  He should have had ‘McIntyre’ seated  at the end of the log on the right of the photo, near where these two logs are approached by the ‘north-south’ log, which is where McIntyre showed he was in his map. The log Burman had them seated on wasn’t shown in McIntyres maps. However that makes little difference to the clues they give about the direction the pictures were taken from - the camera, looking back towards them was facing in a south or south-westerly direction.  The creek would have been behind and to the photographers left. 

On his website Bill verifies the correctness of  this interpretation of the photographs with a very detailed analysis of where shadows fall in the photos. By calculating the angle of the sun at that time of year and time of day Bill  confirms that the photos could only have been taken with the camera looking in a more or less southerly direction. He also cleverly recreates the scene with scale model logs and the stumps and posts seen in Burmans photos.

After all this careful analysis of Burmans Photos, McIntyres recollections and his diagrams, Bill and a group of like-minded amateur historians searched for a site on the western side of the creek, with a declivity to the south, ( a ‘declivity’ is a downward slope) a steeper rising slope behind and hopefully, evidence of a ruined hut.  A number of sites were considered but at only one could a photo have been taken looking south that matched the Burman photos. At this site they also found evidence of not one but two ruined huts in the form of piles of stones that had once formed fireplaces, whereas no convincing evidence of huts was found at the others. The historical record reports there were indeed two huts at the ambush site! At Bills website he illustrates how he used a Laser and an ingenious device he calls the viewer-scope to show that the location they identified as the true site fits Burmans photos brilliantly, whereas at the others , the fit is non-existent.

Frankly I am mystified as to why the rest of the group Bill was a part of were unable to accept the site now known as the ‘two huts’ site as being the place where the Kelly gang ambushed the Police patrol. Identifying it relies firstly on recognition of errors in McIntyres diagram that are revealed by the Burman photos, and recognition of errors in Burmans re-enactment revealed by Mcntyres diagram. This in turn enables accurate orientation of the Burman photos, and identification of the orientation and spatial relations of the slope, the creek, the declivity and the ruined huts. The subsequent on-the-ground identification and close inspection of potential sites confirmed the two huts site as the only possible place.

What needs to happen now is a thorough professional archaological documentation of the Two Huts site, its official recognition and preservation as the actual ambush site, and an acknowledgement of the work of all the people who contributed to its recognition, the foremost of whom is Bill Denheld. 

He has been and remains a persistent dogged and imaginative advocate for historical truth as well as for the Legend of Ned Kelly.

Thursday, 4 August 2016

The truth about the Royal Commission



One thing about the Kelly era  that is still the same today is that the Press like to write sensationalist stories in order to sell newspapers. Thus, when the Kelly Gang had murdered three Policemen at SBC the Press became increasingly critical of Police performance and expressed and encouraged a rising sense of outrage in the community when the Gang was not immediately apprehended. With the robberies at Euroa and then Jerilderie the outrage increased even further, so that by the time the Gang had been destroyed and Kelly captured,  but with further loss of life at Glenrowan, the call for a Royal Commission of enquiry into the Police became too loud for the Government of the day to resist any longer, and a Royal Commission was established within a few months of Ned Kellys execution. (Click HERE to read all of the Reports of the Commission at Bills site : Thanks Bill!)

They say these days, somewhat cynically that  Politicians don’t launch Royal Commissions unless they know what the outcome is going to be, and for the Politician the outcome they seek is always some sort of advancement of their own political agenda, whether it be to undermine their Political opponents position, or  strengthen their own. The truth about the motivation behind the establishment of an RC might be better understood by looking at who the Government appoints as Members of the Commission or by its outcomes and at which of its recommendations the Government acts on.  Obvious contemporary examples of the politically motivated RC are the Governments RC into the Union movement, and the absence of the one into the Banking system proposed by the Opposition. There are also examples of RC’s that are less obviously inspired by purely political motive, but the politics becomes apparent afterwards, when the  Government of the day has to respond to the recommendations of the Commission.

So when it comes to the Royal Commission into the Kelly Outbreak we shouldn’t be so na├»ve as to imagine it wasn’t launched without a Political endpoint in mind, or that its enquiry was wholly objective and free of personal and political agendas.

Justin Corfield says in his Encyclopedia that Graham Berry, the Premier who established the RC was anxious to have the ‘Kelly business’ over by the time of the next state election. Thus at the very least, this RC was a clever way for the Government to delay having to respond to a difficult issue until a much later time, when they hoped the publics disquiet had settled and its attention had moved on to something else.

There was also an obvious anti-Police bias to the Commission: according to Ian Jones, the Chairman of the Commission Francis Longmore was “an enemy of Standish and the police since the days of Harry Power’. George Wilson Hall, another of the Commissioners was also known to be hostile to the Police in general and to Standish in particular; he was the publisher in 1878 of an anti-police booklet, a satirical parallel of the Kelly story called ‘The Book of Keli’ in which the Police were led by ‘Dishstand’ an obvious reference to Standish who was then mocked and ridiculed along with others whose names also were thinly disguised variations of the names of real people. Such partisan figures  as Hall and  Longmore would never be appointed to a modern Commission. These days we recognize that the appointment of people with known bias to a Commission weakens the authority of its findings, and provides an easy  excuse for them to be ignored or dismissed. In 1880 however such concerns dont seem to have been taken into consideration, but the truth remains, that having biased commissioners reduces the credibility of the Commission.

The full title of the Enquiry was
Royal Commission of Enquiry
into the circumstances of
THE KELLY OUTBREAK
THE PRESENT STATE AND ORGANISATION OF THE POLICE FORCE, ETC.

Its terms of reference were

1. To inquire into the circumstances preceding and attending the Kelly outbreak.
2. As to the efficiency of the police to deal with such possible occurrences.
3. To inquire into the action of the police authorities during the period the Kelly gang were at large.
4. The efficiency of the means employed for their capture; and
5. Generally to inquire into and report upon the present state and organization of the police force.

A total of nine members were appointed to the Commission, and they conducted hearings in Melbourne and various towns in Kelly country, asking a total of 18289 questions of 65 witnesses, starting with Standish himself when the Enquiry began on March 23rd 1881.  The witnesses were denied the option of being supported at the commission by their own legal counsel.

From all this evidence the Commission produced ‘in lieu of the usual resume of the evidence’ what they called a ‘sketch of the antecedents pursuit and destruction of the Kelly Gang of Outlaws’  This ‘sketch’ was a detailed description of the entire outbreak, based on the evidence supplied by the witnesses, and it formed the basis of the two reports that the Commission produced.

The first report, issued on 6 July 1881 made four recommendations : 
  1. - Inspector O'Connor not be appointed as an officer in the Victoria Police
  2. - the permanent employment of black trackers as an auxiliary branch of the police service
  3. - a thorough system of police patrol shall be established throughout the colony, more especially in the North-Eastern district
  4. - that immediate steps be taken to arm the mounted police of the colony with the Regulation Pattern Martini-Henry carbine


The second report was issued at the end of the Royal Commission in October 1881, and contained 17 findings, the first of which was
“ That immediately prior to the outbreak and for some time previously the administration of the police in the North-Eastern District was not satisfactory; either as regards the numbers and distribution of the Constabulary  or the manner in which they were armed and mounted; and that a grave error was committed in abolishing the police station at Glenmore, and in reducing the number of men stationed at  Stanley, Yackandandah, Tallangatta Eldorado and Beechworth”

The next 14 recommendations were about the behavior of named individuals, almost all of them members of the Police force, beginning of course with Standish, then Nicolson, Hare, Sadleir, Brooke-Smith and so on down to a cluster of Constables, and included Curnow and Wallace. The last two findings were expressions of appreciation for assistance provided  by the press at Glenrowan and by the Queensland Government who supplied the Black trackers. They commended Senior Constables Kelly and Johnson, Constable Bracken, Thomas Curnow and Mr C.H Rawlings, but everyone else was rebuked to a greater or lesser degree and recommended for demotion dismissal censure or early retirement.

In summary therefore, of 21 findings and recommendations,  only 3 could be said to be about reform for the future, but six times as many, 18,  were judgments about the past, criticisms of the behavior of players in the Outbreak, or in other words as Sadleir is reported to have said of the Chairman “he went relentlessly for scalps”. And the three positive recommendations ? - establish colony-wide police patrols, arm mounted Police with Martini Henry rifles and employ black trackers!

And that was it! I was staggered! After all those days of hearings, all those questions, all that exposure of Police ‘dirty linen’ and detail about every aspect of the Outbreak  all they managed to  produce were three feeble recommendations about Police patrols , black trackers and rifles, and deal payback  and embarrassment to some of the factions in the force. Nothing to say about Fitzpatrick, and not a single mention of the Kelly Gang. Nothing about Police misbehavior towards selectors, harassment of ex convicts, drunkenness, extra-judicial killings or Police thuggery. Nothing.

I am still shaking my head when I think how thoroughly this Commission has been misrepresented by the Kelly mythmakers, who must be either deeply ignorant of  the Commissioners findngs and recommendations or else they deliberately lie about them.  I found myself having the same stunned reaction as I did after reading the Jerilderie Letter for the first time, realizing that the pro-Kelly brigade had misrepresented it entirely. The Jeriderie letter is claimed by them to be some sort of revolutionary manifesto about the republic of North east Victoria, but it is absolutely nothing of the sort. In a similar way the Kelly mythmakers have convinced themselves and try to convince everyone else that the Reports of the Royal Commission validated their position about Ned Kellys claim to be a Police-made criminal, that the Commission censured Police for the way they treated the Kellys, that  the Commission uncovered all the corruption and unwarranted persecution of  the Kellys and the selector class generally,  and as a result Policing changed in Victoria forever. In fact the Commissions final determinations, contained in its two Reports had absolutely nothing to say about any of that. Nothing. And to claim that any good that may have resulted from the RC, any future reforms of the Victoria Police were somehow thanks to Ned Kelly and are part of Ned Kellys legacy is about as absurd as saying that the changes  Prime Minister Howard made to Australias gun laws after the Port Arthur massacre are something we should be grateful to Martin Bryant for, and are part of his legacy. Ridiculous nonsense.

What the Commission criticized in its Reports were all related to the internal workings of the Police force. The Commission blamed the Outbreak on what they felt were the failures of leadership, of initiative, of decision making, of courage, and of respect in the Force, the factionalism, the petty jealousies and favoritism within the Force, the meddling and interference that in combination enabled the Kelly Gang to remain at large for far too long. And Standish was blamed for much of it.

When it came to responding to the first of their Terms of reference, ‘To inquire into the circumstances preceding and attending the Kelly outbreak’,  the Commissions view was that it resulted from ‘the unchecked aggregation of a large class of criminals in the North East’ exacerbated by the weakening of District policing by the removal of the Glenmore Police station, reductions in the number of Police and the employment of  inexperiened and inferior constables’. They reported ‘The incident, however, which seems to have more immediately precipitated the outbreak was the attempt of Constable Fitzpatrick to arrest Dan Kelly, at his mother's hut, on the 15th of April 1878’.

Later they wrote

‘There can be little doubt that Constable Fitzpatrick's conduct, however justified by the rules of the service, was unfortunate in its results. It may also be mentioned that the charge of persecution of the family by the members of the police force has been frequently urged in extenuation of the crimes of the outlaws; but, after careful examination, your Commissioners have arrived at the conclusion that the police, in their dealings with the Kellys and their relations, were simply desirous of discharging their duty conscientiously; and that no evidence has been adduced to support the allegation that either the outlaws or their friends were subjected to persecution or unnecessary annoyance at the hands of the police.’

It has to be said that for the Kelly sympathisers the Royal Commission was an absolute disaster. The Commission found no evidence that the outbreak was caused by ‘Police persecution or unnecessary annoyance’, as  Kelly himself tried to claim and as Kelly sympathisers still fondly like to pretend. The Commission exposed the extended Kelly family as a criminal gang, and in relation to Kennedys death described Ned Kelly as ‘cruel, wanton, and inhuman, and should of itself, apart from other crimes, brand the name of his murderer, the leader of the gang, with infamy.’

So another Kelly myth bites the dust. This time it’s the one that says thanks to Ned Kelly the corrupt Police who oppressed and persecuted innocent selectors were exposed and punished at the Royal Commission. In fact after looking into it all, the RC  branded the Kellys and their associates as a criminal gang and made not one criticism of the way the Police treated the Kellys, other than that they failed to catch them soon enough.