The Blog passed 200,000 views on Friday!
It took two years to attract the first 100,000 views, but only ten months to get the second 100,000 a very pleasing growth in readership. Since May last year while we endured the Kelly Vaults long drawn out promotion of the Unforgotten Photo, and the Ned Kelly Weekend was cancelled for ever, I was banned from two Facebook sites but it was Ned Kelly Forum that blew up and also disappeared for ever. The True Story Facebook page has taken off, the Ned Kelly Central Facebook site has abandoned its attempt to be open minded and fair to all and instead sided with the Kelly fanciers, but the Death of the Legend Blog continued to grow, going from strength to strength. In the last 10 months, among many other things we’ve decoded Lonigans murder, exposed the CSI@SBC Report as pseudoscience, proposed a new view of Red, run a Limerick competition, promoted Kelvyn Gills massive “Definitive record” had Stuart Dawson clear up Neds final words, identified and analysed the greatest of all the Kelly myths, reviewed the latest Kelly book and helped bring the Two Huts site to the attention of the powers that be! And there is still much more to come this year!
I wrote a celebratory look back at those first two years in May last year, when we had reached 100,000 views and today, because it was such a good one, I am simply going to repost it:
Friday, 20 May 2016
Its now exactly two years since this Blog started. Given that my two earlier attempts to provide an alternative to Kelly worship on the Internet had been sabotaged, I wasn’t sure how long this one would last, but here we are , two years later still going strong as the other places have mostly crumbled into irrelevancy. I cant claim all the credit for their demise but I am sure 'Death of the Legend Blog’ has contributed - its the only place in the world where challenging serious in-depth discussions about the Kelly story are taking place. The only two places still viable are Facebook pages. The Vault FB page and NK Central FB page are surviving because they have realised Kelly mythology is on the way out and they have adapted, and begun to tolerate, if not promote suggestions that there might be another side to the kelly story. IO and the NKF haven’t adapted, and remain fixed in their belief that Kelly was a hero, the Police were to blame for everything that happened, and so like dinosaurs trapped in a swamp of their own making have died and are now virtually extinct. Their mythology is now becoming a historical curiosity.
Over the last two years I have learned two things about the Kelly world that particularly amazed me : the first was how little effort was needed to see through the Kelly myths, and the second was how unwilling Kelly sympathisers are to defend the essentials of their beliefs about Ned Kelly – apart from Fitzy of course, who at least made an attempt. However even he gave up almost a year ago, after antagonizing everyone else in the Kelly world with his embarrassing failures.
The problem for Kelly sympathizers is that its inherently very difficult for them to defend something that’s easy to expose as a myth. Take Ned Kelly’s claim to have fired once and killed Lonigan: its easy to show that’s a lie because of the 4 bullet wounds in Lonigans body. To argue the opposite is much more difficult - that is why in less than a month we will have been waiting an entire year for Fitzy to make good on his claim to have worked out the way in which Ned Kellys single shot left Lonigan dead with four bullet wounds. Its just too difficult. He can’t do it.
Its easy to show that Ned Kelly was NOT Australias Robin Hood, because for one thing, as well as robbing from the rich - who inevitably had more things to steal - he robbed from the poor when they had something he wanted. For another, the only people who received money from him were people who were prepared to support and protect him, and they were mostly family and the closest friends. Their poverty was beside the point but in typically misleading fashion the Kelly myth pretends it was everything. How hard can it be for Kelly sympathisers to defend the idea that Ned was Australia’s Robin Hood when Ian Jones posted a photo of Joe Byrne’s mother in a ‘fashionable dress undoubtedly bought with proceeds of the Euroa or Jerilderie robberies’? When the only records of who was paying off debts and buying new clothes and saddlery after the Bank raids were Kelly family? Not a good look for the Robin Hood of Australia.
Its easy to show by looking carefully at each of the items on the charge sheets of Ned Kelly, of Dan Kelly and Jim Kelly, that police harassment and persecution was insignificant, and that the Kellys were NOT ‘police-made criminals’ as they claim. Its hard for the Kelly sympathisers to defend the idea that Kelly became what he did as a result of Police persecution when the police instruction that they claim proves their case wasn’t issued until 1877, and when you read it carefully it actually advocated leaving the Kellys alone. Its hard for the Kelly sympathisers to claim the Kellys were persecuted unfairly when you discover how often charges against them were dropped, how often they received the benefit of often considerable doubt, how often sentences were remitted, and how always, due process was followed to the letter of the law. Its hard for them to claim their arrests were Police harassment of them because they were Kellys, when Jim was arrested in NSW when he was living under an assumed name, Jim Wilson. Its hard for them to claim the Police had a policy of harassment from way back, when in the years that Ned Kelly was supposed to be living inside the Law and working in legitimate employment, there is absolutely no record of any kind of police ‘harassment’ whatsoever. This historical fact makes it clear that those years when Ned Kelly went straight, he was left alone – the exact opposite of what would be expected if the Kelly myth about Kelly persecution was correct. But it isn’t and the Kelly sympathisers cant and don’t defend it – its just too hard.
Seeing through the myth of the Republic of North East Victoria was child’s play. For a start Ned Kelly never ever mentioned it, and neither did any of his family or friends and supporters. Not only that, Ned did actually say what motivated him – history writing is going to become impossible if it follows the lead of Kelly mythmakers who are suggesting that what REALLY motivated Ned was something he never mentioned, and NOT what he actually did mention. People have read ‘republican’ meanings into a very few words from the volumes of words that Ned spoke and wrote, and say that’s evidence but they’re clutching at straws. They say nothing was said openly because it was treason and a capital offence– but many other organisations and political activists had openly talked about it and not been executed! Another claimed ‘evidence’ for it is a rumour that some letters were taken from Ned at Glenrowan, and they may have included a statement about a Republic. It was supported by a claim that someone realized some time after seeing a document in the British Museum that it was actually a Declaration of a Republic of North east Victoria, but in 50 years of looking no-one else has ever seen it. The republic idea relies on stories told by an old man who admitted he would make things up to satisfy the people who pestered him with questions about the Outbreak, and he gave conflicting stories to different people. How can they defend a story based on ambiguous words in the Jerilderie letter, documents seen by one person fifty years ago and by nobody since, rumours and the memory of unreliable old men? Its just too hard, so they look the other way when I mention it on the Blog.
But its not just the big themes of the Kelly story that are fabrications. I have been amazed at how many minor details of the Kelly story collapse with the slightest scrutiny. Theres one about Kellys two day trial being rushed through – this claim was aired as long ago as 1967 at the famous Symposium on Ned Kelly where the Republic idea was revitalized. But even though the idea that the trial was rushed was disproved at the symposium, its been repeated at every opportunity and parroted by every self appointed Kelly expert ever since. Remarkably, in the Beechworth Courthouse which every Kelly devotee makes a Pilgrimage to at least once in their life, visitors are informed that Murder trials lasted as little as half an hour on occasion. So much Kelly myth is just pure misinformation.
Ned Kelly is often paraded as some sort of innovator when it came to the style of his Bank robberies. Much is made of the fact that no shots were fired, hostages were given drink and food, and Ned Kelly treated women like a true gentleman. In fact these methods were copied from the style of other bushrangers of the time. – the “gentleman bushranger’ Harry Power was one of Neds earliest influences. The technique was to parade yourself as friend of the poor bloke, avoid antagonising the mass of the ordinary people because you are going to need them later to give you food, shelter and intelligence about Police movements. As for firing no shots, this is simple testimony to the fear that was engendered by his notorious record of already having killed three policemen. Who was going to defy the same man waving a gun in their face?
Sentimental nonsense is frequently written about Neds relationship with his mother. He is said to have been a devoted son, and he often claimed his hatred of the police originated from their treatment of her. Despite Neds talk, in 1877 when Nicolson visited his mothers home, he found she was living in poverty and squalor, at the very time Ned was raking it in as a successful horse thief. He described himself as a ‘rambling gambler’ and was renowned for dressing in smart clothes and custom made expensive boots, travelling about the Colony partying, gambling and living it up when his mothers selection was neglected and she was living in squalor and poverty. How can they defend the Kelly legend that Ned Kelly was a devoted son against facts like these? Its too hard, so they don’t.
Another one of the Kelly myths that dissolves readily if inspected closely, is the claim that the planning and execution of the robberies at Euroa and Jerilderie show that Ned would have made a great General. These two successful Bank raids were the result of Ned copying what other Bushrangers had done before him. Glenrowan, where he became a bit more adventurous and did his own thing was a disaster from the very start, when the vital element of secrecy was destroyed when Ned and Steve were forced to get help to rip up the railway line. The success of the whole plan was dependant on Police responding in certain ways and within a certain timeframe - critical elements beyond Neds control, elements that a real General would have eliminated so that he always had the upper hand. The iconic armour, Neds ‘greatest' achievement was so heavy and cumbersome it virtually immobilised the wearers, severely restricted their vision and ultimately proved useless, as Joe Byrne was overheard admitting during the siege. Once Police realised there was body armour hidden under Neds coat, they simply shot his legs out from under him. Any General who designed armour with such massive design faults, and a siege which ended with three gang members dead and the General himself on Death Row would never be called brilliant.
What the Kelly devotees are hoping is that I will go away. They’ve destroyed some of my early endeavors to expose the myth in the real world, they’ve kicked me off or made me most unwelcome on all their Forums and Facebook pages, they’ve attacked and abused me on their own Forums, they’ve tried to ignore me, expose me, block me from viewing their sites and even threatened to ‘visit' me (believeing they know who I am and where I live) The irony of course is that while they’ve been doing this, their own sites have collapsed and this Blog has bloomed! All they have left is to either defend their mythology, or bury their head in the sand and wait for me to go away. The easy choice is to bury their heads in the sand, so that’s what they’re doing. The other choice, to defend their mythology, is too hard. And would fail.