This is a copy of a page at 'Ned Kelly: Death of the Legend'
The purpose is to retain the full thread as since it first went up all the pictures posted amongst the comments were no longer viewable on the original thread . This is not what was intended by Admin Dee, but there seems a problem in the background html codes. Since I kept a copy of all my postings, I'm able to present this entire thread with pictures intact. Please scroll down to see the pictures, then make up your own mind. In my opinion the tests I performed with cutting off plate with a cold chisel concludes Darron Sutton's iron piece would need to be 'distorted away' and not a perfect match to fit the real Joe Byrne armour.  Bill Denheld

First posted by Dee
Sunday, 3 January 2016

Kelly Vault Controversy


I've been accused of jeopardising Beechworth's Ned Kelly Vault by publicly pointing out some of the places where I believe the Vault doesn’t live up to its own claims to be historically accurate, balanced and impartial. In particular the Vault promotes uncritically the central element of Jones-Kelly mythology, the baseless contention that the Kelly Outbreak was all about setting up a Republic of North east Victoria. 

So far, the response from the Vault has been disappointing. Nobody from the Vault was prepared to defend the Vault except in Private. No one has answered specific questions I asked about an unlabelled gun on display in the vault, or confirmed that all the documents on display are real and not facsimiles. I asked those same questions of the Custodian at the Vault when I was there, but didn't get satisfactory answers. I am still waiting for them, and would point out that if harm is being done to the Vault, its not because questions have been asked but because they haven’t bothered to answer them, or even respond. Open-ness and honesty earns respect, but denial, shutting up Shop, censoring Face-Book discussions, and keeping silent loses it.

In this post I will provide another example of the Vaults failure to live up to its claim to be ‘ historically accurate', with reference to an object on display there which is said to be “the most significant Kelly discovery in 50 years”

This discovery was a piece of metal, and the inscription  reads “...beyond doubt this piece of unremarkable metal is in fact an off cut from Joe Byrnes breastplate” 

It was found by amateur Kelly historian Darren Sutton in the bush at a site thought to be the ruins of an old Bush Forge.  Its claimed that the shape of this piece matched a cut-away part of the Breastplate of Joe Byrnes armor, and thus not only was the find an original piece of the metal used to make Joes suit, but it also identified for the first time one of the places where the armour was actually made in the Woolshed Valley

This would indeed be “the most significant Kelly discovery in 50 years” …except for one thing : I remembered reading about it last year in ‘Ned Kelly Under the Microscope’ – the metal had been analysed by the Australian  Nuclear Science and Technology Organization (ANSTO) and shown NOT to be the same as the Byrne breast plate. When I got home, I looked it up to be certain and this is what it says on Page 143: 

It should be noted that after this body of work was concluded the author was contacted by a person claiming to have some of the parent material used in the manufacture of the armour. Subsequent examination of this material via the same techniques led to the conclusion that it was NOT of the same material as that used to construct the armour of Joe Byrne’ 

Exactly when these tests were done is not given, but certainly the book was published before the Vault was opened so there can be no doubt that the Vault and Darren Sutton knew when they made this display that it was a fraud. 
ANSTO Scientist testing Joes Armour

Out of curiosity I looked up Joe Byrne on Wikipedia, and found mention of the claim that a piece of his armour had been found, but, in commentary that had been there for several years it correctly said “According to Heritage Victoria this is not considered to be from the same metal as the suit of armor made for Joe Byrne.” 

Interestingly it then went on to say this:

‘However, the information used to make the decision on whether the off cut matched or not has been found to be inaccurate. The reason given by Heritage Victoria was that Joe's suit contained large amounts of lead, and the piece found in the bush contains no lead, so they cannot be the same. The test results from Ansto clearly state that the lead found on Joes suit was from a bullet impact, made after World War I. The bullet impression contains lead, tin and tungsten. Tungsten was only used post WW1 in ballistics. The metal piece found in the bush contains no lead because it was removed from the suit, using a chisel, which has also been recovered, prior to being worn at Glenrowan. The breastplate was to long and impeded Joe's movement, and probably prevented him easily mounting a horse, or walking freely. Further testing, and analysis of previous test results is now being undertaken independently and the results will be published some time between August and October 2010

This last paragraph was an edit that was added in August 2010, by someone calling himself Woolshed Jack! Fortunately the original ANSTO report is available on the net and can be read HERE. It was published in 2004. If you read it carefully  you will realise that Woolshed Jack has either deliberately misrepresented the report, or else he has completely failed to understand it.
What happened was this : ANSTO tested the Breastplate in several places, and they also tested the helmet, back plate, side plates and lap plate, and in addition they tested a small peculiar circular area on the front of the breastplate they called the ‘mark’. For completeness they also tested the back of the breast plate immediately behind the “mark”. What their tests showed was that the “mark” was “an impregnation of lead in the steel, consistent with the impact of a lead projectile, perhaps a low velocity bullet.” Traces of Tungsten in the mark indicated that this bullet had been fired at the breast plate long after the Gang had been destroyed, because Tungsten wasn’t used in bullets until WWI.  Woolshed Jack was completely off the mark when he wrote for Wikipaedia  “The reason given by Heritage Victoria was that Joe's suit contained large amounts of lead, and the piece found in the bush contains no lead, so they cannot be the same.The test results from Ansto clearly state that the lead found on Joes suit was from a bullet impact ..” 

In fact what ANSTO said was that Joes armour was made from steel that had SMALL amounts of lead in it from the time of its manufacture, not 'LARGE amounts' as stated by Woolshed Jack. At the “mark” , and only there, the lead concentration was very much higher because that tiny area had been “impregnated” with additional lead, most likely from a bullet that was fired into the breastplate at or after the time of WWI. If as Woolshed Jack states, the Sutton steel had NO lead in it, then THAT would be the reason why ANSTO determined it was not part of the moldboard steel that Joes breastplate was made from – every single piece of Joes armour that they tested had small amounts of lead in it, but , like many other types of steel made back then, Suttons piece didn’t have ANY. Nothing to do with the lead Bullet. An unequivocal result. End of story.

Actually this find is also mentioned in Paul Terrys book  'The True Story of  Ned Kelly’s Last Stand' published in 2012, 2 years after Woolshed Jack announced results would be available in late 2010. Terry mentions the negative finding of the scientists who analyzed the Sutton steel, but, in words that echo Woolshed Jack quotes Sutton as saying  ‘the metal testing was flawed and further testing would prove he was right.' 

"Its about putting history right” says Sutton. In fact, the testing was not flawed - it was thorough and professional. The flaw is in Suttons understanding and interpretation of the results, as I've described above.

And what has happened to the results of his ‘further testing’ , due out five years ago that would prove ‘he was right’? I would hazard a guess and say that 'Woolshed Jack' is Darren Sutton, and the independent tests that he arranged didn’t give him the results that he wanted, so he has quietly ignored them. There's little doubt in my mind that if his independent tests had proved his point, those results would have been trumpeted throughout the entire Kelly world. The fact they haven’t tells the story. It would seem that in spite of what the science is telling him, he refuses to concede he is wrong about that piece of metal. But if he’s fair dinkum when he talks about “putting history right” he is five years late, and he needs to go back to Wikipedia, re-do his Edit, explain that the ANSTO testing was not flawed and tell every one what the results of his independent tests were. 

He also needs to go to the Kelly Vault and tell them to change their display of his findings to reflect the truth about his piece of steel. If it becomes widely known that one item on display is not what it claims to be, why should anyone believe any of the others are?  Maybe that table is fake? Maybe the gun is? And if there are other places where he has spread this nonsense about ANSTO having got it wrong, he needs to go there as well and correct the record.

This does not mean that Darren Sutton cannot display his interesting finds or speculate on their origins, but - lets call it for what it is - its a lie, to say "beyond doubt this piece of unremarkable metal is in fact an off-cut from Joe Byrnes breastplate” Lies are not what people expect to read in their Museums. Suttons steel is not an off cut from Joes armour and so, sadly for Mr Sutton it wasn’t the greatest Kelly discovery in 50 years.  But his story could still be told, and be far better told openly and honestly as an example of one mans passion as an amateur historian for Kelly artefacts and relics, and the frustrations entailed in the search, the way in which Science helps to prove or disprove our hopes and dreams. Instead, the way it is now, for some it harmfully undermines true science in favour of personal subjective belief, is actually a story of the way in which tunnel vision can over-ride logic, clear thinking and rational thought and result in people advocating things that are demonstrable nonsense; Embarrassing for the man, embarrassing and damaging for the Museum. A Lose-lose when it could so easily be a Win-Win. Where's the Vaults imagination and creativity gone?


The really important point here is about integrity. Publicly funded Museums are not places for trivial entertainment, or for the advancement of private agendas about history, but serious and important places where Science should be respected and honoured.

In Museums people expect to be educated about our history, to learn about what is known and also what is unknown, what is theory and what is speculation, what is true and what is untrue. People who visit Museums trust the professionalism of the Curator to tell them the truth, and not to pull the wool over their eyes as might happen if they visited a Creationist Museum in the USA.  Its not enough to have visitors tick the Box and say they think it was a great Museum - the Curator needs to know that what visitors go away with is accurate and reliable information, genuine insight and understanding and that the objects they’ve seen and wondered at are really what they are claimed to be. If Curators don’t adhere scrupulously to basic principles of honesty and integrity and openness in their Museums, people will leave thinking they’ve been entertained and informed but instead they’ve  been misinformed, they’ve been had. Ultimately, as people realise they’ve been ‘had’ the reputation of the museum will be trashed.

I am sad to say that's what's happening now at the Kelly Vault- people are going away thinking the Kelly Republic of North East Victoria was the inspiration for the Kelly Gangs murderous spree in 1880,and believing they saw an off-cut from Joe Byrnes armour. Well, it wasn’t, and they didnt, and these two problems need to be fixed. If they aren’t, then the Vaults credibility is eroded, and its status is reduced to shrine, and wacky side-show rather than something that supports the tone and the serious commitment to History so evident in the Burke Museum itself, in the Courthouse and other sites in the Cultural and Historic Precinct at Beechworth. 

For me, Kelly myths and dodgy artefacts spoil the Kelly Vault - I found myself starting to wonder if I should trust all that was written there, if some of the other artefacts were genuine or just facsimiles...However ordinary tourists would not spot these things, and probably come away impressed, which for some in the Kelly World is all that matters. For others though, like Bill and me, accuracy, honesty and historical truth are more important. Matt Shore, Kelly Vault curator what group are you in?




  1. Nice piece of work there Dee and I would be very interested to hear if the people behind the kelly Vault comment on what you say. Probably not. But as you pointed out, a publicly-funded museum has an obligation to tell and portray the truth, warts and all. It is again very disappointing to know that this institution simply serves to perpetuate Kelly mythology to the masses.

  2. Hi Dee, If you would like to meet me personally you can contact via email at, I will happily show you the proof that does exist re the metal found at the Woolshed Valley Forge. In fact you are so inaccurate in your assessment of the Ansto report its laughable. There are two Ansto reports and a comparison of the two and detailed analysis of the findings has proven beyond doubt that the pieces of metal I found are from Joe Byrne's suit, and for you to publicly say they are not is without a doubt the most childish, immature and unresearched thing I have read in years. In fact one of the two scientists, who did the testing has admitted that a mistake has been made in their testing analysis. My offer to you is meet me and I will happily discuss this and show you the proof. If you don't have the balls to meet me personally then I can only assume your post is out of jealousy and spite. I am happy to meet you anyplace, anytime, in public, with the armour and many other recovered items, and prove to you their authenticity. Its all up to you. In the meantime, to save the reputation of the Vault from your poisonous and potentially libellous accusations, I will remove the said items from the vault, and promise you that they will never be publicly displayed again irrespective of whether or not you take the offer of a face to face meeting. I am assuming I won't hear from you. Balls in your court.

    1. Darren, I think we would all love to read about your efforts to prove the provenance of the metal and the details of the find. I seem to recall back after the big newspaper articles breaking the news of it came out you had promised to set up a website detailing the particulars once everything was finally settled. Is that still on the cards?

    2. Darren if as you claim, analysis has "...proven beyond doubt that the pieces of metal I found are from Joe Byrne's suit,..." why would you remove them from exhiition at the Kelly Vault and "...they will never be publicly displayed again..."? If I were you and I was totally confident of the provenance of the metal, I would be proudly placing them on prominent display. Sounds a bit sus to me!

  3. Many years ago I read about Mr Sutton's discovery. Later I visited Beechworth and enquired (unsuccessfully) where I might find him in the hope he might take me to the site where that forge was located. I hadn't realised until I read your article that his claims had been discredited. Recently I have been thinking about revisiting Victoria and perhaps Beechworth to see this Kelly Vault. But now I think I'll leave Beechworth off my trip plan. What's the point of looking at a piece of old metal that isn't really off Joe's armour as the Vault is claiming? What's the point of reading all this nonsense about a republic (as if a bunch of kids the ages of the Kelly Gang would have the skills for that)? What is wrong with these people? Why does Mr Sutton continued with his ridiculous claim even after science (ANSTO) has proven him wrong? Why does Ian Jones so strenuously defend his ridiculous Republic idea when he has nothing more to back it up than a once only conversation with a descendent of Tom Lloyd who for all we know just wanted to spin old Ian a bit of a yarn? I really resent this misrepresentation of history. So I would resent paying money to visit the Vault in the same way I now wish I hadn't paid to buy Mr Jones fairytale book and that I paid money last year for a Kelly tour that took me to the wrong site at Stringybark Creek. If these people were proper historians then they would accept their mistakes once they were pointed out to them. True historians don't put personal reputation before historical accuracy. Unfortunately with the Kelly story there is too much of a quick $ to be made by ignorant people and that is distorting the truth.

  4. What a shame The Vault is receiving what appears to be a misguided vindictive 'grilling' by some individuals commenting on this blog.

    Dee is doing a great job throwing up some relevant and controversial issues for discussion but the blog itself in my opinion, seems to be becoming a voice to character assassinate some very sincere, interesting and intelligent people who have their hearts in a good place. Having met Ian Jones, Matt Shore and Darren Sutton I have found them all to be seeking some truth about the Kelly story in their own way, and are not ones to tolerate fairy tales lightly.

    It is an ignorant comment in itself to assume these people make $$$ out of the Ned Kelly story to start with. What if the reality was that these passionate people have spent much of their own time and money giving to the community their knowledge and interpretation. Isnt that a remarkable thing to be admired and I'm sure neither of these individuals discussed would steer away from facts or fair criticism. In truth they have offered openly already to support and discuss further their claims and interpretations. However why should they be pressured to reveal this on a public blog?

    Congratulations Ian, Matt and Darren for presenting history in your own unique, well researched and intelligent way.

    (As for the republic idea, I believe it is a fair concept given the personalities involved, discriminating class conditions, the historically discredited law enforcement period, and the incredible support at the time for the Kelly's plight. It would seem that there is little evidence presented that Ned and the Gang had a grasp or a confident political understanding of what they may have been doing at the time but I guess that is youth and bravado for you).

    1. Anonymous you highlight a difficulty that anyone faces in wanting to criticise an aspect of someones work, that it might be seen as an attack on the person. In my case I am not doubting - or, to be honest even interested in - the sincerity or the motivation of any of the people you mention. My interest is in the accuracy of what they are claiming.

      In regard to your question about why they should be pressured to reveal ‘their claims and interpretations on a Public Blog’ I think they are morally bound to do so, because they have already willingly engaged the Public by the use of the Public space, their own blogs, Facebook and the Media generally to PROMOTE their views. If they see no problem with PROMOTING their views in Public, then they ought to be prepared to DEFEND them in Public. Instead when challenged in that space we find these people suddenly develop an arrogant distaste and disdain for the ordinary person and for Public discourse, and now expect everything to be conducted behind closed doors and in Private.

      Well, thats not a game I am interested in playing. I am not going to phone Matt Shore, or prove to Mr Sutton that I have “the balls” and email him - I have made my case in Public and will defend it there because thats where THEY have been making their case till now, and thats where I am prepared to challenge them. I have made my case in Public using all the available Public information, and I am more than willing to defend it.

      But if Darren Sutton thinks my analysis is “inaccurate" and “laughable” “childish and immature” let him back up those claims with the proof, let him provide the results of the analysis he promised would be available 5 years ago, let him provide the details and the links to this second ANSTO Report, and the full quote from the Scientist who said they made a mistake and then if he’s right and I am wrong everyone can have a good laugh at me.

      Or is he going to take his bat and BALL and go home?

    2. Totally understand the public disclosure responsibility with these issues, but I believe those who are challenged have the right to choose what avenue or format their response should take. Just as Dee has set the 'showdown' on her blog using a provocative style and parameters of topic discussion, others should be able to voice their response using 'terms' that they feel are appropriate also. In some ways the 'Current Affair' style microphone in the face approach is not necessary to receive some clarification.

      As Dee has already taken the opportunity to visit the museum personally and privately...why not receive your response personally and privately also? This is not playing a game!

      Although I totally get the need to be anonymous (like myself here) you are dealing with a public blog and maybe this is the dilemma of it's somewhat contradictory to demand others to be public yet you are allowed to hide behind the anonymity using your terms as moderator.


    3. Couldn't have said it better! From one "Anonymous" to another :p thank you! Well said

  5. Darren and Matt were still flogging the Joe's armour fragment in the Wang Chronicle in June last year.

    Indigo Shire Council and Burke Museum support The Vault. You can find the Indigo media kit here:

    The ABC says "Matt Shore is an enthusiast who coordinates the largest collection of Ned Kelly memorabilia in the world!". But he is not a curator's breakfast.

    There is no proof whatever for the republic myth.

    There is a lot of amateurishness in the Kelly story.

  6. RESPONSE FROM DISGRUNTLED. I apologise if I have come across as vindictive, but that was my first post despite looking at Kelly websites for many years. I've observed there was a lot of vindictiveness by some on those sites towards people who put forward the view that Kelly was not the great hero that some might like to think he was. Re the Vault, the fact is that the the unremarkable metal said to be an offcut from Joe Byrnes breastplate is not beyond doubt, in fact it is highly doubtful. So I don't think it is a good thing for the Vault to be saying otherwise. And the fact is that Ian Jones and apparently the Vault has presented the republic idea as fact, not as a "fair concept". I accept your point though that some may not make much money out of there Kelly interest, but maybe making a name for yourself as a supposedly knowledgeable Kelly expert is what it is really all about.

  7. Dunno if I agree with Anonymous that the individuals named are "very sincere, interesting and intelligent people who have their hearts in a good place". That is your opinion.

    I lack your confidence in them.

  8. Happy New Year to all readers!

    Greetings Dee' as a regular viewer of your blog I was delighted to be name checked, but somewhat deflated when you proclaimed me Pro-Kelly and in the very next sentence mentioned 'un-historical'. Any articles I have written have all been based on primary sources, mainly newspaper accounts of the period or from police reports available for all to read at PROV and I declare that I may be guilty as charged as a sympathizer but Pro-Kelly does not denote Anti-Police. I have been fascinated and intrigued with the Kelly saga since the 1960's and have read and collected far too many books and original newspapers of the period. I am also the very proud great grandson of a policeman involved in the hunt for the outlaws and have never proscribed to the "All Victorian Police were bad" school of thought. I am denounced as 'Pro-Kelly" but I do not deny or pardon Kelly's crimes, as I have written in my articles Ned Kelly paid for all his crimes and his punishments were undeniably severe.

    Please take no offence if I take the opportunity to write a few lines to you in the interest of 'dissun-historicalness' (sic). The constant attacks on Ian Jones are relentless, but I do declare, you give Mr Jones too much credit, here is a quote from one of the first books I read on the Kelly Story. It is from the 1956 edition of the 1949 published 'Australian Son' by Max Brown. ( Oh to have a first edition!):

    Page 12. "in the hour of his capture, the police took from Kelly's pocket a declaration for a Republic of North-Eastern Victoria!'

    This was first published when Ian Jones was 18 years old and Jones would not publish his thoughts on a Republic until 1969. He was still to write such Australian cultural milestones as Homicide, Matlock and The Sullivans. So credit where credit is due please Dee.

    I hope this will be taken in the spirit in which it is written and I leave you with a bow and a smile.

    Love to all,

    Captain Jack Hoyle ( Retired and very retiring)

    1. Captain Jack Hoyle thank you for honouring my little Blog with your very welcome contribution. The story is indeed fascinating and complex, and I am always ready to listen and learn from people like yourself who have been around it for so very many more years than I have.

      I am glad you’ve been a regular viewer of the Blog, but were you ‘viewing’ on Australia Day last year when we had a great discussion on this Blog about the Republic after my Post Ned Kelly Dreaming ? I learned a lot from readers contributions, including the fact that Ian Jones was not the ORIGINATOR of the Kelly Republic idea - which is why I said in my recent Post about the Outlawed DVD that Jones ‘developed’ the idea! Somewhere else I said he ‘elaborated’ the idea. From Browns one mention of it, Jones elevated it to the lofty heights it sits at now in the annals of Jones-Kelly Mythology. Also in that discussion mention was made of the contents of Neds pocket at Glenrowan, and someone quoted the original Newpaper article which described those contents as “ a number of letters” I think subsequently this has been embellished somewhat by wishful thinkers to be, or include the Declaration, as suggested by Brown. In that discussion as usual Sharon shed much light on the murky history of the Republic , tracing it back to a Magazine article form the 1920’s I think, though no-one could find it.

      Looking forward to your next contribution!


    2. Thank you for your gracious comments Dee. I must go back and read through any discussions I have missed and I will endeavor to stay on topic with future posts. Alas, I cannot comment on the Kelly Vault as it has been many years since I have been to Beechworth. My first visit was in 1969 and apart from cars and electrical lines it was easy to imagine the town as it was back in the day.

      As for Glenrowan, there is much hiding in plain sight that makes me think that no author, either Pro or Anti, has written a definitive account of the motivation and aims of the ill fated denouement to the story.
      Here is a quotation from an excellent recent book 'The Life of John Sadlier' by his great grandson Richard M. F. S. Sadlier: 'When the police first arrived at Glenrowan, they met small parties of armed men who disappeared into the bush surrounding the hotel. John mentions, that at this time, he was uncertain as to whether Kelly’s stand was the beginning of a more general insurrection.'

      Fond Regards,

      Captain Jack

  9. The Following is the Text of my letter in response to Mr Suttons comments

    1. Dear Mr Sutton

      I am so disliked in Kelly circles that most Sympathisers refuse to respond on my Blog except Anonymously, so I appreciate your willingness to identify yourself and engage on the Blog. Thank you.

      I am not in the least offended by your comments to date. I fully understand your passion and your readiness to defend something you’ve devoted so much of your time and energy to over many years, but, with respect, in light of all the publicly available information, I believe you’re mistaken to think the metal you found is an off cut from Joe Byrnes suit. There is no publicly available information that supports your claim, and though you have at various times and various places announced you would publish results proving your claims to be correct, that has not happened. Given those promises, I think its time you made good on them, but until you have, my conclusion remains the only perfectly rational and logical one. It is not borne out of jealousy or spite.

      In regard to your offer of a Private Showing at a time and place of my choosing , I cant see the point of this because I would only consider doing so if I could then make it all available on the Blog. But if you would agree to it being Published on the Blog, why not simply do it now? I could publish it as a Blog Post written by you and allow others to comment as usual. If I am wrong I would be more than delighted to admit it, in Public, and you would be free to return your findings to public display at the Vault - in fact I would insist that you do!

      Mr Sutton I am calling on you to now Publicly release the information which proves your claim. All I am asking is for you to do what you have already said you would. You have publicly denounced the findings of the ANSTO Scientists, and continue to claim theyre wrong and you’re right, but as I keep saying, anything asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.

    2. 'Dee',

      That is a better way of putting things. These people aren't your enemies and they deserve better treatment.

      Sure ask the questions, especially the difficult ones. But tell your posters (or is it you???), to put their manners back in.

      YOU are completely responsible for what gets posted here on YOUR blog. YOU moderate it. YOU choose what gets aired here. YOU can prevent the nastiness for which your blog is known.

      It's all very well to fling mud at other sites like IO and NKF but truth is as things stand right now you aren't any better.

      Why stoop to their level. Why Dee?

      Why would people post here if they end up getting attacked personally?

      Why do you publish posts which are clearly meant to hurt people? It's immoral and unfair.

      It's up to you to do your job, remove anything that is deliberately nasty or unnecessarily cruel, and you may just earn yourself some respect and credibility.

      You can remain anonymous. People in the Kelly world are fatigued from the negativity and vindictiveness which has choked the Kelly story and threatened creativity and open expression in recent years.

      You potentially could have access to information you only dreamed of. But things must change.

      Are you going to buck the trend Dee? Or are you going to go down in history as yet another one of 'Ned's Nasties'?

      This ball at least is in your court.

    3. Lets clear up one thing straight away : I post as Dee and NEVER use any other name.

      As for suggesting I am one of Neds nasties, that is an allegation I UTTERLY refute! You ought to read the Comments and the Emails I get from Sympathisers that I DONT publish to understand how wrong you are on that score. I have NEVER stooped to that level. As I said criticism of someones work is not the same as a personal attack, something which I have tried NOT to do.


    4. Fair enough Dee. Point taken.

      But why do you persist in publishing posts by others which contain nasty digs and swipes at people?

      If it's your blog, your call, your judgement, isn't it your responsibility to clean up your act?

      It's not surprising that some people won't post with you. But there are many people waiting in the wings. Many many knowledgable people who utterly despise IO & NKF who would like to contribute to what you're doing here but you need to ummm....troll through the posts you've let slip (by others) and do some housekeeping first.

      New year. New start?

  10. I am interested in the responses to your Vault blog. Maybe the Vault is not perfect, but the people behind it seem to have the best of intentions and been pursuing the project for a long time - see

    I have visited the Vault and agree with you there is a need for improvement, but thought it is not a bad effort right in the heart of Kelly country. There is nothing else quite like it. So I hope the criticisms that have been posted will be taken on board by Matt Shore and his associates as constructive suggestions on how to improve the exhibits.

  11. This is a bit off topic but I hope it's ok to ask here.

    I can remember sometime in the last year that there was a mention here of a very early reference to the gang's plans in a newspaper article... it don't think it mentioned the republic specifically, but strongly hinted at it. It talked about friends of the gang waiting near Glenrowan to help. The same article was mentioned on ironoutlaw many years ago in the feedback section, but I can't find it now.

    If anyone knows and can point me in the right direction, I'd be highly appreciative.


    1. If it's a newspaper article try :)

    2. Thanks Anon, I have looked thru trove but no luck so far :)

    3. Trev, this may not be what you are after, but there is one article (from July 3, 1880) spoken of previously that is also mentioned about being at ironoutlaw feedback, but it alludes to letters rumoured to found in Ned's pocket after the siege. Using the proper keywords at trove it does tell about some folks hanging about post-siege.

      If that is not it, maybe take a quick look back at archived posts (I don't always trust the search function at blogger to find what I need) that might be about what you seek? You can then open up the comments to see if something is mentioned. If you find it that way, please let us know which it was, because I am curious! :)

  12. The AnonyMICE are trying to take over this blog with their unfounded, nonsense assertions.

    Being anonymous, they can't be disparaged in the way alleged because no-one knows who they are.

    Its all rather corny. tiresome and boring.

    The pro-Kelly nongs who have issued death threats and misled research are culpable. They deserve to be exposed.

    The NK Vault is an amateur concoction.

    Close it down.

    1. 1
      DEE SEROUSLY! This is where you cross the line between being someone with a point/opinion you to just hate, must read these first yes? Still you allow it on here? Is it because they hate on the NKF and that feeds into your belief you have on them? It’s as if you allow them because that’s one more person you can let everyone see doesn’t like the “anonymous” or the NKF as much as you. Can I just add another ONE name that no one has ever seen before? The name by the way can be googled and WELL those findings are let’s call them…interesting.
      I have to truly believe at this point that you don’t see that you have what you wanted in the first place, people’s attention or support when it comes to your opinion. People want to hate on you on other websites or bitch in there little gossip groups. LET THEM! You know what they give you every time they do. CREDIT… (Perhaps when it’s all said and done you may realise they are the ones you have to thank for your ratings), and that’s laughable! You don’t think that when people hear them or see them put something up about you it makes them wonder what the hell or who the hell they are talking about? And why they are so mad about it? By even voicing their dislike they are making people seek you out. You have people watching you, a few GAME enough to comment (funny doesn’t this sound all a bit familiar) if I may quote the other anonymous “People in the Kelly world are fatigued from the negativity and vindictiveness which has choked the Kelly story and threatened creativity and open expression in recent years”
      You are slowly becoming just the same as the other pages by letting people hate on what is someone’s opinion or sometimes peoples advice to you. You DEE are as anonymous as the next.

    2. 2
      You rubbish so many people on here, the Vault, Authors, other websites. People that have spent years and years on the Kelly story to put it to the public in their own way wrong or right! In some cases it’s a life time of work! You rubbish it and wonder why there are so many people that dislike you? You discredit without facts or reference on your “accurate knowledge” of the facts in the history. I find the bottom line to most of your work is, if it doesn’t come from Doug Morrissey or Ian MacFarlane’s books it can rubbished! And you do it often!
      You compared to most have been around for a whole five minutes, yet you stand forth with your ideas that they are wrong and you are right why? Because you can see something they can’t? You want to start backing your opinion up with some kind of reference for your so called “accurate facts” so people can see the sources of your information, and then I say we shall see your true “challenges” begin. But might I be so bold to claim that you don’t or never did/do reference (yet I know you have actually stated how disappointing it was that Doug Morrissey did not reference…hmm) because what you have to say is not based on facts but an “idea” that is fuelled by the hate. You have to stand out with an opinion not because your right but because its different from theirs!
      So I have an interesting quote (by Ian Jones which was found on IO, so I know so going to love it! ) about Alex McDermott who by the way, had some great ideas but his down fall was not his work but his attitude he hated anyone that told him he was wrong.
      Alex McDermott wants to read into the Jerilderie Letter that “the true, murderous, implacable, brooding intent of Ned Kelly is revealed”. Bullshit. I know it’s bullshit. If I said to you “pull your head in while it’s still attached”, you wouldn’t run off to the police and say “Ian Jones said he was going to chop my head off”. It’s just childish. Just you watch, the next wave of Kelly scholarship is going to be revisionist. There will be people like this McDermott character falling over one another to say “all this is wrong, Ned Kelly was really a dreadful person, a cold-blooded killer and a coward”. Gradually, they will try to regain the ogre that was portrayed back in 1880. Just for the sake of saying something different, making a buck, making a reputation.

      Ian Jones so I put it to you, you have your audience, start having an opinion based on facts be them right or wrong with reference to your work so these “challenges” can be made, stop rubbishing peoples hard work! Their opinion is worth no more no less than yours but if what you have to say has substance and done the right way it can be done without HATING on everyone else’s work in the process, you might actually be given credit where credit is due.

    3. Bravo Anonymous! Well said 1 & 2
      And while we're on a fact finding mission. I'd love to know WHAT government funding other than private went into the Vault.
      The fact 'Dee' won't use his/her real identity speaks volumes. (yes I'm staying anonymous. Hypocrite? Maybe, but this isn't my blog.)

    4. Ive been trying to decide how to respond to 1 and 2 since it went up yesterday. The problem with it is that its a series of vague and sweeping generalisations about this Blog and attacks on me which are almost impossible to respond to because there are no specifics. For example you say I am ‘rubbishing peoples hard work’ and accuse me of ‘HATING on everyone else’s work’ but this is too vague - you need to say which Post and which comment and which sentence about which person you’re referring to, and then we can discuss the specifics about whether or not its ‘HATING’ or ‘rubbishing’ that person. Are you referring to THIS Post about the Vault? Make a specific criticism and I will answer it.

      But there are two things I can tell you : an argument stands or falls on its own merits, and has nothing to do with the identity of the person making it, or how long they have been in the debate for, ‘five minutes’ like me, or five decades and more, like Ian Jones. So get over not knowing exactly who I am, or who Capt. Jack is, or who Nicky Cowie was - we are all actual people, with actual opinions and ideas and THEY are what is important, not what we look like or where we live or how long we’ve been in the debate.

      So lets discuss these two Posts of mine about the Kelly Vault. I visited it, looked at the displays and have thought about what I saw and have challenged the Vault in relation to a couple of things : I asked about an unlabelled Gun and have STILL NOT HAD A REPLY, I asked if all the documents on display are real or facsimiles and have STILL NOT HAD A REPLY, I asked about Darren Suttons artefact because I had previously read that it had been shown not to be what the Vault was calming it to be - and he at least had the decency to respond and we have all been enlightened considerably as a result of my enquiries and his reply - and I also challenged the Vaults claim to be balanced and impartial with respect to its narratives about the Outbreak, the Republic idea in particular, and have STILL NOT HAD A REPLY.

      Now Anonymous1and2 can you please show me where the hating is in this, where the opinion not based on facts is, where I haven’t given references, where all I have done is follow a line from MacFarlane or Morrissey, and exactly where I have merely ‘rubbished’ someones hard work? I referenced a book, Ned Kelly Under the Microscope, I referenced Wikipedia, I provided a LINK to the ANSTO report - did you read it? - I referenced Paul Terrys book, I inserted a photo of the actual signage at the Vault, I suggested alternative ways in which Darrens findings could be more accurately described, and I quoted accurately from several of the displays in the Vault to illustrate my arguments.

      And you? Where is your argument? Nothing but generalisations and vague accusations and nothing to back them up. All you can come up with is an irrelevant swipe at my identity and at how long I may have been involved in Kelly debates. And how ironic you criticise me for rubbishing people but quote Ian Jones ATTACK on Alex McDermott, saying all he is interested in is making a buck, his argument is ‘bullshit, I know its bullshit’. Its also ironic that you quote Jones saying ‘I KNOW its bullshit’ in the very Blog Post where if you watch the Video Bill posted, Jones rubbishes the idea that the armour couldn’t have been made in a Bush Forge. Ian Jones is very sure of his opinions but he was wrong there, he was wrong about that Photo that went to Auction a few years back, he’s wrong about the SBC site - and yet he’s been in the game longer than anyone.

      Attack me all you like but that won’t advance the argument about Ned Kelly and the Outbreak in any direction.

    5. Part 1)

      OK let’s get one thing straight, I am not attacking you. Please don’t throw me in an imaginary basket that you have for people that question the way you work. I can’t believe you are always the victim, though I do believe you use it when you haven’t got a better response. (Just MY opinion)

      If you want to use the word “attack” then that’s fine but it isn’t you personally Dee, it’s your work.

      The reply was mainly about the comment made by Greg Mathison - you allow him to make statements like “AnonyMICE” and “The NK Vault is an amateur concoction. Close it down.” You allow this despite the fact it is rubbishing someone’s work? Why? (Is it just because you disagree with their opinion?)

      You have been questioned before as to why you allow comments on here that are taking swipes and digs at people. Yet still you don’t respond, allowing it to continue to happen. Why?

      As for you asking if I’m talking about this blog in particular, no. I’m talking about every single blog you have ever written where you rubbish other people’s work. Some of your favourite targets have been (I wonder if they all happen to disagree with your viewpoint…):

      * Ian Jones
      * The NKF
      * IO
      * And yes in part, the Vault. You have been told (or as you like to put it “accused”) that you are jeopardising someone’s hard work. It doesn’t matter if you’re right or wrong at this point, you are negatively affecting someone’s work (a group of people that just want to make the story accessible to people). What do you gain from this? You go so far to avoid someone’s knowledge or explanation in private. Is your anonymity really more important?

    6. Part 2)

      Why do you choose to respond with defence rather than facts? I don’t care who you really are, and I really don’t care where you live or what you look like. I have to ask though, do you actually know Nicky Cowie is not Nicky Cowie? (Or are you basing that information on what one person has told you? As you said. Bailup was well before your time.)

      When I talk about references and sources in your work I don’t just mean this post Dee, I mean for any of your posts where you have claimed you have “accurate facts” above everyone else’s work or History. Where is your proof that what you are saying is really accurate? We only want to know so we can actually determine the truth of the story. This isn’t about you, or me, or anyone else. This is about determining what actually happened and making that available to the average person. Isn’t that why we all do this?

      Again, not attacking here but Wikipedia? Seriously? I had immense pride in my child when he came home from primary school recently and told me Wikipedia can’t be used as a valid reference because by its nature it is crowd-sourced and therefore cannot be relied upon as a valid research resource (I’m paraphrasing of course). Surely you don’t actually think you will be seen as credible when it’s (so far I hope) your only reference.

      I did not say that you are “taking a line from MacFarlane or Morrissey” I said “I find the bottom line to most of your work is, if it doesn’t come from Doug Morrissey or Ian MacFarlane’s books it can rubbished! And you do it often!” and “(Yet I know you have actually stated how disappointing it was that Doug Morrissey did not reference…hmm)”

      That’s what I actually said… (Just saying). You never seem to have a bad word to say about them. In fact, the second quote above is the closest you have come that I can see to actual criticism when it comes to their books. But I would like to ask you, why do you think they have no references?

      It’s said that they have been “chased away by sympathisers”. I simply ask, if they had “facts” or at the very least a valid alternative interpretation, then what is stopping them from presenting it with the references they used (For the record, this is how historical research is done. It is a proven model to allow academic debates to determine truth and has been used for centuries across vastly different fields. I would recommend we don’t deviate unless the goal is not to determine truth)? They already have books don’t they (without references)? What about those books differentiates them from fiction if they have no references?

      You are right on one thing though, it was wrong of me to add a quote by Ian Jones where he does criticise someone’s work, but have you seen his work? Did you read the whole quote?

      So let me be clear. I am not attacking you or your identity (really to do either, I would have to know you and I don’t. In the same way, you don’t know me - you are as anonymous as I am), I question only the validity of your so-called “accurate facts”. You have challenged people without one ounce of proof that your opinions come from a valid source (other than Wikipedia, and let’s not go there again…).

    7. Again, you make a reply very difficult by making such non-specific criticisms but I will respond to two things in your latest Comments : Greg Mathisons comment was his opinion, I believe he has a right to it and to express it, and I don’t believe my role as Moderator is to screen out everything except things that I agree with, or things that are ’nice'. Where would your comments be if that was my approach?

      In regard to Wikipedia I think you need to have another talk to your child, and to the ignorant teacher who dismissed Wikipedia because it is crowd sourced - Wikipedia is a source of information, just as books, films, TV programmes, oral traditions, magazines, Internet sites,other dictionaries and encyclopaedias are - there is no such thing as an impeccably, 100% reliable error-proof source of information - unless you happen to believe in the divine authorship of the Holy Book of your choice. It is a lazy and an invalid argument to dismiss a claim - or indeed to accept one - purely on the basis of where the claim comes from. These are known as arguments from authority, and are invalid. Thus, it is completely invalid to say “This must be true because Ian Jones said it” or “This cannot be true because it came from Wikipedia” What a person has to do is look at the information and the argument in its own right, evaluate it against other sources and claims, compare and contrast and make a judgement accordingly. Which is exactly what I have done in looking at Darren Suttons claims.

      Lets have no more of your wild generalisations and invalid arguments. The Blunderbuss approach doesn’t work.

    8. When I wish to google something or someone other than the Kellys, I ALWAYS check Wikipedia first. It is a good launching point.

    9. Alright if I am making this difficult let’s try again. I honestly and genuinely just want answers to my questions. I am not attacking you so please show me the same respect. I will simplify my questions.

      Q1) why do you target people like Ian Jones, IO, NKF, and the vault?

      Q2) is someone not knowing your identity more important than truth?

      Q3) why do you choose to respond with defence rather than facts? (It’s obvious you misinterpret text, your assuming I have been attacking you.)

      Q4) do you actually know Nicky Cowie is not Nicky Cowie?

      Q5) Where is your proof that what you are saying in your blogs is really accurate?

      Q6) why do you think MacFarlane or Morrissey have no references?

      Q7) What about those books differentiates them from fiction if they have no references?

      Q8) have you looked into Alex McDermott and his work?

      You have challenged people but not allowed those people to view your sources of information.
      All I ask is that you take time to answer these questions. I’m actually very interested in what you have to say.

    10. Q1) why do you target people like Ian Jones, IO, NKF, and the vault?
      My interest is in separating the Mythology of Ned Kelly from the truth about him. Ian Jones, IO, NKF and the Vault are all players in the Mytholgy industry surrounding Ned Kelly. They are not ‘being targeted’, they are having their claims analysed, criticised, quoted, referenced, scrutinised, praised and denounced, whatever is appropriate as part of the process, along with all the other elements involved in the story.

      Q2) is someone not knowing your identity more important than truth?
      My identity is irrelevant. The story, the arguments, the facts and the truth about the Outbreak are whats important.

      Q3) why do you choose to respond with defence rather than facts? (It’s obvious you misinterpret text, your assuming I have been attacking you.)
      I respond to argument with argument. I try to use reason and logic to defeat faulty reason and faulty logic, and when useful, “facts” to correct errors of fact, but “facts” cant be an answer on their own.

      Q4) do you actually know Nicky Cowie is not Nicky Cowie?
      Do you actually read this Blog? I commented to Bill that Nicky Cowie was before my time. So no, I have no idea who Nicky Cowie is.

      Q5) Where is your proof that what you are saying in your blogs is really accurate?
      What I express on this Blog are my opinions. I make them as accurate as I possibly can. If you wish to challenge anything I say go ahead. Prove me wrong. I am not afraid to be wrong.

      Q6) why do you think MacFarlane or Morrissey have no references?
      Well now you’ve given the game away haven’t you! Go away and read them, then come back and ask that question again.

      Q7) What about those books differentiates them from fiction if they have no references?
      See my answer toQ6.

      Q8) have you looked into Alex McDermott and his work?
      Yes of course.

  13. Being in the heart of Kelly country is all the more reason for The Kelly Vault being 100% accurate.

  14. Anonymous, Where are the nasty digs and swipes?

    List them please...

    2. There are plenty of comments where people are being attacked. Go through the blog archives yourself they are not hard to find! When people tend to want proof they seek it out themselves! I was happy to copy and paste them till I saw the full extent of them all. But honesty have look through the comments they are all there!

  15. I believe there is something not quite right with Darren's iron piece.

    In Sept 2006, Darren announced his find in 'The Age' and 'The Sydney Morning Herald'

    Around this time Today Tonight on Chan7 ran Darren's story.
    Email correspondence with Darren - Aug 2007 tells his iron piece was tested by ANSTO but with negative result. This means Darren's piece does not match Joe Byrne's iron suit of armour held by Rupert Hammond of Canberra. Darren is very challenged and produces a pamphlet " Joe Byrne's Armour at the Woolshed Valley Forge a copy I received from him.

    I then try to help Darren because of the convincing fit of the piece to the copy Joe Byrne armour suit. As it happens a good friend happens to be the man (Bill K) who is an electronic engineer with Varian Instruments who make the famous 'Atomic Absorption Spectrometers'. Bill K is willing to have Darren's piece tested at one of the Universities who have this special Varian equipment. This gear can tell the alloy make up of metals, and at issue with Darren's piece, was no lead in the iron while in Joe's armour there is lead.

    A date fixed the three of us drove up from Melbourne to meet Darren at Myrtleford in Vic NE, and see his forge iron off-cut and blacksmith tools. We discuss a plan to take a tiny fragment using a ceramic drill from the piece for testing. We have a sterile plastic container to put the drill shavings in. [But before we do] We also need a reliable witness to verify the sample taken and date, so anyone would be happy with that protocol, all white glove stuff.

    However, despite all our efforts, Darren did NOT take us up on the offer for this independent testing.

    For full size see below copy and paste into your browser

    In the above images you will see the 'fit' and that 'tear' to the right which does not look like a chisel mark, because if a chisel could split that iron section from behind, then there would be a corresponding distortion on the other side facing the viewer, [the anvil side].

    It would be interesting if Darren could show us a picture of the other side to see if the tear was created by a chisel? If not, what caused that tear?

    It would indicate this metal piece had become very brittle over time, and then if someone tried to straighten the metal flatter, a tear could result.

    What else, otherwise, could cause such a tear? Darren please show is a close up of the tear from the inside.

    I will try to upload a Youtube video, but her is the address,

    Dee, perhaps you can make this happen right here. 

  16. Many thanks for this terrific contribution Bill, I think anyone who watches this Video will gain a new appreciation of Darrens research. Seeing the way his piece matches part of the bottom of Joes breastplate is quite amazing! I suppose anyone seeing that match-up in real life would immediately be convinced it couldn’t possibly be a coincidental match up, so I can understand why Darren is convinced ANSTO got it wrong.

    It was also interesting to hear Ian Jones and others declare there was no way Ned could have made the Armour with a Bush forge, but Darrens findings AND the ANSTO findings agree on this point, that Joes suit certainly was. And watching that Blacksmith bashing away at the red hot steel gives you a fresh appreciation of the massive effort that went into making the armour. It must have been a hell of a job to do secretly in the Bush.

    I want everyone to know that Darren has replied to my email, and PROMISED me that a little later this year he WILL make all his results and analysis available to the Public. There have been various frustrations and complications that have delayed this from happening so far, but he says he wanted to get everything done properly, and not go off half cocked. He hasn’t explained to me why he is still certain ANSTO got it wrong, but given his assurance that all will soon be revealed I am more than happy to wait along with everyone else in eager anticipation of his conclusions.

    I hope everyone realises my intent has never been to attack Darren, but to support good science and genuine history. If it turns out that ANSTO got it wrong then I will take my hat off to the Amateur, and give the Professionals a serve. I’m glad I posted this Blog because its prompted some great feedback and discussions, and more hits in a single day than ever before. Thanks everyone.

    1. Given this statement Dee, perhaps it might be fair and less stressful for those involved directly to reconsider the title of this particular blog stream as well!

      The "Kelly Vault Forgery" headline is great click bait material for the blog readers but aren't you sending mixed messages about what kind of Ned Kelly site this is?

      I would assume with your statement and contributions from others that the jury was still out on this topic however the headline suggests otherwise.

    2. I must admit that I toyed with several other titles for this Post and finally decided to go with something provocative, but I hope you realise its also a pun! ( Darrens bush ‘forge’ ...get it?) So its a bit of fun as well as a provocation! The debate it provoked has been useful and everyones understanding about Darrens findings has been advanced as a result, so I would prefer to let it stand.

      If I may make a more general point, I think we all have to be mature enough to accept that debate can be vigorous and push the boundaries but still be legitimate. I am the recipient of much criticism here and elsewhere, but then I also am a critic, so I accept what I get in return as part of the process. What people have to realise is personal attacks are unacceptable, but attacking someones ideas and arguments is not an attack on the person. For example I am critical of some of Ian Jones views and some of his methods but my view of him as a person is something altogether different - I have a great deal of respect for him and his lifes work. Same with Darren.

      The message I hope that is slowly filtering through about what kind of Ned Kelly site this is, is that its a place where robust debate and challenges to Kelly mythology can occur with all sides free to contribute as little or as much as they like. My offer to put up Posts from anyone who cares to submit something remains, but if no-body takes me up on it, they only have themselves to blame if their points of view are not aired. The only ‘contributions” that I have deleted or refused to post are ones containing personal abuse, foul language and irrelevant gossip, but its sometimes hard to know where to draw the line - if someone is labelled ‘ridiculous’ is that acceptable? What about crazy or stupid, or moronic, or a moron and imbecile...too much “moderation” will emasculate the Blog, too little and it becomes a feral
      back alley where nobody wants to go. So I do my best to get it right and by the way the numbers are increasing I am satisfied I am doing a reasonable job. The truth is THIS BLOG is the only Kelly place where anything is happening now days. The other two have imploded - and I am pleased!

    3. Thanks Dee for your response, I did get the pun with the bush 'forge' idea early on. However I would say those few that this headline concerns directly (with their credibility on the line) would consider the wit to be misleading to uninitiated readers of the subject stream, and would also consider it not that much "fun" either.
      The use of Darren's artifact as a catalyst for discussion on your blog is I believe the reason for such active blogging here, as it is an interesting topic for discussion.

  17. Yes Dee, it certainly is an interesting topic. But who got what wrong?
    I've heard it from the authorities they believe Darren's piece is a fraud.

    I find it interesting in this You-Tube video, you will see other iron junk laying around.
    In particular this circular iron hoop that happens to be the same rough shape diameter as Darren's piece, and which looks like an off cut from a roll formed and riveted pipe section perhaps also part of the Joe suit remains?

    Having had Darren's piece in hand, it had lain half buried in the ground with the above ground iron very much rusted away towards the 'fit' edge. I observed distinct chisel 'chomp' marks along the piece. Darren also showed me some tools, a block chisel that sort of fitted the size of the chomp marks.

    The thing that still worries me is the way Darren's piece seems too well rounded off on the fitted edge, considering the chisel operated from inside to outside as my sketches tell me.

    If it was a discarded off-cut no one would bother filling away sharp edges left over from chisel.

    Another thing that needs to be considered as a MUST, and would be to have Darren's piece fitted against the real Joe Byrne suit. I say this as the Benalla copy will have shrunk in physical size even thought no one would be able to see this. I know for a fact that there will be at least 2.5% shrinkage if not more in the overall diameter if latex on plaster is used so, if Darren's piece is original, it should be a better fit on the real Joe armour. [And] Each piece should exhibit the same chisel marks precisely when held together side by side.

    The video says they used a latex mould to make a copy,(actually Silicon Rubber not latex) but then I would ask what is the armour copy made of?
    If it was a metal casting using a lost wax process, then the shrinkage would be even higher than 2.5%.

    This means over a 400 mm girth length around the front breast plate, shrinkage would be at least 10mm.

    It would be difficult to say if Darren's piece would be a noticeably better fit on the real thing, but if the chisel marks don't match, then we have the answer.

    Pity Darren did not take up our offer.


  18. Thanks Bill, that was a really interesting video. I want to believe Darren's story, but the fact that the off-cut is such a perfect fit but of different metallic composition to the original armour is a problem. I hope no-one takes this the wrong way, but I am wondering how easy it would be for the off-cut to be a forgery. Could it have been manufactured by making a template for it from the copy at Benalla? If it was a forgery, how might it have been aged? I don't know much about metals, but why hasn't this off-cut rusted away if it has been exposed to the elements these past 135 years? Finally, Darren please don't remove the off-cut from the Vault, but perhaps change the way it is described to keep the doubters happy. And please make your own analysis results public asap. Wouldn't it be great if this was proven beyond all doubt to be part of the original.

  19. Replies
    1. I uploaded this video to show how difficult it is to cut 'chomp' by chomp a piece of flat iron plate. If Darren's piece was the 'Joe Byrne suit' off cut from the bottom right breast plate blow by blow, the discarded off cut part would have a certain amount of shape distortion that would not allow it to fit back without a lot of re bending, re shaping. Darren's piece is not consistent with off cuts that are discarded.

  20. Brian McDonald has quit the Ned Kelly Forum,saying “I’m extremely disappointed that on the both occasions that I’ve tried to call for respect it’s failed. Firstly on Dee’s blog where I was criticised by both Dee and you too Fitzy for making Dee’s blog “legitimate”, and now here in NKF.”

    To be honest, I am sad for Brian, especially because not a single person on the NKF has bothered to respond to this announcement, either to try to dissuade him from leaving or to offer their thanks for his many contributions to various discussions on the Forum, and for making a stand for their hero Ned Kelly. In particular the NKF Member whose responses to Brians earlier New Year ‘message’ were the last straw for Brian, Fitzy has simply ignored Brian, and continued on his merry way as if he had nothing to do with this.

    I remember last year Brian made some lengthy contributions to THIS blog, and his constant theme then as now in his New Year Message to NKF has been about being respectful in our discussions and refraining from abuse and intolerance of other points of view. No-one could seriously disagree with him on that score - its good advice - but I am not so sure I agree with his mother who taught him not to say anything unless it was nice. However I totally agree with him that on these Forums and Blogs its the Ball that should be played and not the man. Thats what I always try to do Brian, but if a person is telling lies what should one do? Ignore it or say something that might not be nice?

    Brian you will ALWAYS be welcome to post here, and if you think I am playing the man and not the ball then say so. It would be a shame for the Kelly World to lose your voice and your extensive knowledge just because of a few inconsiderate words in a Blog.

  21. Brian also wrote:

    “All I am asking for is for people, including you Fitzy and you too Dee, to present their thoughts without being nasty or critical of other people’s opinions or beliefs.”

    “It is really a shame that some anonymous people are so intent on attacking, denigrating and bullying other people.”

    Dee, as far as I am concerned writing what you have you are no better than that particular person or forum you like to constantly put down.

  22. I suggest perhaps you look again Dee, people did respond and with what appears to be genuine kindness. he was even asked to reconsider. they gave him credit for his contributions to various discussions on the Forum.

    1. Yes within 3 or 4 hours of my post going up on the subject two NKF Members have responded. Good on them. But its ominous for the NKF if only two people in 36 hours have actually checked their site, seen Brians comment and responded.

    2. I am not a NKF member Dee, you would have to no who I am to make those claims! But seriously I'm not, don't make judgement without proof. I can't speak for others but don't speak for me please. I was simply saying you should check, because what you said was actually untrue at the time you said it.

    3. Sorry to have to contradict you, but Brians announcement was at 06.31am on January 6th and my Post was online 28 hours later,at 10.19hrs this morning.The NKF Comments were made at 11.40 and the other at 2.04pm today. So please explain again exactly what it was that I said that was 'actually untrue’ when I said it.

    4. Well I can admit I was wrong but can you? you stick only to the parts where you can come out on top. is it problem when people claim you are someone your not? But if you do it to others that's alright then?

    5. There have been many times during the lifetime of this Blog where I have been wrong and admitted it. There will be more too I have no doubt. But no, its not a ‘problem’ when people claim I am someone I am not. Its just stupid, and its never relevant to any argument about the Kelly Outbreak. That why I am not interested in who YOU are.

    6. No, maybe not interested but you are using it to make a point. Your assuming I'm a NKF member because that suits your point of view not because it is true.

    7. Sorry but this is ridiculous. I’m not assuming anything about you, or accusing you of anything except making an assertion on here that was NOT TRUE. So I corrected it. I am to trying to prove anything else. End of discussion.

  23. I wish Brian well. He is one of the more decent and switched on "Kellyites" out there. What a bloody pity.

  24. Notwithstanding all the efforts to suppress discussion, I think that the latest "Anonymous" is a condescending, long-winded bore. I haven't counted them but the MacFarlane book has several hundreds of references. Morrissey's PhD thesis has nearly all of his references. And stop whinging about Dee, who has had the guts to tackle all the misleading, endless Kelly folklore.

  25. Murray Klinger 7 January 2016 at 22:17

    I think we have had the immense misfortune to hear from this time-waster many times over recent years in many forums - as a young girl in one of his various disguises. There's a recent clue on his derelict FB hatepage and repartee with Brian on NKF. There are so many giveaways its him. EeeeeekK!

  26. As I said, if harm is being done to the Vault, its not because I have asked some perfectly legitimate questions of them but because nobody from the Vault seems to be interested in answering them. No response in five days of intense interest in he subject! Perhaps their dilemma is a fear that by coming on here to defend the Vault, they are going to become a victim like Brian McDonald was, to ignorant NKF Members accusations that somehow they have ‘legitimised’ this Blog. Ive got news for those NKF people - this Blog is already well and truly legitimised by the hundreds of visitors who vote for it by coming here every day, by reading and commenting, and being challenged by the Posts and the diverse comments and discussions. Even the people who hate me enjoy coming here! But anyone who is afraid of the NKF needn’t worry - as Brian noted, almost nothing happens there anymore - its a spent force being abandoned to a tiny rump of ill mannered fanatics, whose biggest thrill this week was the recovery of a stolen Ned Kelly Letterbox. Pathetic!

    So it seems this discussion has come to its conclusion. I will Post something new tomorrow

  27. Let me just say so there is no confusion. I am the Anonymous who has been asking questions. or as you like to put it “vague and sweeping generalisations” <- (a lot)

    (If you need me to break this one down for you so you can respond to my challenge please let me know)

    So now it’s a “mine is bigger than yours” game with the NKF? Why? (Otherwise what is it you are getting out of your comments about them there?)

    “This Blog is already well and truly legitimised by the hundreds of visitors who vote for it by coming here every day, by reading and commenting, and being challenged by the Posts and the diverse comments and discussions.” (Are you just playing a fame game here?)

    And in that case your “pathetic” insult above is nowhere near as good as “your immature attempts to ridicule people once again, despite your inability to reason or reference, are appalling.”

    If criticisms can be dished out here, I would expect the critic to take what they give, that’s at least playing fair right?

    I have to quote you here though: “What I express on this Blog are my opinions.” If that’s the case then we don’t have to worry about the historical validity of anything you have to say, do we? Perhaps that’s why the Vault will not respond to you…?

    As to my questions (number 6 & 7) you responded with:

    “Well now you’ve given the game away haven’t you! Go away and read them, then come back and ask that question again.”

    (Might I just add, if I was seeking you out as a source of information, you’re intentionally deflecting my questions to protect yourself from perceived attacks, making you a difficult source of information to use.)

    But to save you from missing my point I have removed MacFarlane.

    So I will ask you again differently this time - I will base it on what you said:

    “The biggest disappointment with this book is its more or less complete lack of proper references. Why Morrissey decided to dispense with them is beyond me, because by leaving them out readers are denied the opportunity to verify his claims for themselves, and to a degree as a result his book is reduced to the level of just another version of the Kelly story: its Morrisseys word against Neds. Essentially Morrissey is saying “Trust me on this”

    My whole point to this is that you have actually stated your disappointment with something that you yourself do. All you are saying to your readers is “trust me on this”

    So the question again:

    Q: Why do YOU think there is more or less a complete lack of proper references in Morrissey’s book?

    And now the “see answer to question 6” response to question seven is invalid, so an answer to both of those would be great (but of course, excluding MacFarlane).

    So why do you stoop so low as to call people “pathetic”? That is something you have said you don’t do. Thoughts?

    1. The point of my last Post was to encourage the Vault to reply and make a case for itself, and not be bullied into silence like Brian was. The NKF, by the behaviour of its members and its practices has shrivelled into irrelevancy and should be ignored.

      But you are not asking these questions in good faith. Youve never read MacFarlanes book, as was demonstrated by your pretence to know something about it yesterday, claiming it had no references when its packed full of them. Thats why I wrote you’ve given the game away. Jacko answered your question about Morrisseys book, and so my answer to Q7 remains the same : Go and read them.

    2. What do you think I mean when I say: “I honestly and genuinely just want answers to my questions.”

      Then accuse me of not asking these questions in good faith? Seriously?

      And in another post below you have assumed and accused me of being a NKF member…

      I’m not, and I find it strange that you just freely make that claim, its immature. Couldn’t I just accuse you of being a disgruntled fan? perhaps that’s why you don’t like them? they didn't like you? (I’m NOT by adding that in by the way, just making a point)

      You are also assuming that I haven’t read MacFarlanes book because I made the mistake (yep mistake) of adding him into a question? Really….

      Even when said person is taken out of the question and that question is then taken from your exact words you still can’t answer it. The best you have to say is I’m not asking in good faith but as I stated to you before “I honestly and genuinely just want answers to my questions.”

      All I asked was what your opinion was in the matter to Morrissey’s book and the lack of references. You wrote about it!

      It’s just ridiculous that you accuse me of things like not being genuine and you do it despite the fact I have already said I am. And you have no idea who I am.

      I’m not attacking you. (your work is only what I question)

      You can’t back up what you have said in your own blogs even right now! Instead you just make excuses to avoid it.

      It would be fair to assume at this point that you can’t answer my questions maybe?

      So I have a challenge for you, since it states in your comments about this blog and you have said to me directly, challenges are allowed. My challenge is: Reference your work! Your next blog for example, just reference under it where you source your information.

      That way people can see what you’re saying has substance yes? I for one would happily debate with you on your points/posts if they come from valid sources and you reference.

      It’s fine to have an opinion. But “accurate facts” have to be based on what is KNOWN to be facts.

      You haven’t actually stated at all that anything you say is based on facts… just opinion.

      I want to remain Anonymous but I’m happy to sign my comments with a name if you like? (So I am not mistaken by you for a NKF members) not that I believe being a member would be a bad thing either!

      But if this helps.

      I have been involved with the Kelly story now for 13 years, (and if you think everyone is having a fit trying to work out who you are, wait till they read that! hahaha!) so please don’t take me for someone who would come into this without full knowledge of everything I ask. I’m not an idiot, don’t treat me like one.

      So your challenge, if you choose to accept it <- its immature I know but it has to be said!

      My challenge is: Reference your work! (Every bit of it, where you add information that is what you believe to be a fact, or is information available) next blog for example, just reference under it where you source your information.

      Surely this is a fair challenge?

      from now on i will be

      Jane <- (its old fashioned, ha!)

      now that i have once again said i just want the questions answered, can you or can't you answer them?

    3. Any knowledgeable person would regard someone claiming that Ian MacFarlanes book had no references as being ignorant, and would be perfectly justified in doubting the claim to be ‘genuine’ and to be making arguments in good faith. Not in the least ‘ridiculous’ as you say. So you only have yourself to blame for the predicament you’re now in, and why should I accept as genuine your attempt to extricate yourself from it by saying it was just a ‘mistake’? A ‘mistake’ like the one where you quoted Ian Jones swearing about Alex McDermott? The ‘mistake’ you made by uncritically accepting your childs teachers advice about Wkjipedia? You’re far too careless.

      I will say this regarding Morrisseys book : References are actually provided, but not in the usual fashion,and so my disappointment was on behalf of the ordinary reader who has not read the other works of Morrissey and who may not be familiar with the way in which records can be accessed. I didnt make this clear in that original Post, and so I again wonder if that is a book you’ve not actually read because if I was to be criticised in regards to what I said about Morrisseys book I would have thought it should have been my creation of the impression that there were no references at all in it. Its curious that you didnt notice that.

      So now you see why your Q6 has given you away, because its based on ignorance of both of these books. It therefore doesn’t require an answer and nor does Q7.

      In the future Jane feel very free to criticise anything I say in any of my Posts, but try and be directed in your challenges and more careful about your facts.

    4. Ok Dee,

      I have given you five times (count them!) a chance for you to show you are capable of backing up your own work and things that you say on this blog. But, to date, you have proven you ignore advice and criticisms. Then you go back to my original posts (note the lowercase ‘p’, it’s not a proper noun…) where you have comments like:

      “Vague and sweeping generalisations”

      “You make a reply very difficult by making such non-specific criticisms”

      But you can reply to them! You just did! (BUT only with insult which just backs up another one of my points.)

      I stand by my original comment made in the first reply! Because clearly you’re the only one who doesn’t get it! And thank you to the other Anonymous for the comment made (good to see someone on here understood my original statement)

      Your work has no credibility so I will just let everyone know that at this stage:

      I hereby ordain that the wizardry above nullifies all future claims by the aforementioned “Dee”. End of discussion. Thank you and goodnight.

    5. So you’re not Jane anymore? Another mistake? Or just carelessness? Or maybe this is another Anonymous masquerading as Jane? Or vice versa? But thanks for letting everyone know my work has no credibility. I am sure a person who can read Ian MacFarlanes book and just happen to forget its packed with references will be taken great note of. Oh and not to forget she is backed up by the Wizards.

      As for standing by your ‘original comment made in the first reply’ I might have to run a readers Poll to see if any of us agree on which particular comment in your first reply you’re referring to - once we’ve worked out which ‘reply’ from Anonymous was actually the original one to which you refer.

      But just for the record, your interest seemed to have narrowed down to Q6, which was about the lack of proper references in Morrisseys book, and I answered that in my previous comment by saying that in fact there ARE references in the Book, though they are not presented in the usual way. So in fact as there ARE references, your Q6 becomes invalid. How can a question about the lack of references in a book be valid when the book actually DOES contain references? I also gave you a free hit in my expression of regret that I hadn’t made that clear in the original post. And to make it clear regarding your Q7 which was based on an assumption that Morrisseys and MacFarlanes books had NO references, again, because the assumption is false, the question is invalid and has no answer. Exactly why Morrissey chose to do it the way he did is a question for him.

      So kindly stop asserting that I don’t answer your Questions because I have answered fully your 7 listed and ones and many of the others scattered throughout your commentary.

    6. Dee, it's long overdue to cut Anonymous loose. He/she hasn't made any contribution whatever here, only strange questions, unsupported allegations of bias by you, and lots of disordered thought bubbles and weird allegations. Gibberish!

    7. Dee, at the risk of making myself a target, I agree with others who think that certain of these anonymous posters of late are getting very tiresome. Seems they just want to derail or sink proceedings by sheer overload. They are sure serving their purpose in alienating viewers. Too bad there is not a way for you to reply to them behind the scenes and spare the rest of us, but since they are anonymous I guess there isn't a way. I am sure they prefer to have their "inquiries" seen by all.
      Oh, yeah, that is interesting that Jane has been in the Kelly world the same amount of time I have. Perhaps drawn in by the Heath Ledger film or Carey's book? Another thing, this whole game of who is whom and what gender gets old, too. As for who Dee is, or whether s/he sits down or stands up to pee, I don't care. Dee has presented herself as female, so I will just go with the current narrative until proven otherwise.

    8. Thanks for your thoughts Sharon and Matt. There have been other criticisms of Anonymice ( I SO like that as the plural of Anonymous! ) that, in the Spirit of Brian McDonalds urging to be more respectful in 2016, I haven’t let through as they were a bit too rude, but I understand everyones frustration. On the other hand, by allowing everyone a say, the Anonymice such as Jane, we can demonstrate to all the other Kelly places, and to everyone reading the Blog a degree of openness and tolerance that is found NOWHERE ELSE in the Kelly World. Even Matt Shore has begun deleting fair comment by people from what he describes as “Fake” Facebook Accounts. The truth is that these are REAL people who for one reason or another want to be Anonymous - as I do. And, in the Kelly World, given the sort of language that appears on their Websites and FB Pages, I think thats perfectly reasonable. I do actually think ‘Jane’, for all her rambling way of expressing things is genuinely interested and not just stirring as many of the others I could name are obviously doing. Thats why I took the time to give her my answers. I have NO PROBLEM with people being Anonymice, except that distinguishing one from another gets tricky as ‘Jane’ found out - it would be much better if everyone picked a name, real or made up, and an AVATAR, as I have done, and stuck to it. Personal attacks and vulgar abuse I will continue to delete, but the rest my commitment to free speech obliges me to let through. “Such is life” !!

  28. Seems there is more than one discussion going on here.
    Can I still make a posting about Darren's bush forge finding?

    1. Yes please Bill. I am sorry, I really am not sure how to deal with some of this stuff. I believe in allowing people to express their opinions, and quite often the Conversations meander off into other topics which can sometimes be interesting, but in this case I agree its becoming a bit tedious. I think we just have to accept that if we believe in freedom of expression, we have to accept the fact that we can be taken advantage of by insincere people acting in bad faith as I believe this person is.

  29. Excuse me, but who is this guy? He doesn't make any sense to me at all and I don't understand why you as moderator let this through. When I log on and see there is a new post I am always looking forward to see what new information might be there. But this is uninformed garbage and a large number of the 63 posts to date are from this person.

    1. We used to have a Forum where these sorts of discussions could take place in separate places, but Fitzy wrecked the Forum. I started it again and he wrecked that one too and continues to boast at having done so. This is the sort of thing I now expect from NKF Members who are probably the authors of these time wasting and insincere posts as well. I screen the worst of it but maybe I give them a bit too much leeway? My apologies Inquisitive. I’ll put up a new Post tomorrow and we can move on.

  31. I have prepared a blank of 1/2 RHS breast plate for cutting

    Here both ends have been cut - notice distorted off cuts

    Both model and replica have good fit of off cuts

    See red lines are consistent angles on both but off cut does not fit.

    All this goes to show why Darren needs to explain a few things.


    1. Bill,
      Up until now I have let your comments go unanswered.
      Your video showing you cutting a piece of mild steel must be some sort of joke. If you think that the armour piece I have was cut off this way then it shows your total lack of understanding of metal working, blacksmithing and metallurgy.
      I will correct the following points.
      1) The armour was heated to at least 800 degrees to enable it to be cut.

      2) The armour was cut from the outside of the suit not the inside.

      3) The armour was not cut on a flat steel bench or block.

      4) The armour was not made from mild or black steel.

      I will qualify these comments.

      1) The metal would shatter if heated to less than 800 degrees which is why there is a crack in the armour offcut. The metal was not hot enough at that point.

      2) The armour clearly has chisel marks from the front of the piece, not the back as you insist on believeing.

      3) The armour was cut from the outside over a curved piece of boiler plate som 1 ½” thick. I have that item, recovered from the forge site. It matches the curve perfectly as witnessed by reputable people.

      4) Go back to the ANSTO report and read what the metal actually was.

      Bill, I thought you were more intelligent than to stoop to making videos and comments about something you know absolutely nothing about to try and discredit me.

      Your comments on this are poorly researched, based on a total lack of understanding of the processes involved, and after getting some advice yesterday are potentally defamatory.

      I would suggest you wait until August when I will reveal all, including your attempts to use me and my items to make you look good.

      Thank You.

  32. Great Video Bill and now we all know what you look and sound like! In his email to me Darren seemed pretty confident that he will be able to explain all this, so it will be a fascinating revelation when he finally makes it all Public. And he did PROMISE it will be this year.

    1. Wait a minute! When did Darren send that email to Bill? I assume from the date stamp at the top that it was received at 10:50 today (9 January 2016). If that is the case I assume that the comment "I would suggest you wait until August when I will reveal all,...' suggests that Darren is talking about August 2016! If this is indeed the case, could Darren please explain why there is yet another delay in him producing the evidence which he believes will confirm the authenticity of the metal off-cut purportedly from Joe Byrne's armour? After all this has been going on for almost 10 years now!

    2. To be fair he did say it would be this year sometime, so August 2106 is consistent with that! SO now at least we have the deadline set in concrete! Better late than never I say!

  33. Darren,
    You see me cutting that little THIN plate model only to simulate how that blacksmith in the other video was cutting the breast plate. Are you suggesting Joe Byrne's suit was cut differently?
    Points 1-4

    Sorry Darren but my images above are about 'cut and fit angles' and not about 'metal temperatures'.

    Having made notes and rough sketches of your piece just after I was with you in 2008, I note it was cut from the inside along the curved surface showing chisel chomp marks. I drew the sketch for Bill K and Monash University as further observable information. I also note the cutting off from outside the curve on the short sides.
    I also noted -
    "I agree the off cut part found does look as if it has been hammered flat - since you would expect jagged edge 'un-finished' "

    The item you call 'boiler plate' was 'cast iron' ( not plate iron) probably used to line the inside of charcoal fired Furnas. But it could also have been a bolt on weight on a crane as there were some 4 big bolt holes in it for fixing. I considered it had nothing to do with the making of Joe Byrne's armour. This cast iron form just happens to have a similar shape to your piece. In the blacksmith cutting video, this indicates just how difficult it is to cut and separate iron plate on an anvil. Your curved cast iron would be no help in shaping the armour except as a template?
    The blacksmith in the video scores the plate while red hot, grooving then shearing blows on the anvil edge to shear separate as shown. There is absolutely no proof the armour was (bent) curved on that cast iron form, and if you tried you could not even do it to make it fit. Ask any professional blacksmith boiler maker using hand tools.

    For those interested that cast iron form can be seen in the picture of Darren sitting at the table. ( about half way up this page) It is nonsense to suggest that that cast iron form had anything to do with bending the whole side of Joe Byrne's armour, nor even your off cut.

    It does not matter what the metal composition actually was. But as you mention this, your piece was concluded by ANSTO, to contain NO lead [ Pb], unlike the Joe Byrne suit which, from 8 samples taken, 6 had lead. ( that is 75% certainty) Your piece by comparison had [Mo] Molybdenum, [Cu] Copper, [Ni] Nickel, while Joe's suit had none.

    Darren, why did you not take up our offer to have your metal tested by Bill K ?

    And, as Spudee asks 'why do we have to wait till August' for you to prove your case?


    1. Dee, do you know if Darren Sutton is still on track to publish his evidence re the Byrne armour in the near future? Also, what has happened to all the pictures that used to be on this particular subject?

      1. Hi Peter, unfortunately Blogger have changed something about the Blogspot functionality and inactivated code from third parties that we had been using to display images. Ive had several attempts at finding a solution but so far without luck. I usually run out of time whenever I find some spare to fiddle with the Blog and lately Ive been preoccupied with other things. I’ll have another look at it pretty soon, as its really had a negative effect on the quality of the discussions.

        As far as Darren Suttons book is concerned, the last I heard he had decided not to proceed with it, but has been invited to provide some sort of commentary on his work to the Vault for publication on their Facebook page. However, no date has been set for this, so apparently we must simply wait till he feels like it. Its certainly long overdue.

    2. The no pic show is a shame on Blogger. Perhaps Dee, get your own forum platform?

      I will try and at least attach the pictures that I put up through a link from my Ironicon site as a reply where my pics don't show.

      For those interested, if you have a link to a webpage or a picture hyperlink you want us to see you can use the NAME/URL in Select profile button-

      For instance here is a picture to show Darrens off cut would be highly distorted if Cold Chistel was used to cut off.

      Example: I use name 'Bill' - and write 'See Darren's off cut simulation'
      and use this hyperlink where is says URL

      The link next to my name should be live link to click on showing the you the picture.

    3. Visited the Kelly Vault today and sad to see that a number of references to the North East Republic are still on display as is the piece of metal allegedly an off-cut of Joe Byrne's armour.

      Later and against my better judgement my wife and I went on the guided Kelly walk. I should have listened to my inner and more sensible voice. Very early in the proceedings the 'guide' showed where his allegiance lay with what appeared to be a script written by every Kelly supporter known to man. There were about a dozen people on the walk and we learned about the corrupt and brutal police, the poor selectors of the region, noble Ned and of course the Republic of North East Victoria thrown in for good measure.

      But what really disturbed me was not just the obvious bias but the blatantly inaccurate and misleading information being fed to my fellow walkers - Fitzpatrick was a drunk throughout his police career, the special police train not only carried 60 officers and journalists but also many of their wives and on and on it went. We left the walk before its conclusion thoroughly disgusted.

      During the walk I held my tongue as instructed by my wife but I was furious at what the Beechworth Tourist Information supports as 'history'. The problem is that the garbage spruiked to people who know little or nothing of the Kelly story will be taken as fact, to be recanted later to continue the vicious cycle.


      1. Hi Spuddee, unfortunately the Beechworth tourist bureau seem to think that generating interest in Ned Kelly via redundant Kenneally-style 1920s pro-Kelly drivel with a generous sprinkling of Ian Jones, is more important than generating interest in Ned Kelly via new findings and factual evidence. I emailed them copies of both my articles (Fitzpatrick and the Last Words) right after they were published, and received an acknowledgement that they got them, so it's not as though they don't know. The trouble will be with the guide you got. I assume the guides are pro-Kelly nuts picking up some casual work, as nothing else explains their appalling bias and deliberate refusal to question wildly wrong old beliefs. It's like a religion for some of them, and they won't have a bar of rational discussion about Neddykins' failings.

        I did the Kelly Vault visit plus a walking tour ages ago when I was finishing writing up the Fitzpatrick article, chuckling quietly to myself about the crap I was told and how the central pillar of the Kelly myth (that "rotten" Fitzpatrick) would soon be demolished. Alas, I had not bargained with the Kelly cult... Sort of like a cargo cult, except with bushrangers.

        Two things stood out in the Kelly Vault. One was how little stuff they had. A massive enlarged photocopy of the 56 pages Jerilderie Letter, each individually framed like a Rembrandt, occupies most of the wall space in one room. How stupid is that, when anyone can download it as a PDF from the State Library?

        The second thing is the holy of holies, a manuscript chapter of Ian Jones' 'Short Life' in a glass display case, like veritable saint's bones, with his corrections and source references written on the open page. I was going to mail them the Version 16 draft of my heavily scribbled Fitzpatrick article for their collection, as it was a sea of red ink on most pages, because things kept changing as the work went on. I decided against it, however, as it had some rather blunt comments that there was no need to circulate. (It was toned down a lot before sending it in for consideration by the journal, but such is life.)

        The interesting thing was how Ian Jones wrote his references onto the typed manuscript. I would guess that his editor would have typeset the book script from that, then typed up the references, in the same order from the manuscript pages, for placing at the back of the book. The would explain the extraordinarily difficult referencing system where there are no numerical citations, like most books, but a sort of stream of references for each chapter that parallel the main text. Makes it damn hard to work through, that's for sure.

        The NE Republic is the last big balloon to burst, if we don't count the readiness of people to glorify the armour instead of seeing massacre suits made for shooting down into the gully at the intended derailed train. Some Kelly fans might be surprised to hear that 'North East Victoria' was the name of a police district that came into effect during the Kelly hunt. (See the Police Gazette district lists for each of those years.) Funny how the alleged Kelly republic was named after a police district!!!

      2. The more I think about it, the clearer it becomes about the true motives of many of the individuals and organisations connected to 'Kelly country'. The wide-spread mythology associated with that region on the Kelly outbreak greases many of the financial cogs that benefit from what people want to believe about the story. To have the illusions shattered by truth would probably present a more mundane tale of an murderous, organised crime group and today especially, that is not publicly palatable. Better to feed them what they want to hear than accurate history.

        And of course you were spot-on Stuart about the mercenary motives of our 'Kelly guide'. We had purchased a Gold Ticket (similar to Willy Wonka) which included entry to a number of attractions as well as 2 walks. As the guide checked tickets, he moaned about the fact that he was only paid for non Gold Tickets which were in the majority. And here was me naively thinking that he may have been a volunteer!.

        The visit to the Vault left me with that 'tapas' feeling - you know the one where you pay $80 and say 'is that it?' Very poor indeed. There was even a slightly political feel to the visit when another visitor asked the Vault attendant 'what was the date Ned was executed? His reply was 'the eleventh of November which as you know, is a notorious date for Australia.' I suppose it...'

      3. Hi Spudee, I have been a folk museum buff since I was about 10 or so, and have been to stacks of folk museums and national trust type places in Vic and interstate. The Burke Museum itself is marvellous, pretty much my idea of what an ideal museum should be, packed with interesting stuff crammed in everywhere. The Kelly Vault project by contrast I just felt ripped off. When I saw it, I thought everything in it could easily have been kept in the Burke. As others have said, it has become a Kelly shrine with little connection to historical reality. I would much prefer a gold rush exhibition in that space, which is what Beechworth history was really all about.

        There is a free bushrangers exhibition (‘Wild Colonial Boys’) in the old Treasury Building in Melbourne from now until August 2017. I gather it is not large, and has a Kelly section including Dan's armour which they have borrowed from the Police Museum. I hope to get there within the next couple of weeks and will be very interested in the signage, if they bother to say the steel suits were designed to protect the upper body while shooting downhill at a derailed train, or if they rabbit on about the glorious 'last stand'. “Bullet proof at 10 yards” is just right for what the gang intended.

      4. Spudee and Stuart. Good Afternoon. Nice work!! I am sure Patrick Watt and Matt Shore welcome your enlightened comments about all their hard graft on the Vault. You couldn't have shat on them/the vault harder if you tried. Congrats.

        I indeed look forward to visiting your museums and seeing your names on the bookshop shelves soon.

        Your paper Stuart on Fitzpatrick was brilliant. And it IS time old Alex is rehabilitated. Your thoughts on a lot of the Kelly story I concur with. Your other well vented thoughts about the guide work or the vault border on cruel and malicious though. You can spruik all this negative crap here if you want to a narrow audience. Or you could contact Matt directly with your thoughts. You will get a fair hearing.

        For the record, I believe the Vault does a great job and is a good experience. Even if I didn't, I would have the decorum not to defecate on it on a public forum such as this.

        Good luck with the storms headed your way.
        Love Mark. Adelaide.

      5. Hi Mark, I just googled "trip advisor ned kelly vault" and read all the comments back to January 2014, i.e. before it started up. It comes up under the Burke Museum. Only about 10 out of the 122 comments mention the Kelly Vault. These, plus all other comments just like my own, highly praise the Burke Museum itself. The most commented on features are the Burke Museum's great general collection, the stunning Victorian era streetscape, costumes, Japanese armour, and endless fascinating bits and pieces. As I said, it's one of my ideal museums. It also has a great Beechworth research collection, but their microfilm reader is an old model that can't print or save to USB. If anyone knows of a working one somewhere that could be donated, I'm sure they'd love to hear about it.

        Of the 10 comments that mention the Kelly Vault, all were positive. They say they added interest and knowledge to the Kelly story, and have no complaints at all. That's great, but given the ongoing endless slagging off of Fitzpatrick and the rest of the police force as the cause of all Ned's troubles, what historical "knowledge" is actually being added?

        Can we take the emotional attachment to Beechworth out of the equation, and consider the Benalla Pioneer and Costume Museum, which last year was renamed the Benalla Costume and Kelly Museum. When you go there now, you can go into an old portable cell and listen to an audio recording of the Kelly story that is almost straight out of Kenneally. So biased, historically naïve, and uncritical. Do we say nothing, despite their hard work upgrading their museum with this brand new focus? Do we leave unchallenged the wild historical errors being presented as real Australian history? Do we see things that are utterly at odds with clear historical facts, and let our kids swallow it blindfolded?

        What got me going on this Kelly stuff was the complete drivel being fed to my kid at school about what a great Australian legend Ned Kelly was. The book had the drunken Fitzpatrick, the police picking on the poor horse thieves, the gang's self defence at Stringybark Creek, and the heroic last stand with the police deliberately shooting into an inn full of women and children. Gosh, I almost started worshipping Ned myself.

        After a week's basic research it was obvious that the school book was rubbish. Putting the record straight means changing views on certain things. People are strongly attached to their views, and invest a lot of emotional energy into them, and into keeping them. I had no views at all on Ned Kelly before this, as we never did bushrangers at school, just the gold rushes, which are historically much more important anyway. After looking at a couple of Kelly topics, and seeing how much twaddle has been talked over the years, and how selectively biased a lot of the "research" has been, it seemed that an objective look at all the available evidence on some specific topics had a good chance of clearing some fog.

        I could just as easily support Ned Kelly against his critics as be one of the critics on an issue, if that is where the evidence leads. However, on the 2 topics examined so far (Fitzpatrick and the Last Words), the analysis shows that Fitzpatrick's testimony can be corroborated, and that there were no famous last words. The first one changes the game, as no-one can say, except on blind faith, that Fitzpatrick was the cause of Ned's troubles. Rather, Ned was the cause of Ned's troubles. This means a major rethink of all subsequent parts of the Kelly story is in order. It also means no longer perpetuating nonsense as historical truth. I did not 'defecate' on the Vault, as you put it, just note its obvious bias. My main issue was with the walking tour commentary, similar thing to Spudee's experience. The Vault and the tour are 2 different things.

      6. Of course we are all entitled to our opinions Mark and mine is that the Vault is a waste of time and the price of admission. Both Stuart and I have pointed out the nonsense on display there regarding the Republic of North East Victoria. But despite the lack of sources for the claim they still spruik this unsupported myth.

        If they want to be taken seriously as some sort of museum and archive then they need to at least be honest. But I will certainly apologise if they can produce sourced proof of the republic claim. Maybe you have some with which to enlighten us Mark? As far as the 'guide' is concerned, have you ever been on the walk and listened to what he tells the public? If so and as one whom I sure expects honesty in history, I would expect that you would bring his guff to the attention of the appropriate authority.

        Apparently you don't believe in free speech if it is not what you want to hear. But the beauty of a blog like this is that we are allowed to express opinions, something I would have thought you would be in favour of.


      7. Stuart. Thanks for the considered feedback. Appreciated. I am not simply pro Ned. I think Morrisseys book is one of the most important on the subject. The thing is, you can voice your concerns to the management of the vault.

        Spudee. Yes, I do indeed believe in free speech. Unlike Stuarts response, i detect a bit of "smart arse" in yours? I could be wrong. It's often difficult when reading a post. PLEASE ENLIGHTEN ME?

        No, I haven't been on the walk. I would say things I shouldn't. I am "that" guy...
        But i've been a student of the Kellys for many years. So no need. And would Sharons response to the walking guides patter be the same as yours? Sharon is pro Kelly and would have a different viewpoint..

        A total about face in the guides story would make it less appealing too. And not so good for business. I am sure you are aware of that aspect. Whether right or wrong.

        And here's the BIG question: Why do the vast majority of Aussies venerate crims? Stuart would need to write a thesis to even scratch the surface i suspect... Graeme Seal did a fair job of addressing this in his book "The Outlaw Legend". Interested in your thoughts though.

        And here's the other thing I wonder? How does the average "Ned Head" present the story to their young children? I was always taught to respect the Police and believe in them. Kids with Ned fans for parents may not be getting the same message.. Which bothers me. Anyway, that's a discussion for another time. And a robust one I bet it will be...

        Anyway, the point I continually try and make here on this firebrand of a forum when peoples work is criticised is that good manners cost nothing. Another good cliche is putting your money where your mouth is. I look forward to seeing your name on the bookshelves soon ....

        Cheers again and goodbye.
        Mark. Adelaide.


          1. Mark you must be some sort of cryptographer to have determined that my post was a bit of a 'smart arse'. Try as I might I can't find a trace of it. But as far as Sharon's possible response to participating in the Beechworth Kelly Walk, pro Kelly or not, I suspect that she too would be appalled at most of its ludicrous content. However, as you rightly suggest, any change would indeed be not good for business.

            As to the 'heroic' crims in Australian history, I too am perplexed and this would be a great thesis for someone like Stuart to pursue. But I don't think the concept is unique to Oz. The Brits seemed to have venerated their highwaymen back in the day and we all know about the Yanks and their outlaws.

            Finally and without blowing my own trumpet, I have in fact written many articles on Australian military and social history which have been published in major newspapers here as well as overseas. I have also had published a fairly complex and lengthy biography. However, as I lack the courage to deal with vindictive and nasty cyberic (is there such a word?) people, I will retain my anonymity by way of my nom de plume. I'm sure you will understand Mark.

          2. I do understand Spudee. Would be interested to read some of your gear though...