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Death of the Legend
28 March 2020

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Read complimentary article by David

The Kennedy Tree Group Facebook page


        Bill Denheld,
        Kelly researcher.












The Kennedy Tree Group Report - Stringy Bark Creek

28 April 2021 Update;     The Kennedy tree is Dead by  Dr David McFarlane

12 months after the KTG group submitted their 'Kennedy Tree' findings to Heritage Victoria as being of  archaeological significance, their two reports were evaluated by several experts, one of whom was well known Dr Kevin Tolhurst who advises Governments on bushfire management and is a Eco System and forest scientist. After careful reading  the KTG reports with  a on site visit, he proclaimed the KTG tree's biological size had failed the growth test when compared to the Burman photo tree of 1878.

Click on K.T.Group image
to read Dr David McFarlane's blog post

" The Kennedy Tree is Dead "


Read Dr. Kevin Tolhurst’s critique of the KTG report .pdf -

This expert announcement pretty well echoes exactly what I wrote in my critique far below dated Dec 2019.
Its a pity Govt authorities cannot take on board the evaluations of dozens of amateur historians, archaeologists and authors alike. Surely, after 20 years of squabbling about several Stringy Bark Creek locations, it is time to organise a full review of all locations along SBC allowing each party to submit their case to a selected 'panel of experts' via a recorded public symposium, date, time and place to be announced. Please watch this space 
Thank you Kevin Tolhurst for bringing sense to the vocal well meaning ignorant.

24 June 2020
We can thank the Benalla Ensign to run with these stories. It really is astonishing that fully grown mature people can argue so much for so long about fundamental things like tree dating, dubious locations, photo forensics, all based on beliefs. Science, logic and common sense seems to have taken second place over egos and BS. As much as we can admire these investigation interests, in the end all published reports need to stack up and open to scrutiny.

This webpage titled 'de-fencing the ktg-report' - is a play on words, as they are 'de fending a notion that a Post & Rail fence can be seen in the Burman photo - re de fencing. The notion that a steep slope can be seen at  relatively flat ground, the notion that a twisted tree PC4 can be seen in the same Burman photo, the
misconception of distances in the photos, the age diameter of a 200 year old tree, are all of great interest, and all these points need to be considered.

In the end its not who is right or wrong, its about historical correctness and honesty.

Please click on the image article by Benalla Ensign journalist and editor 'Simon Ruppert' .

10 June 2020 Update
Following a defamatory -'No Respect for History' article in the Herald Sun 16 March, (aimed at me), I thought it was time to tell my story. It is hoped sensibilities will prevail and that the silly-ness of not allowing  history students visitation to the real sites is a doomed wish on the part of all the authorities.
Please click on image article by Benalla Ensign journalist and editor 'Simon Ruppert' .

'No Respect for History' article was in the Herald Sun 16 March 2020.
It was Leo Kennedy's attempt to make the simple act of metal detection look like vandalism of a 'sacred site'- please click on image to read his and my parody, and read who has no respect for history.

24 March 2020
The Kennedy Tree Video Complaints Dismissed 
by Heritage Victoria

After I posted my You Tube Video recording of raking and metal detecting at the “Kennedy Tree” several complaints were made to DELWP. After viewing the video, a DELWP official interviewed me by phone. I confirmed that nothing of value was detected at the KTG site and it was barely disturbed. However, I also informed the Official of a find of possible significance that I made in 2014 with Leo Kennedy when we detected what I believe to be a more convincing ‘Kennedy Tree’ on the east back of SBC, of a lead ball, possibly a bullet from a .31 calibre revolver of the kind used by Ned Kelly.


Click here or image to read the full report and about the small lead ball.

24 February 2020, The KT Group
' Kennedy tree site' was given a run over with a METAL detector by me.

  Here is a question-'Did the KennedyTree Group jump the gun?  

Over two days of metal detecting the site was tested for bullet and gun shot lead deep in the ground.

You might be surprised to see what we found -

Click on the image to see the video.


10 January 2020, The Kennedy Tree Group on their Face book page are taking a pause due to the fires in North. East Victoria. It is hoped everybody is safe up around there.

While they are so adamant and rejoicing their identify
ing the 1878 police camp site, one VERY important feature which nine thousand nine hundred and ninety six people see in the back ground of the Burman police camp site photo1, is the steepish slope in the back ground, all except the K.T.Group of four.
1 January 2020 ; A posting by the team want readers to believe their slope is vegetation and not a slope at all.
I thought I'd show this composite I prepared. It shows a bent tree they call PC4-  that is not even seen in the Burman photo yet they are sure it is, but their claim to show this area some 500m north of the Kelly tree where they say the 'SLOPE' is. I ask, are you convinced of their slope?  This PC4 tree is supposed to be seen in the Burman photo below.

They reckon the slope behind the standing man is the same ground behind the group of four. Can you see it ????

Please click on image to enlarge.


Now take a look where PC4 is located on a scale map of the area- Yet all PC1,2,3,4 trees have to fit in the 20 m diameter circle, yes they are serious !   Yet that is the true scale area into which all the logs, trees have to fit including a steep slope ridge only 45 meters from where the photo was taken, at the two huts site No1 on map below
. Yet, their scenario would require 4 times the area of '1', see figure 5 below not even counting PC4 twisted tree that can't fit the circle by 100 metres.

Based upon true science and photography, photos do not lie, except when digital pixelation changes tree leaves into post and rail fences (which the KTG also like to see). However, just as a photo captures an image and placement of things all through a tiny glass lens, this arrangement can also reconstruct a scene. In 2009 I decided to reconstruct the Burman photos with model logs, and just as what is seen when Burman clicked the camera shutter, I was able to align the important parts of the photo as below. A 3m grid was used for distance of two posts of hut and a standing man's height.


This image above is a true scale layout gleaned from the Burman photo. At right see PC1,2 and 3 in 20m circle. This simply means the KTG scenario is way out and those trees they have identified have nothing to do with the police camp.

28 December 2019 :  ~ The Kennedy Tree Group report ~
In around June Noeleen Lloyd, Adrian Younger, Tony King and Jim Fogarty had presented their Kennedy Tree Group (KRG) report document to the authorities; their claim to finding the 'Police camp site at SBC, and the Kennedy tree. The authorities were DELWP, Heritage Victoria, and the Vic Police Museum- all except people who take a serious interest in these places. However, according to local newspaper Wangaratta Chronicle, the authorities had not replied.

On their dedicated Face Book page (linked left)  their numerous tree findings all along SBC, they were very reluctant to telling Wang readers how they came to make such conclusions. And despite being told of their supposed findings 10 months ago to me and and small group while we attending a police ceremony at SBC, this team did not want to share their finding with anyone that might shine the light on their presumed claims. Well I thought, thats fine don't share the knowledge -lets wait and see what the've got, and if it all stacks up then I will congratulate them when they show me I was wrong. Numerous offers of help failed primarily on the basis of mis-trust, I was told 'we might steel their thunder', well that was a sign of respect. But then they had set the 14th December for their presentation where they would hand out their report to those prepared to attend at Greta Hansonville way up in N.E. Victoria. This place is some hundreds of KM from most of us down south. Many queried why their report could not be made available online prior to the 14th Dec so that their stupendous findings could be openly discussed.

Their claim to have identified the very same Kennedy tree as shown in the Burman photo (below) is interesting as Leo Kennedy and myself had worked hard on finding this site during early 2014. I called this the Leo tree with him standing in front. This Leo tree might well be the TRUE Kennedy tree because its on the EAST bank of SBC, whereas the KTG have their tree on the west bank and by the most  primary of sources
is incorrect as-, the Sergeant's body was found to the East of Stringy Bark Creek, and on the opposite side of the creek to where Const Scanlan's body was found.

Their~The KTG Report~  'became publicly available online after their presentation , so we also make it available here for your easy access. You can view it or download by placing your mouse on the link and right click- then select destination folder and left click. There are two files- SBC Police camp Report.    the other    The Kennedy Tree at SBC report.    

Now that I have read their report,
I say 'Oh my golly gee willikers', are they serious ?

I want to begin with this Leo Kennedy tree from our 2014 investigation so you will understand what my pictures are all about. At the time Leo and I identified one large tree selected not for its size but the terrain on which it stands, a flattish space of 8 metres around about with slight rising background as seen in the Burman photo (below) and the relative distance from the police camp as from the Two Huts site as being the Police camp. We crossed the creek from there to sus out every nook and cranny. You will see reason why the photo below of Leo was taken - to make a tree diameter comparison.

The picture below shows a simple comparison, first by accepting that both men centre and at right are of similar stature ( which I believe they are) and the similar distance in front of their tree. From that set up a ratio of tree diameter to figure height can be fairly accurately gauged. The growth difference over 140 years since the Burman photo was taken, suggests our Leo tree being around 40% bigger in diameter at waist height, see white line. This 40% may still be questionable because this only represents a 60 cm increase in diameter if this Leo tree was the Kennedy tree, - I will explain later.

Using a perspective grid drawn over the Burman photo we can see a perspective cube around at the left man's size.
I decided at ground level a foot line direct from the right mans boot to the foot of the tree as the start of a cube which worked out about the same as the man's height. The cube around him was determined by his height at 167 cm squared. The proportions look about right. Then another cube was added to his right, to encompass part of the tree base.

It also happens that the man's height matches the distance on the ground, thus we can estimate that the 1878 tree was around 3 foot or so in dia at shoulder height, with an average estimate of - 110 cm dia across. Then we add 40% = 154 cm or 1.54 m across being the tree behind Leo is around 1.6 metres in diameter, actually 1.57m. So this tree could fit the age and size if it was only 1.1m dia at waist height (as the white lines in the above images indicate).
Note the red line represents the right man's height 'in perspective'. We can ignore the taller man at left but concentrate only on the drafted cubes around the man at right.
Please click on the image below to see full size image.

This image is to demonstrate simply how a perspective grid and calculations can provide meaningful measures. However the KTG team have determined the Burman photo tree was only 75.5 cm, while I calculate blue line at 104 cm.

Okay, then now lets meet - The Kennedy tree group. :
At left,
Tony King, Adrian Younger, Noeleen Lloyd and Jim Fogarty.

Disbelieving 17 years of serious research by dozens of historians to identify the true site of the police camp at SBC, Tony and Adrian thought they had seen a tree that looked like the one in the Burman photo. Noeleen asked her friend Jim for botanical advice on trees as he is an expert in landscape garden design, and after identifying certain vegetations and tree species, they grouped and were so convinced they had found the Kennedy tree, they used that tree as a starting point to find where the police had camped,- all based upon trees exclusively seen in the ' two Burman photos'. Unfortunately though they ignored primary source material such as land topography in the photos as primary sources, as well as the location of two huts fireplaces, then the general lay of the land -slope including a swampy bit of ground to the north of the police camp, and their findings are all to do with look alike trees. ( not a good look if you ask me)

The problem with their tree today is it's still the same size as in 1878 ?

Left image: This is their tree made to look like the old Burman photo tree.

The KTG team have creatively placed  life size 'men' cut outs near their chosen tree, and photographed the scene to replicate the Burman photo as above.

This is well done, but for what purpose?
Obviously to convince the viewer that this tree looks like the one in the photo- so perhaps it is, but to go to that trouble without further in depth investigations before making their announcement public is a recipe for ridicule, and could have been avoided if other peer group parties had been consulted, and only then should a report have been put out.

As similar thing happened when I instigated a proper investigation after coming across the two fireplaces. I invited what became the CSI@SBC team, but there was a condition that no report be put out until all involved agreed to one place where the police had camped.

However, most readers will know the story, three of the group were so convinced by Linton Brigg's conviction as being near the Kelly tree and the place where the police had camped, they published their report without considering our agreement, and the CSI team have been the butt of ridicule ever since. So this new team of experts will also have to wear the brunt of their sloppy research, and have to explain to the public their poorly conceived theories.

The following images will demonstrate their supposed Kennedy tree is seriously flawed.

Image below:
You will see the 'men figures'. I have transferred them from the Burman photo (by photo shop) to illustrate they are near the correct size as KTG team have placed them, all except for the man on left, he should be higher up, and the little man set too far back brought forward. This three part image demonstrates the flaw in their argument.
Conclusion:  Their tree is the same size as the 1878 Burman photo. But how can that be after 141 years?

Click on the image below to see full size.

Now take a look at this next set of images: The centre image shows Tony King and Adrian Younger shoulder to shoulder in front of their Kennedy tree. Notice on the image (right) where their outline is traced against a much bigger three. Then also notice on that unrelated tree, they sought to show its size and age- but this one is more likely the correct size because 3 and more figures can span its diameter cross section, and yet their K tree spans only two of them. 

                                                     The yellow text above right reads; "This is not the proposed Kennedy tree but one that shows considerable size and age. We can see one tree can shoulder 3 and 1/2 persons where as their Kennedy tree only two persons. The above big tree (at right) is said to be more than 2 m Dia and 360 years old while their K tree is estimated at 230 years old. One then wonders how the supposed K tree at far left can be the tree if its only 1.3 m in Dia in 2019, and over the last 140 years it must have grown some 40% since 1878, and therefore their Kennedy tree was a mere 80 cm or less in Dia in 1878.
Conclusion: The tree at far left can not be the tree near where Sgnt Kennedy's body was found.


This above image (left) demonstrates how small their tree would look when reduced to a mere 80 cm in Dia as it may have been in 1878, and then over 140 years grow to 1.2 m plus diameter by 2019. But this tree shown (centre image) is still around the same size as in the 1978 Burman photo at right ?  It is therefore reasonable to expect a much larger tree today.

However the (above) size comparisons are only my immediate observations, and while the KTG team estimate their tree to have been only 75.5 cm across in 1878, while their report on page 5, " Finding the Kennedy tree"
they show a 'Sample1 - cross cut tree ( below) having average growth rings 4.3 mm apart , but lets assume after a long life the tree grew slower as it got bigger to have growth rings 2.3 mm which I have recorded myself with the Kelly target tree recovered from Kellys Creek in 2004. - then lets average this to 3.3 mm per year, and as the tree grows 3.3 mm around the circumference we multiply x 2 = 6.6mm Diameter per year, and over 140 years = 924 mm or 92.4 cm.

Below: image from KTG report of a Sample1 tree log with 4.3 mm growth rings.
                                                                                                          Then from the previous calculations, - 

What does 92.4 cm mean for the KTG  tree
Answer: it was only an 8 inch or 20cm tree in 1878.
My estimation of their current chosen K tree with the men cut outs, as above central image, would be 110cm across at the white line, then minus 92.4cm = their tree to be around 18 cm across in 1878.
This equates to their tree in 1878 having a diameter of less than a dinner plate.
Conclusion: The whole case for the K.T.Group  claiming their discovered K tree being the very same tree where Kennedy's body was found is VERY unlikely given the growth and diameter discrepancies here demonstrated.


The next part of their report will be their site for the Police camp.

To give you an idea of what the Two Huts site looked like in 2010, comparison this with Burman site 138ys later.

Compare the numbers in each photo and you decide if its a good match ?

Now look at the KTG view they believe is the same place- as seen via Google Earth tour.

Left images from Page 12 'Finding the 'Police Camp'.  Right image my G Earth tour of SBC road.

On the right are the trees they can see in the Burman photo. I ask them 'where has that slope gone? OMG !

They also discovered a twisted tree PC4- that nobody can actually see in the Burman photo, but they found it only 72 metres down the road from PC1 - on the right.  Well what can I say ! That is amazing.

I would like to ask, can pick out that PC4 tree in the image below, although I had no trouble finding it on SBC road drive by tour exactly where they plotted it on their GE map.

Seriously below, The Kennedy tree group stand near their PC4 tree along Stringy Bark Creek road, as on their Face Book page posted 1 Jan 2020. They say "The background group are lined up to demonstrate how the post and rail fences extended west up the slope from the old bridle track. On the other side (east side) of the bridle track was the shingle hut that is marked on the 1884 survey"  Well what can I say, except I have a letter from people that lived up top end of SBC 'Charlie Engelke' who wrote that in the vicinity of where they stand was the humpy hut of a hermit Bob Majers* , he just down from the old house thought to have been built by Beaselys closer to the picnic ground. * Letter from C.Engelke dated 20Jan 2003.

So, here is their layout that I was able to plot on Google Earth - Please click on images for full size views.

Here below is my model log layout of the Burman photos first laid out in 2002. Subsequent refinements have been made to the layout with trees added for clarity on this page to demonstrate the Burman photo area is no bigger in size than a tennis court, yet the KTG team need an area the size of a football oval to encompass their tree sojourn.


This image below is on Page4 'Finding the 'Police Camp' so you don't think I'm just making this above view up.

The following section is about their Post  and Rail fence.


Page3 of 'Finding the Police Camp' Amazingly apart from seeing a Post & Rail fence, they also claim the slope in the background behind the standing figure is "Pixelated shrubbery that creates the illusion of a hill."

If there was a Post & Rail fence, then what is it doing up in the top of shrubbery?  Quite obviously this is all looking like a public practical joke. They must be joking to have a bit of fun? Well no, they are deadly serious. So serious in fact that while they say they want to allow debate on their Face Book page, they manipulate what can be seen by some but not others. Proof of this is when I posted some 3 of my (upper) tree dimension pictures with direct questions to Jim Fogarty, my postings are not to be seen by anyone except for me, I can see my postings but no one else can.  Now that is what I call transparency.

Anyhow, lets examine their Post and Rail fence. Here below is an image that might surprise them.

Quite obviously we are looking past some trees onto a steep slope. Sweeping through the right of the oval is a bent sapling with leafy foliage extending out the oval. This image is a blow up scan from Kieth McMenomy's 2001 Ned Kelly edition. The next image has the oval over the area where KTG team say is a Post &Rail fence. See if you can figure it out.  -- --- ---- ---- -   I can.

This oval area shown is only 25mm across (1 inch) in the Burman photo 'No1, an enlargement from Keith McMenomy's Ned Kelly book: The Authentic Illustrated History- 2001 edition Page 90. There are roughly 170 raster dots across the oval, but your average computer screen for the same area has only 72 pixels wide per inch. If you divide 170 by 72 you get 0.972. This is an un equal number, so when an image is expanded an interference pattern occurs like looking through two fly wire screens you see a interference lines cris crossing the screen. When people view photos on their devices the computer creates the best adjusted image, and sometimes creates things that are not actually in the original photo. The image above is but a very rough reproduction of the original- very pixelated printed version. WE CAN BE SURE the image above is as close to the 'primary source' information in the photo unless someone can find the original large glass plate negatives Burman processed.

<                 this image was only 10 cm wide                   >  <          this image actual size is about 50 cm wide        >

Here above (right), we see a high resolution image where this section of Burman photo would be 50 cm wide, whereas, on the left the same image was crunched down to only 10 cm wide losing millions of pixels, - and then expanded. And guess what ?  There now appears to be a bunch of logs lying on the slope that are not in the original. What is going on?

I must add that back in 2002 while at SBC with Gary Dean, I also asked the question about the Burman photos appearance of a fence in the back ground. We were at the Jones site on the east bank and we crossed the swamp to examine the slope when we realised fallen saplings lying across west to east even in 2002. Gary went one way and I the other exploring through the thick scrub when I came across one of the fireplaces of a hut. We knew it was important, and the following week I found the second fireplace.

In the following YouTube video -  I will try and explain how digital pixelisation interferes with printed photo 'raster dots'- 

Before I had composed this critique, this blog Ned Kelly Unmasked by David McFarlane had already raised poignant questions about the KTG report, and while I don't agree with most of David's anti Ned sentiments , old Kelly history translated into terms of today, his thread topics are most interesting and a must read and need reply for like 50% of the population I remain a Kelly sympathiser. I know David's stance is more to do with having proper public debate about the Kelly story, rather than to putting Ned down, however he provides insight form the other side of the 'fence' and here we go again that fence word.

Its hard to fathom why rusted on Kelly fanatics, or Kelly family descendants are not willing to engage to open debate -to open up the true history of the Kelly outbreak. We have to respect David, for he is the only one fighting for some balance following decades of soppy Ned hero worship. After Ian Jones passed away, I have been waiting for the next Guru to surface to carry ground swell support for Ned, but until that happens I think David is turning the tide.

David is also a fighter for justice and has always supported rational debate about sites at Stringy Bark Creek. I know this because we met up at SBC I showed him around years ago, so he is more familiar with the place than most here reading this.

Several days ago I posted one of my images on his blog page with more to come, and David's writings on the subject i,e,- the KTG's Trees and Post & Rail fences are a treat to read if you want to get a balanced view from a true professional. But I suppose by the material the KTG have put out we can probably see an unwillingness  to see the truth rather than an intellectual divide  synonymous with sticking to one's belief with eyes shut. We still have to respect the effort the KTG team have put into their report, but it remains very difficult to respond if they hide participants postings if it happens to contradict their dodgy beliefs. How four seemingly honest team members can be all led astray - and by the sounds they all believe it, this is the reason I prepared this webpage because there seem no other way to communicate and allow the casual  visitor from knowing the historical truth.

A most disturbing thing about the internet is its influx of fake news, fake archaeology, and fake history.

I hope this page has made a few readers more aware so they can make up their own minds without being hoodwinked by un substantiated claims. 

If you have a comment you want to make, go to David's webpage here KTG report One week later     
or send me an email with your thoughts for  Feedback to Iron Icon
Thanks for your time,