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Outlawed The Real Ned Kelly


The documentary “Outlawed: The real Ned Kelly” was first broadcast on ABC TV in 2003. A year ago, on December 18th 2014., it became available on You Tube and since then has been viewed 14,930 times and attracted 36 comments. You can watch it here.

Its worth watching, even if only to see what a few of the modern Kelly identities look like – Ive already mentioned David Griffiths, but there’s also Noeleen Lloyd, Judith Douthie, Michael Kennedy, Christopher Bantick and Professor John McQuilton, the author of one of the landmark Kelly books “The Kelly Outbreak”.

It’s a very slick production with highly professional but brief re-enactments of various scenes from the Kelly story, some quite romantic photography of the beautiful Kelly country bush, horses and farms interspersed with “talking heads” like McQuilton and Bantick, as well as a “CIB Trained Crime Profiler”, Steve Longford who provides an intriguing assessment of Neds personality. The rich baritone of Jack Thompson recites a compelling narrative, and overall, as entertainment, its quite brilliant. As History though…well as all Kelly buffs on all sides of the debate know, nobody ever gets it right!

As seems to be usual with people wanting to tell the Kelly story, it starts with the inevitable largely rhetorical question “Is this man Australia’s greatest rebel Hero, or simply a murderous thug?”

As I have stated time and time again, reducing the entire complex Kelly outbreak to this absurd dichotomy is merely a debating trick, a ploy designed to confuse the issues and maintain the view that Ned Kelly was a hero. It’s as stupid as asking if Pol Pot or Stalin was a visionary leader and revolutionary icon, or mass murderer. The reason those comparisons seem absurd is because we are all agreed on the facts about these people and there is no need to keep asking ourselves if they are heroes or villains – its been settled long ago. The same should also be true of Ned Kelly.

The trick here is to suggest a choice has to be made between a possible truth – that Ned could have been a rebel Hero – and an impossible one – that Ned was ‘simply’ a murderous thug, when its clear to anyone with even a rudimentary knowledge of Ned Kelly, that there was nothing ‘simple’ about him or about the Kelly outbreak. Who writes phrases like “a parcel of big ugly fat necked wombat headed big bellied magpie legged narrow hipped splaw footed sons of Irish Bailiffs”? Who designs and builds crazy body armour and takes on a train-load of Police? Who announces that he fears death ‘as little as to drink a cup of tea’ and says “Such is life” before he’s hanged? A simple murderous thug? Of course not! So, as no other choice is offered he must be Australia’s greatest Rebel Hero!

Inevitably therefore, the overall tone of the Documentary is that Ned Kelly was indeed Australias greatest Rebel Hero, notwithstanding the attempts to provide ‘balance’ by having a Police point of view, the opinion of the Crime Profiler and the comments of Christopher Bantick. Whereas the believable McQuilton is seen out on site at Glenrowan, Griffiths is shown picking at the dry dusty soil and leaning on a rustic fence and Noeleen Lloyd sitting under a eucalypt out on the selection, Bantick, in beige trousers pontificates from a comfortable lounge room, and the Crime Profiler is in a high rise overlooking the Melbourne CBD – what would these ivory tower arm-chair academics know?

And after the Police are murdered at Stringybark, the voice-over is a quote from the Jerilderie letter, spoken with an irish accent intended to be Ned expressing regret saying “I cannot have felt more sorry for them – this cannot be called willful murder; those men came into the bush with the intention of scattering pieces of me and my brother all over the bush”. This quote is typical Ned Kelly blarney from the Jerilderie Letter – crocodile tears for Police shortly before he began preparing to massacre many more of them at Glenrowan.

Whats worse than this subtle undermining of the contrary arguments are the overt misrepresentations and falsehoods presented as fact. We have already remarked on David Griffiths solemn description of how the Police killed the Kelly cows and horses by poisoning their dam, an item of his familys oral history based on a lie told by Ned Kelly. It didn’t happen! Worse still is the sequence immediately after reconstructing the Police murders at Stringybark Creek in which McQuilton dramatically lifts a covering on a Police pack horse to reveal the infamous “body straps” and four guns McQuilton describes as “State of the Art” Martini-Henri rifles. He explains that the Police possession of these articles supports Neds later claim that the Police had come armed to the teeth and with every intention of killing him on sight, and therefore Ned was justified in killing them in self defence. However as we now know, the body straps are a modern addition to the story, and as McQuilton ought to have known the Police only had two rifles, and only one of them was “state of the art”. It was a Spencer rifle borrowed by the Police from a Gold Escort guard the day before the Police left Mansfield. Apparently the Policemen didn’t actually know how to use it. The other rifle they had was a “fowling piece” used to kill parrots....so here, the case against the Police is created out of gross misrepresentation.

There are also huge errors of omission in this attempt to define the “real” Ned Kelly. There isn’t a single mention of the criminal background of the entire Kelly clan, of the feuds and fights between various factions within it, of Neds fathers alcoholism, of Neds earlier criminal charges for violence, obscenity, highway robbery and horse theft. Aaron Sherrit, an intimate associate of the Gang killed in cold blood by them, is described as “a local man they suspected of being a Police informant” – a deliberate concealment of the truth about the coldblooded killing Kelly authorised, using a friends murder to lure the Police into a trap, the massacre he planned for them at Glenrowan.

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Posted by Conspiracy Cafe on March 21, 2018 at 9:27 AM 240 Views