Adjust Font Size [ + ] [ – ] [ o ]

Victorian Archives Centre public opening hours

Monday to Friday: 10:00 am to 4:30 pm
(excl. public holidays)
The second and last Saturday of every month

Print Friendly

Kelly’s First Governor Letter

VPRS 4966 Consignment P0 Unit 2 Item 4 Record 11 Document: Letter by Ned Kelly while incarcerated to His Excellency the Governor re: Fitzpatrick, Stringy Bark Creek and McIntyre’s report

03/11/1880

Overview

Addressed to His Excellency the Governor, Ned dictated this seven-page letter to Warden William Buck from his prison cell. The letter is one of three that Ned dictated whilst incarcerated and brings forth his views on various incidents, most notably the Fitzpatrick shooting, the Stringy Bark Creek murders and the discrepancies in McIntyre’s reports. Once the letter was completed it was forwarded to Sheriff Rede by J. B. Castieau the gaol’s governor. The annotations made along the left-hand side of the letter acknowledge that the letter was received after the Executive Council meeting and was then forwarded to the Premier Graham Berry. The letter did little to sway the opinion of the Executive Council, and the date of 11 November was set for his execution.

Transcribed text Image

By direction referred to the Govt. Minister of Justice
[?]
4.11.80

 

Received afer the date of the Executive Council and was forwarded to His Excellency
the Govenor Graham Berry
3/11/80

His Excellancy the Governor
3 nov 1880I have taken the liberty to adress you in reference to my case as it is now drawing to a close The first thing Iwish to draw your attention to is the warrant issued for me on suspicion of Horsestealing as they were produced as evidence against me in the Court & likely to prejudice the Jury on behalf of my Character it was merely a warrant for my apprehension on Suspicion of Horsestealing had I have been apprehended they could not possibly have procurred a conviction the second thing is the warrant issued for the shooting with intent to murder Constable Fitzpatrick, Cons. Fitzpatrick swor that I had no intention of shooting him that we were intimate friends according to his sworn evidence I neither murdered him nor had any intention Therefore I think there must have been a mistake in granting a warrant on this charge and when this charge was preffered against me it was greatly to prejudice the jury and as I did not actually committ that deed & as there was no murder committed and no intention of doing such & therefore my mother William Skillion & William Williamson could not be guilty of aiding & abetting nine repectable witnesses can prove that Mr Skillion was not within miles of the place at the time I had witnesses at the Court only the feeling was so strong with the Police Force that they were afraid of being

[End of page one]

VPRS 4966 Consignment P0 Unit 2 Item 4 Record 11 Document: Letter by Ned Kelly while incarcerated to His Excellency the Governor re: Fitzpatrick, Stringy Bark Creek and McIntyre's report


taken as sympathisers, there was a hundred Pounds offered for my apprehension for the shooting of Constable Fitzpatrick on the 13th of April 1878. If I had witnesses to show that I was a great many miles from the place at the time but as I was not tried on that charge, I could not call my witnesses & show the illegality of the charges put against me & which as led up to my present position and on the conviction of my mother who was arrested on the 16th of April by four or Six Police I could not say which rushing into the House with revolvers in hand & threatened to blow her brains out if she moved, they handcuffed her and took her away to the lockup & only the third day after her Confinement Mr Williamson & Mr Skillion was also taken into custody & convicted for aiding and abetting me with attempt to murder Constable Fitzpatrick even according to his own statement a most ridiculous charge. From February to October I can prove I never was seen nor never was in the locality where the alledged offence took place and after the conviction of my mother on the 9th October the reward I believe was increased to Four hundred Pounds for the alleged shooting of Constable Fitzpatrick at the Stringy bark Creek. I believe John Martin a Wild Dog Poisoner and Boundry Rider in the employ of Mr Johnsins Station owner at the Wombat gave

[End of page one reverse]

VPRS 4966 Consignment P0 Unit 2 Item 4 Record 11 Document: Letter by Ned Kelly while incarcerated to His Excellency the Governor re: Fitzpatrick, Stringy Bark Creek and McIntyre's report

 

information to the Police of me & my Brothers presence in the Stringy bark I have been told so since three parties of Police one under Serg Kennedy one under S. Const Straughn & the other under Seg Steel Thirteen in number Where to meet at Stringy Bark to search for me Serg Kennedy’s Party hobbled there horses in the Police Barrack ? Mansfield they would not do it in the day time for fear people would take notice ? me of it they sneaked out of the Town before day light disguised as diggers on a prospecting tour & camped at Stringy Bark that night Some of the Party said they did not intend to bring one in alive which I can prove Fitzpatrick I believe will swear an oath that they came to shoot me not to arrest me
Constable Lonigan in particular bid his friends good bye Several on leaving Violet Town and he said he might never come back again ned Kelly was to be shot he was the man that would shoot him the above information gathered since the first encounter with the police I could have passed by members of the Police Force as well as Civilians ? encounter with the Police I came back from where I was at the time previous to the encounter with Fitzpatrick I would have called witnesses to have proved where I was not tried for this charge they would not allow me to call them Fitzpatrick would have came himself if I had have been

[End of page two ]

VPRS 4966 Consignment P0 Unit 2 Item 4 Record 11 Document: Letter by Ned Kelly while incarcerated to His Excellency the Governor re: Fitzpatrick, Stringybark Creek and McIntyre's report


if I had have been allowed to call him I was living with my Brother & several others, in in Bullock Creek, one mile from Stringy Bark we had a house 2 miles of fencing 20 acres of ground cleared for the purpose of growing mangle worsels & Barley for the purpose of distilling whisky We were also digging for Gold. We had tools & sluce boxes & every thing requisite for the work we had a place excavated close to the house for the Purpose of erecting a Small distill so if any one informed on us they would not get the most valuable or main distill that was further down the ? the Sugar & other requisites this is unlawful I know but it goes to show that men spending all their time, labour & money in this way had no intention of murdering Police The things are there at the present time & I could direct any person to where they are to be found.
as it has been represented to the Jury at my trial for the purpose of Robbing on the Highway and shooting Police for revenge but as over six months elapsed from the arrest of my mother to the time the encounter with the Police & no murder nor robbery was committed & no person interfered nor molested by me nor any of my companions.
as it was represented in the Court that I was searching for the Police for revenge but the facts of the case show that instead of me going to look for the Police in any towns or any where they came

[End of page two reverse]

VPRS 4966 Consignment P0 Unit 2 Item 4 Record 11 Document: Letter by Ned Kelly while incarcerated to His Excellency the Governor re: Fitzpatrick, Stringybark Creek and McIntyre's report

on to the place were I was working with the full intention of shooting me not to arrest me. Though I have had plenty of grounds for revenge I never looked for it after the arrest of my mother there was none of our Family left but five sisters the Police would come to the House Inspector Brook Smith in particular he as since been discharged for his cowardly conduct towards my family They used to search the place & destroy all the provisions by empting them out on the floor. he would say to my sisters see all the Police I have out today I will have as many out to morrow in will blow your Brothers in to pieces as small as the paper that is in our guns. Some told my Sisters that they would not ask there Brothers to stand as they knew they intended to fight they would shoot them first & then tell then to stand afterwards I will not trouble you any further with their cowardly conduct as they are too numerous to mention what I wish is Constable McIntyre’s first Depositions statement to be compared with his depositions of both Courts & you will at once see the disparity between the two also the Photograph of the place & the position of the oven at the time of Kennedy & Scanlans advance McIntyre says Two men was in the Spear Grass one in the tent & one at the fire these being in a direct line in front of Kennedy & Scanlan

[End of page 3]

VPRS 4966 Consignment P0 Unit 2 Item 4 Record 11 Document: Letter by Ned Kelly while incarcerated to His Excellency the Governor re: Fitzpatrick, Stringybark Creek and McIntyre's report


Therefore McIntyre told a falsehood to his companions by saying they were surounded, as they were expecting to meet other parties of Police what McIntyre should have said that he was covered by Ned Kelly & three other armed men ? to move or they would be shot as Lonigan has got shot and have pointed to the fact then his companion would have ? there position & could have pleased themselves whether they galloped away or whether they fought McIntyre’s first statement was that four men called on them to throw up their arms & surrender we dont want to take life we want your firearms that he looked around saw four men armed with Guns & one on the extreme right armed with two Guns & when he gives his evidence in Court two years after he says the man on the extreme right had only one gun & one revolver he saw the men had no revolver in his first statement also that Kennedy jumped off on the off side of his Horse and got behind a tree & commenced firing when he see Kennedy firing and Broke the agreement he got on his Horse & Galloped away, & that he heard Kennedy say stop it lads he swor in Beechworth that he could not ? but that Kennedy

[End of page 3 reverse]

VPRS 4966 Consignment P0 Unit 2 Item 4 Record 11 Document: Letter by Ned Kelly while incarcerated to His Excellency the Governor re: Fitzpatrick, Stringybark Creek and McIntyre's report


 

 

Witness
J.Kelly
Warden

was dead when he took his horse that he rolled off on the off side you will see if McIntyres Statement is compared the disparity without me making further mention I have not had time to put all the facts as I would liked to have brought under your notice because I have had to write this this morning to be in time for the Executive Council but now as I have time I will forward you a full statement of the facts from beginning to end.

Yours obediently,
Edward [his x mark] Kelly

Forwarded to the Sheriff

Mr Castineau
Govr. of Gaol
3.11.80

[End of page 4]

VPRS 4966 Consignment P0 Unit 2 Item 4 Record 11 Document: Letter by Ned Kelly while incarcerated to His Excellency the Governor re: Fitzpatrick, Stringybark Creek and McIntyre's report


State Government of Victoria Logo
State Government of Victoria Logo