Updated, 14 Dec 2012
Where did Sergeant Kennedy die ?
Was it along STRINGY-BARK or GERMANS CREEK ?
runs between Stringybark and Kelly's' Creek.
It is thought to be the
creek where the final killing of Sergeant Kennedy by the Kelly's' occurred
on 26 October 1878.
Kennedy was the officer in charge of the Mansfield party to hunt for the
Kelly brothers. Following the fatal shootout with Ned Kelly at
Stringybark Ck where two police were killed, the Sergeants body was not
found till five days later about 800 yards down the creek north. The exact spot was
never marked. The quest to find that conclusive spot is not complete.
One may well ask why it is important to identify this site? With a major
monument in honour for the three fallen police in the centre of
Mansfield town, isn't it rather sad that nobody bothered to mark the
actual sites where those events happened so long ago? While Constables Lonigan and Scanlan's
tragic fate was at Stringybark Creek, Sergeant Kennedy is synonymous by
all contemporary accounts with German's creek,
and not Stringy Bark Ck, (SBC) but is that correct ?. It is important to identify the true historic sites, -
if only in pursuit of truth and knowledge.
On 28 August 2004 and leading up to that time a small group ventured to
locate the true site along Germans Creek, given that we accepted the site of
the police camp 'bailup shooting' site was on the Eastern bank of SBC. We were, Tim Smith, Joe Dipisa,
myself and a few others.
Image below from
"Pictorial History of Bushrangers, Paul Hamlyn 1966
held by Victorian Police Museum - Historical Unit. Melbourne.
The evidence. From careful examination, both these pictures have
flat ground and gentle rising slope in the background, Both pictures have
a ' light 'source from the left, indicating North. In the left picture, the trees are over
exposed with light offering little shadow detail. However, the cloak over
the body on the ground gives strong indications where the light source is
a midday sun in a November's Northern sky. Note; the folds in left man's
trousers, the light falling on his back show the light source coming
from above left.
Picture above right. Researcher Tim Smith in a open natural clearing, examines
a photo copy and notes - the
similarities of the terrain. The original image (above left) was a
re-enactment by FC Burman, (taken around the same time as the SBC police
camp photo where Constable Lonigan was shot dead), and shows the
actual tree near where the Sergeants body was found. It was reported
the tree was between the body and the police camp (some 30 chains to
1/2 Mile North). If we analyse the light we can conclude, the scene depicted is the Eastern bank of
a creek looking East, but if the tree was between the body and the
camp, then the photo must be looking south westerly and the light coming from
an eastern morning sun.
photo (right), shows a clear opening on the east bank of Germans Creek, this
site was first selected following descriptive texts as this article will
Kelly publications, we read that -
the Sergeant's body was
found on the other side of the Creek from their encampment ( McIntyre),
this supports Kelly author Ian Jones who has the police camp on
the Eastern bank of Stringybark Creek, The problem for Jones, if the body was
found on the other side of the creek to the west and photographed looking
EAST according to sunlight observed, then the North west is in close proximity
to German's Creek and this is where the first search was focused. But no
where in the Primary Sources does it say the body was found near
German's Creek !
Primary sources -
Recorded at the time of finding the
Constable McIntyre's Manuscript Page37 quotes a telegram by
Sub Inspector Pewtress within one week of the killings, 31 Oct
1878 ; "At 8 a.m. the body of Kennedy was
found about a mile North East of the camp by one of the
volunteers named Henry Sparrow the overseer of Mount Battery Station.
Meaning Stringybark Creek.
McIntyre Manuscript Page 37-
The body of Sergeant Kennedy had been found 8 o'clock that morning in
the midst of some ferns over a quarter of a mile down the
creek from the site of our encampment.
It is important to note the description of the
site, Pewtress wrote
"in the midst of some ferns".
30 chains ( = 660 yards). Hall actually visited the site
and was the special Mansfield reporter - for the Melbourne Herald
ten days after )
The Mansfield Gaurdian, Saturday 2 Nov 1878 only eight days later
" The body was found about a quarter of a
mile from the spot where the Police were camped, with his cloak
thrown over him " -- He
(Kennedy) was making his escape in the same
direction that M'Intyre had taken " .
When the body had been found several of the search party were to
make sworn depositions-.
First was Henry Sparrow who said the search proceeded
in a North Westerly direction when
he discovered Kennedy's body.
about a quarter of a mile from the camp I discovered the body of
Sergeant Kennedy, he was dead & lying on his back with a police cloak
spread over his head and body. The spot was open for eight yards
This may mean the search started N West of
the camp but that Sparrow ventured over SBC to the eastern bank to find
the body. This works when we read that McIntyre escaped on Kennedy's
horse first travelling North then headed west - tracks which Kennedy followed.
James Tomkins, President of the Mansfield Shire
Council - who was present to previous unsuccessful attempts to find the body
stated a new lot of volunteers was
organised by Supt Sadlier,
morning at about 5 o’clock we proceeded to the camp at Stringy Bark
Creek, where the police murders took place. At my suggestion, the
party proceeded in the direction of Cons. McIntyre's tracks.
( to the North of
the Camp) At
about half a mile from the camp
I heard Mr Sparrow call out - here is something. I, with the rest of the party went to him
and saw the body of Sergeant Kennedy which I identified. I then rode
into Mansfield & reported the matter to the Police."
Mounted Constable Thomas Orr stated " on arrival at the
the party scattered about to search in a North
Easterly crossed out and rewrote westerly
this tell us? Two men, Sparrow and Orr -
say they started the search in a North Westerly direction from the police camp,
when Sparrow came across the body of Kennedy.
While three men, McIntyre, Pewtress and Tomkins say the body was found North or North East
of the camp.
It should be mentioned that McIntyre said Kennedy's body was found North
of their encampment - meaning Stringy Bark Creek. He also said Kennedy's
body was found on the other side of the Stringy Bark Creek (SBC) from where Scanlan
was shot and fell ). Currently, we have concluded that the Police camp was in fact on the
Western bank of SBC at the site of the TWO
HUTS some 200 metres South of the Kelly tree.
We also now have a fair idea where Scanlan fell in relation to
the two huts site (on the western bank of SBC).
It now makes sense that the Sergeant Kennedy's
body was found North EAST of SBC and not Germans Creek.
So, by all this we have not yet properly identified Sergeant
Kennedy's site of death?
It is important to note the description of the site,
" in the
midst of some ferns "
Sparrow wrote -
" The spot was open for eight yards round about."
The spot we are looking for along a creek is an open space of about
eight yards (or metres) round about - surrounded by ferns, and that is
exactly what we looked for along the entire length of Germans Creek in
2004. Taking into account the distances recorded at the time, there were
only 2 sites along the East bank of Germans Ck that fitted both distance
and description. The site chosen in 2004 was N. West of the Two Huts
site and is pictured lower down this report.
Some background and recent analysis
I table the following explanation
2010, KC2000 forum had a thread posted - ' Location of Kennedy's body at
German Creek' - started by Kenny T -
In this short lived
forum topic debate,
KennyT proposes the
finding of Kennedy's death spot has great bearing on the true location
of the Police camp.
By this time there had already been seven separate forum thread starts
about SBC with the longest running to thirteen pages with well over 340
postings more than 13.000 reads before being ruined by heated - disgruntled participants who
no longer wanted rational debate. I was apparent their motive was to swing the argument
in favour of the Kelly tree location instead of all the evidence
pointing to the two huts site.
This thread lasted some fourteen months.
series of postings on KC2000
by Kelvyn Gill see
This one on finding Kennedy's body.
should be noted since this link to KC2000 forum was posted here,
forum admin decided to close to the public so only forum members
can see it.
One then wonders how serious their research really is and how
committed they are ?
However, if the forum is open,
see postings dated 30/11/12 by MX12 previously was '1878' who was previously SoapBox - who had
been previously 'Admin11 the forum moderator' ? Their series of postings
by one or some who wants to change pseudonyms everyday is bizarre.
Whoever he or 'they' are is some sort of entertainment to us readers, but
in reality it is not that funny that there is distant debate taking
place between several websites like feuding churches when there should be rational debate on one
open forum, but this seems to be beyond them. This KC forum is a
host to such debate but had decided to delete my membership ? But we will go along with this charade for now. Someone is
trying to turn this serious subject into a fiasco.
There are now five pseudonyms on that KC2000 forum page but we can guess
it is one person trying to tell us something. Lets listen to what
he has to say. -
So far he has taken us on a map journey to suggest the starting point
for the Sergeants body found was the Kelly tree site. All evidence shows
photos taken at the time of the police camp 1878 cannot be taken at the
Kelly tree because there is no slope in the background comparable to the
Burman photo. So the Kelly tree site cannot be the site of the police
camp, and as a starting point to find the Kennedy body site.
The poster, ( or impostor) he shows us maps with references to North West and North East as being
exactly 45 degrees from North. In fact this is very flawed.
We will go along with their goofy pretence that something intelligent
may come of this ?
In the historical evidence we should say North East can mean
the whole Quadrant NE. In reality no hard and fast single line of degree
angle such as 45 degrees is correct when referring to NE, rather NE
could be anywhere between ,say 110 to 160 degrees N.East. ( see my map
And further ,
this Admin wants to use the shortest distance recorded of about 400 yards
which is with one exception mostly secondary source material, while 'Primary source'
material tells us 30 chains = 660 m and 1/2 mile = 806 metres. What this
means is that nobody actually ran out a tape measure.
Lets just say we need an intelligent discussion to determine where the
most likely place is where the Sergeant died. More importantly we need
to consider the only photo of the place where a body was found, and with
the rest of the descriptive texts such as, " an area (flat) about
8 yards round about surrounded by ferns " looking due south as the
tree in the photo was between the body and the police camp.
Kelvyn, when you find such a site some 400 yards North East or north of
the site of the two huts or the Kelly tree please let me know and I will
drive up to meet you there for a formal agreement of the true identified
In the mean time please take a look at the following article ( below) that was
posted on the NEW Ned Kelly Forum (NKF), but even this forum admin decided
this topic was too hot for its members to handle so he decided
to deleted this topic altogether? So much for open debate! We now have a
forum in NKF where no one is allowed to debate anything too controversial,
I was told. But what is controversial about this topic? One side is either right
or wrong, and I am prepared to make my conviction public, unlike
others who hide behind their pseudonyms in case they are wrong. Lets get
on with it, and if I am wrong I will be the first to admit I am wrong, but
first show me where I am wrong.
Bill Denheld 6th Dec 2012
In response to Kelvyn Gills group I post the
following article that was on the NK Forum, but was deleted -
Map showing roads and creeks around SBC and the most likely areas
where Kennedy fell.
Subject - Locating Sergeant Kennedy's Body- N. East of Stringybark Ck
To all Kelly researchers.
The spot where Sergeant Kennedy finally died after the shoot out
with Ned Kelly at StringyBark Creek has remained unsolved. At KC2000
Forum, thread 'Locating Sergt Kennedy's body' Kelvyn Gill is putting
forward their 'new discovery' to suggest that the Sergeant's body
was found along StringyBark Creek and not Germans creek. see
Kelvyn Gill and author Linton Briggs "CSI@SBC The Report" sets out
to claim the Police camp of 1878 was near the Kelly tree on the
western bank of StringyBark Creek and hope their scenario will stack
up by having the Sergeant's body found on the North Eastern side of
SBC. In a nut shell, on KC2000 forum, Kelvyn Gill is posting his
preferred scenario as if this has not previously been considered. I had already published this during
At that time, a small group that included Tim Smith, Joey Dipisa,
Bruce Johnson of KC2000 Forum fame, had already researched this same
information that pointed to the North East of StringyBark Ck (not
westerly) as a most likely place where the Sergeant was finally
killed by Ned Kelly. See
In our 2004 (above) web page publication we
decided to weigh up all the evidence using combined Primary and
Secondary sources which when put together lean towards the North
West side of SBC just as Ian Jones and Keith McMenomy in their books
suggested. However this was when we still believed the police camp
was on the East bank of SBC.
We can now be sure the police camp was at the Two huts site as
evident by the following Burman photo 'slope', the two huts
fireplaces, placement of the Bridle track, the finding of a Spencer
rifle bullet recovered from the soft creek swamp 30 metres from the
two huts - all solid evidence. Also McIntyre said Kennedy's body was
located on the opposite side of SBC creek from where Scanlan's body
had fallen. Just immediately north of the two huts is a swampy flat
that would have, could have been flooded at that time - would show
horse tracks crossing the creek/swamp when Const McIntyre escaped on
Kennedy's horse. Mc said after mounting the horse he headed north
for several hundred yards (or metres) before heading due west.
Seconds later Sergeant Kennedy also trying to escape, and according
to McIntyre Kennedy followed his horse tracks northerly. The search
for Kennedy's body lasted several days mostly searching to the North
West of the camp, probably because McIntyre had said he headed due
west. A search party member named Tomkins suggested they try a
different search pattern this time. From the camp, a group of about
25 spread out along 50 yard lines and about half a mile (806 metres)
when a man named Henry Sparrow called out " Here is something' Here
it is" Sparrow had evidently crossed
SBC because in his first telegram sent by Sub Inspector Pewtress to
Melbourne read the body was found North East of the camp.
It now remains the objective to find that exact spot to the north
east of Stringy Bark Creek.
Either way, North West or North East scenario works from the two
huts site because the creeks swampy ground immediately to the north
of the two huts would clearly show horse tracks crossing the creek
heading north. To cross the creek at or near the Kelly tree would
mean a horse track would first head East then North.
The confusion regarding German's Creek may have started with Ian
Jones's East bank police camp site scenario. Also, a reconstruction
photo of the Sergeants death site by photographer Burman shows the
light coming from the upper left of the picture indicating North, so
we concluded that the picture was looking East. However, early
primary sources said the big tree behind the body was between the
camp and the body. - Meaning, the picture was looking South Westerly
with the light coming from an early morning eastern sun.
If, as proposed by Kelvyn Gill and his CSI@SBC team that the police
camp was near the Kelly tree, then if the primary sources by Tomkins
and McIntyre are to be believed stating that the body of Kennedy was
found 1/2 a mile from the camp, then if the Kelly tree is the
starting point, then 1/2 mile or 806 metres or 1 mile 1612 metres, -
would be way across Ryans Creek that StringyBark Ck runs into.
Bill Denheld November 2012
information was our
search along Germans Creek
but this is not conclusive if we take all the evidence into account.
What we are looking for is a relatively flat bit of ground as shown in
We don't believe much would have changed here in the past 134 years.
( as of
Tim Smith considers this site on the eastern bank of Germans Creek, and by all descriptions the
clear area is typical of the area we are looking for.
clearing fits all criteria. It is 8 yards round about, in the midst of some ferns even
Following is a record of most ( if not all) references to the finding of
Sergeant Kennedy's body circa 1878 including recent publications.
records of later
a guide to where the body of Sergeant Kennedy may have been found ;
Outlaws of the Wombat ranges by- G. Wilson Hall, 1879
Page 32 SLoV* transcript, or ( Page 29 Brian McDonald's edition)- Outlaws--
30 chains ( = 660 yards). Hall actually visited the site.
Page 35 SLoV* transcript, or ( Page 31 of
publication of Hall) -, headed due west. It also
says Kennedy followed similar route but at a slightly different angle. (
May mean North first then due west as Mc said)
* State Library of Victoria.
In McIntyre's Manuscript – courtesy Police Historical Unit -
24 years after the event
Mc say's he, jumped on Kennedy's horse he
headed North. He also said he headed
Page 37 telegram by
Henry Pewtress wrote -
the body was found about a mile North East by a
volunteer Henry Sparrow.
On the same page - The body
had been found 8 Am in the midst of some ferns over a 1/4 mile down the
creek from the site of our encampment.
( Meaning SBC)
J.J. Kenneally, Inner History of the Kelly Gang 1929 -Page 59 "
a farmer Tomkins crossing 'Stringybark' came across the body 1/4 mile
from the police camp."
was the President of Mansfield Shire.
Book, Colonial doctor and his town, by J Gillison 1974 states the son of doctor
Samuel Reynolds- Willy Reynolds being in the search party states
-body found 400 yards from the camp.
Keith Mc Menomy's 1984 book says,-
" the body just North* of German’s Ck- about a quarter of a mile North
West. The spot was open for about 8 yards around about. We had not gone 30
chains when a young man Sparrow sang out - Here is something, here it is".
*The 2001 edition only says North west.
Ian Jones writes; in 'A Short Life', Page 137 and 2nd
edition Page 122,
" Ned crossed German's Ck and
started up the flank of its gully".
Here are some scales
1/4 Mile =
yards is about 403 meters - McIntyre, McMenomy book, JJ
1/2 Mile = 880 yards is about 806 metres Tomkins
1 Mile = 1760 yards is about 1612 metres Pewtress
30 chains = 660 yards 604 Metres. This is more than 1/3 but less than 1/2 mile.
Contradictions ; McIntyre's Manuscript is rather contradictory as
it infers the body was found on Stringybark as he writes;
a 1/4 mile down the creek from the site of our
means the body was found on Stringybark Ck? Even the telegram by Henry Pewtress
tells us a mile North East ?
MAY this BE CORRECT ?
In J.J. Kenneally's book, P 59 farmer Tomkins
"crossing Stringybark Creek came across Kennedy's body a quarter mile from
where McIntyre had sworn he had surrendered".
As co writer of J.J.K's book, Tom Lloyd would have known the true location where
Kennedy's body was found. To find the spot we have identified at German's
Ck you would
definitely have to cross Stringybark if the police camp was on the Eastern
bank , but not across German's Ck as Jones suggests. No doubt.
In all the original texts nowhere does it say
crossing German’s creek. Nowhere in any of the original text does it say
the body was found on the other side of German’s Creek except in Ian
Jones and in Keith McMenomy’s books.
In J.J Kenneally’s book The Inner History of the Kelly Gang, refers to
crossing Stringybark Ck. before finding the body. This again supports
searching N.West if
the police camp was on the Eastern side of SBC.
Some may conclude Sergeant Kennedy's body was found at German's Creek
because McIntyre claimed Kennedy followed his direction of escape - due
west, he also said North, perhaps meaning he headed due west after first
heading North. In fact the spot we have identified at Germans Creek
is North West approximately 670 meters or 30 chains from the police camp
at Stringybark Creek. McIntyre was present for the search of the Sergeant,
so his account has to be believed.
Ned Kelly's account, - Dan went to the creek to get
some water for the Sergeant to drink. In our scenario, the creek would
have been immediately behind where the Burman /Kennedy photograph was taken.
When we were looking for the most likely site, we began by
looking for a site North of Germans Creek (as McMenomy tells us). This turns out to be a
conundrum as Germans Creek runs North South,
so how could a site be north? We did find a major tributary that runs
west from Germans Ck, so it could be possible to say there was a northern
side to that tributary.
Image below Joe Dipisa searches the West bank of German's Creek 2004
In this spot we are about the right distance on the West bank of
Germans creek looking West, Notice the light comes from the Right
hand side of the picture which is contrary to the original Burman photo
with light coming from the left hand side. This light orientation reveals
the spot above or any other on the west bank to be wrong.
Pictured below, This site is the larger of two selected. The depression in the ground
is where we
believe a giant Gum tree similar to that shown in the original picture
could have stood stood and
possibly where the Sergeant was
We can never be certain, however, this depression today forming a puddle could well be
where a rotted tree stump had stood. The big tree would have been
saw milled during 1930's by the Mc Cashney's Kellys Creek sawmill which
Click here to see
Virtual tour Panorama
of Germans Creek
Picture below, 23 October 2004,
almost 126 years after the fatal shooting of Sergeant Kennedy by Ned Kelly, a party of Kelly researchers gathered at Stringybark
reserve for a guided walk-in to German's Creek. With no walking tracks it is hoped a trail will be marked
so visitors will be able to examine these potential sites for
Out front is myself, from left persons 3 and 4 Gwenda and Arthur Marsh,
persons 6 and 7 Russell and Wendy Walker of Tolmie.
persons 8 &10- Sally and Ben Dykstra.....
The Germans Creek site
can be found by walking back down Stringybark Creek road (from the Picnic Reserve) for
about 100 meters. A large tree on the right hand side of the road
has been chopped a little at head height, stop here, turn (90 degrees) to be facing
West. Set your compass West and walk straight into the bush for about 400
meters, checking your bearing west as you go. You will come to German's
Creek. At the creek turn right and walk down stream till you reach a
natural clearing. The possible spot is near the junction of a western
tributary where the two waters form one flow. There is a small pile of
stones, the start of a Cairn.
GPS way points ;
Germans Ck Cairn site
5918962 (epe 7 meters.)
researcher Tim Smith pictured,
his instrument to locate the site at German's Ck. GPS allowed us to know how far into the bush we had travelled, an impossible task with only a
Numerous other spots were considered till all the evidence
pointed to the established cairn site.
Here Tim detects for bullet lead at Kellys Creek .
Copyright ,, no text or images may be reproduced without
written permission from the author Bill Denheld. Copyright
ground image is of Kelly camp circa 1883