15 March 2009 Authorities hoodwinked.
The original Press release to Northern papers as follows -
New Kelly Gang up in arms over shoot
Kelly expert historian Ian Jones is wrong about where the
police tried to shoot it out with the Kellys in October 1878.
In his latest book edition on Ned Kelly, Ian Jones states that the
site of two huts identified by Kelly researcher Bill Denheld in
2002 - are un related to the Kelly story. Bill's research shows
one of the hut sites was the Shingle Hut that Ned Kelly himself
wrote about in his Jerilderie Letter of 1879.
Pictured Left, ascribed as the
'Bushrangers hut at Glenmore Ranges' meaning by the
article featured in the
The Australasian Sketcher Nov 1887,
'Ned Kelly’s hut at Stringybark Creek'. The
image also shows the body of one of the dead policemen being
carried out on pack horse - from the remote location in the Wombat
Ranges north of Mansfield. The hut drawing is a montage of
the tragic events featured in The illustrated newspaper
Bill Denheld and Queensland Kelly researcher
Greg Young, have concluded the Hut is in fact ‘The Shingle Hut',
one of two huts as mentioned in the press at the time as where the
police had camped, and we believe this is the only know image of the
Ian Jones, in his new book claims a Hut
marked on the first map of the area in 1884 is some hundreds of metres
north ( from Bill's two huts fireplaces site) which marks where the
police had camped. But Bill has shown Ian Jones to be incorrect. This
site identified by Ian Jones is unable to support photographic
evidence of the police camp.
See KC2000 Forum- New Jones Book Out
An accurate survey by Bill using GPS has proven the original first
surveyors map of 1884 has the hut incorrectly plotted in
with where the police had camped .
See KC2000 Forum -
SBC Upgrade Plans on Display Thru
Bill Denheld who has studied the shoot out site at Stringybark Creek
north of Mansfield for the past 24 years and believes Ian Jones has
set out to mislead the authorities like DSE, Benalla and Mansfield
Historical societies, to create uncertainty of the true site and leave
Bill's research out in the cold when it comes to signage and recorded
Bill came across the true clue to the police camp site after studying
shadow details for orientation of police forensic photos of the
shootout site taken just after the police killings. At the time Two
huts were reported as nearby, and during research by Bill in Sept 2002
with renown Kelly historian Gary Dean, Bill came across the ruins of
fireplace of one of the two huts near the accepted site of the police camp site.
The Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) in
conjunction with the Ned Kelly Touring Route ( NKTR) steering
committee uses Ian Jones as their Historical consultant to promote the
Kelly related sites for commercial tourism through out NE Victoria and
Bill Denheld's aim was always to bring truth to the story as for years
the shoot out site at Stringybark was promoted as near the Kelly tree
at the picnic ground. In fact the true site is 350 metres further up
Good tourism must be underpinned by truth and fact.
Tourism pressures now threatens the pristine nature of the Kelly /
police clash site.
A sizable group of Kelly researchers are protesting to DSE for the
work being carried out
at Stringybark to stop.
After five years of lobbying by Bill, the authorities have little
option other than to show the true site and allow visitors be directed
to the true site of the police camp, and the new works 'they say'
are to cater for a new influx of tourist visitors to the site promoted
by NKTR. This is OK if they leave the site in it natural state.
The DSE are in charge of the works under
guidance of the NKTR plans to build / erect a viewing platform right
in the middle of the police camp site where possibly two of the police
troopers, Constable Lonigan and Scanlan died as a result of the shoot
out with the Kelly gang.
To all, this structure is unwanted and outrageous as the site should
be left in its natural state as in October of 1878.
The unwanted works include new walking tracks paved with yellow
gravels. Bruce Johnson who provides the KC2000 Kelly forum is ready to
take the issue right to the top to have the works stopped.
Bill Denheld is also up in arms since he first provided DSE with plans
for the area because he was determined to allow the casual visitor to
Stringybark Ck see the real sites and not just the Kelly tree area.
His plans were unobtrusive and were sidelined by DSE in preference to
plans offered by Wangaratta NKTR promoters led by Ian Jones.
With Mansfield Historical Society members, we offered to create
simple raked walking tracks to and fro and historically accurate
signage for less than $5000, but they( DSE) totally ignored the plans
in preference to what the authorities later drew up costing more than
ten times that amount.
People want to see these places as they are, not contrived paved
tracks leading to a viewing platform. Works protestor Bruce
Johnson says " we are not even sure exactly where the police were
killed at this site, - for all we know they are building the platform
right over where one of the police constables actually died." We know
this is the area of the police camp but we need to do a fair bit of
historical re enactment using the surviving policeman - Thomas
Bill's plans were not used and he was not even invited to be part of a
special Stakeholders Stringybark Reference Group led by Ian Jones.
Final plans for the works went on public display in April 2008 and
according to those plans no stone structures for people to stand or
sit on was part of the works at the police camp. So they
must have changed the plans without public notice or opinion regarding
this historic site.
Bill says Ian Jones, the eminent Kelly historian has hoodwinked the
authorities into believing the true site is somewhere else, north of
the Kelly tree when
clearly he is wrong. The works at the true site have to be stopped.
Protestors to stop the plans can do so at Bruce Johnson's -
We Must Stop the works at SBC Now,
Also see KC2000 Forum
Stringybark Creek News-
The news paper articles (below) is how they reported on the story
10 April 2009 Wangaratta
New battle at old Stringybark
Creek - Written by HARVEY DIKE.
PLANS by the Department of Sustainability and
Environment (DSE) to develop the Stringybark Creek site of the 1878 battle
between the Kelly Gang and police have come under fire from a Kelly
At the centre of the row are disputes about the exact location of the
police camp and the places Sergeant Kennedy and Constables Scanlon and
Lonigan were killed, and the nature of the tourist development, if any,
that should occur.
Kelly researcher Bill Denheld claims that the DSE intends to pass on
flawed advice to visitors to the site. "An 1884 surveyor’s map has the
police hut incorrectly plotted, some hundreds of metres north of where I
believe the correct site is, yet the incorrect site is the one tourists
are being directed to," Mr Denheld said.
"Stringybark Creek history is part of Australian folklore, history must be
underpinned by the truth, and Stringybark Creek is now the number one site
on the Ned Kelly tourist route.
"The historian that the DSE is relying on is quite wrong about where the
police tried to shoot it out with the Kellys."
Mr Denheld is also concerned that tourist pressure now threatens the
pristine nature of the site. "The DSE is in charge of the works to build a
viewing platform that may be on the very place two of the police officers
died," he said.
"Its plans for the walking tracks are inappropriate, too. "This
development is unwanted and outrageous, and the site should be left in its
Glenrowan resident and Kelly historian Gary Dean said that the controversy
surrounding the precise location of the police camp and the slain
policemen would not be ended until a proper scientific investigation of
the area had taken place. "There needs to be a careful and thorough
investigation of the site, and until there is, the DSE is wasting their
money by setting up the tracks and the platform," Mr Dean said.
"All works at Stringybark Creek should be stopped.
"They won’t last long anyhow, as the area is particularly prone to
bushfire and vandalism.
"What everyone can agree on is that the present Kelly Tree, marked as a
memorial to the three murdered policemen, is the third tree to be so
named, and is probably a significant distance from the first which was
probably logged around the end of the nineteenth century."
The DSE’s Goulburn district planning manager, Kathy Gosby, said that Mr
Denheld had not formally produced his evidence and had not become involved
in the process of the site’s development. "However, we did consider Mr
Denheld’s point of view," Ms Gosby said.
25 March 2009 Benalla Ensign
at Kelly site
Another battle is being waged at the
site of the infamous 1878 shoot -out between members of the Kelly Gang and
police troopers. The Stringybark Creek site, about 50km east of Benalla,
is being revamped to better cater for the growing number of visitors,
while linking environmental and historical values.
The revamp is a joint project between the Department of Sustainability and
Environment (DSE) and Benalla Rural City, and is being partially funded by
a $20 000 contribution from the latter and through the State Government's
Living Regions, Living Suburbs program. But some people believe the
revamp is obtrusive and destructive, and the site should be left in its
There is also some concern about exactly where the police troopers were
killed and that a new viewing area might be desecrating the place where
they died. Mansfield Historical Society member Bill Denheld said the
development was unwanted and outrageous. "The unwanted works include new
walking tracks paved with yellow gravel," he said. "People want to see
these places as they are, not contrived paved tracks leading to a viewing
Mr Denheld said it was not known exactly where the troopers were killed.
"We know this is the area of the police camp, but we need to do a fair bit
of historical re-enactment using the surviving policeman Thomas McIntyre's
notes." Mr Denheld said there were no stone structures for
people to stand or sit on in the initial concept plans, which went on
public display in May last year. "So they must have changed the plans
without public notice or opinion regarding this historic site," he
DSE Goulburn district manager David Wells said a stakeholder reference
group, made up of representatives of historical, community and indigenous
groups, had input into developing the site plans. Professional input was
also sought from the Victorian Police Historic Unit and DSE Heritage
Branch, because it was considered such a historical and sensitive site.
DSE's Goulburn district planning manager Kathy Gosby said completed works
included a new carpark, land-scaping and walking-track improvements. "Once
gravelled, the newly aligned track to the Kelly Tree will provide greater
access for people of all ages and now caters for wheelchair access," she
said. "During the next few weeks we hope to complete construction of a new
toilet facility and install upgraded footbridges over Stringybark Creek."
"Stringybark Creek Reserve is an extremely popular location and these
works will both enhance the experience for visitors and protect the
environment for the future generations," Ms Gosby said.
13 May 2008,
During a tour and visit of Stringybark Creek and Kellys creek, Heritage
Victoria archeologist Jeremy Smith said the site nominations will be
included in the Victorian Heritage inventory. This will ensure permanent
protection of the sites. The old fireplaces of two huts built by the first
lease holders Heap and Grice in 1848 will undergo archaeological
investigation, as one of the fireplaces belonged to the Shingle Hut that
Ned Kelly referred to in his Jerilderie Letter of 1879.
22 March 2008
Sheila Hutchinson reports-
Benalla Rural City Council have
secured $50,000 from the State Fire Recovery Fund to upgrade the SBC
Recreation Area. DSE and the Council will be working together to improve
visitor facilities and upgrade the site. The project will also include
rehabilitation work to repair the damage caused by the bush fires.
A Stakeholder Reference Group (SRG) made up of representatives of
historical, indigenous, community groups and tour operators have also been
invited to participate in this project.
Kelly Ck track closure not good enough
for elderly and disabled.
This was the
entrance to the Kellys Creek sawmill track 1930s. Before that, circa
1890's it was the road that lead to Stokes's and Mc Crum's place. On this
road track stood the Kelly hut and camp of 1878. This track entrance is just 300 metres
north of Stringybark Creek road turnoff.
The bulldozed obstacles about 2 meters high are to stop
vehicular access to the Kelly site camp site at the end of the track. A two foot diameter log
sits on top for good measure. Three such mounds have been placed
further up along the track suggesting permanent closure. Why would
this be so? What is there at the end of the tracks that you are
not to drive to? It is hoped the mounds will be removed
considering this track access allows many elderly and disabled people into
the otherwise in-accessible Kelly sites. The closure is an appalling
oversight on part of DSE management with Mansfield taking part in the
Kelly Touring Route trail. You could drive an ordinary sedan well past
the halfway mark along the 1.2 km track. Now, only sure footed pedestrian
traffic are able to get in, - the blackberries have taken over not only the
track but the historic Kelly camp as well. This single track entrance also
accessed German Creek site along a left fork to where Sergeant Kennedy was killed
by the Kellys.
It would be good to have the track opened so all those interested can have
access to our history. Bill Denheld
Heritage Victoria Site
KELLYS CREEK AND STRINGYBARK CREEK near Toombullup to
VICTORIAN HERITAGE REGISTER.
As of 5 May 2004,
Bill Denheld has nominated these Kelly sites to Heritage Victoria for
possible inclusion on the Victorian Heritage Register and / or on the
Victorian Heritage Inventory.
Under the terms of the Heritage Act 1995 it is an offence to disturb
an historical archaeological site unless consent has been obtained
from the executive director of Heritage Victoria. Further
archaeological work at these sites is planned under guidance of the
Please be aware that the disturbance of an archaeological site, and the
collection of artefacts, constitutes an offence under the act.
Stringybark and Kellys
Creeks are managed by Parks Victoria, under guidance of the Dept of
Sustainability and Environment D.SE formally known as Dept. Natural
Resources and Environment D.NRE.
With high community ' Kelly' interest,
it should be commended that six local government municipalities are
currently developing the Ned Kelly Touring Route.
recently circulated community update May 2004
" The route will intrinsically link the key 'Kelly sites' in North
Eastern Victoria and Southern Riverina with an appropriate
brochure/map and to install high quality interpretive signage at
relevant sites to allow visitors the opportunity to gain a greater
insight into the Kelly legend."
These tourist developments, will direct visitors to the very places
where all visitors want to be, where it actually happened ,
- Kellys, Stringybark and German's Creek, for it was
from here the gang evolved.
Given that we are faced
with deciding how to protect the past and important historic places
with many thousands of visitors coming to Stringybark Creek
annually there is a need to plan for future generations. Just how this
should be done requires much foresight and determination right now,
not when its too late. Unfortunately as can be demonstrated, it was
time to instigate Heritage nomination and recently the removal of the
Kelly tree log for safe keeping.
We are very fortunate that for the best part these actual terrains
of the Kelly story
much as they always have been, undeveloped, and hope it remains that way. We must all
tread carefully to avoid destruction of what we came to see.
It is therefore the duty of each and every visitor to leave these places
we found them.
Remember, Stringybark Creek is sacred ground, when there - respect the
past for the future.
PS, Do you have a point of view on these matters? Please let me know.
27 January 2004
The stump of the Kelly
It has been known for generations that a portion of a Kelly target
tree lay in the creek rotting. Over a twenty year period it had become very fragile and the next
bushfire would certainly have been the end of it. That would be very
unfortunate and a great loss, but when visitors actually start sawing off
pieces, we need to draw the line.
I first saw the log when
well known local historian ' Mr. Bill Stewart' pointed it out to me in 1985. Being the only tree log
stump with a direct connection to the Kelly gang and at great risk of being
lost forever, I initiated its removal for preservation.
left, D.SE historian Daniel Catrice and myself at the Kelly target tree
log. I had first seen the log as fully round that you could
stand high upon. It is now a mere shell, a giant peppermint gum scared by eons of
time, shot at and chopped finally to be dropped for either firewood or
At the depot we examine the remains of
the Kelly target tree.
The removal was the instigation of myself (at left )
seen here with Mansfield Historical Society historian Sheila Hutchinson,
Kelly historian Dave White, Kelly researchers Nicole Jones, and Bruce Johnson at right.
Photo, Joe Hutchinson.
Being the last Kelly relic with direct
connections to the Kelly* gang's shooting practices prior to the shootout
with the police at
Stringybark Creek in 1878, the tree stood within a stones throw
from the Kelly hut and like other trees nearby were the brunt of
thousands of rounds fired to improve their shooting accuracy.
The relic will
eventually go on display at the new proposed 15 million dollar Ned Kelly
Visitor Centre at Glenrowan when it gets built.
The tree was still standing up to 60 years after the police
shootings while even a sawmill was operating there, they did not touch it.
During the 1940's the tree was dropped and large parts were cut from the
giant log. Chainsaw marks are testimony to that.
The tree relic is to be kept in a safe place till an interim public
display place can be decided upon.
* The Kelly Gang did not evolve till after the shoot out with the police
at Stringybark Creek. Before that event the Kelly brothers were
only wanted men. Ned and Dan Kelly with their friends practiced
their shooting accuracy at the Kelly camp on Bullock Creek, and this
tree fragment was one of their target trees.
Bill Denheld 27 January 2004
Many thanks to Parks Victoria, D.SE, and Bells Earth Moving
of Mansfield for removal of the tree log.
Meeting called by D.S.E
May 2003 Bill
was asked by the Dept of Sustainability and Environment to call a
meeting regarding the status of the Stringybark Creek Police camp and
Kellys camp site at Kellys creek.
interested parties are invited to be present including the
Invited to attend were,
Hutchinson, Bob Bretherton, Gary Dean, Matt Shore, Brad Web,
Brendan Pearce, Dave White, Ben Collins, Marian & Peter Matta,
and from D.S.E,
David Hurley, Terry Kingston, David Wells,
and the historical officer for D.S.E,
Each was asked to nominate invitees and advise on a
To put in place a protection plan for both S/Bark and Kellys Ck.
NRE needed to know where the historically important sites were
for proper management and to avoid burning those by mistake.
Undergrowth to be cleaned up by work parties. No marking of
original sites to be done until after a proper archeological
study has been carried out. The sites are to be recommended to
Heritage Victoria as historical sites worthy of preservation
under the Heritage Act.
Note: Those that did not attend the meeting were,
Matt Shore, Brad Web, Brendan Pearce, Dave
White, Ben Collins.