The importance of the huts at Stringybark Creek

One hut or two

Orientation of the Burman photo

How the bush hut fireplaces were found

A Kelly Tree history

McIntyre's sketch and the Burman photos compared

BLUE RANGE, crucial to the Kelly story?

STORY 8 The Bullets of Kellys Ck.
My story 1985

The Kelly hut at Bullock Ck. Including the Kelly Ck Kelly tree

The EK marked gun.
Plus other Kelly items of interest.

The proposed
Architect Penleigh Boyd and designer Bill Denheld take on the challenge, see the result.



Bill Denheld,
Kelly researcher.





















Story 10
The death mask and faces of Ned Kelly.
  Bill Denheld
The image below (on screen) is a copy held by the National Museum in Canberra. On the right is a copy representational as held by various institutions.... One would believe the cast to be absolutely true. Notice the gory rope mark, the thickened neck and shouldered base intended to sit on a shelf. If we compare this cast copy with the original made at the time Ned Kelly was hanged, you may notice slight differences.

The original Ned Kelly death mask was part of a special display at Maxmillion Kreitmeyer's Waxworks in Bourke Street Melbourne 1880. Apparently Max made the original impression from Ned's face and it was on display in his shop the morning after Ned's execution.  However there is evidence now at hand that another person may have made the first impression, a Mr Desiderio Cristofani who owned the Cristofani Waxworks in Sydney. Cristofani had specially come to Melbourne to do the job and was accompanied by Kreitmeyer. ( More information to follow )

It is possible Max was commissioned to take the first cast on behalf of the authorities who wanted to study Phrenology, the study of the heads of murderers and criminals executed. 
Today, phrenology is regarded as a bizarre pseudoscience.

Shown below is a 3D stereo image of the original death mask. The mask was on display at the Outlawed exhibition at the Museum of Victoria  Melbourne May - Oct 2004. It is held by the School of Anatomy- Melbourne University. It would be interesting to know if this death mask was for the study of Phrenology at the Uni, and can the school offer the 'scientific' study notes associated with this interesting piece. 
Please note, this image is copyright not to be commercially reproduced.

n order to see it in 3D you must sit square on to the screen. Gently cross your eyes. Go cross eyed till you get three images in a row. Only look at the middle resulting image which will be in 3D. 
You may have to tilt your head from side to side to align the images. Good luck

I wish to point out,  the following is just a theory and questions  ?

To me there is a problem with the plaster cast (in the upper most) as there is a definite hangman's rope grove around a very thick neck. This I am told is normal with hangings as the face and neck are engorged with blood causing severe swelling of body parts.

By comparison to this original cast above, it has only slight hangman's rope marks even though half the neck has been broken away, but what remains is a good indication of the original impression, and it is supposed to be the original cast.

Does this suggest, -  if the above is the original (as reported) and from which 'later' copies were made, I simply ask why some copies display characteristics giving the subject that odd thuggish criminal look ? The cast pictured above does not display that short thick neck, yet 'shouldered' copies held by government institutions do ? 

The purpose of this exercise is not to 'cast' doubt on authenticity of the piece, rather to question historical accuracy. Please compare the two photos and question which came first.
Of great interest to know the order in which the casts were made.
One way to find out would be to measure the circumference of the each cast. The larger the dimension the closer to the original because each subsequent mould or cast would reduce the measurement because of shrinkage of plaster and subsequent copies taken.

I ask these points;   

If  this is the original Kreitmeyer / Cristofani cast and the first copy, why does the original not show the thick- blood engorged neck and face synonymous with the hangman's noose?

, Was the original cast later duplicated and sculpted to include exaggerated 'rope marks' and and a  thickened neck to fit a criminal profile the authorities wanted to show?

Is this another example of justice denied to Ned (by the authorities) while he was still alive, and then perpetuated even after they cut his head off ?

, Would a hanged person have a longer thickened neck? 

If anyone can offer information to these questions, please add to this story.
Is this information important ?
Feedback please. 

The detail,  eye lashes, the creases around his eyes ( probably caused by the harsh environment, premature ageing and the worry of his predicament ). No doubt, at his death he had a gentle face at peace, not at all the face of a mean spirited murderer, the reason the mask was made.   All images copyright reserved.


To the best of my knowledge, from the original mould, a further three were made. There is a shouldered copy with the Police Historical Unit in Melbourne, another at the Australian National Museum in Canberra, and one at the State Library of Victoria. It is believed a private collector was able to procure one of the three around 1971. How this came about is not clear, but I have been told from this privately held copy a further 20 were cast for interested collectors. Further information at hand indicates these 20 copies were offered during late 1990's.

A problem with copies made from copies is that each following tend to become very slightly smaller due to shrinkages of moulds and casting materials. If ever you have stood in front of Ned's death mask and wondered why he had such a small head, the reason is shrinkage. Ned had a large head (he knew that for sure). Most copies I've seen are about 38 mm smaller around the circumference of the skull.

However, it's interesting to compare the plaster cast at the very top of this page with this original. We need to ask, were the subsequent copies altered to fit a criminal profile the authorities wanted to portray.

Below, This restoration (by author) is the original form.

During the restoration phase I captured these 3D images of a smiling Ned.
Notice we see a youthful Ned rather than the older criminal looking person in the shouldered version. The smile is the result of subtle lighting and shadows in an attempt to capture  perhaps the real face of Ned. Ned in fact was not smiling but, had he been bald and clean shaven, this then is certainly how he would have looked, a young man of only 26 years of age.


Regarding these Stereo Image sets. In order to see the above images in 3D you must train your eyes. Gently go cross eyed till you see three images in a row.
When that happens gently Tilt your head slightly from side to side to line up all the 3 images.
The resulting  third image will be in 3D. This phenomena of viewing 2 ordinary flat pictures side by side taken with an ordinary camera was first discovered by myself 20 years ago. Un be known to me at the time this was a well known experience, but I had to do it without special glasses. The process for making stereo image sets is easy,  just take two images moving the camera to the right by the distance your eyes are apart for the second shot. Combine the two shots by crossing your eyes. These eye exercises do no harm.  We sit and stare out cross eyed all the time. The trick is to be able to do this at will.

If unsuccessful now, try later. You will be rewarded. Only look at the middle resulting image. 
You should see three images in a row like shown here, but only the middle image is in 3D.




Recently this death mask appeared on EBay .
The mask is surely  weird looking. Obviously the plaster cast has a lot of distortion that came about when the maker did not take precautions to ensure reproduction accuracy. To make a reliable mould impression takes a lot of preparation work and expensive materials.
The sunken facial features are consistent with the moulds inner surface coming away from the supporting mould during the casting. It is amazing how critical even 1 mm change can make on a bust of this type.

Notice the creases on the skin surface where the rubber mould failed to retain its shape. While it is a reproduction cast, I hope the end buyer realises the faults and is no longer an accurate impression of Ned's death mask.

added 23 July 2006. Bill Denheld


The EK marked gun,
The remains of an 1866 vintage Winchester rifle found in a mine shaft at Beechworth Vic. during the 1940's comes to light.
private collection

Perhaps historically important, but more likely a curio, the remains of a gun block and barrel together with three other antique guns were discovered in a mine shaft back in the 1940's. The private collector kept the find with his gun collection. It is shown here for the first time and I invite comment. What do you make of it. Have you heard of others.

Again there are vexing questions, who would so clumsily stamp EK upside down in such an obvious prominent place. It is marked with a chisel tool and looks very authentic. The gun looks like it has been cannibalized for spare parts. It is a Winchester 1866 model .44in (11.2 mm) issued during the US civil war army.

Was this EK gun,- part of the Kelly sympathizer armament at the time of the uprisings that failed, and ended up a liability to the owner? Having been found in Beechworth Victoria gives it pedigree. It is known that many guns were marked by rebellious glorifiers of the Kelly legend as far back as the 1890's. I like to think it is a genuine relic.

We know Ned Kelly did not possess a Winchester, so it was not his.

The Kelly gang's last camp fire ?

The picture of a ring of rocks are most likely the out door campfire of the Kellys.

The above picture is a detail from the source photo titled ' Kelly camp'. Mr. Tolmie held Hollands Run from 1860 till 1877, it was 16.000 acres. He also held Dueran Station towards Mansfield.

Although the above photo is not dated, the Tolmie working party conducted a roundup of stray cattle that had eluded previous attempts. A party of five stockmen set out and took with them a small plate camera. Recorded were some early and most remarkable pictures of the high country. One of the dozen taken was named Kelly camp. The above skull is complete with bullet holes and testimony of butchery on site.

                                                 More to come,

  This section will be devoted to items of interest to do with the Kelly story. There will be lots of pictures of items recently found at Kellys Ck and discoveries to do with the topography of the place.

If you know
of anyone who may have Kelly related items, pictures  or information in their possession, I would be most interested and grateful for show on this website.


 The writer reserves copyright and none of the text or images may be commercially reproduced    without written permission.   Some  personal  views  expressed  are  conjecture  -  based  upon    published works and open to feedback to Bill Denheld. 
bill at denheldid dot com Oct.2002