Ned Kelly
Updated January 15, 2004

Ned Kelly This section focuses on the most disputed events in the Kelly story. Much oral history is involved which may possibly be accurate - yet elements of the widely 'accepted history' cannot be substantiated. Here we sort fact from fable.

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NED'S WIVES AND GIRLFRIENDS

Over the years Ned has been romantically linked to a number of women. It is possible, even likely, that Ned had one or more 'sweethearts', but unfortunately historians have no clear evidence or documentation to prove who they might have been. For more than a century various authors and oral stories have claimed, or intimated, various possible love interests for Ned. Some of them have even been put forward as the widow he may have left behind. Theoretically any of these claimed partners (except for the fictional characters obviously) may indeed have actually had some form of romantic relationship with Ned. Yet, frustratingly, even when there is some circumstantial evidence to support one or more of the claims, historians are still faced with lack of clear conclusive proof and so are really only able to speculate.

What are the main theories on Ned's romances?

Illustrating the unreliability of marriage claims, historian Professor John McQuilton (in his book The Kelly Outbreak) writes that Ned has "reportedly married one of Steve's sisters, one of Joe's sisters, and a domestic servant in Deniliquin with the unlikely name of Madela".
Some of the more widely known of Ned's suggested romances are as follows:

Quick find index:
Mary Hearne
| Julia Cook | Mary the larrikin | Mary Miller | Ettie Hart |
Kate Lloyd
| Madela/Bridget Conway

Mary Hearne
Facts - Mary Hearne did not exist.

Analysis - Peter Carey's novel (The True History of the Kelly Gang) has recently re-sparked the marriage debate. In the fictitious account of Kelly's life, as a narrative aid, Carey has written in for Ned a de-facto wife by the name of Mary Hearne who, in the novel, had a daughter* to Ned. This woman was a character of Carey's imagination only, (as was obviously their daughter). Despite Mary Hearne being a totally fictional character, many people have nevertheless tenaciously latched on to the idea that she might have existed and that Ned did indeed have a child, as if this might lessen the tragedy of Ned's premature end.
*NB. No record of Ned fathering any child has ever been discovered.


Julia Cook
Facts - Julia Cook did not exist. In the recent Ned Kelly movie (starring Heath Ledger and Naomi Watts), Naomi Wattsbased on the novel Our Sunshine, Ned is involved in a romance with a married woman named Julia Cook. The character of Julia, like Carey's Mary Hearne, is fictitious, a fact openly confirmed by film director Gregor Jordan.

Theory - However, Gregor has also mentioned his belief that Ned had a 'reputation' for being attracted to married women, and thus has sparked new speculation.

Conclusion - This supposed reputation is not widespread (to say the least) and, considering the complete lack of supportive evidence for it, any truth in the alleged rumour is highly doubtful.


Mary 'the larrikin'
Facts
- None.

Theory - Ned was rumored to have been involved (at least casually) with a bar-maid (from a pub near Jerilderie) known as Mary the larrikin (Mary Jordan). Little is known about Mary, and no definite information on her exists. As well as Ned, Joe Byrne was also purported to be romantically involved with Mary.

Analysis - It is possible both men were at some time involved with her in some way. However as the information is entirely hearsay, and involves two different men, it does lessen the credibility of the claim that Ned was involved romantically with her. Mary is not generally seen as anything more than a casual dalliance for Ned, and she has never seriously been suggested as his theoretic wife.

Conclusion - While this relationship may have existed theoretically it seems unlikely to have been a serious one, and certainly cannot be confirmed in historically factual terms.


Mary Miller
Facts
- None

Theory - Author Max Brown in his 1948 Ned Kelly biography, Australian Son, says that Mary Miller's name was linked romantically with Ned's. Max gathered this information from interviews with people (1946 - 1948), including many from Victoria's north-east district who remembered the gang. He writes that Mary Miller, Ned's cousin, was a "handsome and daring horsewoman", and that little is known about her. She was actively assisting the gang and her "nocturnal expeditions were the cause of her father, Robert Miller, being arrested" [as a Kelly sympathiser]. She was reputedly seen by local farmers riding out in the evenings "with a bundle secured behind her on the saddle", and was thus reported to the police. He writes, "Some say that her interest in the gang was merely that she was a good cousin and a courageous woman. Other swear that she Mary loved Ned Kelly, that she was the girl from Greta to whom he later threw kisses from the dock in Beechworth, and who prayed for him on her knees before the steps of the old Melbourne gaol when the bell tolled twice at the hour of his hanging."

Analysis - This is hearsay as Max Brown rightly indicates, so we cannot know if Mary was simply Ned's ally or something more intimate. The two opposing opinions stated about Mary Miller is a good example of how hearsay cannot be relied upon, even if widespread or accepted by those who might have known or had contact with the individuals involved.

Conclusions - Unfortunately there is very little information available on Mary Miller and the nature of her relationship with Ned. The suggested romantic relationship between them is unproven, however as they did know each other, and Mary seemingly was prepared to risk much to aide Ned, it is certainly a credible possibility. Its plausibility may depend somewhat on when their romance was initiated, and how serious it was, a light or flirtatious romance seems more likely than a serious one. (During Ned's legal status as outlaw, the degree of difficulty to conduct and maintain a romance would have been considerably increased. Although it is clear Mary was a brave woman and not inclined to timidity, Ned may not have been able or willing to risk her safety in a more serious dalliance.) Therefore a relationship between Ned and Mary is possible, but not factual.


Ettie Hart
Facts
- None.
Esther "Ettie" Hart (sister of Kelly gang member Steve Hart) has for a long time been said to have once been Ned's sweetheart, and she is certainly one of the more widely accepted and acknowledged nominees. Despite the plausibility of this claim, it is one that is not usually examined by historians in much detail, perhaps due to the fact that a romantic relationship between them is generally believed to have occurred.

Theory - History Professor John Molony wrote, in his 1980 book I am Ned Kelly, that Ned's only real sweetheart was Esther. The relationship apparently existed before Ned was outlawed and dissolved due to his circumstances, (i.e. Ned's absence and impending threat of imprisonment) and that no one else replaced Ettie in Ned's affections. He makes no claims, however, that they were married or ever engaged, and also does place the relationship it in its relevant historical context, (i.e. that Ned knew he was not in a position to marry, or even to make a promise of marriage). Professor Molony also wrote that after the gangs' defeat at Glenrowan, "It was said that Ettie Hart was hysterical with grief but no one dared to ask her whether she mourned for Steve alone or for the dark leader and loved one of days now gone."
Note on the source: The source of the majority of Professor Molony's information was Mr Thomas Lloyd, son of Tom Lloyd (Ned's first cousin) and Rachel Hart. Molony explains, "…Mr Lloyd's information, gleaned from his father as a youth, was in all respects most reliable…" This information is hearsay, however the source in this instance is credible and indeed likely to be reliable. Tom's father knew Ned intimately and is often referred to as 'practically the fifth member of the Kelly gang', additionally; he had no apparent reason to lie to his son about the information. Tom Lloyd Jr., who passed the information on to Prof. Molony, also appears to have no reason to lie about what his father told him. Some confusion and query did arise, however, when later interviews with Tom Jr. by author Ian Jones, appeared to suggest a different story, (see 'Kate Lloyd' below).

Analysis - In considering whether Ned and Ettie may have been involved romantically there are some factors that do offer support to the idea. The fact that Ettie was Steve's sister proves a connection between them. Ettie was of a reasonable age to be in a relationship with Ned (born 14th of March 1861, making her only around 5 or 6 years younger than Ned, and 17 at the time of the Fitzpatrick affair). Ned and Ettie would have had a chance to 'court' and get to know each other under normal circumstances, i.e. well before the time that Ned would have been in constant hiding from the law. (Once Ned was outlawed any courtship or romantic relationship would have, both in practical and emotional terms, been very difficult to develop, conduct or sustain.) Significantly Ned's criminality is the apparent reason that their relationship ended, and is a plausible explanation for why their romance may have dissolved, (without one, or both, party's feelings of affection necessarily having altered). Had the reported relationship between them continued it seems probable that Ettie would have been spied on by the police, or even an attempt made to use her as bait to catch Ned, (also at some risk of her being arrested under section 5 of the Felon's Apprehension Act ). This is reason enough for either of them to have ended a love affair.

ettie hart

Circumstantial evidence - An often overlooked fact is that Ettie was in Melbourne at the time Ned was hanged. We know this, as she was in the Apollo Theatre 11/11/1880 for the staging of "Kelly Family", where Ettie sub-featured in the sadly misguided on-stage appearance of Jim and Kate Kelly. (This event was staged on the night Ned was hanged.) Her appearance there is notable and curious - not just because it proves she was in Melbourne, but because it raises two generally unexamined questions; Why Ettie Hart was included in an event titled "Kelly Family", and, why she was in Melbourne and away from home during a time of mourning for her dead brother.
Firstly, let's examine her involvement in the show. Ostensibly she appeared because she was gang member Steve Hart's sister. Possibly significant is the fact that Ettie was the only other Kelly gang member's relative apparently involved. The handbills for the event were not detailed and simply stated "Miss Ettie Hart will also appear". Therefore the theory that it might be possible that she was also included to be presented as Ned Kelly's sweetheart should be considered. Perhaps the promoter simply took advantage of the fact that she was in town. Certainly it is unlikely that she, a woman in mourning, made the journey from the country just to appear in the show, particularly as she apparently did not travel to attend the Sydney performance of the same show.

So what brought Ettie to Melbourne? She was a Kelly sympathiser certainly, but considering she would still have been in mourning for her brother, her absence from home, and presence in Melbourne, is somewhat peculiar. After all, some months prior, Steve had been buried in Greta and the Hart family's interest in the gang did not therefore extend to Ned's execution, particularly during a time of mourning. The fact that she was in Melbourne at this time, rather than in deep mourning for her brother, which traditionally meant staying away from all social gatherings or public events, indicates she was there for a special purpose. It should not be ruled out then, that Ettie's unexplained presence in Melbourne suggests she may have been one of the unnamed Kelly supporters who participated in the gathering of signatures for, and the presentation of, the petition for reprieve of Ned's death sentence. It is possible that she may also have attended Ned's trial. It is certainly possible that, as rumoured, Ettie was the unnamed woman dressed in black (traditional colour of mourning) who prayed in front of the goal at the time Ned was hanged. All this provides some circumstantial data to support a romantic link between Ned and Ettie. Her unexpected presence is more easily explained by a lingering romantic sentiment for Ned, than by her being simply 'Steve's sister'. After all, if she had cared only for Steve, it is more likely that she would have remained in the country to mourn him as was customary. Whereas unresolved feelings of affection for Ned, particularly strong ones, could well have over-ridden 'appropriate' mourning etiquette and instead brought her to Melbourne in an attempt to support Ned at his time of need in any way she could.

Conclusions - Although a romantic relationship between Ned and Esther Hart is unproven in historically factual terms, it was certainly feasible in terms of probability. It is also generally widely accepted as indeed having occurred at some point. It is noteworthy that Hart family oral history supports the belief that a relationship did indeed exist between Ned and Ettie. (See email from Lola Rowe (nee Lloyd).) Historians do not have any evidence to indicate the level of seriousness of their relationship however, so no conclusions can be made in that regard. The reason for the relationship breaking up has always been claimed to be the fact that Ned had become a fugitive, rather than any dissonance of amity or alteration to either parties' romantic feelings. This is plausible given the seriousness of the circumstances and potential danger. Also true, however, seems the likelihood that they never resumed their romance at a later time. Ettie Hart has not seriously been suggested as ever having married Ned.


Catherine "Kate" Lloyd

(Click to go directly to 'Conclusions')

Facts
- None.
A recent nominee that has managed to capture the public imagination is Kate Lloyd. Although Kate, Ned's young cousin, is rarely suggested as a possible wife, she has recently grown in popularity as Ned's sweetheart due to Ian Jones 1995 book 'A Short Life'. The well-known author states, as fact (see note 1), that Kate was "the great love of his life" (see note 2), and even alleges she was his "unnamed fiancé". Yet further investigation indicates that a romantic relationship between them is actually unproven. Ian also claims, as fact, that Kate was the unknown woman in the courtroom gallery at Ned's committal hearing who kissed her hand to him and received a similar gesture, yet this is also unproven. (See Romance).

Note 1: Ian is unusual amongst Kelly historians because of the confidence with which he presents his theories even in the absence of proof, including his theory that Kate and Ned were involved in a serious relationship, and even engagement. Unfortunately confidence in a theory does not constitute truth, or fact, even when made by a knowledgeable Kelly historian like Ian. In the scope of this historical analysis, his offered interpretations of incidents cannot be regarded as conclusive, particularly as they are clearly open to wider interpretations. Due to the considerable detail of the argument presented regarding Kate, a detailed examination and analysis seems pertinent. In the face of a lack of clear evidence, and even contrary data, when reviewing any possibility in historical analysis it is important to objectively evaluate, in detail, the incidents given as support for any claim of fact. Note, however, that this approach does not mean that the theory about Kate Lloyd and Ned is any less possible than any other theory presented to date.
(See Distinguishing Fact from Fiction).
Note 2: Further, it should be pointed out that even conclusive evidence of an actual 'romance' of any kind with Kate, or indeed any other woman, would not necessarily be enough to prove Ned was deeply in love with her. In non-fictional analysis, to claim such a serious devotion by Ned to any woman as the 'love of his life' is problematic, because researchers have no true evidence to prove how Ned may have felt about the subject (Kate Lloyd in this instance), or any other woman, for any such comparison to be made.


Theory - Ian Jones refers to a serious and devoted romance between Ned and his young first cousin, Kate Lloyd. Seemingly much of Ian's conviction of a romantic relationship is based on reported hearsay from Tom Lloyd Jr. (son of Ned's 1st cousin Tom). Note on the source: This source does have credibility (as detailed above, see Ettie Hart). However there is a discrepancy to be found between the versions of the oral history obtained by Ian Jones and that obtained by Professor Molony. This inconsistency is difficult to reconcile, or explain, and is another clear example of why hearsay cannot be used as factual evidence in historical analysis. The cause of this discrepancy, in the two versions of hearsay from the same source, can only really be guessed at. It could perhaps be due to time lapse, but without other verifiable evidence researchers simply cannot determine which information may be correct. Further investigation is required.

Note: Tom's daughter, Lola, emailed Bailup (10/11/03). She confirmed John's claim about Ettie, however was unable to support Ian's claim about Kate and Ned.
"... I was there when Prof. John Maloney spoke to my father re Ettie( Esther) Hart. I was not present, when Ian Jones spoke to Dad on the same matter, but Dad & I had discussions on the same topic, he did say, being Catholics (did not marry a cousin) he felt that Kate was only a close cousin, as they were all very close, Catherine Lloyd , Jane Lloyd and Ellen Kelly, the 3 sisters having there families, all about the same time, they grew up together , were as close as Brothers & Sisters. Lola Rowe nee Lloyd.
"

Analytical Note: This email (from a credible source) confirms John Moloney's report and adds considerable weight to the idea that Ettie Hart and Ned were involved. Inetresting it also clearly contradicts the idea that Kate and Ned were involved.

Analysis - While there is much to support the belief that Kate and Ned were fond cousins, unfortunately only minimal circumstantial evidence (see below) and mostly hearsay is offered that might support the theory of a romantic relationship between them. There is even some contradictory data (as below) to suggest that, albeit devoted, their relationship was nothing more than one of platonic cousins.

The claim that Kate was the woman who exchanged gestures with Ned in Beechworth courthouse is, although possible, not proven, and does raise some unanswered questions. The reporters were obviously in ignorance of the identity of the woman who exchanged attentions with Ned, so we have no proof at all of whom she was. Ian asserts it was Kate, yet the rest of Ned's family members were apparently in the body of the courtroom, including Tom Lloyd. Notably Kate sat with Maggie and Tom in all other courtroom appearances, so if it was Kate, why then would she not have been sitting with her relatives on this one, and only, instance? And why was she not recognised in Beechworth? Additionally, if it was Kate, there seems to be no explanation for why Ned did not make the same, or a similar, gesture to her on either day during his trial in Melbourne, (for there is no doubt he would have seen her there). The mystery woman may very possibly have been Kate, however there is no evidence at all to prove that it was, and some information to suggest it wasn't. Thus it cannot be stated as fact. Nor would the gesture prove a romance between them existed, even if it were proven to be Kate.

Contrary data -

  • While reviewing this theory in general, it is difficult to disregard the significance of the age difference between Ned and Kate. By Glenrowan Ned was around 25 years old, but Kate was only 15 at most, her birth is actually listed as 1868, making her only 12 years old in 1880, (see 'notes'). She was therefore still a girl, and certainly young enough to have had a 'crush' on her much older cousin. Ned on the other hand, was a grown man, and thus to enter into any type of romantic relationship with Kate, let alone a serious one, meant he would have viewed her as a woman despite her young age. (Ned had known Kate since she was a small child and this would have had to be a fairly significant alteration to his opinion of her.) Given Kate's age, any possible romantic relationship between them would have presumably have to have begun after Ned was outlawed and during the time when Ned was in hiding and constantly moving to evade capture. Though not impossible, in pragmatic terms this in itself would have been a huge obstacle to any romance (let alone a new one) with Kate, or anyone else. (It is also difficult to imagine that Ned would put his young innocent cousin's safety at risk during such a time.) Even assuming Kate was 14 or 15 by Glenrowan, a courtship would presumably have to have been initiated by Ned when Kate was only around 13 or 14 years old. Therefore it is difficult to reconcile their age difference, and Kate's young age, with the idea of any type of serious romantic relationship between the cousins. Historical note: People in the 19th century did tend to get married younger than they do now. However, even if they may have been involved romantically in a lighter sense, it is difficult to understand how Ned could have ignored both Kate's youth, and his own circumstances, to seriously consider marriage to her in 1880.
  • As well as the above, when reviewing the possibility of Kate Lloyd as being in a serious relationship with Ned, it is important and even unwise not to take into account the information given by Kate's own daughter, Mrs. Winifred McLean. For when asked about a possible romantic relationship between Ned and her mother Kate, she stated that her mother had told her that while she and Ned were 'devoted', she had denied a romance outright. A direct denial by Kate, albeit via her daughter, should be given due credibility and respect. It should not be dismissed, or surmised as a possible lie by either woman - without definite contradictory proof. (As has inexplicably been done by Ian Jones).

Ned Kelly kate lloydCircumstantial evidence - Ian interpreted the following incidents as circumstantial evidence of a serious romance between Kate and Ned.

  • After Ned was captured at Glenrowan, and critically ill, Kate was reported by newspapers to have been openly distressed when farewelling him at the Benalla railway station.
  • Kate attended Ned's 2-day Melbourne trial, along with her cousins Maggie Skillion and Tom Lloyd and others.
  • Kate was the only known relative that stayed in the courtroom while Ned was sentenced.
  • Kate participated in the petition of reprieve for Ned.
  • Along with other members of Ned's family, Kate visited Ned in the gaol on the day before he was executed.
  • Kate's general display of devotion to Ned.

Analysis of circumstantial evidence -There is no question that Kate was devoted to Ned (as her behavior indicates). However given Kate's age, and the traumatic circumstances, there are numerous ways to interpret her behavior. For example:

  • Much has been made of Kate's reported distress at Benalla station, yet she was certainly not the only female to have openly displayed emotion after the events of Glenrowan, (amongst a number of others, Maggie Skillion and Ettie Hart were also reportedly highly distraught).
    Ian has argued that the source of Kate's reported distress, following Ned's capture at Glenrowan, was romantic love. This is possible, however it is certainly not the only possible cause. Main considerations in attempting to evaluate Kate's distress are: the known circumstances that had just occurred, her personality and age, and the fact that she was certainly not alone in displaying anguish at that time. The sheer disaster of the siege would have been alarming, and other family members also made understandable public displays of shock and grief. After the deaths of the other three gang members, seeing Ned captured and near death would obviously have been very difficult for all those who cared about him to witness, including Kate. The emotions she displayed were understandable in their own right, and so could just as easily be attributed to a non-intimate relationship between the cousins as in intimate one. Their relationship had, after all, reputedly been one of devotion since Kate was a very young child. Considering the age difference growing up, it is even possible that she related to him as a beloved older brother or father figure, thus easily offering yet another alternate explanation for the cause of her distress.
    NB.
    Kate also reportedly visited the body of Joe Byrne; this minor and usually disregarded event is evidence that her distress and loyalty was not entirely focused on Ned. Neither was she alone when visiting Ned prior to his departure to Melbourne, she was accompanied by Miss McElroy, (who we know little about, and nothing about her relationship with Ned). Kate's distress, therefore, is understandable and has a number of possible explanations.
  • Ian has interpreted Kate's appearances in the courtroom at Ned's two-day trial in Melbourne as a sign of her romantic devotion to Ned. As there is no doubt that the extended Kelly/Lloyd families were close and supportive of each other, it could also, equally as plausibly, be viewed as one first cousin's simple and loyal devotion to the other, as well as Kate's more general and much needed support of the Kelly family. Nor was Kate the only female present in the trial to support Ned, as Dinny McAuliffe's sister was apparently also there, as well as having visited Ned in gaol. (Her presence in both instances is curious, yet barely noted by most historians. We know little about this woman, or her relationship with Ned. But it does reminds us that there were any number of women known to Ned, but mostly unknown to historians, who attended all his courtroom appearances in moral support of Ned, any of whom he theoretically could have loved.) Kate's presence at the trial demonstrates only that she wanted to show public support for Ned, it does not tell us what was in her mind at the time.
  • Kate was apparently the only relative known to remain in the courtroom when Ned was sentenced, and Ian again cites this as being due to romantic love. This is possible but not fact. Kate may have offered to remain in the courtroom not simply for Ned, but to be the family representative at Ned's sentencing, as others members (eg Maggie) felt too distraught to attend, whereas conversely, Kate clearly felt able to cope. We do not know what was in her mind when she made this decision. Neither do we know which other women were present or why. Kate's stoic presence shows she wanted to support Ned, but does nothing to prove Ned and Kate were involved romantically.
  • Kate's participation in the petition for reprieve for Ned's sentence indicates that she took an active role in trying to assist Ned, however she was not the only female Kelly sympathiser to do so. Again, this does not show anything more than she desired that Ned receive a stay of execution, it certainly does not demonstrate that they were romantically involved.
  • Naturally Kate would have wished to say good-bye in person to a cousin that she was devoted to, and she did so by visiting him in gaol along with other family members. This does not indicate that they were romantically involved. Kate's admission into the gaol is explained by her being a relative. There is also no real evidential significance in the fact that Kate was allowed to visit Ned in gaol - if attempting to use it in comparison with other women not having visited him. Her admission, and the exclusion of others, was entirely at the discretion of gaol authorities. It does indicate and tend to confirm that Kate was devoted to Ned, however, the main reason she would have been admitted, like Tom, was that she was Ned's first cousin, whereas a number of Ned's other supporters were not granted interviews with him. Others probably tried to see him, but may not have been admitted and/or their visits may simply not have been on surviving records, historians simply do not know. Kate's final words to Ned and vise versa were not recorded, this could be a likely indication that nothing was said to be of interest to the public, rather than because they were intensely private as has been suggested. After all, private moments between Ned and others were certainly recorded, so it is very unlikely that if anything significant passed between Ned and Kate it would have gone unreported. Kate's gaol farewell to Ned shows us she cared about him, but does not prove they were romantically involved.
  • Kate did display loyalty and devotion to Ned throughout his capture. Yet when one examines the cited incidents in support of the theory of a romance, one quickly realises that they refer only to the expressions of Kate's emotions - and not Ned's at all. Even assuming Kate's display of distress and concern for Ned and his predicament were due to her romantic sentiment, this does not indicate anything about the way Ned may have viewed Kate. In fact, evidence of Ned's emotions during such times is notably lacking. For example, in the same newspaper report (Age, 30/6/80) Ned was recorded as being "evidently moved" when farewelling his sisters (Maggie and Kate), but not apparently when farewelling Kate.

    "By the ordinary train this morning Ned Kelly was forwarded from Benalla to Melbourne…Mrs Skillion and Kate Kelly were on the platform prior to the departure of the train. The scene was very affecting between the two women and their brother, Ned Kelly. The outlaw, too, was evidently moved as they said good-bye, though he struggled to avoid exhibiting any weakness…Miss Lloyd and Miss McElroy also saw Kelly prior to his departure. Miss Lloyd bade him and affectionate farewell, and at the station she appeared dreadfully agitated."

    Note: If Ned had shown any sign of being 'moved' by his departure from Kate there is no doubt this, and other, news hungry reporters would have mentioned it.
    Thus despite Kate's clear devotion to Ned and his family, nothing can be determined about what, if anything, Ned may have felt for Kate. We have no evidence of Ned's emotions, and thus they cannot be evaluated in retrospect or even seriously speculated upon.

Even offering the above small variety of explanations and possible interpretations of Kate's reported behaviors and emotional displays, easily illustrates the reason why no one can postumately accurately determine the motivations, or cause, of someone else's displayed feelings, or actions, and also why no conclusions can be made. Importantly, speculating about or trying to evaluate Kate's displayed emotions and behaviors, whether correct or not, tells us nothing whatsoever about Ned's. (Only those involved would actually know why they behaved the way they did, or what they may have felt at the time.) The openness to a wide variety of interpretations also explains why circumstantial evidence such as this requires alternate and irrefutable facts to support it before any conclusions can be drawn.

Conclusions - In summary, a romantic relationship between the cousins is not fact. The circumstantial evidence, and the confirmation by her daughter, indicates that Kate was devoted to Ned. Ian Jones suggested, after an interview with Tom Lloyd Jr., that this devotion may have been due to a possible romance. However contradictory information from Tom's daughter, Lola; Kate's daughter, Winifred; along with Jim Kelly's letter, strongly suggests that it was not. While it is certainly feasible that Kate had some kind of romantic feelings for her older cousin, we have no proof of this. Kate showed devotion and concern for Ned, but nothing further can be concluded. Less convincing, but also theoretically possible, are romantic feelings being returned by Ned, but we have no evidence at all to even suggest that he was in love with Kate.
So while it is theoretically possible they may have been in love, or even engaged, there is unfortunately still no verifiable evidence to conclude or claim any romantic relationship between them ever existed, let alone that it was a fact. This is a very relevant and important point, as it is easy to take one interpretation of the circumstantial evidence at face value, without considering the lack of evidence and alternative explanations. Additionally it must be noted that there is actually evidence to contradict that a romance existed. Thus, at this stage, a romance between Ned and Kate Lloyd is still only an unsubstantiated theory and therefore, without further evidence, can only be viewed as simply one of a number of possibilities.


Bridget Conway (aka Madela?)
Facts
- None.

Theory - Perhaps the strongest advocates of the belief that Ned might have been married are research team Gary Dean and Dagmar Balcarek. They present the case for Ned's marriage based on the hearsay from Mrs Cook Prichard's claim, Ned's alleged statement at Jerilderie, and the police letter (as above). They refer to the police letter and argue that there is actually some evidence that the women Dwyer claimed might be Ned's wife, and 'Madela', were one in the same, with 'Madela' being an alias. They believe clues to 'Madela's' identity point to a widow named Bridget Conway. Bridget was the widow of Greta hotel proprietor Laurence O'Bryan (who died in 1874). They suggest that 'Madela's' previous husband "Lorreine" referred to in the police letter could have, in fact, been Bridget's husband "Laurence" and simply misspelled. Bridget, had continued to run the Greta hotel after her husband's death, apparently with the occasional help from her brother-in-law Daniel Kennedy. Gary and Dagmar cite, as further support, that during the gangs' outlawry Daniel Kennedy was in fact the reliable police informer, who went by the alias 'Diseased Stock'. This police agent, possibly through Bridget, or her through him, had fairly intimate ties with Ned or members of his family (shown by the fact that Daniel Kennedy knew about the armour before it was used in Glenrowan). They believe it was sometime after 1874 (Bridget was widowed and Ned was released from gaol) that Bridget and Ned developed a relationship. (Bridget later re-married in 1882 and thereafter lived in Benalla.)

Analysis - This hypothesis of the identity of 'Madela', the mystery woman, is plausible and does establish a connection with Ned. It is certainly possible that Ned may have been involved with Bridget in some way as the connection to Daniel Kennedy suggests he did know her. However these factors alone do not prove either that 'Madela' was genuine (or even existed), or, if genuine, that 'Madela' was Bridget. Before relying too heavily on the police letter it is important to remember that the constable received all his information as hearsay via an unnamed third party unnamed "informant". There is therefore no way to check the reliability of this hearsay. It also needs to be considered that the reliability of the evidence, gathered by Dwyer, is made more questionable by the fact that a letter was referred to that was supposedly written by someone who had a limited education. (Kate was not known to write any other letters, which makes this claim all the more improbable.) It is unknown whether Bridget ever worked in the Continental Hotel in Deniliquin. No connection has yet been established between 'Madela' and the unnamed woman in the Herald newspaper report (see 'marriage') who claimed to be Ned's wife, but it is possible they were one in the same woman, (whether Bridget or not). When Sgt. Kennedy's watch was returned to his widow via a go-between, 15 years after it was stolen, there is some hearsay that suggests it had actually been in the possession of Bridget Conway and that she had instigated its return. There is no documented evidence of Madela's alleged marriage to Ned, and no alternative source found to date to suggest that Ned and Bridget were involved in a romance.

Conclusions - The evidence supporting this theory is circumstantial, and, there is no other indication or evidence either that Madela was Bridget, or that Ned and Bridget were involved romantically. Thus, in order to accept a romantic relationship between them existed, a marriage would need to be proved.

For more info see pages 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

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