WIVES AND GIRLFRIENDS
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.
are the main theories on Ned's romances?
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:
Mary Hearne | Julia Cook | Mary
the larrikin | Mary Miller | Ettie
Kate Lloyd | Madela/Bridget Conway
Facts - Mary Hearne did not exist.
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.
Facts - Julia Cook did not exist. In the recent Ned
Kelly movie (starring Heath Ledger and Naomi Watts), based
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
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.
- 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
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.
- 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.
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."
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.
- 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.
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, "
Lloyd's information, gleaned from his father as a youth, was in all respects
" 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).
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.
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.
- 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.
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
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
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."
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.
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.
- 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.
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).
evidence - Ian interpreted the following incidents as circumstantial
evidence of a serious romance between Kate and Ned.
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.
attended Ned's 2-day Melbourne trial, along with her cousins Maggie
Skillion and Tom Lloyd and others.
was the only known relative that stayed in the courtroom while Ned was
participated in the petition of reprieve for Ned.
with other members of Ned's family, Kate visited Ned in the gaol on
the day before he was executed.
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.
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
- 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.
the ordinary train this morning Ned Kelly was forwarded from Benalla
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
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.
- 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.)
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.
- 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
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