Ned Kelly
Updated June 8, 2004

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2003 News Vault

10/12/03 'Besieged' Video

VHS copies of Besieged can be purchased for $38 plus postage. (No DVDs available yet.)
Enquiries: Ronin Films www.roninfilms.com.au for more information
PO Box 1005, Civic Square, Canberra ACT Australia 2608
Phone: 02 6248 0851 or Fax: 02 6249 1640
Email: orders@roninfilms.com.au

17/10/03 'Something to talk about' (Jacquie Schwind )
Source: The Chronicle Friday, October 17 2003 Page 3

Townspeople come up with Kelly concept plans
A concept model and design plans have been created to get Glenrowan residents thinking and talking about what to see in the proposed Ned Kelly Interpretive Centre.
They go on display at the Glenrowan hotel today for a week before a touring display at various Glenrowan locations. The concept has no approval for procedure in any way. It is purely being placed in the community at this stage to encourage discussion about the centres potential location, physical structure, features and contents.
Glenrowan resident Gary Dean who is one of the 10 members of the Glenrowan Improvers Masterplan Planning Committee said he had spoken to Bill Denheld from Melbourne about the proposed centre and the obstacle of the Glenrowan overpass. Mr Denheld, who shares a strong interest in Kelly history and is an industrial designer, subsequently decided to collaborate with Canberra architect, Penleigh Boyd to create a concept model and plans.
As a result, Glenrowan residents can examine a 3D model of the town, one in 775 scale and contoured in two metre levels, which includes a representation of where and in what form the centre could be built. The Centre draws on ideas put forward in the feasibility study. Concept plans illustrate a building complex with a central foyer, interpretation hall, children's activity areas, cinema, cafe/restaurant, tourist information centre, bookshop and touring exhibition area.
Mr Dean said the concept plans incorporate a lookout tower over the foyer which is 26 metres above floor level, a metre for every year of Ned Kelly's life."The building has very little concrete and is mostly glass, steel and redgum or other timbers" Mr Dean said. He believes they will give Glenrowan residents much food for thought. " It's designed to be something for people to look at, talk about and get an idea of what could be done" Mr Dean said. " We want to end up with something really good and we're only going to get one go at this."
One major difference to the concept model and plans is the centre's positioning. " It has different positioning to that mentioned in the feasibility study." Mr Dean said. " Its only about 100 metres and is located close to the siege site. It addresses the problem of having to acquire further property - you don't have to." Mr Dean said the different positioning didn't take up too much of the Lions Park area and its siting over the railway line tracks, with floor level in line with the top of the overpass, accommodated train requirements.
Caption to the picture, Glenrowan resident, Gary Dean, says concept plans for the proposed Ned Kelly Interpretation Centre near the Glenrowan overpass will stimulate discussion among locals as to what form the centre should take. Website www.denheldid.com/nedcentre
Thanks to Bill Denheld for sending in this article.

 

28/10/03 'Stringybark site needs to be listed'
Source: Border Mail (Print page 3)

The Victorian Government is being urged to give special protection to stone remnants of chimneys at Stringybark Creek which have a link to Ned Kelly. The call has been made by Kelly enthusiasts Mr Bill Denheld, of Melbourne, and Mr Gary Dean, of Glenrowan, who say they re-discovered the remains last year using a surveyor's map dated 1884-1885.
The clash between the Kelly gang and police at Stringybark Creek in 1878 left three troopers dead and raised the bounty on the outlaws. Mr Denheld said at the time one of the chimneys was part of a shingle hut while the other was already in ruins. The significance is this hut pinpoints where the police camp was, without that we wouldn't know," Mr Denheld said. Ned Kelly noted the shingle hut in his Jerilderie Letter. "I came on police tracks between table top and the bogs," Kelly wrote. "I crossed them and returning in the evening I came on a different lot of tracks making for the shingle hut."
Mr Denheld and Mr Dean want the Government, through the Department of Sustainability and Environment, to protect the site to stop looters souveniring rocks from the chimneys.
"It should become a heritage site under the Heritage Act," Mr Dean said. "At the moment all you need is a miner's licence and you can do what you like."

15/10/03 'Ned Kelly takes on Leeds' (Terry Ingram)
Source: Financial Review

Ned Kelly is alive and well in the Tower of London. Or at least in its northern offshoot in Leeds known as the Royal Armouries.
He appears in one of three current or pending exhibition reminders in the financial capital of Britain's north of the ubiquity of Australiana. Bushrangers, a sculptor and a cartoonist are being celebrated in an entirely uncoordinated and coincidental homage to Australian collectables.
The exhibition featuring Kelly is called Outlaws. It can be seen at the Royal Armouries from October 26 to November 2 and features a real live Ned Kelly, played by Rob Temple, and a replica of his armour.
The museum has a troupe of actors who buttonhole visitors and otherwise re-enact the museum's interpretation of history. Ned will give a 20 minute oration ending with "such is life".
Other outlaws featuring in the exhibition include Guy Fawkes and Bonnie and Clyde but it's Ned who has been chosen for the poster...

27/10/03 'Fallen Ned Kelly cops honoured'
Source: http://heraldsun.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5478,7677092%255E2862,00.html

Three policemen slain by the Ned Kelly gang 125 years ago have been remembered at the Mansfield-Stringybark Remembrance Festival.
A service was held at Mansfield yesterday for Sergeant Michael Kennedy and constables Michael Scanlan and Thomas Lonigan, who were murdered at Stringybark Creek on October 26, 1878. The service was part of events to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Victoria Police.
Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Christine Nixon and 22 new police recruits led a parade through Mansfield to the police monument, where she unveiled a new plaque honouring the fallen policemen.

13/10/03 'Ned Kelly records returned to the public'
Source: http://www.prov.vic.gov.au/main/kellyrelease.htm

Historically significant witness statements prepared for the murder trial of Ned Kelly in 1880 are now back in public hands, the Minister for Victorian Communities, John Thwaites said tonight.
These rare depositions, prepared around the time of Kelly’s committal hearing in Beechworth, help fill some of the missing jigsaw pieces of the Ned Kelly story,” Mr Thwaites said.
The Public Record Office Victoria – on behalf of all Victorians – tonight purchased the documents at auction for $20,000. Ned Kelly was tried for the murder of Constable Thomas Lonigan at Stringy Bark Creek, however the court documents show that the prosecution had also begun preparing the case against Kelly for the murder of Constable Michael Scanlon.
Kelly was eventually tried and convicted for the murder of Constable Lonigan, but until these documents came to light historians were not aware that the prosecution had actually begun the paperwork for the second prosecution for the murder of Constable Scanlon,” Mr Thwaites said. “The mere existence of these copy depositions are highly significant.”
The records will now join a $20 million collection of Ned Kelly records at the Public Record Office Victoria. “I am very pleased that these documents have now been secured for the public record with a winning bid of $20,000,” Mr Thwaites said. “The two documents both contain significant annotations that will give historians new insight into the workings of the legal process in the Kelly trial.”
While originally in public ownership, the documents were discovered in private boxes last year in a Camberwell home. The family has asked to remain anonymous.
In these circumstances, the Public Record Office Victoria (PROV) is obliged to purchase at market rates,” said Keeper of Public Records, Justine Heazlewood. “Now these important documents will once more be accessible to all Victorians.
Mr Thwaites said PROV intended to digitise the records and make them available on its Ned Kelly website www.prov.vic.gov.au/nedonline.
The documents will also be available for exhibitions and be on public viewing at Public Record Office Victoria in North Melbourne.

8/10/03 'Kelly Gang rides for tourism'
Source: nzoom.com http://onenews.nzoom.com/onenews_detail/0,1227,227047-1-456,00.html

A new Kelly Gang, complete with a Ned-style suit of armour, plans to raid Parliament House in Canberra, looking for money. It's a delegation from "Kelly country" of north-eastern Victoria seeking support for a proposed $NZ17,000,000 Ned Kelly Interpretive Centre at Glenrowan - where the gunman-bushranger was captured in 1880. About 100 politicians including Tourism Minister Joe Hockey, ministerial advisers and media are being invited to see a formal video presentation of the plans, supported by seven municipalities in the area.
A suit of armour worn by Kelly gang member Joe Byrne who was killed in the 1880 Glenrowan siege, is being loaned to the group by its private owner in Canberra.
The party will include two Kelly gang descendants, Anthony Griffith and Ned Lloyd.
A spokesman says the concept of the new centre is a broad interpretation of Kelly's life - descendents in the area of his family and of the policemen he killed remain sharply divided to this day on his character. The interpretation would include the Glenrowan Heritage Tourism Precinct, enabling visitors to view key sites including where the siege and Ned's capture occurred and where the gang planned to derail a police train. In the centre would be an auditorium where the visitors could look through a window - in reality a wall screen - and view the siege site as it looked in 1880.
Apart from Glenrowan, among stops on a Ned Kelly trail would be:

  • Beechworth, where Ned and his mother were once imprisoned.
  • Benalla, where the district historical society is custodian of the bloodstained green sash worn by Kelly under his armour- during the Glenrowan siege.
  • Jerilderie across the borde in NSW, where Kelly wrote what became known as the Jerilderie Letter seeing himself as a victim of ancient wrongs against the Irish people.

Delegation leader Irene Grant, Mayor of Wangaratta, says the Ned Kelly Interpretive Centre would inject an estimated $A6.9 million a year into the area, and create more than 120 new jobs.
Thanks to Sharon Hollingsworth for bringing this article to my attention.

22/09/03 'The future of Victoria Police remembers the past' (Senior Constable David Gamble)
Source: http://www.police.vic.gov.au/mediaContent.cfm?mediaId=278

Victoria Police recruits are honing their marching skills as they prepare to lead the town parade at next month’s Mansfield–Stringybark Remembrance Festival. The festival forms part of this year’s celebrations marking 150 years of Victoria Police serving the community. Held on weekend of 25-26 October 2003, the festival features a number of events based around Mansfield, including a recruit swearing-in ceremony on the Sunday morning.
Twenty-four recruits will be officially sworn-in as Victoria Police members after completing 20-weeks of training at the Victoria Police Academy, the first time the ceremony has been held away from the Academy. The new police officers will then lead a town parade through Mansfield to the Police Monument commemorating the lives of Sergeant Michael Kennedy and Constables Michael Scanlan and Thomas Lonigan. Chief Commissioner Christine Nixon will unveil the monument to the fallen members, who lost their lives at the hands of men who would later become known as the Kelly Gang.
A highlight of the day will be a dramatic public re-enactment of those Stringybark Creek events, which have now become part of Australian folklore.
Police will hold a memorial service on Sunday afternoon to honour their fallen colleagues, who died in the line of duty exactly 125-years-ago to the day. Chief Commissioner Christine Nixon said it was a significant occasion for the new Constables to begin their police careers. "The police officers killed and injured at Stringybark Creek were victims of one of the most horrific incidents in Australian history," Ms Nixon said. "We pay tribute to our fallen colleagues, who throughout history have died in the line of duty. We recognise their selfless actions in protecting this community," she said.
Senior Sergeant Bruce Klinge of Mansfield Police said it was important for the new police members to realise they were joining part of an extended family. "I think it is symbolic that twenty-four police members will begin their careers on the anniversary of events 125-years-ago where three police members careers were tragically cut short," said Senior Sergeant Klinge. He said he was aware the Stringybark events not only had great significance for the local community, they also held an important place in the Australian psyche.
Descendants of police members killed and injured by the Kelly Gang this month helped launch Victoria Police Blue Ribbon Day, which honours the 137 Victoria Police members who have died on duty. Blue Ribbon Day coincides with National Police Remembrance Day to be held on Monday 29 September 2003.
Thanks to Sharon Hollingsworth for bringing this article to my attention.

18/09/03 Council buys more Ned Kelly land ABC Goulburn Murray
Source: ABC Goulburn Murray http://www.abc.net.au/goulburnmurray/news/200309/s948216.htm

The rural city of Wangaratta, in north-east Victoria, has secured another key strategic site which forms part of the Kelly Siege Heritage Precinct at Glenrowan. The council will work closely with Heritage Victoria to undertake an archaeological dig at the vacant site to determine whether any relics from the Kelly era remain. Mayor Irene Grant says the purchase is an exciting step forward in the Glenrowan revitalisation project and helps to ensure Glenrowan is recognised as the keeping place of the Kelly legend. "Well, council decided that it would purchase the vacant allotment at 50 Gladstone Street, Glenrowan, which was the site of the former McDonnell's Railway Tavern and it was part of the Ned Kelly story," she said. "It was a very important location in the times of the Kelly uprising."

18/09/03 Pub site to join the Kelly story (Kristy Grant)
Source: The Border Mail http://www.bordermail.com.au/newsflow/pageitem?page_id=635726

The Rural City of Wangaratta has secured a key strategic site that will form part of the Kelly Siege heritage precinct at Glenrowan. The vacant land was the site of the former McDonnells Railway tavern which was well recognised as the “Kelly Sympathisers Pub” during the reign of Ned Kelly and his gang... Interpretive signage would be installed to explain the role of the tavern in the Kelly saga...
Thanks to Sharon Hollingsworth for bringing the above two articles to my attention.

10/09/03 In memory of the cops, not the robbers (Suzanne Carbone)
Source: The Age newspaper (Picture: Simon Schluter)

Police recruit Tim Noisette knows too well the dangers lurking on the job. He only has to look to that infamous encounter of cops and robbers involving the outlaw Ned Kelly. Mr Noisette's great-grandfather, Constable Thomas McIntyre, was injured during the Kelly Gang shooting at Stringybark Creek on October 26, 1878, which claimed the lives of Sergeant Michael Kennedy and Constables Thomas Lonigan and Scanlon (pictured below).
If the 1 million blue and white checked ribbons to be distributed n the lead-up to Blue Ribbon Day on September 29 serves as memorials to all police officers who have died on duty, then Mr Noisette is a living reminder of the risks police face. At the launch of the Blue Ribbon Day campaign yesterday, Mr Noisette was joined by another descendant of those involved in the Kelly Gang shootings, Senior Constable Mick Kennedy (pictured right), the great-grandson of slain Sergeant Kennedy .
Unlike some of the stories about Ned Kelly, Mr Noisette, 27, said there was nothing romantic about killing police. It disappoints him that accounts of the police involvement at Stringybark Creek have often been overshadowed by the attention given to Kelly. "Thomas McIntyre was criticised in the media at the time for surviving," Mr Noisette said. "He was regarded as a coward for escaping with his life, even though he was unarmed."
In Victoria police's 150-year history, 137 officers have died at work - 29 of them murdered. Mr Noisette (pictured far left), who gave up a career as a journalist to apply his investigative skills to the force, said he was unfazed by the dangers of life on the beat. "That's what I joined the police for - to protect the community," he said. If his great-grandfather had been killed, "I wouldn't be here".
Senior Constable Kennedy (pictured left, seated right of Mr Noisette), 52, had dreamed of becoming a dairy farmer, but after reading about his family history he gravitated to the blue uniform 32 years ago. He scoffs at Kelly's portrayal: "Unfortunately there are a lot of people out there trying to make a saint out of a bully, a buffoon and a horse thief."
Police Chief Commissioner Christine Nixon said next month's 125th anniversary of the Stringybark Creek shooting showed the high price for being a police officer. "These cold-blooded killings will stand as a stark reminder to how dangerous policing can be," she said.
...Blue Ribbon Day began in 1998 as a tribute to slain officers Sergeant Gary Silk and Senior Constable Rod Miller, and is now a day of remembrance for all police killed on duty. To mark the 150th anniversary of Victoria Police, a service will be held at the police memorial in Kings Domain at 10am on Monday, September 29. The event coincides with National Police Remembrance Day.

21/08/03 CATALYST ABC TV / ANSTO Investigation (Paul Willis - Reporter)

The big question about the armour is 'how was it made?' The armour tested was the suit that belonged to Joe Byrne (now owned by Rupert Hammond). Was it made by a professional blacksmith or by the amateur Kelly gang out in the bush? The key to finding out who made the armour lies in the temperature that the metal was heated to. A professional blacksmith uses a charcoal fire and bellows to heat the steel to yellow hot, that is over 1000 degrees celcius, before shaping it. A normal bush fire has a much lower temperature and would only be able to get the metal to cherry red or 750 degrees, at this temperature it's a lot harder to shape.
ANSTO (The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation) is the only place in Australia where all the tests can be done under one roof. A number of analytical techniques and a large team of scientists from ANSTO, the Australian National University and the National Museum of Australia were involved. Gordon Throrogood a physicist from ANSTO explained that the tests would examine the structure of the steel, what changes to it have occurred, how it started out initially, so the scientific team could determine how it was made.

  • The helmet was tested in the nuclear reactor. To understand the internal structure of the metal the helmet was blasted with neutrons. Which did not damage the armour in any way, but gave vital clues as to its composition.
    Neutron diffraction: this process provides information on how the atoms are deformed in the crystal lattice of the armour as a result of heat treatment or being worked with a hammer or something similar.
    This test confirmed that it's made of the same type of steel that would have been available in the 1880's.
  • The X-Ray department tested one of the side plates. To determine what temperature the armour reached, if any of the trace elements were changed, and what the starting material was.
    X-ray fluorescence: x-rays from radioactive sources were used to generate characteristic radiation from elements within the armour, confirming the alloy content of the steel. Lead detected at some places indicated where bullets had ricocheted off the armour.
    X-ray diffraction: this process is similar to neutron diffraction. The x-rays interact with the crystal structure near the surface, whereas neutrons examine the bulk of the material.
    These tests indicated that significantly it had only been heated until it was 'cherry red'.
  • The back and breast plates were tested using metallography, to get information about the carbides that indicates the actual temperature it's been to.
    Metallography can find out exactly what temperature the metal was heated to by looking at the individual metal crystals. To do this a small part of the surface of the plates had to be ground down and etch it with acid to reveal the individual metal crystals. Then looked at under the microscope.
    Metallography: areas of the armour that had been scuffed bare while on display were polished without mechanical deformation, the area etched in acid and the revealed metal structure (which proved to be steel) was replicated with cellulose acetate film
    There was a great variety of results, differentiating the original areas of the metal and those that had been changed when they fabricated them into a suit of armour.
    The heating of the metal was "very patchy". In some places it hasn't been heated enough, and bent cold, and in other spots it's been subjected to extended periods in a heat source of about 750 degrees.

After two and half days of testing and examining, the team reassembles to put together what they've found.
The findings of the research according to Gordon Throrogood were that the armour was probably likely to have been made by a "bush forge" and not made by a blacksmith. He said a bit more work needed to be done but the tests show the metal only got to about 700, 750 degrees C. the sorts of temperatures that are consistent with a fire that able to be built in the bush and kept fairly hot in order to work the metal.
Extract from transcript:
Narration: So the burning question is…could it have been made by the Kelly gang?
Gordon Throrogood: "Oh yeah definitely, definitely. It looks like it's been made by people who haven't had the time to sit down and work out how they're going to do it. It's been made in a hurry. If it had been made by a blacksmith and people who weren't worried about being watched and stuff the craftsmanship would be a lot better… so yeah definitely it was made by the Kelly Gang. Yeah there's no doubt."
Narration: …It seems that the accepted view of how the armour was made could be wrong…

Full Program Transcript: http://www.abc.net.au/catalyst/stories/s929067.htm#top
ANSTO Site: http://www.ansto.gov.au/info/scienceweek/joebyrne.html

5/08/03 'Ned Kelly papers found' (Neil Wilson)
Source: Herald Sun http://www.heraldsun.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5478,6863263%255E2862,00.html

Extra pieces of the Ned Kelly jigsaw have emerged with the discovery of copies of 1880 witness statements. The rare copies, found at the bottom of an old box of documents in a Melbourne home early last year, contain the evidence of some of the crucial players in the Kelly gang drama.
They include the accounts of Constable McIntyre, the sole police survivor of the triple shooting at Stringybark Creek, and of Edwin Living, a bank accountant to whom Ned Kelly handed his famed Jerilderie letter.

The two documents have been inspected by Public Record Office staff and will be auctioned in October at Leonard Joel's in South Yarra. Auctioneer Lachlan Burnet invited Kelly legal expert, Victoria's Chief Justice John H. Phillips, to inspect the items.
Justice Phillips, author of The Trial of Ned Kelly and two performance works, said the depositions would have been hand-copied by a Crown Law Office clerk. "These are pretty good ones," Justice Phillips said. "He seems to have written down the actual words used by the witnesses. As time went by, clerks tended to abbreviate."
The documents were prepared around the time of Kelly's committal hearing, in Beechworth's Court of Petty Sessions in August 1880, for the murder of Constables Thomas Lonigan and Michael Scanlon at Stringybark Creek. Sgt Michael Kennedy was also killed. One has the accounts of 10 Crown witnesses; the other of six witnesses.
Justice Phillips said the copies would have been among about six made before trial, others going to the judge, defence and public officials. The Public Record Office and Scotch College hold other copies. He said the notes in the margins were probably written by a law clerk or instructing solicitor for the attention of Crown counsel Smythe and Chomley, preparing the Supreme Court trial in Melbourne. "These are things of interest to him, posed as either further questions for the witnesses or issues for Smythe and Chomley," he said.
Pencilled notes next to McIntyre's account of Lonigan's murder include: "Wound in the eye", "Saw a large bloodstain on his coat", "How did you recognise them? He never saw them before", "Ammunition Extra". One note states: "Yes, cowardly."
Other queries include, "Why did Kennedy go reconnoitring then?" and "Why did Kennedy not seek to escape instead of McIntyre?"

Justice Phillips said: "He's got a note 'no duty to shoot', looking at a possible defence Kelly might raise at the trial. "He's really concerned with Kelly at the trial saying: 'You came out to shoot me, rather than arrest me'." Other important statements are made by Mansfield's Dr Samuel Reynolds, who examined Lonigan's corpse. Written in the margin is: "Were the bullet wounds made before or after death?" Justice Phillips said he would like a public institution such as the State Library, National Trust or Public Record Office to obtain the copy depositions, but realised they would go to the highest bidder.

The papers were found last year among masses of boxes in the Camberwell home of a prominent doctor and general, whose family wants to remain anonymous. "I was told that he came home with them about 30 years ago. His wife could remember he was very excited about his purchase, but then he put them away," Mr Burnet said. "He had a large collection."
Company chief executive Warren Joel expects the documents to fetch $20,000-$30,000.
Thanks to Sharon Hollingsworth for bringing this article to my attention.

The Big Picture: Outlawed: The Real Ned Kelly
at 8:30 pm Wednesday 6 August 2003

With award winning novels and glossy feature films this year Ned Kelly has gone global.
Narrated by renowned Australian actor Jack Thompson, this documentary tells the story of a man who for most Australians is our first revolutionary-a persecuted hero who fought to tear his country from the shackles of Mother England and free his people from the corruption of British rule. From the moment the Kelly Gang burst out of the Glenrowan Inn in 1880 clad in suits of iron forged from old farm ploughs, he was set not only to take on the colony's rogue police force, but to become Australia's very own knight in shining armour.
Today his values are touted as those of a nation-he is our beloved 'underdog', the true 'Aussie battler'. At the Sydney 2000 Olympics, hundreds of Ned Kellys cavorted around in the Opening Ceremony, their armour suits glinted in the beam of the international spotlight, their guns fizzed with firework sparks. Ned Kelly had made it.
Now descendants of the Kelly Gang, the police officers murdered at Stringybark Creek and the Glenrowan hostages, alongside leading Kelly experts and Australia's number one criminal profiler, help build a far more alarming picture of the man. Ned Kelly may not be the rebel hero he is cut out to be-he may have been little more than a horse thief, a bank robber, a cop killer, a colonial terrorist, a murderous thug.
Production Details:
Narrated by Jack Thompson. Produced and directed by Mark Lewis. Produced by Windfall Films and Look Television for The Australian Broadcasting Corporation in association with Channel 4 and National Geographic Channels International. 1 x 55 minutes.


3/07/03 Science breathes life into empty Kelly armour (Deborah Smith)
Source: http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2003/07/02/1056825456176.html

Legend has long held that the armour worn by Ned Kelly's gang more than 120 years ago was manufactured from parts of stolen and donated ploughs. But while some believe the bushrangers co-opted a sympathetic blacksmith to forge the suits for them, others claim the outlaws did it themselves, beating the steel into shape over a green log after heating it in a bush furnace.
Now science is being used to sift folklore from fact. Researchers at Sydney's nuclear reactor this week began extensive testing of the suit worn by Ned's No. 2 in the famous gang, Joe Byrne, to determine its origin and mode of manufacture.
Gordon Thorogood, a physicist at the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation at Lucas heights, said ANSTO was the only place in Australia able to carry out the necessary range of analytical techniques, which included firing a beam of neutrons from the reactor through the armour. Preliminary results indicated the steel had been heated in a low-temperature bush fire, rather than a smithie's furnace, Mr Thorogood said. So it was very likely the bushrangers "did their own work".
The armour also appeared to have been made from a plough share, he said, but detailed comparisons between steel from the suit and steel from old ploughs was needed to confirm this.
Joe Byrnes's suit, consisting of helmet, and front, back, and groin plates, was passed from Superintendent Hare, the only policeman shot at the Glenrowan siege, to his sister-in-law, Janet Lady Clarke. Her great-grandson, Rupert Hammond, its custodian, said it was a treasured gift for nursing Hare back to health. His grandfather, however, regarded Kelly as a criminal and moved it to his cellar, where it lay hidden for years, "under horse blankets and tonnes of mallee roots". This cool, dry environment contributed to its excellent state of preservation, Mr Thorogood said.
David Hallam, a conservator at the National Museum of Australia, said he realised there was potential for Joe Byrne's armour to tell its own story, "and debunk some of the theories", when he first saw it as part of preparations for an exhibition on outlaws to be held later this year.
The resulting testing project is a collaboration between the museum, the University of Canberra and ANSTO.
The tests can determine whether the steel is of a high quality, and so likely to have been used in a plough. ANSTO researcher Graham Smith has peeled off layers of metal so thin they are transparent, to detect whether the metal was worked at a high or low temperature.
Thanks to Sharon Hollingsworth for bringing this article to my attention.

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My thanks to the various sources who brought to my attention many of the articles and information in the news section, particularly S. Hollingsworth, B. Denheld, D. White and E. Hollow.

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