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New evidence Ned Kelly gang fled to Darling Downs

Was Charles Tindall a member of the Kelly Gang?
Was Charles Tindall a member of the Kelly Gang?

ALL four members of the Kelly Gang were killed or captured after a fiery shootout with Victorian Police in the small town of Glenrowan in 1880.

Or were they?

The enduring story of the Kelly Gang has become an essential part of Australian folklore more than 100 years later.

But one journalist wants to challenge the official record, and believes two of the infamous brothers may have survived the fabled "last stand" in Glenrowan and fled to the Darling Downs.

Journalist and writer Eugenie Navarre has researched Ned Kelly and his brothers for more than 10 years.

She believes two of the brothers, Steve Hart and Dan Kelly, escaped the fabled shootout, and fled to rural Queensland under new identities.

Through extensive research, she believes she has found proof that Dan Kelly relocated close to South Burnett, in the town of Bell, north-west of Toowoomba. It was there that she believes he lived out his days as Charles Tindall before he died in his 90s.

"We know he was the same age, same height and in his final years he said he was Dan Kelly," Mrs Navarre said.

How did he pull off such an unlikely escape and fake his own death?

She believes there were two bodies found and, as Steve Hart and Dan Kelly's corpses were badly burned, it could have been anyone.

"It suited the police to say it was Steve and Dan," she said.

"To let the public know they let them escape, it wouldn't have looked good and it suited the family for people to think they were dead. It was a win-win situation."

HISTORICAL MYSTERY: Writer Eugenie Navarre believes two of the Kelly Gang fleed to Queensland. Photo Contributed
HISTORICAL MYSTERY: Writer Eugenie Navarre believes two of the Kelly Gang fleed to Queensland. Photo Contributed Contributed

Unproven stories about the members of the Kelly Gang escaping and faking their deaths have surfaced over the years.

In the South Burnett there were stories of the other rumoured escapee, Steve Hart, fleeing and eventually living in Murgon under the name Bill Meade.

Claims, rumours and deathbed confessions are one thing but all the theories of faked deaths and new identities have lacked hard proof.

Mrs Navarre still believes that the two escaped and said she was 80% sure that the Charles Tindall was Dan Kelly.

Her book, Ned: Knight in Aussie Armour will be launched at the Bunya Community Centre in Bell on March 12 at 10.30am.

The book is being launched by Charles Tindall's granddaughter, Maureen Tyler.

South Burnett

Topics:  bell, darling downs, ned kelly, toowoomba


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