Glenrowan and Ned Kelly’s dramatic last stand were far removed from Queensland, but there is evidence that two of the Kelly gang, Dan Kelly and Steve Hart, escaped the horrendous police-lit fire and ended up living and dying in Queensland.
Author Eugenie Navarre has spent more than a decade unearthing long suppressed ‘Kelly truths’. Her recently released book, Ned – Knight in Aussie Armour, includes Queensland section detailing the lives of two men believed to have been Ned’s brother, Dan Kelly, and the top horseman, Steve Hart.
Over the decades, there have been numerous reports of alleged sightings of Steve and Dan but Eugenie acknowledges that until the DNA is in, there can be no conclusions about the ongoing mystery of what was the final demise of the two youngest gang members. A man named Charlie Tindall who spent his final years in the Dalby / Bell areas is discussed in the Ned Kelly book. Charlie was buried in Toowoomba and over a decade ago his family gave Kelly researcher Gary Dean of Glenrowan permission to exhume the body for DNA. Results are still pending.
Tindall was a small man and about the same height and age as Dan. Late in life he married Willemina Spies and the couple had four children. Near the end of his life he told his family he was Dan Kelly, but his past haunted him as his wife reputedly abandoned him in an aged care home in Toowoomba. His granddaughter, Maureen Tyler of Kingsthorpe, remembers her grandfather as a gentle, kind man. He said he had survived the fire at Glenrowan. Maureen does not know when her grandfather took the name Charles Tindall but he used it when he married in 1892. “When they lived at Pirrinuan he’d go to the railway line to collect the mail. My father said he’d collect letters addressed to Dan Tindall and burn them after he’d read them,” Maureen said.
Father Peter Schultz of Toowoomba says he has Mrs Kelly’s Common Book of Prayer, given to his grandmother Marge Barter, a friend of the Kelly family when they lived at Greta. Grandmother Barter swore Dan never died at Glenrowan, Father Schultz has said.
Ned – Knight in Aussie Armour includes numerous interviews with old-timers who knew a man called Harry Thompson who spent many decades on his property, the Devils Pulpit, at Wallumbilla near Roma. Locals still believe Harry Thompson was the alias used by Steve Hart in Queensland. Harry, an old hermit, kept a cache of weaponry in the old hut on his 2800 hectare cattle and horse property. He had physical features and characteristics similar to Steve Hart and was about the same age. He was regarded as a top horseman and kept a photo of Ned Kelly in his hut. He told the locals he had been “where the bullets were flyin’” and threathened anyone who dared to venture near his hut.
Ned – Knight in Aussie Armour is available in selected Queensland bookshops and newsagents.
Words by Eugenie Navarre | Images supplied