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Burnt to a Cinder, Was I?: The Escape /Allen, Vince //Paper/0958120803/S056-A2
This book tells the exciting story of how Dan Kelly escaped from the inferno at Glenrowan, survived the most horrifying burns, led an exciting life joining a horse thieving gang and nearly lost his life a second time when he rescued a family in the floods. He eluded capture, sometimes by the skin of his teeth, until the end of his life in 1948.
As published in the Truth of 29th December 1935, Dan Kelly was identified by different people, among whom was Jack Allen - the grandfather of one of the authors, Vince Allen. Jack, a contemporary of the Kellys and a bush telegraph for the gang, was well acquainted with the Kellys before and during their bushranging days. He spent a lot of time chatting about old times with Dan during the late 1930s.
It was through Jack and the descendants of Kate Kelly that Vince got to know Dan Kelly - and to hear his story.
Newspaper photographs of Jack Allen and Dan Kelly talking together at the Redbank hotel in 1935 are presently held at the John Oxley Library, Brisbane.
The story as told by Dan Kelly differs in many ways from the official version and will change some of what has been recorded about the gang.
Vince Allen writes:
"I have told this story just as Dan Kelly told it to me when I met him - the outlaw never died in that fire at the hotel in Glenrowan, Australia, and all those reports about his charred body being found are not correct. That body belonged to someone else.
"My grandfather, Jack Allen, knew the Kellys well - I have a newspaper (The Truth) photograph of Grandfather and Dan chatting at the Redbank Hotel on 29th December 1935. This photo is in the John Oxley Library for anyone to see.
"So you can see I'm not kidding about Dan escaping from that hellish blaze in 1880. Grandfather wasn't the only one to recognise Dan in 1935 and I wasn't the only one to meet him. And Dan told me his story because of Grandfather.
"Ned Kelly is an Australian hero. Australians have not forgotten the Kelly Gang and their fight for justice. Bushranger or Revolutionary? That's not for me to decide. Dan Kelly wanted the story of his extraordinary and unusually wild life told, and I have told it."