Comment [from Pat Lightfoot]:
There is no conspiracy Carol. You know what I sent you last year? Now I will send you more info a detailed primary resource research I have done, not dependent on newspaper reports, or Bob Cummin's research that is biased and poorly researched that you followed blindly. I believe your book is not selling well, but Scourge of the Ranges is still and will soon be on E books.
This report of mine as under the label 'letter to the editor of the Journal of Australian Studies' will be later this year published in the same JAS. Also the movie is progressing and will include archaeological research but you will learn about this later. You and David are toast historically.
I think you and particularly Dr Roberts should decide whether you want to support fiction (via your book) or thorough historical research. You can't do both. I can do both and have proven it.
Response [from Carol Baxter]:
Yes, Ms Lightfoot is again correct. There is NO conspiracy.
1. There is and was no conspiracy to hide the truth regarding Fred Ward’s birth. The evidence clearly shows that he was the son of Michael and Sophia Ward and was not the son of their daughter Sarah, as she and her cronies claim.
2. There was no conspiracy to hide the identity of Thunderbolt’s companion when she died in 1867. The evidence clearly shows that the woman who died was named Louisa Mason and that she was a different woman entirely from Mary Ann Bugg, and that Louisa Mason was not Mary Ann's nickname.
3. There was no conspiracy or “forgery” involved in the preparation of the birth certificate of Fred and Mary Ann’s son Frederick Wordsworth Ward who was born in August 1868 (nine months after Louisa Mason died, which of course confirms that the dead woman could not possibly have been Mary Ann Bugg).
4. There was no conspiracy to cover up the true identity of the bushranger shot in May 1870. Moreover the points of identification were not “hearsay” or “circumstantial” or “lies” – as Ms Lightfoot and her cronies claim – but rock-solid objective evidence comparing height (to a quarter-inch), hair colour, hair curliness, eye colour, complexion, and the position of a mole and two warts which “tallied exactly” with an earlier description of Fred Ward.
5. There is no conspiracy on the part of the current or previous government to cover up the truth regarding the death of bushranger Thunderbolt – as Ms Lightfoot and her cronies claim.
At last a member of the Thunderbolt conspiracy camp has actually admitted in writing that there is no conspiracy!
Ms Lightfoot’s other comments are clearly wishful thinking (I’m afraid the sales of my book are actually very good and that David and I are far from being “historical toast”!) but I have published her snide and inaccurate comments in their entirety because they provide a lead-in to the much bigger question raised by this whole Thunderbolt “controversy”. Why?
“Everyone is entitled to their own beliefs,” wrote a wise man, “but they are not entitled to their own facts.” Believing that Thunderbolt was the son of his sister, that Mary Ann died in 1867, that Fred Ward “lived on”, that the earth is flat, that fairies reside at the bottom of the garden, and that a martyr is rewarded with 70 virgins, etc, etc, does not make a belief a fact. “Facts” are founded upon a corpus of evidence yet Ms Lightfoot and her cronies have failed to provide even a skerrick of evidence to back up any of their beliefs. “You are wrong!” is not evidence. “You are the worst historian ever!” is not evidence. “Go peel a grape!” is not evidence.
The evidence regarding Thunderbolt and Mary Ann is simple and unequivocal. It is exhaustively documented on this website and also in Exposing an Exposé, the acclaimed article written by Dr David Andrew Roberts and I that has recently been published in the prestigious Journal of Australian Studies. Yet, astonishingly, Ms Lightfoot and her cronies have not relinquished a single one of their beliefs about Thunderbolt and Mary Ann despite the corpus of evidence showing that these beliefs are wrong.
“There are none so blind as those who will not see.” But why won’t they see? Is it a problem with intellect or psyche? This question will be raised in a forthcoming seminar given by Dr Roberts and myself. A link to the podcast will be provided in my following and final blog post (for the time being, at least). The time has come to move on and there are other books waiting to be written.
But in the meantime feel free to make suggestions. When the evidence is so clear cut, why can’t they see? What makes them cling so desperately to their beliefs about Thunderbolt and Mary Ann? It truly is a fascinating question and I am sure you can offer some insightful answers.