Family to bury Australian outlaw Ned Kelly beside his mother
Legendary Australian outlaw Ned Kelly will finally be laid to rest beside his mother in line with his final wishes at a plot not far from the site of his last stand, reports said on Wednesday.
Descendants of the infamous bushranger, who was hanged at Old Melbourne Gaol in 1880 after he murdered three policemen, said they would lay Kelly to rest beside his mother Ellen in a private burial on Sunday.
Kelly’s remains were thrown into a mass grave after his execution and discovered during renovations to the jail in 1929 when they were reburied inside Pentridge prison, save his skull which remains missing.
Redevelopers of the now-defunct prison site wanted to use Kelly’s remains as part of a museum or a memorial, but the Victoria state government ordered that they be returned to the family last year.
According to Joanne Griffiths, the great-granddaughter of Kelly’s sister Kate, the family will formally farewell the outlaw at a Catholic service in the town of Wangaratta on Friday ahead of his burial in an unmarked grave Sunday.
“That’s what he would’ve wanted. That’s what he requested, and he wished to be buried in consecrated ground,” Griffiths told a radio programme.
The Kelly family said the outlaw would be interred at a small cemetery at the town of Greta near Glenrowan, the scene of his final gun battle with police, which he famously survived due to his home-made plate metal armour suit and helmet.
“The descendants of the Kelly family wish to give effect to Ned Kelly’s last wish and that he now be buried in consecrated ground with only his family in attendance in order to ensure a private, respectful and dignified funeral,” the family said.
Kelly’s three accomplices, including younger brother Dan, were killed in the showdown, ending an 18-month country town bank robbing campaign that saw the so-called Kelly Gang become folk heroes.
When they were confronted by police at Glenrowan the gang was subject to an £8,000 (HK$99,675) bounty – the largest reward ever offered in the British Empire at the time.
The Kelly gang exploits have been the subject of numerous films and television series.
Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger played the lead role in the 1970 movie Ned Kelly, while Heath Ledger starred as the bandit in a 2003 remake.
Kelly has also been the inspiration for many books, most notably Peter Carey’s novel True History of the Kelly Gang, which won the 2001 Booker Prize.