The remains of famed folk hero and rebel Ned Kelly will be returned to his family in Ireland for a proper private burial, 132 years after his execution in Australia.
The Irish Independent reports on the conclusion of the long standing fight by Kelly’s descendants to see his remains returned for a proper burial.
Ned Kelly is remembered by some as a Robin Hood type character in 1800s Australia, while to others, he is seen as a cold blooded cop killer. Kelly, son of an Irish convict from Tipperary was an iconic figure who led a gang of bank robbers in Australia's southern Victoria state in the 19th century.
In 1878, a robbery and shootout helped Kelly and his cohorts become infamous for having the-then largest ever reward placed upon them at 8,000 pounds apiece.
After two years of robbing banks, Kelly was wounded in a gun battle in Glenrowan. Donning a homemade plate metal armor, he was finally arrested.
That same year in 1880, Kelly was hanged for his crimes outside Old Melbourne Gaol. He was buried in an unmarked mass grave outside where his body would be lost among the others. In 1929, the bodies were exhumed and transferred to Pentridge Prison.
During the transfer to Pentridge Prison, it is believed that someone from a mob of onlookers snatched Kelly’s skull. The skull was found again and put on display at the Old Melbourne Gaol, only to be stolen again in 1978. It has yet to be recovered.
In 2009, the bodies were exhumed yet again and Kelly’s remains, a skeleton missing the skull, were formally identified in 2011.
A battle between Kelly’s family and developers at Pentridge Prison for ownership to the remains soon ensued. His family wanted the remains returned to Ireland for a proper burial, while the Prison wanted to keep the skeleton.
However, on Thursday, Victoria Attorney General Robert Clark that the remains would be turned over to Kelly's family.
Ellen Hollow, great-granddaughter of Ned Kelly's sister Kate Kelly, said in a statement: "The Kelly family will now make arrangements for Ned's final burial. We also appeal to the person who has the skull in their possession to return it to (forensic officials), so that when the time comes for Ned to be laid to rest his remains can be complete."
Ned Kelly’s legacy still lives on today via two films made about the infamous hero, as well as a book published in 2000. Mick Jagger and Heath Ledger played him in two Hollywood films.