Ned Kelly is finally to be laid to rest in his adopted homeland of Australia – 132 years after he was hanged for murder.
The Irish outlaw’s descendants have received his remains after they were exhumed from a mass prison grave in Melbourne.
The notorious bushranger came from a Tipperary family with his relatives set to hold a private church memorial service on Friday before the burial in an unmarked grave on Sunday.
Kelly has been an iconic figure thanks to the homemade armour and helmet he wore during his last violent shootout with police.
The Irish Independent reports that his reported final words before he was hanged at Melbourne Gaol on November 11, 1880 - ‘such is life’ - helped make him an iconic figure in Australian history.
The report adds that Kelly’s Gang became a symbol for social tensions between poor Irish settlers and the wealthy Australian establishment at the time.
Kelly himself became a folk hero to many for standing up to the Anglo-Australian ruling class.
Now his descendants have said that their private farewells are in keeping with the outlaw’s requests.
A statement from the family said: “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 wish for their privacy to be respected so that they may farewell a very much loved member of their family.”
Australian media have reported that Kelly will be buried at Greta, near Glenrowan, north-east of Victoria, where his mother is buried in an unmarked grave.
The report in the Irish Independent adds that his remains have made a circuitous journey to their final resting place.
He was first buried in a mass grave at Melbourne Gaol and when that closed in 1929 his bones were exhumed and reburied in another mass grave at the newer Pentridge Prison.
After all the bones buried in Pentridge yard were exhumed in 2009, Kelly’s skeleton was positively identified in 2011 by scientists after DNA tests against a descendant.
The Victoria state government announced last August that it would return the skeleton to the family but Kelly’s skull remains missing.
Police believe the skull was separated from his skeleton during the transfer.
Kelly’s life story inspired the novel ‘True History of the Kelly Gang’ by author Peter Carey, which won the 2001 Booker Prize.
A 2003 movie on his life featured the late actor Heath Ledger in the lead role.
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