The remains of Ned Kelly, the notorious Irish-Australian bushranger from the 1870s, are once again at the heart of a disagreement.
Late last year, the Victorian State Government identified Kelly’s headless body using DNA and Attorney-General Robert Clark made the decision to return Kelly’s remains to his family.
Kelly was sentenced to death for his gang’s murder of three policemen. He was hanged in Melbourne Gaol on November 11, 1880.
Initially, Kelly’s body was buried in the grounds of the jail. His remains and the bones of other prisoners were exhumed and reburied in a mass grave at the newer Pentridge Prison when Melbourne Gaol closed in 1929. The remains from that mass grave were exhumed in 2009.
Today, the developer of the of the former Pentridge Prison may want to keep the remains, as the exhumation certificate reportedly says the body would be given to the prison for use in a future project.
However, Anthony Griffiths, Kelly’s great-grandnephew, is confident that Clark’s order will be carried out.
"As far as I'm aware, that process was still chugging along," he told the Sunday Independent.
An unlikely supporter for the Kelly family’s cause is Mick Kennedy, Mansfield policeman and great-grandson of Sergeant Michael Kennedy, who was killed by Kelly in 1878.
"Surely he has got the right to be buried in peace; to rest in peace where his family decide, not where some developer decides where he should rest," Kennedy told The Age.