An undated police mugshot of Ned Kelly, aged 16, at the Old
Melbourne Gaol. REUTERS/Old Melbourne Gaol/Handout/Files
The remains of Australia's most famous outlaw, Ned Kelly,
are finally to be laid to rest, 132 years after he was hanged
Kelly's descendants, who received the bushranger's remains
after they were exhumed from a mass prison grave, said on
Wednesday they will hold a private church memorial service on
Friday before the burial in an unmarked grave on Sunday.
The homemade armour and helmet Kelly wore during his last
violent shootout with police and 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
His family, the Kelly Gang, became a symbol for social
tensions between poor Irish settlers and the wealthy
establishment at the time, and Kelly himself became a folk
hero to many for standing up to the Anglo-Australian ruling
Kelly's descendants said the private farewells were in
keeping with the outlaw's requests.
"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 in a statement.
"The family wish for their privacy to be respected so that
they may farewell a very much loved member of their family."
One Australian media outlet reported that Kelly will be
buried at Greta, near Glenrowan, north-east of Victoria,
where his mother is buried in an unmarked grave.
Kelly's remains have made a circuitous journey to their final
They were first buried in a mass grave at Melbourne Gaol.
When that closed in 1929, Kelly's bones were exhumed and
reburied in another mass grave at the newer Pentridge Prison.
All the bones buried in Pentridge yard were exhumed in 2009
and Kelly's skeleton was positively identified in 2011 by
scientists after DNA tests against a descendant. The Victoria
state government said in August it would return the skeleton
to the family.
Kelly's skull remains missing. It was believed to have been
separated from his skeleton during the transfer.
His life story inspired the novel "True History of the Kelly
Gang" by author Peter Carey, which won the 2001 Booker Prize,
and the late actor Heath Ledger played him in a 2003 movie.