The family wishes for their privacy to be respected so that they may farewell a much loved member of their family.
The remains of Ned Kelly, Australia’s most famous bushman outlaw will finally be laid to rest, over 130 years after he was executed by hanging for murder. The remains were exhumed from a mass prison grave and were positively identified in 2011 by DNA comparison to a descendant. The Huffington Post reports,
Kelly’s descendants, who received his remains after they were exhumed from a mass prison grave, said on Wednesday they would hold a private church memorial service on Friday before the burial in an unmarked grave on Sunday … [They] said the private farewells were in keeping with the outlaw’s requests.
Ned Kelly, and his family The Kelly Gang, became the symbol of social tensions between the poor Irish settlers in Australia and the Anglo-Australian ruling class of the time. Kelly himself was a folk hero for standing up to the wealthy landholding elite.
Kelly’s remains were first buried in a mass grave at Melbourne jail, where he was executed. After that jail closed in the late 1920s his bones were exhumed and moved to another mass grave at Pentridge Prison. All of the bones from that mass grave were then exhumed in 2009 for identification and burial. Kelly’s skull however is still missing, and it is believed to have been separated from the rest of the skeleton during the original transfer.
The family has released a statement saying,
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.
As well as being a folk hero for the Australian people of his time, Kelly’s life and exploits inspire authors and screenwriters in the modern era. Author Peter Carey won the 2001 Booker Prize for his novel titled True History of the Kelly Gang. Kelly was also immortalized by Hollywood in 2003 when the late Heath Ledger played him in a movie about his life and death.