[Herald Sun] Ned Kelly’s final wish has been granted almost 131 years after his execution, paving the way for him to be buried near his mother, brothers and sisters in a simple grave.
Kelly’s family is now considering a public memorial to farewell the nation’s most notorious son.
The Herald Sun can reveal Attorney-General Robert Clark yesterday agreed to return Kelly’s bullet-riddled remains to his descendants so they could meet his final request to be buried in consecrated ground.
A small cemetery in the Greta church yard south of Glenrowan – where Kelly’s mother Ellen, several of his brothers and sisters and other relatives rest in unmarked graves – is their preferred option.
But hundreds of members of the wider family must now be consulted.
Kelly’s family, Heritage Victoria and the State Government have been at pains to stress his grave should not become a shrine for devotees of the bushranger.
But the likely burial place’s proximity to the popular Kelly trail makes it almost certain to become a tourist attraction.
The day before he was hanged Kelly wrote to the governor of the Melbourne Gaol asking “permission for my friends to have my body that they might bury it in consecrated ground”.
His great-grand nephew, Anthony Griffiths, said it was overwhelming to finally get permission to meet Kelly’s wish.
“It is significant from the Australian public’s perception, but from the family’s perception this has been a long-running issue that has caused a lot of grief to think a wrong had been done,” Mr Griffiths said.
“But now we are able to put that wrong right. It’s about recognising that this is a man, this is a member of our family and we want to give him a dignified burial like any family does.
“Greta is a preferred option, but there are a lot of logistics to be worked out before it is finalised.
“We are considering having a public memorial service because we recognise there are a lot of Australians that would like to be part of that final farewell and we would then have a private family service.”
Friday will mark the 131st anniversary of Kelly’s execution.
The identification of Kelly’s remains was announced in September after a 20-month investigation of historical, medical and DNA evidence by the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine. It found a match to one of 24 skeletons exhumed from Pentridge Prison and gave the remains to his descendants.
After he was hanged, Kelly was decapitated, dissected and buried in a non-consecrated yard at the Melbourne Gaol.
His body was transferred to Pentridge in 1929 and exhumed in 2009. … full article here.