Descendants of Australian outlaw Ned Kelly have commemorated him at a memorial service, 133 years after he was hanged for murder.
Ahead of his burial on Sunday, hundreds of people attended a private service in Kelly’s honour in Wangaratta, north east Victoria.
Much legal wrangling ensued when DNA testing confirmed that bones exhumed from Pentridge Prison in 2009 were the outlaw’s. The site’s developers wanted to keep the remains in a museum or memorial, while Kelly’s family wanted the bones returned. The Victoria state government eventually decided in favour of Kelly’s relatives last year.
Prior to the memorial, the great-grandson of Kelly’s youngest sister Grace, Anthony Griffiths, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation: “This is something that has been needed to be done for a long time, so here for us it’s nice to see a close to the chapter, so to speak, and right an old wrong. “He especially requested it the day before he was hanged that he… be given to his friends and family so he could be buried properly.”
Seen as a cold-blooded killer by some and a colonial authority-fighting folk hero by others, Kelly was executed for killing three policemen. His and his gang’s exploits have been subjected to numerous depictions in the media, with Mick Jagger and Heath Ledger among those to have played the bushranger.
Kelly will be buried in a cemetery in Gretna close to the site of his infamous gunfight with police in Glenrowan.
Image: Ned Kelly the day before his execution.