The remains of Australia’s most famous bush-ranger Ned Kelly may have been discovered with the excavation of a mass grave thought to contain Kelly’s remains on the grounds of Pentridge prison set to be excavated by archaeologists in Melbourne.
Kelly who has become an Australian icon usually depicted in the improvised armour he wore during the infamous gun-fight with police during which he was injured and captured, was hanged in 1880 for offences including the shooting deaths of two Victorian police constables has been the inspiration for numerous films, most recently portrayed by Heath Ledger in the eponymous tribute to Kelly’s life, also a series of paintings by Sydney Nolan (pictured above).
Executed by the state, and denied a funeral, it may be that Kelly was subject to a final indignity before he was interred, his skull may not be buried with the rest of his remains.
The remains obviously are subject to forensic testing before they can be confirmed as Kelly’s.
Update: Noted Kelly Historian, Beechworth’s Ian Jones has weighed into the debate, suggesting Melbourne’s RMIT building as the final resting place of the famous bushranger.
Mr Jones said archeologists “could not mistake Kelly’s coffin — it would be full of lead”.
“If his body has been undisturbed the coffin would be full of pellets,” he said.
“They certainly wouldn’t need DNA; he suffered horrendous gunshot wounds and many of the bullets were still in him when he was hanged.
“The extent of the injuries to his left arm, right foot, hand and side would be quite obvious to anyone that uncovered the body.
“I’d be very surprised if they were Ned’s bones.”