Thursday, January 17, 2013

Ned Kelly’s Final Ride

Two years ago, California detective novelist Raymond Chandler was reunited in the grave with his wife of three decades, the former Cissy Pascal. Now it’s Ned Kelly’s turn. This coming Sunday, the remains of that 19th-century Irish-Australian outlaw--after whom a coveted annual award for Aussie crime fiction is named--“will finally be laid to rest beside his mother in line with his final wishes at a plot not far from the site of his last stand,” reports the Philippines’ Manila Bulletin.
Kelly’s remains were thrown into a mass grave after his execution [in 1880 at Old Melbourne Gaol] and discovered during renovations to the jail in 1929 when they were reburied inside Pentridge Prison, save his skull, which remains missing.

Officially, their whereabouts had been a mystery until DNA testing in late 2011 on bones exhumed from the Pentridge site confirmed them to be Kelly’s.

Redevelopers of the now-defunct prison wanted to reinter Kelly’s remains at a museum or a memorial, but the Victoria state government ordered that they be returned to the family last year.

According to Joanne Griffiths, the great-granddaughter of Kelly’s sister Kate, the family would formally bid farewell to the outlaw at a Catholic service in the town of Wangaratta on Friday ahead of his burial in an unmarked grave.

“That’s what he would’ve wanted. That’s what he requested, and he wished to be buried in consecrated ground,” Griffiths told ABC radio.
You can read the remainder of the ulletin’s report here.

(Hat tip to Bill Crider’s Pop Culture Magazine.)

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