Ned Kelly funeral: 'Most significant, historical day'

Click across the above image for photos from the service.

NED Kelly has finally had his funeral, 133 years after he was hanged.

Up to 300 family members and hundreds more members of the public attended a requiem mass for Australia's most famous bushranger at St Patrick's Catholic Church at Wangaratta this afternoon.

Kelly left the church in a coffin draped in green and Australian flora.

Monsignor John White began the mass by welcoming the congregation on behalf of Kelly's large extended family.

He also acknowledged the moment was "a most significant and historical day in an old Australian story".

Monsignor White, born in Jerilderie where Kelly dictated his famous 'Jerilderie letter', said he was "deeply moved" to preside over the requiem of Kelly, for whom he has had a life-long interest.

He has also told the congregation of the public divide around the Kelly legend: "Thus it has been and thus it will be," he said.

Monsignor White also said the congregation was "not here today" to judge if Kelly is a "sinner or a saint", but simply to pray for him.

Many people took photos with the hearse that was carrying Kelly's coffin outside the church before the service.

Brendan Cooke, Kelly's great- great- grand-nephew spoke to media this morning.

He told of his pride at being able to finally fulfill Kelly's final wish of a Catholic funeral and to be buried in consecrated ground.

Mr Cooke said today's ceremony would not touch on any criminal elements of Kelly's life.

"He and his family were proud and they had a great deal of grit and they stood up to the establishment," he said.

Ned Kelly's coffin will be draped in a green sash for funeral service in Wangaratta.

Joanne Griffiths, the great-granddaughter of Kelly's sister, Grace, was also dressed in all green, including a sash to represent the sash given to Kelly after he saved a child from drowning.

The first reading at the mass was from the book of Wisdom, beginning: "The virtuous man, though he died before his time, will find rest."

More photos, detail this afternoon.


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