Ned's coming home

BUSHRANGER Ned Kelly is coming home after 132 years and will be buried in sacred ground in accordance with his last wish.

His descendants will be able to put him in his final resting place somewhere close to the lush undelating hills of Lurg, Glenrowan and Greta, where he once roamed.

A meeting will be held in Melbourne on Monday, between family members, representatives for Attorney-General Robert Clark and the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine, along with a catholic priest, to finalise arrangements.

The family already has a funeral date selected and the service format they want.

Monsignor John White from Wangaratta will do the service.

It has been made possible by Pentridge Village Pty Ltd not challenging a variation to an exhumation licence allowing the bones to be returned to Kelly’s family.

A Kelly family member who did not want to be named said yesterday: “It is a long time coming”.

“We are extremely happy that finally he will be able to come home.

“Basically he has paid his dues. Let him rest in peace 130 years later.”

Wangaratta solicitor John Suta acts for the majority of family members and said it was great news for them.

“The relatives should be granted privacy in order for a dignified burial to be accorded,” he said.

There is an irony with the meeting on Monday because it coincides with the second day of Kelly’s two-day trial 132 years ago.

One of Kelly’s last wishes was that his body be returned to loved ones for a Christian burial.

Kelly transcribed a letter to Victoria’s governor on November 10, 1880, which was the day before he died.

It said: “For the day will come when all men will be judged by their mercy and deeds and also if you would grant permission for my friends to have my body that they might bury 

me in consecrated ground.”

Kelly could not write the letter because of a gun shot wound to his right hand.

His request, and a similar one from family members, was refused.

He was buried at the old Melbourne Jail in 1880. His remains were then transferred to Pentridge Prison in 1929.

The remains were exhumed by Heritage Victoria and taken to the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine in 2009 where they were identified.