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Ned Kelly Memorial Attended By Hundreds
Hundreds of Ned Kelly's descendants and supporters have attended a memorial service in Australia to say farewell to the controversial outlaw.
Some 132 years after he was hanged, mourners gathered at St Patrick's Church in the small town of Wangaratta, Victoria state, included Kelly's great-grand-niece Joanne Griffiths and great-grand-nephew Anthony Griffiths.
It was Kelly's dying wish that he would be given a traditional Catholic service. His remains, minus his missing skull, will be buried over the weekend.
Mr Griffiths said: "It's not about glorifying anything he did or didn't do. It's simply about a family funeral. It does give a real sense of closure to a lot of family members."
Kelly's memory still divides Australia, with some believing he was a cold-blooded killer, while others see him as a folk hero and symbol of Irish-Australian defiance against British colonial authorities.
He was executed for the murder of three policemen.
Monsignor John White, who led the service, said: "Of all Australians, Ned is without doubt one of the most famous, some would say infamous, and therein lies the great divide in society.
"That divide still is simmering today," he told the congregation who gathered to remember the armour-wearing outlaw, according to The Australian newspaper.
Kelly, who was hanged at Old Melbourne Gaol in 1880, is expected to be buried beside his mother Ellen in the town of Greta, the scene of his final gun battle with police.
His remains were thrown into a mass grave after his execution and after being exhumed were confirmed by DNA testing in 2011.
His skull has remained missing since it was stolen from a display case at the prison in 1978.
Kelly's three accomplices, including younger brother Dan, were killed in the Glenrowan showdown which ended an 18-month campaign that saw the so-called Kelly Gang become folk heroes for stealing from banks in country towns.
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what do you think?
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Only the Aussies would make a hero out of a criminal! What a waste of time, money and energy.
His relatives are entitled to a funeral
I agree Nat, though I think it would be as well to wait until his relatives have died first!
It's not just Australia that is divided over Ned's memory, it's also the same in this country.
Not saying what he did was right,but he holds a certain kind of charm with his story. Things in his time were very different to now. Good to see him get a proper burial.