The headless remains of Australia’s most infamous criminal, Ned Kelly, have been identified. Victoria state Attorney General Robert Clark said that a team of forensic scientists identified Kelly’s remains among those exhumed from a mass grave at Pentridge prison in Melbourne in 2009. Kelly led a gang of bank robbers in Victoria in the 19th century. Today he is considered by many Australians to be a Robin Hood-like figure who stood up to the British colonial authorities of the time. He was executed in 1880, but his final resting place had long been a mystery. “To think a group of scientists could identify the body of a man who was executed more than 130 years ago, moved and buried in a haphazard fashion among 33 other prisoners, most of whom are not identified, is amazing,” said Victoria Attorney General Robert Clark. The Sydney Morning Herald reported that investigators revealed that an almost complete skeleton of the outlaw was found buried in a wooden ax box. Clark said DNA analysis and other tests were used to confirm the skeleton is Kelly’s. The Morning Herald said DNA samples were taken from Melbourne school teacher Leigh Olver, who is the great-grandson of Kelly’s sister Ellen. Kelly’s skull was stolen from a display case at the Old Melbourne Gaol in 1978. A 2009 claim by a West Australian farmer, Tom Baxter, that he had Kelly’s skull was eventually rejected, but led to the investigation that uncovered his bones. The Morning Herald said that investigators believed that Kelly’s remains were transferred from the Old Melbourne Gaol to the Pentridge prison in 1929, then exhumed with the remains of 33 other people during the investigation in 2009. Baxter had handed the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine what he said was the stolen skull, which featured the inscription “E. Kelly” on its side — Kelly’s actual first name was Edward. Baxter has not revealed how he got ahold of the skull. Scientists at the institute set out to determine who the skull belonged to, and to identify Kelly’s full remains among the tangle of skeletons exhumed from the Pentridge site. Through CT scans, X-rays, anthropological and historical research and DNA analysis, the team finally identified one skeleton as Kelly’s. Most of its head was missing. Stephen Cordner, the institute’s director, said the DNA left no doubt the skeleton was Kelly’s. Tests on the remains also uncovered evidence of shotgun wounds that matched those Kelly suffered during his criminal rampage. “The wear and tear of the skeleton is a little bit more than would be expected for a 25-year-old today,” Cordner said. “But such was Ned’s life, this is hardly surprising.” As for Baxter’s “E. Kelly” skull? Not Ned’s. The whereabouts of Kelly’s skull remain a mystery, Cordner said. Descendant Olver told reporters in Melbourne that he hoped his notorious ancestor will finally be laid to rest in a place of dignity. “It’s such a great relief to finally have this side of the story resolved,” Olver said. Kelly’s story has been documented in several books and movies, including a film starring Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger and another starring late actor Heath Ledger. Kelly’s use of homemade armor to protect himself from police bullets was even given a nod during the 2000 Sydney Olympics, when actors on stilts dressed in similar armor were featured in the opening ceremony. “I think a lot of Australians connect with Ned Kelly and they’re proud of the heritage that has developed as a result of our connection with Ned Kelly and the story of Ned Kelly,” Olver said. “In our family, he was a hero.”

herald Sun

 

The childhood home of bushranger Ned Kelly at 44 Kelly St, Beveridge, north of Melbourne was sold on the 20th of September 2014 for $640,000. The house is believed to have been built around 1859 or 1860, when the young Ned was about four years old.

According to Heritage Victoria, the original house had just three rooms but was extended over time to have 11 rooms. And given Ned was one of eight children, it’s no wonder. Ned’s father John built the house using local stone and his knowledge of cottages from his native Ireland. It was home to the bushranger for about four years, before the family moved north to the town of Avenel, where the young Ned went to school. Today this is the only one of Ned Kelly’s childhood homes that remains intact and it carries a heritage register overlay thanks to its architectural and historical significance. It’s also a popular stop on the Ned Kelly trail, that follows the story of the bushranger’s life.

 

A gun belonging to the brother of notorious Australian outlaw Ned Kelly and used in the gang’s infamous last stand against police fetched to $125,000 when it was auctioned on the 21st of November 2012. The East India Company cavalry pistol, which belonged to Kelly’s younger brother Dan and has his name and the year 1876 engraved on the walnut stock, was sold by Melbourne’s Leski Auctions. Auctioneer Charles Leski expected the vintage muzzle-load single-shot percussion pistol, which uses powder and a lead ball instead of a cartridge, to fetch up to Aus$125,000 (£81,700). Dan Kelly had the pistol with him during the 1880 siege of the Glenrowan Inn, when his outlaw brother and their gang made one last stand against police. Everyone but Ned Kelly – wearing his iconic home-made plate metal armour and helmet – was killed in the showdown. Kelly was later hanged at Melbourne Gaol, famous for uttering the final phrase “such is life”. “The Kelly Gang – Ned, Dan, Steve Hart and Joe Byrne – has loomed large in Australia’s consciousness for more than 130 years,” Mr Leski said.

 

EXECUTED THIS DAY – July 26, 1859

 

Richard Rowley, who was sentenced to death at the Supreme Court on the 18th instant, for a violent and premeditated assault, with intent to murder, committed by him on Denis Kilmartin, one of the overseers at the Pentridge Stockade, on the 25th of June, suffered the extreme penalty of the law at 10 o’clock yesterday morning at the Melbourne Gaol.  The unhappy man, since his conviction has been attended by the Rev. Mr. Studdert, the Gaol Chaplain, and the Rev. Mr. Bryan, the Chaplain at Pentridge. He expressed a deep contrition for the offence of which he was found guilty, and at the last moment died penitent. On being summoned by the Sheriff from his cell, precisely at 10 o’clock, he walked out, pale, but with a firm step. His arms having been pinioned by the executioner, the mournful procession walked slowly down the passage towards the scaffold, the Burial Service being read by Mr. Bryan. Rowley mounted the steps leading to the drop without hesitation or apparent fear; he had evidently braced his nerves and summoned all his resolution to meet his impending fate with firmness. On reaching the drop he knelt and prayed. When he rose his countenance was blanched, but apparently not from terror at the dreadful apparatus of death on which he stood. He turned round to his minister, and bade him good-by, and then, noticing the Governor of the Gaol, said, “Goodby, Mr. Wintle.” These were the last words he uttered. A white cap was then drawn down tightly over his face, and a few moments later — the only sound now heard being the solemn voice of the clergyman repeating the service for the dead—the bolt was drawn, and the wretched man was launched into eternity. A slight convulsive shudder ran through his frame, and in a few moments he ceased to live, death taking place in 42 seconds from the time of his fall. He was cut down at 11 o’clock. Shortly afterwards, an inquest was held on the body by the City

The deceased was a native of Greenwich, and was born in 1824. At 13 years of age, having been tried and convicted of a robbery, committed by him in London, he was transported to Van Diemen’s Land for a period of seven years. He has since repeatedly been sentenced to various terms of imprisonment in this colony for numerous thefts. At the time of his committing the offence which has led to his execution he was confined in the Pentridge Stockade under cumulative sentences, altogether making a term of 32 years’ imprisonment. It would seem to be the knowledge of this fact, and despair of ever regaining his liberty, which led him to the commission of the deed for which he suffered. The unhappy man stated that he had been brutally ill-treated by his overseer Kilmartin, at the Stockade. There do not, however, appear to be any grounds for supposing such a statement to be correct, and it will also be remembered that Rowley made this statement in a moment of great excitement at his trial, but he never subsequently alluded to it in calmer moments. Kilmartin was frightfully injured in the desperate affray, in which also Mr. Mitchell, another overseer, was severely wounded by the wretched criminal.

No one knows when Ned Kelly was born:

True. What we do know is that Ned was the third of 12 children born to Ellen Kelly (from three different fathers). There is no clear evidence of his actual birth, but it was most likely 1854 or 1855, near Beveridge north of Melbourne, meaning he was just 25 or 26 when he died.

Ned Kelly was illiterate:
False. There are enough surviving examples of Ned’s handwriting to know that he could write. This myth most likely evolved from the belief that fellow Kelly Gang member, Joe Byrne, penned the famous Jerilderie letter. This letter has been described as Ned Kelly’s manifesto and is a direct account of the Kelly Gang and the events with which they were associated.

How did he wear such a heavy helmet?
If you have ever seen or tried on a replica of one of the Kelly gang’s helmets, you’ll be struck by how heavy they are and how much they cut into the collar bone. The fact is that the weight of the helmet was not meant to be borne on the collar bones at all. The helmets have holes punched on front, back and sides of each helmet, through which leather straps were strung, meaning most of the weight was felt on top of the wearer’s head. Ned Kelly is reported to have worn a woollen cap to pad his head.

A film about Ned Kelly was the world’s first feature film:
True. It is often reported that Charles Tait’s 1906 film, The Story of the Kelly Gang, was the world’s first full-length feature film. Its first screening was at the Athenaeum Hall on December 26, 1906, and is alleged to have prompted five children in Ballarat to hold up a group of schoolchildren at gunpoint. This resulted in the Victorian Chief Secretary banning the film in towns with strong Kelly connections. And for many years the film was thought to be lost, but segments were found in various locations, including some found on a rubbish dump.

In 2007 the film was inscribed on the UNESCO Memory of the World Register for being the world’s first fill-length feature film.

Ned Kelly’s last words were “Such is life”.
Many believe that the last utterance by Ned Kelly just before his hanging were three simple word, “Such is life”. Whether uttered with weary resignation or an acceptance of misfortune, the notion that the quote is attributed to Ned Kelly survives today (even inspiring one or two tattoos).

But what Ned Kelly actually said as his last words is uncertain. Some newspapers at the time certainly reported the words “Such is life”, while a reporter standing on the jail floor wrote that Ned’s last words were, “Ah well! It’s come to this at last.” But one of the closest persons to Ned on the gallows, the gaol warden, wrote in his diary that Kelly opened his mouth and mumbled something that he couldn’t hear.

Ned Kelly courtroom curse killed the judge:
It is true that judge Sir Redmond Barry died 12 days after Ned Kelly was executed. The two men, Kelly and Barry, had been antagonists for some time, so after being sentenced to death at his trial, Ned Kelly famously replied to Sir Redmond Barry, “I will see you there where I go” or a version of that quote.

Ned Kelly was executed on the November 11, 1880, and Sir Redmond Barry died on the 23rd of the same month. However Barry’s certificate did not list the cause of death as “curse”, rather it is more likely that the judge died from a combination of pneumonia and septicaemia from an untreated carbuncle.

If you have a Ned Kelly tattoo you are more likely to die violently:
Depending on how you interpret the forensic data, wearing a Ned Kelly tattoo can be very dangerous. A study from the University of Adelaide found that corpses with Ned Kelly tattoos were much more likely to have died by murder and suicide. But it was a pretty small sample size.

 

ON THIS DAY…… 18th November 1879

One of Australia’s youngest bushrangers, a fifteen-year-old member of Captain Moonlite’s gang, is shot and killed.

Augustus Wernicke was one of Australia’s youngest bushrangers, and part of Captain Moonlite’s gang. Captain Moonlite, aka Andrew George Scott, became a bushranger upon his release from gaol, eight years after robbing the bank at Mount Egerton, Victoria. He recruited several other gang members, among them 15-year-old Wernicke, and walked to New South Wales, hoping to find employment at Wantabadgery Station, well known for its hospitality. Being in the grip of a severe drought, and also having changed hands, Wantabadgery could offer them nothing. In desperation, Moonlite took 35 people hostage. In the resultant shootout with police on 18 November 1879, gang members James Nesbitt and Augustus Wernicke, together with Constable Bowen, were all shot dead. Moonlite and the surviving gang members were tried and charged with the murder of Constable Bowen. Moonlite himself was hanged on 20 January 1880 at Darlinghurst Court.

On This Day – November 12, 1894

The execution of Elijah Cockroft for the murder of Fanny Mott at Noradjura, in the Wimmera district, took place at the Ballarat Gaol this morning, when only six persons besides the gaol officials were present. Punctually at 10 o’clock, Cockroft was brought out of his cell and led to the drop, and on being asked if he had anything to say he said  “I Trust Jesus.” When the rope w s being placed round his neck he began to sob bitterly, and on the bolt being drawn death was instantaneous.

Canon Morris who attended him throughout, stated that he died repentant, and in his opinion the whole case was a lasting disgrace to the State, which was responsible for the wretched state of ignorance in which the unfortunate lad existed. Yesterday several gentlemen wired to the Attorney-General asking him to stay the execution as they believed the accused man was insane. A medical examination was subsequently made, but it was found he was perfectly sane.

On This Day – November 12, 1938

DOUBLE MURDER CHARGE

On a charge of having murdered Annie Constance Wiseman, 62, and her niece, Phyllis Wiseman,  17, at Glenroy, on November 12, George Green, 42, chimney sweep, of West Heidelberg was remanded at the City Court to-day until December 16. Miss Wiseman and her niece were found strangled in Miss Wiseman’s home at Glenroy on November 12. The inquest into their deaths will be held on December 19.

ON THIS DAY – November 11, 1917

A sodden photograph dredged from the Goulburn gave the first clue to the identity of a murderer who used many names.   On a warm and drowsy summer Sunday afternoon – November 18,1917- a soldier on leave from Seymour Camp, four miles away, rested after a long walk. He leaned on the rail of the old wooden bridge which spans the river at this peaceful spot. He was gazing down idly at the rolling waters in a really Arcadian setting which nobody would associate with violence or murder.   As he watched the moving water he saw what he thought was a dark weed waving its strands near the surface. But then the supposed weed moved suddenly to reveal the white neck and to become the floating dark hair of a young girl. She appeared to be afloat head downwards, but it was clear that her body was held by a river snag.

When the dead girl was taken from the river she was found to have been about 12 years old. Her head had been battered savagely above the right ear, apparently by the back of a hatchet. Identification came swiftly. She was Rose Taylor, who with her widowed mother, Mrs Margaret Taylor, had arrived in Seymour from Bendigo about three weeks earlier.  A fall in the river level next exposed a mud bank, and there lay a small hatchet which proved later to be the murder weapon. The detectives felt sure that the girl had been battered to death under the bridge. There, however, all they found was litter left behind by picnic parties. They had no idea where the girl’s mother, Mrs Margaret Taylor, might be, or even whether she was still alive. All they knew about her was that she formally lived in North Melbourne.

27 November 1917

After investigations extending over seven days the detectives working on the mysterious Trawool tragedy succeeded in tracing Private Arthur Geoffrey Oldring, the machine gunner, who disappeared from the Seymour camp last Monday. He was found on Saturday afternoon, working at an orchard in the fruit growing district of Lancaster, about 15 miles from Tatura. On being arrested Oldring was hand cuffed and taken to Tatura by motor car and then on to Seymour by train. Later on in the evening two distinct charges were laid against, him of having murdered Margaret Taylor and her daughter, Rose Taylor, at Trawool on or about November 10 or 11. On Sunday afternoon Oldring was taken to Melbourne in the custody of De-tectives Naphine and Sullivan, and was lodged in the City Watch-house.

ON THIS DAY…… 11th November 1880

Ned Kelly execution

Ned Kelly, Australia’s most famous bushranger, was born in December 1854 in Victoria, Australia. Kelly was twelve when his father died, and he was subsequently required to leave school to take on the new position as head of the family. Shortly after this, the Kellys moved to Glenrowan. As a teenager, Ned became involved in petty crimes, regularly targetting the wealthy landowners. He gradually progressed to crimes of increasing seriousness and violence, including bank robbery and murder, soon becoming a hunted man. Many of Ned Kelly’s peers held him in high regard for his stand of usually only ambushing wealthy landowners, and helped to keep his whereabouts from the police, despite the high reward posted for his capture. However, he was betrayed to the police whilst holding dozens of people hostage in the Glenrowan Inn in June, 1880. Wearing their famous armour, the Kelly brothers held a shootout with police. Gang members Dan Kelly, Steve Hart and Joe Byrne were killed, and Ned was shot twenty-eight times in the legs, which were unprotected by the armour. He survived to stand trial, and was sentenced to death by hanging, by Judge Redmond Barry on 29 October 1880. Ned Kelly was hanged in Melbourne on 11 November 1880.

ON THIS DAY – November 7, 1949 

Pop Kent was an elderly SP Bookmaker targeted by Jean Lee, Norman Andrews and Robert Clayton because of a roll of cash Pop was seen with in the University Hotel in Carlton. Inviting the trio back to his home, he would be beaten to death.  Lee, Andrews and Clayton would be found guilty and sentenced to be executed at Pentridge prison.  Jean Lee would become the last woman executed in Australia in February 1951.

 

 

On this day …….. 29th of October 1880

Ned Kelly sentenced to execution

Ned Kelly, Australia’s most famous bushranger, was born in December 1854 in Victoria, Australia. Kelly was twelve when his father died, and he was subsequently required to leave school to take on the new position as head of the family. Shortly after this, the Kellys moved to Glenrowan. As a teenager, Ned became involved in petty crimes, regularly targetting the wealthy landowners. He gradually progressed to crimes of increasing seriousness and violence, including bank robbery and murder, soon becoming a hunted man. Many of Ned Kelly’s peers held him in high regard for his stand of usually only ambushing wealthy landowners, and helped to keep his whereabouts from the police, despite the high reward posted for his capture. However, he was betrayed to the police whilst holding dozens of people hostage in the Glenrowan Inn in June, 1880. Wearing their famous armour, the Kelly brothers held a shootout with police. The Kelly brothers were killed, but Ned was shot twenty-eight times in the legs, being unprotected by the armour. He survived to stand trial, and was sentenced to death by hanging, by Judge Redmond Barry on 29 October 1880. Ned Kelly was hanged in Melbourne on 11 November 1880.