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Last Updated: Sunday, 9 March 2008, 07:32 GMT
'Ned Kelly's burial site' found
Archived photograph of Ned Kelly
Ned Kelly has become part of Australian folklore

Scientists in Australia believe they have found the grave of 19th Century outlaw and national icon Ned Kelly.

His remains are thought to be among those of executed prisoners found on the site of an abandoned prison in the southern city of Melbourne.

Kelly was a bank robber who was hanged in 1880 for murdering three policemen.

After evading arrest for several years, he used home-made armour in a final shoot-out with police; his exploits have been the subject of several films.

The scene of his last stand has also been designated a national heritage site.

Kelly's story divides modern Australians, says the BBC's Phil Mercer in Sydney. Some see him as a folk hero, who fought the colonial British establishment, others simply as a violent criminal.

Either way, the Irish convict's son's daring bank robberies and escapes made him a legend.

Guns blazing

After two years on the run, police finally caught up with Kelly and his gang.

The outlaw made his own armour by beating plough blades into shape and walked towards police with guns blazing. He was shot 20 times but survived.

He was hanged for his crimes in 1880 and buried in a mass grave at the old Melbourne Gaol, but the whereabouts of his body has remained a mystery.

His remains, and those of others, were thought to have been reburied half a century later at Pentridge prison in Melbourne.

Archaeologists say they have now found the remains of 32 bodies in coffins in various states of decomposition. The bodies will now be subject to forensic tests.

"We believe we have conclusively found the burial site, but that is very different from finding the remains," Jeremy Smith, senior archaeologist with Heritage Victoria, told Reuters.

"If the remains exist, then we will have found them."



SEE ALSO
Call to exhume Kelly gang outlaws
28 Jun 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Ned Kelly photo mystery
21 May 02 |  Asia-Pacific
Nedmania for Kellyfornia?
19 Oct 01 |  UK News

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