One of the Irish dispora's most famous sons Down Under has been burired today at long last:
Ned Kelly: The outlaw who divides a nation
And in case you were wondering like me why he hadn't been buried before:More than 130 years after he was hanged, Australia's most notorious outlaw is being buried, as old tensions resurface about what he really means to the country.
To many Australians, Ned Kelly, the son of poor Irish Catholics, was a heroic anti-establishment figure who fought corrupt British colonists in the 19th Century.
To others, he was a vicious thug who murdered three police officers.
Kelly's descendants have insisted that by burying him, they were not seeking to glorify the notorious bandit, but to give him a dignified and proper farewell.
I remember being fascinated as a kid by stories of Kelly slugging it out in his home-made armour until the coppers figured to just shoot at his exposed legs. Otherwise, the worldwide fame of the man in a bit baffling, considering how he never achieved much - were Irish desperados that rare that Australia that he was the obvious centre of attention? A symbol of frustrated Irish Catholic plight in a country many had been deported to? Or does Australia's status as a a relatively recent country mean it has to look harder for icons and folk-heroes? All that talk of the Ozzie love of the underdog strikes me as a little BS, considering how well they treat their Aborginals and immigrants.His body was put into a wooden box and dumped into a mass grave with the corpses of other prisoners. It wasn't until 2010 that DNA testing finally confirmed the identity of Kelly's remains.
Surely 150 years is long enough to let go of a family grudge? I guess a lot of Irish spirit still remains there.In death, as in life, he remains a polarising figure, and nowhere more so than in the community where relatives of the police officers he killed still live alongside Kelly's own descendants.
"There is still conflict over Kelly," says Peter Norden, an adjunct professor at Melbourne's RMIT University and former chaplain at Pentridge prison where the outlaw's remains were discovered.
"He is going to be buried in an unmarked grave to minimise the danger of vandalism. There are a lot of people local to where his family lived where there is still a lot of resentment and antagonism towards his descendants."