The game of ‘Where’s Ned, Dan and Steve’ lives on

By Trevor Percival

On November 9th, 1980, Brisbane’s Sunday Mail newspaper published a lengthy a story on the Ned Kelly Gang to mark the centenary of Ned Kelly’s execution on 11th November, 1880, at Victoria’s Melbourne Gaol. The article reiterated the popular belief that Kelly was a victim of a class struggle in the very early years of our young nation and filled a ‘folk hero’ gap.

Others have a different opinion. Noted historian Professor Manning Clark has stated that while Kelly might well have been a victim of circumstances, it was hard to understand how such a cruel person could be elevated to national hero status.

The Sunday Mail article went on to state that on November 25th, 1980, the Governor of Victoria, Sir Henry Winneke, would unveil a plaque on a statue of Sir Redmond Barry, who sentenced Ned to death and who died himself 12 days after the hanging. Ned’s final resting place had long been forgotten and seemingly lost to history but in recent years, historians and archaeologists believe they are a big step closer to locating his unmarked grave.

The group unearthed an old Department of Justice document that gave them a vital clue on where to search. A group spokesman said that historical evidence strongly suggested that the remains of more than 30 executed prisoners, including Ned Kelly, had been exhumed from the old Melbourne Goal and re-interred somewhere at Pentridge Prison in 1929. Just exactly where in Pentridge is the missing piece of the puzzle.

Another interesting story associated with the Kelly Gang that has been around for as long as the Kelly Gang hasn’t, is that Ned’s brother, Dan, and Steve Hart escaped from the burning Glenrowan Hotel during the final shootout.

The full article can be found in the May 2010 issue of Gold Gem and Treasure. Subscribe now.

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