Monday, December 11

Authorities Need Public’s Help to Identify Ned Kelly’s Head

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On the 11th of November 1880, Ned Kelly was hung in the Old Melbourne Gaol. Almost 100 years later in 1978, his head was stolen from the glass display cabinet at that same Gaol which is now a museum. Last November, more than 30 years after the theft and 129 years to month after Ned’s hanging, a farmer in Western Australia has delivered to authorities what he says is Ned’s head.

Tom Baxter of Derby, WA brought the skull to the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine (VIFM) and claims to have possessed the head for “years.” It remains unclear how Mr Baxter came to acquire Ned’s head, but authorities are now seeking the public’s assistance in identifying the legendary man’s head.

The skull has been CT scanned, as well as examined by pathologists and anthropologists. Attorney-General Rob Hulls, made the appeal on Sunday saying, “Forensic investigators are halfway into the identification of the skull and have discovered areas where they believe the public can be of great assistance.”

So how can you help? Melbourne’s “The Age” listed six areas where investigators need assistance. The following is an excerpt from their article on June 20 (AEST).

– Remains of bones and teeth reportedly taken as souvenirs by students from the Working Men’s College (now RMIT) lunching near the Old Melbourne Gaol when graves were exhumed in 1929.

– A photograph of Alex Talbot, a former South Melbourne councillor, holding Ned Kelly’s skull, which was mentioned in a newspaper report in 1997.

– Any information on grave exhume contractor Mr Lee of Lee and Dunn or his family, who was responsible for delivering Kelly’s skull to the governor.

– Information about wax museum owner Maximilian Kreitmeyer who apparently made a death mask of Ned kelly shortly after his execution.

– Information about Sir Colin McKenzie, founder of the Australian Institute of Anatomy in Canberra, who was reportedly given Kelly’s skull after exhumation.

– The missing bluestone block that marked Kelly’s grave as E Kelly and the date of execution as 11.11.1880.


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