By Darryl Mason
Bon Scott's grave in the Freemantle cemetery gets thousands of visitors a year.
How many visitors do you think the grave, and a monument, of Ned Kelly would bring to country Victoria each year? Ten thousand? Fifty thousand? What might the value of a dedicated memorial and museum to Ned Kelly be worth each year to Victorian tourism? $10 million? $30 million?
The idea of exhuming the bones of Ned Kelly, holding a very public funeral and entombing his remains beneath a monument that would draw tens of thousands of tourists no doubt repels some in Australia. Those who don't want to remember the chaos of the decades of bushrangers and police harrassment and brutality that led to Federation.
But most Australians, I suspect, would think it a fine and brilliant idea, and would enjoy the media fuss and furious debate about his criminality and probably a televised pseudo-retrial of Kelly as well.
Before the corporatisation of sports, and the reckless slaughter of World War I, the bushranging era, through the mid-to-late 1800s served up to a young nation a series of heroic, but flawed, outlaws who then defined the spirit of what it meant to be an Australian : protect your family and take absolutely no shit, from anybody.
Pentridge Prison Chaplain : Give Ned Kelly Back To His Family :
Bushranger movies, and movies about Ned Kelly in particular, were extremely popular in Australia in the early 1900s. Some of the first full-length feature films produced anywhere in the world were about Australian bushrangers fighting back against police brutality in a fascist police state. These films, of course, had to be banned :
The remains of Ned Kelly and other prisoners found at the Pentridge Prison site should be returned to their families, a chaplain says.
The outlaw's remains should be returned to his family and he should be given a decent burial, former Pentridge Prison chaplain Father Peter Norden said.
Fr Norden said Kelly should be granted a final resting place with his deceased relatives...
- 1907 Victorian Chief Secretary bans screenings of The Story of the Kelly Gang in Benalla and Wangaratta.
- 1911 exhibition of The Story of the Kelly Gang film banned in Adelaide.
- 1912 New South Wales police department banned the production of bushranger films.
And here's that excellent shot of Ned Kelly's armour again :