Published On: Mon, Sep 3rd, 2012

Missing head of famous outlaw Ned Kelly found in witch’s cupboard

One of Australia’s biggest mysteries was solved this week when the head of notorious outlaw Ned Kelly, or the skull in this case, was found in the cupboard of a New Zealand witch.

Ned Kelly the day before execution.1880 photo/Charles Nettleton from State Library of Victoria, Kelly gang photographs

Anna Hoffman told New Zealand’s Herald on Sunday newspaper that a uniformed security guard had given her the skull at a family dinner 30 years ago while she was on holiday in Australia.

“We got talking about skulls and the next day he turned up with this skull. He said it was Ned Kelly’s skull, and told me to ‘put it in the bottom of your bag and wrap it up’.”

Hoffman, now age 74, who in the 1960s and 70s attracted media attention after claiming to be a witch, said she had cared for the head – one of more than 20 skulls in her collection.

“I have treated it with respect; I haven’t lit candles in it or drunk red wine out of it or anything bohemian like that.”

Ned Kelly and his gang of outlaws became folk heroes in Australia in the late 19th century.

The group roamed the outback robbing banks, killing three police officers in the process, after which a record bounty of £8,000 was placed on their heads.

The gang’s crime spree came to an end in 1880 after three members were killed in a gun battle with police in Glenrowan, Victoria.

Shortly after the shoot-out, 25-year-old Ned Kelly was captured while wearing a homemade suit of armour.

He was later hanged and his body thrown into a mass grave at Melbourne’s Pentridge Prison. The prison closed in 1929, and in 2009 a developer on the site discovered the mass grave.

After comparing the DNA of one of one skeleton to that of Kelly’s great grand nephew Leigh Olver, scientists publicly confirmed that they had discovered the outlaw’s remains. Much of the skeleton’s skull was missing, however.

Kelly Gang reward poster 8000 pound reward notice for the capture of the Ned Kelly gang, 15 February 1879


“Ned Kelly in the Dock – A Scene from Life” Ned Kelly in the dock during his trial. Wood engraving published in The Illustrated Australian News. 28 August 1880 Published by David Syme and Co., Melbourne

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About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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