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Skull Held Ransom

An unusual attempt is being made to restore the reputation Ned Kelly, one of Australia's folk heroes, was hanged for murder 120 years ago.

Tom Baxter, a farmer in remote Western Australia, says he has Ned Kelly's skull, stolen from a prison museum in Melbourne 22 years ago, and he hand it back if the famous outlaw granted a posthumous pardon.

Mr Baxter says he stole the skull because he believed it was national treasure that deserved better.

He says he wants Ned Kelly be reburied in consecrated ground and - perhaps - given a monument.

Folk hero

Ned Kelly led a gang outlaws that included his younger brother. roamed the outback years, stealing horses, robbing banks and killing policemen.

When they cornered Ned kelly's gang member of the gang except Ned Kelly was killed. "Such life!" he is reported to have said as he died the gallows.

Ned Kelly quickly became a symbol resistance against repressive authority, an Australian folk hero romanticised again many years later a film about his life in the rock singer Mick Jagger played lead.

Farmer Tom Baxter says he will accept DNA testing to the identity of the skull and he believes Australia is ready accept what he calls the full resonance of the Ned Kelly legend.


Ned Kelly: Australian Outlaw


adapted from a true story

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