Ned Kelly: Under the Microscope (CSIRO Publishing)
Edited by Craig Cormick, CSIRO
Chapter contributions by scientists, mainly from the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine (who carried out the research identifying Ned Kelly’s remains) as well as others including Adam Ford (lead archaeologist on the Glenrowan dig) and Jeremy Smith from Heritage Victoria who led the Pentridge Prison excavations.
Ned Kelly was hanged at the Old Melbourne Gaol on 11 November 1880, and his body buried in the graveyard there. Many stories emerged about his skull being separated and used as a paperweight or trophy, and it was finally put on display at the museum of the Old Melbourne Gaol — until it was stolen in 1978.
It wasn’t only Ned Kelly’s skull that went missing. After the closure of the Old Melbourne Gaol in 1929, the remains of deceased prisoners were exhumed and reinterred in mass graves at Pentridge Prison. The exact location of these graves was unknown until 2002, when the bones of prisoners were uncovered at the Pentridge site during redevelopment. This triggered a larger excavation that in 2009 uncovered many more coffins, and led to the return of the skull and a long scientific process to try to identify and reunite Ned Kelly’s remains.
But how do you go about analysing and accurately identifying a skeleton and skull that are more than 130 years old? Ned Kelly: Under the Microscope details what was involved in the 20-month scientific process of identifying the remains of Ned Kelly, with chapters by VIFM forensic specialists on anthropology, odontology, DNA studies, plus metallurgical analysis of the gang’s armour, and archaeological digs at Pentridge Prison and Glenrowan. It also includes medical analysis of Ned’s wounds and a chapter on handwriting analysis — that all lead to the final challenging conclusions.
Illustrated throughout with photographs taken during the forensic investigation, as well as historical images, the book is supplemented with breakout boxes of detailed but little-known facts about Ned Kelly and the gang to make this riveting story a widely appealing read.
VIFM Annual Reports
VIFM Annual Report 2013-2014
The 2013-2014 VIFM Annual Report theme reflects on ‘The lifecycle of a medico-legal death investigation at VIFM’.
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or Download the VIFM Annual Report 2013/14 here.
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VIFM Annual Report 2012-2013
The 2012-2013 VIFM Annual Report is dedicated to donors and their families who, through their extraordinary generosity, make possible the work of the Donor Tissue Bank of Victoria.
The cover design represents the Tree of Life artwork which is described on page 36 of the report.
Click on the image below to read or download our Annual Report for 2012-2013.
VIFM Annual Report 2011-2012
The 2011-2012 VIFM Annual Report is dedicated to the achievements of VIFM forensic specialists in the identification of the remains of notorious bush ranger, Ned Kelly.
Click on the image below to read or download our Annual Report for 2011-2012:
- Annual Report 2011 – 2012 – PDF
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- Annual Report 2008 – 2009 – PDF
- Annual Report 2007 – 2008 – PDF
- Annual Report 2006 – 2007 – PDF
- Annual Report 2005 – 2006 – PDF
The VIFM Communiqués are produced by a small team of practising clinicians with experience in emergency medicine, aged care, acute and subacute hospital care, forensic medicine, health education, public health and patient safety. VIFM produces the Clinical Communiqué and the Residential Aged Care Communiqué. Subscription to these e-publications is free and each Communiqué is produced quarterly.
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Forensic Matters is a magazine produced in-house by VIFM. Download Volume 1 (May 2014) here.
VIFM Strategic Plan 2013-2016
Debriefing (or talking to someone about a difficult or stressful experience), has long been recognised as an important way of dealing with the everyday stresses of working in a place like the VIFM. While the need for healthy and constructive debriefing is clear, we realised there was need to delve deeper into issues around maintaining confidentiality, how you can support yourself and your colleagues during difficult times and how to recognise when your usual coping strategies aren’t sufficient.
With this in mind, the Institute engaged the services of Psychotherapist and Socio-analytic Consultant, Sara Taylor to develop a resource for staff to better understand debriefing and the importance of maintaining good mental health practices. Numerous staff from across the Institute were consulted, with many of their experiences used as case studies. The resulting booklet is called, A Guide to Debriefing at VIFM. Thanks to the generous support of the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia, we were able to print and distribute these booklets to all staff members at a launch which was held on the 1st of May 2013.