Thanks and Acknowledgements

The VIFM would like to acknowledge the following individuals and organisations for their invaluable contributions to The Ned Kelly Project. Our sincerest gratitude to you all.


The Argentine Ambassador, Mr. Pedro Villagra Delgado - whose assistance in the transportation of bone samples to Argentina for analysis by the Institute’s collaborators, the E.A.A.F Laboratory, was critical to the success of this project.


The E.A.A.F Laboratory in Argentina – whose expertise in extracting and analysing DNA from old and degraded bones has been invaluable. The EAAF Laboratory in Buenos Aires has developed particular expertise in the extraction of DNA from old and often considerably degraded samples. This particular skill arises from the many contexts in which EAAF works around the world, helping to identify (often very many years after the event) the human remains of those who died, and often violently, at the hands of the state. The work of the EAAF Laboratory was absolutely central to the identification of Ned Kelly. (The VIFM works together with EAAF in East Timor as The International Forensic Team).


Mr Leigh Olver – Ned’s sister Ellen’s great grandson, who very generously gave the blood sample that enabled us to compare his DNA with the DNA from group of prisoner remains.


The Coroners Court of Victoria, Judge Jennifer Coate and Deputy State Coroner Iain West who have co-operated with/supported the Institute during this project.


Cr Helen Harris OAM - Helen has a long experience in working with archives and an extensive knowledge of a wide range of records, including 19th century Aboriginal, police, criminal, court, goldfields and women’s records. Helen’s research was instrumental in the search for the identity of a skull supposed to be that of Ned Kelly. She appears in the SBS documentary ‘Ned’s Head’, screened on 4 September 2011.


Heritage Victoria, Executive Director Jim Gard’ner – custodians of the Pentridge remains who have agreed to allow the Institute to hold the remains here in the mortuary to enable the DNA analysis to take place.  Senior Archeologist Jeremy Smith and his team have also been very helpful in sharing their research and insights.


The National Trust, CEO Martin Purslow – original custodians of the skull displayed as Ned Kelly’s at the Old Melbourne Gaol.  Senior curator Katie Symons and her staff have been very helpful in sharing their knowledge and materials on the history of this skull.  The Institute looks forward to working with the National Trust and Heritage Victoria in contributing to the telling of the Ned Kelly story.


The Public Records Office, Mr Charlie Farrugia – assistance with the research of original historic documents.


Melbourne University, Dental School staff Professor John Clement and Ronn Taylor, historians Dolly McKinnon, Ross Jones and Helen MacDonald.


Benalla Costume and Pioneer Museum – kindly allowed us to test the blood stain on Ned Kelly’s Green silk sash.


Victorian Police Museum, Ms Elizabeth Marsden, Collections Manager.


National Museum of Australia, curator Mr David Kaus, who allowed the Institute to examine the replica of Baxter skull made by the Australian Institute of Anatomy.


Mr Chris Ott and his mother Mrs Dorothy Ott, who kindly gave us the tooth souvenired from the skull by Dorothy’s father Mr Alex Talbot in 1929.


Mr Lee Franklin – who shared the story and photos of his grandfather Harry Lee who took the skull into safekeeping in 1929.


Mr Matthew Van Hasselt and the staff at the State Library, who made available invaluable resource materials.

And last, but by no means least – we acknowledge the hard work, patience and skills of the staff of the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine. In particular, we thank the staff of the VIFM Mortuary .