Peter Newman asks : Where are the bodies buried?

Greta Cemetery Graves
I’ll start this post by saying I believe Dan Kelly and Steve Hart are most likely buried at the Greta Cemetery. Inspector Sadleir had released the charred bodies to the Kelly family and their friends, but there was a belief the authorities might have had a change of heart and seek to take the bodies back for the purpose of an inquest. Ian Jones’ book tells of a telegraph from the stationmaster at Benalla reporting that Hart’s brother (Richard) and about 50 armed men were at Greta intending to resist this.

A funeral was ultimately conducted at Greta Cemetery, with both bodies being reported to have been buried in a single grave. Some say the ground around the grave was then ploughed over to hide the exact location. Other commentators though have suggested that the coffins contained rocks, and that the bodies were actually buried elsewhere.

There is so much speculation. 

Some of the stories handed down by the families of sympathiser (as documented by Eugenie Navarre) suggest that Dan and Steve escaped the inferno at Glenrowan, although this seems unlikely. There are other stories that Dan was buried on the Kelly property (Gary Dean apparently knows the precise location) and that Steve was buried beneath an old fig tree on the Hart property at Wangaratta (the tree concerned fell several years ago during a storm, but the location is still known).

I have heard another story handed down through a family that had connections with Richard Hart that “the boys” were buried in a gully on the east side of the Fueller Range, not far from Glenrowan. They could have been transported to this site overland through properties owned by relatives and sympathisers (and thereby avoiding the Glenrowan Road). This story came to me from someone who I would regard as a reliable source and I have spent some time narrowing down the possible location of the gully (I found three possibilities) and viewing the earliest aerial photographs (1941) of these gullies looking for possible signs of ground disturbance. One of the possible sites has since been destroyed by the expansion of an orchard (which I’d like to think would never have been allowed to have happened if it was the one!).

As I state at the outset, I believe “the boys” are most likely buried at Greta, as much as anything because I can’t imagine how the secrecy of any alternative scenario could have been maintained. The truth could be easily confirmed if the graves at Greta were exhumed, but this is never going to happen. On the other hand, if a grave was found on the Kelly selection (probably also never going to happen), or bones found at the site of the fig tree on the former Hart property, or in one of the gullies in the Fueller Range, then maybe that would be an alternative means of arriving at the truth.
The Corfield Ned Kelly Encyclopaedia and other references (e.g. Kevin Passey) mention these alternative possibilities. So I am quite interested in what readers of this blog might have to say about these stories. Has anyone looked into this further? Has there been any ground radar analysis undertaken on the Kelly property? Has anyone investigated the fig tree location? 
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3 Replies to “Peter Newman asks : Where are the bodies buried?”

  1. Peter do any of Ned Kellys family say the bodies were NOT buried in the Greta cemetery, or is this just the imaginings of conspiracy theorists? I cant see why the family would have buried them elsewhere and then pretend they are in the Greta cemetery even now. Ned wanted to be buried in sacred ground, and that I take it is a Catholic cemetery, so it stands to reason that the others would have similar sentiment.

    As for their survival, I thought Gary Dean believed they survived and Dan lived to an old age in Queensland. Again, I note no Kelly descendant subscribes to that particular conspiracy theory – Joanne Griffiths said this on her Ned Kelly Center site :“I don’t know of any Kelly or Hart descendants who publicly adhere to the ‘escape theory’”.

    It was SUCH a mistake for the Archaeologists NOT to have dug up the Kitchen at the Siege site as that would have killed off for ever the stupid suggestions that Dan and Steve survived in a cellar. Ive already shown quite clearly that it was actually physically IMPOSSIBLE for anyone to have survived in a cellar even if there was one , but science is not good enough for some people! If it could have been shown that one didnt actually exist then maybe they would give up on those insane conspiracy theories. I have absolutely no doubt they are rubbish.

  2. Peter Newman says: Reply

    As far as I know, most think they are in the Greta Cemetery. And so do I. However the information I received about them being in the Fueller Range was from a reliable source with connections to the Hart family. The story made me wonder if it could be true and I did spend a fair bit of time investigating. The fact that others (Corfield et al) have questioned whether they are at Greta made me think perhaps the story is true. So I would be interested to know when this story first started being circulated? When was the first reference made to the possibility of the coffins being filled with rocks?

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