On the morning of November 11, 1880, legendary Australian outlaw Ned Kelly was hanged at Old Melbourne Gaol. What happened to the body of one of Australia’s most iconic figures after he died has been a huge source of controversy and mystery ever since.
Can a team of forensic scientists solve the mystery of Ned Kelly’s skull?
In 1978, the supposed skull of Ned Kelly was stolen from its display case at Old Melbourne Gaol and was lost for more than 30 years, until a West Australian farmer handed it in to authorities in 2009. A team of forensic scientists at the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine (VIFM) were then given the task of identifying it.
Ned’s Head records every step of this investigation, as the team venture on a year-long quest to discover the skull’s true identity. With unique access to the VIFM’s team of forensic experts, they use the latest scientific techniques, combined with historic research, to try and crack the 120-year-old case.
One of the major leads the scientific team has is Ned Kelly’s death mask, made just an hour after his execution when his body was still warm. Using photographs, models and CT scans, they compare the death mask to the skull to try and get a match.
Meanwhile, the historical team investigate Ned Kelly’s autopsy to find out what could have been done with his remains following his death, and learn if an autopsy was conducted at all.
As the scientific team search for answers, they pursue the difficult task of extracting DNA from the old remains. What they find is set to make headlines and change recorded history forever.
After 12 months of investigation the VIFM team reach a result, but in their attempt to solve the mystery of Ned’s head, they discover much more than the identity of the mysterious skull. It seems Ned Kelly is as controversial in death as he was in life.
Ned’s Head is produced by Prospero Productions.
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