WE, ALL of us, have our passions and favourite topics we pursue. That may be rugby, racing, beer or knitting, quilt making, scone baking or whatever.
Mine happen to include such diverse passions as the life of Mozart, American Civil War history, horse racing and above all the story of Australian bushranger Ned Kelly.
Over the years I have researched and written many articles about aspects of the Ned Kelly story, or more correctly the Kelly Gang.
I moved to North-East Victoria and lived there for two years ostensibly to work on a newspaper but in reality to be in the heart of the Kelly Country and to get the chance to get closer to the descendants of the people involved in the saga that gripped Australia in the 1870s and continues to do so today.
It's a magnificent story of murder, intrigue, daring, political posturing and a heap of other elements and those who research the story usually fall into one of two categories. They either support Ned and his gang, or they despise them.
This editorial is not going to declare for either point of view but to simply reflect on news this week the headless corpse of Ned Kelly is to finally be returned to his descendants 132 years after his execution.
To prevent Ned's body from becoming a item of hero worship the authorities back in 1880 had him hanged and then buried in the environs of Pentridge Prison without the spot being marked or identified. Ned's head didn't make it to burial and his skull was said to have been used as a paper weight prior to being stolen many years ago, from which it has never been recovered.
When Ned's body was found recently and confirmed by modern-day forensics as being the bushranger's remains a fresh plea was made to whomever may have the skull to return it so the remains can be complete.
The descendants plan now to give Ned Kelly a proper burial, an event I would travel to the ends of the earth to attend, but it will most likely be a private, family occasion.