AUSTRALIA'S most famous outlaw, Ned Kelly, has been given a traditional Catholic send-off.
Hundreds of Ned Kelly's descendants have mourned the bushranger at a traditional Catholic mass in the regional Victorian town of Wangaratta, 132 years after his hanging.
With Kelly's remains in a coffin, St Patrick's Church parish priest Monsignor John White told mourners he'd received offensive phone calls and emails leading up to the service when it was revealed that he was to deliver the outlaw's liturgy.
But as a baptised Catholic, he said, Kelly was entitled to the dignified burial he was denied following his hanging at in Melbourne in 1880, when his decapitated body was entombed in the dirt with no family members present.
"Today, we're righting that wrong," Monsignor White said.
It was not his - nor any Catholic's - place to judge Kelly, as the ultimate judgment was God's alone, he said, before delivering a prayer.
"I speak simply as a priest who resides at his requiem mass ... about a man who occupies a unique place in the Australian story."
Reflecting briefly on Kelly's life, he said the mass was not the time to retell a story that's been told and retold through literature, art and media - sometimes celebratory, sometimes laudatory.
But like countless Australians, he'd been captivated by the Kelly legend, all the more so having lived in the region where he dwelled.
"Jerilderie and Euroa were the two towns where Ned did his banking," Monsignor White said with a tongue-in-cheek reference to the sites of outlaw and his gang's infamous bank robberies, prompting laughter.