THE childhood home of infamous Irish-Australian bushranger Ned Kelly has sold at auction to private buyers.
The two-room property in rural Australia, which is now little more than a wooden shack, was built by the late outlaw's Co Tipperary-born father, John 'Red' Kelly in 1859 and occupied by his family until 1864.
The property at Beveride, 60km north of Melbourne, which also includes a modern family home on the 3.5-acre site, sold for €445,000 (Aus$640,000) at auction last weekend.
Auctioneer Rocco Di Battista said the buyers were a nearby family, who "fell in love with the home and its surroundings".
He said: "They looked at the Kelly cottage as a long-term thing... as something of significance and something that you can't replace. They would love to see it refurbished or for someone to come along with the money to do it."
He said the auction, which attracted just three bidders, had a carnival atmosphere, with 250 onlookers and "a couple of Irish people playing Ned Kelly ballads".
The National Trust of Australia Victoria has also pledged to help the new owners maintain the heritage-listed cottage, which hasn't been occupied since the Kellys moved out in 1864.
The cottage, which Kelly's father built using materials scavenged from the bushland, was added to the Victorian Heritage Register in 1992 -meaning that the buyers have an obligation to preserve it.
Last year, over 50 members of the Kelly clan, including a number of the outlaw's descendants, congregated in Moyglass, Co Tipperary - the Kelly's ancestral home - as part of The Gathering.
Ned's father, who was from Moyglass, was sent to Australia for seven years in 1840 for stealing two pigs in nearby Ballysheehan near Cashel in 1880.
Ned, who was hanged for murder at the age of 25, 133 years ago at Melbourne jail, hit the headlines last year when his body was finally returned to his family for a Catholic burial.
Three years ago his remains had been identified using DNA analysis from a living relative, after which they were returned to family members who fulfilled the outlaw's final wish to be buried on consecrated ground.