Beechworth is Australia's best preserved gold town. All four members of the Kelly Gang spent some time in Beechworth Gaol, Ned for a total of two years. Ned appeared in the Beechworth Courthouse on August 6 1880 on a charge of murder. He was committed to stand trial here before returning to Melbourne for his Supreme Court trial and subsequent hanging. Ned's mother Ellen also appeared in the Beechworth Court, in 1878, and was held in the Beechworth Gaol for a short time before being taken to Melbourne to complete her sentence.
The Courthouse is just one of a number of remarkable 19th century buildings making up the Beechworth Historic and Cultural Precinct, which provides a fascinating insight into life during the gold rush and Ned Kelly era. You can visit many of Ned's former haunts any time of the year, or take part in the annual Ned Kelly Weekend festival in August. A brochure and much more information on Ned is available from the Beechworth Visitor Information Centre.
Beechworth News & Stories
Ned Kelly Links in Beechworth
There are 12 sites in and just outside of Beechworth which link to the Ned Kelly era. Beeechworth is where Ned Kelly was committed to stand trial. Many historic buildings have direct links to Ned Kelly including the Courthouse, where Ned was committed to stand trial for murder. Ned Kelly's mother, Ellen was also tried here for attempted murder in 1878.
1. The Burke Museum
The Burke Museum is open every day from 9 to 5 except Christmas Day.
2. Harry Power's Cell
Beneath the Town Hall, which once housed the Municipal Court is a cell which housed Harry Power, in 1863 and 1864 when he appeared on charges of horse stealing. Harry was said to be Ned Kelly's tutor. This cell was last used in 1869.
3. The Beechworth Courthouse
Situated in the heart of the Beechworth Historic and Cultural Precinct is the Beechworth Courthouse. The Courthouse was the site of Ned Kelly's Committal Hearing in August 1880. Ned's mother, Ellen Kelly was here in 1878 and received a three year sentence over the Fitzpatrick incident. You can visit Ned's cell, stand where Ned stood in the dock in 1880, or spend some time in the Judge's Chambers. The Courthouse has all the original furniture and fittings and looks the same as it was in 1880. The Beechworth Courthouse in open 9 to 5 every day except Christmas Day.
4. Stone Lock-up
5. Police Paddocks
This was the site of the Police Barracks, Officers Quarters, Stables, Kitchen, Hay Stores and other buildings which would have been used by the Police involved in the Kelly Pursuit. A story board on the southern side of the paddocks present what the area was like in the 1800's.
6. Police Stables
Built in 1871, these were used to house many of the police horses used in the pursuit of the Kelly Gang. Located in the Beechworth Historic & Cultural Precinct.
7. Beechworth Gaol
Built between 1859-64 and enlarged over the years, the Kelly Family spent time here. Ned three times, Ellen once, Jim, Dan, cousins the Lloyds and the Quinns, Aaron Sherrit, Steve Hart, Joe Byrne, and many Kelly sympathisers were kept in the prison. Ned Kelly was believed to be in Cell 101, on the top floor, and Ellen in Cell 10 which was on the bottom floor at the rear of the building. Cell 104 was the condemned mans cell, close to the gallows. The gaol was operational until December 2004.
Beechworth Gaol is now open to the public. Walk in the footseps of the infamous Ned Kelly and others. Beechworth Goal was the location of eight executions. Come and discover the isolation and extremely harsh conditions that inmates had to endure whilst imprisoned there. On the Kelly Tour you can:
Click here to find out more information on the tours available.
8. The Fight Site
The Imperial Hotel was the scene of Ned Kelly's fight with Isaiah “Wild” Wright. The Imperial was a couple of doors down from the Nicholas Hotel on High Street. Ned got even with “Wild Wright” after he was released from prison for receiving the horse he purchased from “Wild”. Ned fought “Wild Wright” bare knuckled to the old London Prize Ring Rules. “Wild” was a notorious and experienced fighter but on this occasion, after a fight lasting for twenty rounds, he conceded defeat to Ned. He was quoted as saying, some years later that Ned gave him the “Hiding of my life”. Suggested visiting time 5 minutes
9. Beechworth Railway Station
Ned was brought up from Melbourne on the train to appear in the Courthouse in early August 1880. As he was being transferred to the Police cab, Constable Alexander let his horse venture close to Ned who, in a flash of anger, tried to kick it away, but was held back by Superintendent Sadleir and other police. The site of this event would appear to be at the rear of the station. The last train to Beechworth ran in 1977 and the lines were removed soon after.
10. 33 Camp Street
Presently Beechworth Dental Surgery, this building housed the photographic studio of James Bray. May photos of Dan Kelly, Joe Byrne, Aaron Sherritt and some of the Kelly sympathisers were taken by Bray who was a photographer in Beechworth from the 1870's to his death in 1891.
11. The London Tavern
Prominent Judges stayed here in Mr Soulsby's 'Judges Chambers' when the various assizes were held in Beechworth. Although there was a judges chambers in the Beechworth courthouse, there was certainly more ambience to be had in the London Tavern as well as good food and plenty to drink.
12. Police Caves and Woolshed Valley
The families of Aaron Sherritt and Joe Byrne lived in the Woolshed Valley. The Woolshed State School (SS 1900) was attended by Joe Byrne and briefly by Aaron Sherritt. The area was important to the police after the ‘Great Raid of Sebastopol' when Aaron Sherritt offered to help the police, and led them to the caves where they could watch the farm of Mrs Margaret Byrne. This ended with the shooting of Aaron Sherritt by Joe Byrne on the night of June 26 1880.
Annual Beechworth Ned Kelly Weekend held on the 1st Weekend in August
Held annually and on the first weekend in August, this is Australia's most significant Ned Kelly event. It's a weekend packed full of activities for the Ned Kelly enthusiast. This year the original suits of armour worn by all four members of the Kelly Gang at the siege of Glenrowan will feature as a major highlight of the 2010 Beechworth Ned Kelly Weekend from 6 – 8 August.
The exhibition is a coup for Beechworth and marks only the fourth time since 1880 that the complete set of Kelly Gang armour has been shown, and the first time outside a capital city.
Now in its eighth year, the 2010 Ned Kelly Weekend will commemorate the 130th anniversary of the outlaw's committal hearing held in the historic Beechworth Courthouse from 6 to 11 August 1880, and his execution on 11 November 1880.
The weekend offers re-enactments of Ned Kelly's arrival at the Beechworth Railway Station, Ned Kelly's Committal Hearing at the historic Beechworth Courthouse, the Raid on Sebastopol and Ned's Departure. There are many more activities and for a full program visit Beechworth Visitor Information Centre.
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