The historic Beechworth Gaol is up for auction and the family of Ned Kelly are hoping to see it become a museum and interpretive educational centre – the Ned Kelly Centre – dedicated to preserving and protecting the history of North East Victoria and their iconic ancestor.
Beechworth Gaol has strong and indelible ties to Ned Kelly and the Kelly family; providing a unique and historic link between the rich folklore of the Kelly Gang and the iconic Beechworth landmark.
“For 135 years, generations of our family have watched the history of our ancestors told by others. Now, as the family of Edward ‘Ned’ Kelly, we have decided to help build a better understanding about the Kelly story and the North East. This is the vision of the closest living descendants of Ned’s parents, John ‘Red’ Kelly and Ellen Quinn,” said Joanne Griffiths, great-grandniece of Ned Kelly.
Family elders have tasked Ms Griffiths with bringing to life their vision of the Ned Kelly Centre (NKC); sharing the region’s rich cultural heritage through the Kelly family story as a potent symbol of life in the 1850s1880s; set, as it was, against the backdrop of the last heady days of the Great Australian Gold Rush and just decades into Victoria’s new-found statehood, where the weighty issues of social reform, power and wealth, law and order were still being defended and defined.
“This will not be a centre just promoting the family point of view. It will present facts, many for the first time, and we are committed to ensuring that all aspects will be told simply and truthfully, from all points of view, to provide a rare and authentic insight into local history for generations to come.
“And what better place to tell that story than within the walls of an historic institution that played such a prominent role in their lives and the legacy of the Kelly Outbreak? Beechworth Gaol is an integral part of the town’s history and physicality, and a dream-fit for a centre devoted to preserving and protecting local history. The combination of Beechworth Gaol and the Ned Kelly Centre would be a massive drawcard to the area; benefiting the region and preserving our cultural heritage.
“Beechworth Gaol is up for auction on Friday 27 November, and it isn’t going to be cheap. A big ask … but the Kellys have faced long odds before! The Ned Kelly Centre project must go ahead and the history of Beechworth Gaol must be saved. We need your help and support to do this and we hope others will join us in taking a stand for Australian culture, heritage and history,” Ms Griffiths said.
To help save Beechworth Gaol for the Ned Kelly Centre, donate now at OzCrowd https://ozcrowd.com/campaigns/ned/
Ned Kelly Centre: Its mission is to collect, conserve and interpret the historic, social and environmental heritage of North East Victoria in an informative, cohesive and respectful way, incorporating circumstances and influences that modelled the man, the legend and the times. Ned Kelly Centre Limited is a registered not-for-profit public company, limited by guarantee. Registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission (ACNC), and Museums Australia. The Ned Kelly Centre Limited Officers are legally bound to act under the organisation’s constitution and the Corporations Act 2001. ACN: 603 801 896 ABN: 33 603 801 896.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 24 November 2015 – Contact Joanne Griffiths, 0407 283 032