Beechworth Court House Kelly Trials Exhibition opens to public

Published on 29 April 2024

Interior of historic Beechworth Courthouse with projections on walls

The much-anticipated Beechworth Courthouse Kelly Trials Exhibition, Indigo Shire’s newest celebration of its unique heritage, is now open.

The $1M exhibition uses a combination of traditional museum displays, original artefacts, signage and modern projection technologies and explores not only Ned Kelly’s committal hearing, but also the 40 plus trials and hearings that took place during the Kelly outbreak of 1878-1880.

It interprets the stories of this period, focusing on the events that took place in the Courthouse and the people who worked there. It also tells the subsequent history of the Courthouse, including its transformation into a heritage site in the late 20th Century.

Indigo Shire Mayor, Sophie Price says a key component in the development of the exhibition has been the need to undertake extensive conservation works to the courthouse building.

“We’ve worked very closely with Heritage Victoria, our Heritage Advisor Deb Kemp and Greg Owen from Period Building Conservation Pty Ltd to safeguard the structural and historical integrity of this nationally significant landmark.”

“Special mention must also go to the exhibition’s project managers, including Council’s previous Collections Manager Ashleigh Giffney, Council’s previous Museum Manager Cameron Auty and Council’s Historic Precinct & Visitor Experience Manager Jennifer Allan, who have been instrumental in driving the project to completion.” Cr Price said.

The conservation work encompassed a wide range of elements within the Courthouse, including repairs to walls, floors, and multiple other components.

“We’ve also had to repair the impacts of past installations when the building was first opened to the public as a museum. Previous invasive techniques have been rectified and the current exhibition has been designed with best practice and non-invasive installation techniques,” Cr Price said.

“What we’re delivering is a professional, sophisticated and understated exhibition, that allows this significant building to rightfully hold centre stage and we have no doubt that the Courthouse Kelly Trials Exhibition will significantly boost cultural heritage tourism to Beechworth.”

The exhibition project has been jointly funded by the Victorian Government’s Regional Development portfolio and Council.

“This project not only preserves and brings to life a defining time in our state’s history, but creates a major tourism attraction, boosting jobs and supporting the local economy,” Minister for Regional Development Gayle Tierney says.

Member for Northern Victoria, Jaclyn Symes echoes Minister Tierney’s comments, saying, “This exhibition offers a journey through our region's rich heritage and commemorates events that shaped our history."



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