Funding boost for Beechworth Historic Precinct

Published on 18 May 2020

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Indigo Shire’s struggling tourism sector has received a massive financial boost with the announcement of a $500,000 Victorian Government grant towards a $1m project which will create a state-of-the-art tourism experience at the Beechworth Historic Precinct.

Member for Northern Victoria Jaclyn Symes has announced six initiatives in the North East are among 35 projects that will share in more than $16 million from the Regional Infrastructure Fund to improve liveability and attract more residents and visitors to towns. 

The Beechworth Precinct Renewal – Courthouse Kelly Trials Experience is expected to double cultural visitation. 

The drama of Australian legal history, culminating with Ned Kelly’s committal hearing, will deliver a powerful visitor experience. Projection technology, augmented reality and app-based learning will pair with the artefacts to bring history to life.

In welcoming the funding announcement, Mayor Jenny O’Connor said it couldn’t have come at a better time, with so many operators hurting as a result of the summer bushfires and COVID-19 pandemic.

“This is an important investment by the State and matches Council’s own $500,000 towards the project in one of our most valuable heritage sites, and clearly demonstrates Council’s ongoing commitment to cultural heritage.”

“We believe this project will position the Beechworth Historic Precinct as a world leader in combining heritage sites, high quality museum displays and interpretive technology.  It is inspired by similar combinations of heritage sites with modern interpretation such as the Joan of Arc Historical in Rouen, France and the Culloden Battlefield Visitor Centre in Scotland.”

“The Beechworth Precinct Renewal – Courthouse Kelly Trials Experience will use a combination of projection technology and world-class museum displays to create a visitor experience of national and international significance. Importantly, this project is an upgrade to our existing offerings, rather than a replacement – traditional re-enactments will still be able to take place, and the new displays will enhance them,” Mayor O’Connor said.

“Every visitor to the court will be able to sit in the main hall, experience an audio-visual display that brings the trials and hearings during the Kelly period to life, then walk into each room and meet the legal professionals and community members involved through high quality object displays and projections. Our aim is to focus on the history, role and development of the law, using the Kelly story as a way to explore this.

“Fascinating, formative and controversial events took place in the Beechworth Historic Courthouse during this period. We want every visitor to walk away with a greater understanding of the events that took place and the role of the law in society and their lives,” Cr O’Connor said.

The project is expected to take two years to complete.

 

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