Trio guides tourists on his­tory’s parth

Ovens & Murray Advertiser - - NEWS -

BEECH­WORTH his­toric precinct guides Ian Sin­clair, Daniel Goo­nan and Michael Beat­tie en­joy lead­ing daily in­for­ma­tive walk­ing tours of the town for thou­sands of vis­i­tors ev­ery year.

What is now the his­toric precinct with its gran­ite build­ings was orig­i­nally known as the Gov­ern­ment Camp in 1853.

Guide and his­tory en­thu­si­as­tic Ian Sin­clair said the pop­u­lar tours had been an im­por­tant part of Beech­worth tourism since the re­fur­bish­ment of the precinct in 2000.

“‘Echoes of His­tory’ tours are con­ducted each morn­ing and in­tro­duce vis­i­tors to many in­sights about the de­vel­op­ment of the his­toric town from when it was first set­tled in 1853 with the dis­cov­ery of large de­posits of gold,” he said.

“When the gold rush ended it be­came a gov­ern­ment town where the main em­ploy­ers were the May­day Hills Lu­natic Asy­lum and the Beech­worth gaol.

“The work­ing tele­graph of­fice, the court house where vis­i­tors can stand in the ac­tual place where Ned Kelly stood in the dock, the Chi­nese pro­tec­tor’s of­fice and sub-trea­sury - now the Kelly Vault - are all ma­jor at­trac­tions for vis­i­tors.

“Each af­ter­noon the guides tell the story about the in­fa­mous ex­ploits of the Kelly gang and their con­nec­tion with Beech­worth, the court house and the gaol.”

The guides also talk about var­i­ous well-known char­ac­ters as­so­ci­ated with Beech­worth, in­clud­ing Judge Red­mond Barry, who sen­tenced Ned Kelly to death in Mel­bourne in 1880, Robert O’Hara Burke, who was po­lice su­per­in­ten­dent 1854-1858 be­fore his lead­er­ship of the ill-fated transcon­ti­nen­tal ex­pe­di­tion with Wil­liam Wills, and one-time Vic­to­rian premier Ge­orge Ker­ferd.

“The town be­came a melt­ing pot for peo­ple from all over the world, Ir­ish, Scot­tish, English, Amer­i­can, Euro­pean and at one stage there was a huge num­ber of Chi­nese peo­ple liv­ing here,” Mr Sin­clair said.

The guides are well in­formed and en­joy meet­ing peo­ple and telling them the story of this unique and re­mark­able town.

To find out more about the his­tory of Beech­worth lo­cals are in­vited to join in the tour free of charge.

PHOTO: Wendy Stephens

WALK­A­BOUT: Tour guides Ian Sin­clair, Daniel Goo­nan and Michael Beat­tie a knowl­edge­able ex­po­nents of Beech­worth’s his­tory and love to tell the sto­ries of the dis­trict’s colo­nial set­tle­ment and growth.

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