Embracing Kelly plan
A PLAN to reinvigorate tourism around the Ned Kelly story, boost visitors to Beechworth three-fold and inject more than $7 million into the local economy has been backed by Indigo Shire councillors.
At Tuesday’s August meeting councillors voted to adopt recommendations in relation to the Beechworth Courthouse and Historic Precinct that were made in the Ned Kelly Alive Report released by Regional Development Victoria earlier this month.
The report recommends ways to enhance and expand Ned Kelly tourism in the North East – to leverage interest in this historic and controversial figure, and tell a bigger and bolder story about the bushranger and his life.
Council voted to commit $500,000 to the courthouse project over three years, a commitment aimed at leveraging potential state government funding of $500,000.
Indigo Shire mayor Cr Jenny O’Connor said she welcomed the recommendations in the Ned Kelly Alive report.
“The one relevant to council is in relation to the Beechworth Historic courthouse and plans to add to what we already offer there with an immersive digital interpretation of the Kelly Gang and family’s trials at the Courthouse,” she said.
“This is an exciting opportunity for Beechworth as the report estimates that this will increase visitors to our historic precinct from 35,000 to 100,000 per year.
Cr O’Connor said the skills and passion of current and future volunteers will continue to be used.
“The initiative is designed to build on what our staff and volunteers already do so well,” she said.
“They tell our history in many different ways.”
Under the recommendations, Beechworth Courthouse will be home to a high-quality immersive interpretation of the Kelly gang and family’s trials at the Beechworth Courthouse, inspired by the Trial of Joan of Arc in Rouen Cathedral in France.
“It would involve a mix of storytelling techniques including contemporary audio visuals, static displays, re-enactments, tours, and the historic fabric of the original buildings themselves,” Cr O’Connor said.
“This is a way of expanding on their efforts to tell the Ned Kelly story to a growing audience of multiple generations who respond to a variety of tourism experiences and have a passion for arts and culture.
“This will create new jobs both in tourism and other industries in Beechworth including hospitality, infrastructure and services.”
Tourism North East will prepare an application for investment from the state government.