The town of Glenrowan, made famous as the town where bushranger Ned Kelly was finally captured, will soon be home to a new tourist attraction telling the story of the final siege.
On the 28th of June 1880 Victorian police captured bushranger Ned Kelly after a siege at the Glenrowan Inn.
The other members of the Kelly Gang – Dan Kelly, Joseph Byrne and Steve Hart – were killed in the siege. They had been outlawed for the murders of three police officers at Stringybark Creek in 1878.
Ned Kelly was tried and executed in Melbourne in November 1880.
Now $5.5 million dollars is being spent to build the Ned Kelly Heritage Centre on the site of the last stand in Glenrowan, a small town situated in Wangaratta, Victoria.
The Director of Infrastructure, Community and Recreation at the Rural City of Wangaratta Marcus Goonan said it is an exciting project for the local community.
“The idea has been around since the early 2000s. There’s been a number of studies conducted on the Ned Kelly siege site. There’s always been an idea to do something to bring the site to life and explain what happened during what was a pretty momentous time in Australian folk law,” he said.
The project includes a contemporary, architecturally designed viewing platform, and visitor information and amenities centre on a site that looks over key locations of Glenrowan's history and provides interpretation of the Kelly Gang siege. The Victorian Government owns the site and the local council has leased the land.
“We’ve always had lots of tourists turn up but there wasn’t really anything to speak to what the siege site was or how it would have looked,” Mr Goonan said.
The project will include a viewing tower, siege site experience enhanced with virtual and augmented realities and landscaping works around Lions Park.
“It’s a $5.5 million project. It will be a walk in experience where people will be able to walk into the centre and as you walk around the room the various stages of the gun battle and the fight with the police will come up on the window in front of you so it will basically step you through it while you see what’s behind it today, which is just a few buildings and a railway station. People will get the chance to see where Ned Kelly was held up, where he was shot from and where the police were.”
Supplied Rural City of Wangaratta
The Kelly Gang’s last stand has become an Australian folk legend, however views are divided about how it should be remembered.
Mr Goonan said there had been some push back but the majority of the community was on board with the project.
“I think it is one of those divisive conversations that we sometimes have but you’re never going to please everyone in the local community, I think that’s something that becomes very clear when you start working in local government. Certainly I think it will very much benefit the town and the majority of the community are really happy with the project and are looking forward to it being completed.
The Ned Kelly Heritage Centre is expected to open by the end of the year.