BEECHWORTH’S highly successful heritage tourism venture known as the Ned Kelly Vault expects on Friday to welcome its fifty thousandth visitor.
The exhibition in the historic sub-treasury building in Ford Street – in which people can interpret the story of the infamous North East colonial bushranger and convicted murderer – opened in August 2014.
It began and remains a joint venture between Indigo Shire Council’s Burke Museum, led by Patrick Watt, and the Vault’s founder, Matt Shore, and has been widely supported by people long associated with the wider Kelly story.
These include television and film producer and historian Ian Jones, the author of numerous books about Kelly and his circle, and people who hold key Kelly and related artefacts and memorabilia.
Exhibits include the table from Ann Jones’ Glenrowan inn which burned to the ground in the siege in which the Kelly gang was destroyed in June 1880.
“The museum is not a monument to Ned,” Mr Watt said yesterday.
“It is simply an amazing collection supported with museological rigour.”
Mr Shore, who shares the vault’s curatorial role with Mr Watt, said the success of the Vault confirmed growing visitor interest in the Ned Kelly story.
He said it also confirmed Beechworth as the premier location for telling the story.
The pair described 50,000 visitors in 28 months – the equivalent of about 21,500 visitors per year – to a town of 3500 was “a remarkable milestone worth acknowledging and celebrating”.
Indigo council acknowledged in a statement this week, as Mr Jones had said, that “nowhere in the world can you get closer to the world Ned Kelly knew”.
The Vault is managed as an annexe of the 1863-built Burke Museum.
Indigo council has developed a strong volunteer program that ensures that the Vault is always open, the knowledge of the volunteers is relevant and the story is told and exhibited without bias.
The Vault will celebrate its milestone visitor with a piece of theatre, led by Mr Watt, at 12pm on Friday.
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