HM Prison Beechworth was built on the site of Beechworth’s first stockade, with the completion of its construction in 1864. Built with granite quarried on site, the prison is an architecturally significant example of a panopticon prison.
The prison originally held men and women, who were kept occupied with work of practical benefit to the town. It has been home to some of Australia’s most well known bushrangers including Ned Kelly, Joe Byne and Harry Powers.
The prison also held twenty suspected Kelly sympathisers in 1879 in an attempt to limit support to the Kelly Gang. Iron gates were installed at this time as it was feared that there might be an attempt to break the sympathisers out of the prison.
In more modern times, the prison functioned as a training facility for minimum security prisoners from 1954 up until its closure in 2004.
You can visit Ned Kelly’s cell or climb the guard’s tower on guided tours through the prison.