Tours and Education
Beechworth’s Historic and Cultural Precinct offers two informative and entertaining 1h 15min guided walking tours every day - suitable for a wide range of ages and abilities and perfect for both individuals and groups.
Led by expert local historians through the picturesque streets of this perfectly preserved Gold Era town, the Gold Rush and Ned Kelly Tours are a lively and enjoyable way to learn about Beechworth’s rich and colourful past.
The Gold Rush Tour departs from the Visitor Information Centre at the historic Town Hall, opposite the Courthouse at 10.15am daily. It tells the story of the Gold Rushes of the 1850s in Beechworth - once the richest alluvial goldfields in Victoria. Participants will learn the stories behind historic buildings, people and events that helped shape Beechworth, visiting many of the buildings associated with governance on the goldfields and Gold Era commercial buildings (still operating today).
The Ned Kelly Tour departs 1.15pm daily from the Visitor Information Centre. Participants will see many of the buildings associated with the Kelly legend and hear stories behind the events which eventually brought the Kelly era to an end. This tour also visits Harry Powers’ Cell where the ‘Gentleman Bushranger’ and mentor to a young Ned Kelly spent time on remand.
From June-August, Monday to Friday, the Beechworth Historic and Cultural Precinct offer one guided walking tour at 10.15am combining the best of both tours.
Education and Public Programs
The education program run by the Burke Museum and Beechworth Historic and Cultural Precinct covers both primary and secondary school levels and is being developed to tie directly into the state VELS and forthcoming Australian Curriculum.
The Historic Courthouse
The tour guides explain the processes of running a trial in Victoria during the 19th Century. Students dress-up and re-enact the committal hearing and trial of the bushranger using a script taken from the original transcripts of his trial, taking on the roles of Judge, Jury, Ned Kelly and the legal team. The Courthouse still with its original furniture and fittings, operated continuously as a working Court for 131 years and has been the setting for some of the most fascinating court cases in Victoria’s history. The program is being extended to include other aspects of Justice within the curriculum.
The Burke Museum
The museum was named in honour of Robert O’Hara Burke, the explorer, who was the Police Superintendent in Beechworth from 1854-1858. The original Athenaeum and Public Library was turned into the Burke Memorial Museum in 1863. Students can gain first account of the history of Beechworth through exhibition spaces such as: The Street Of Shops which is a re- enactment of the shops of Beechworth in the 1860s; Natural History with indigenous and flora and fauna displays, including an extensive aboriginal collection; Goldrush with a host of memorabilia from the Gold Rush era; Chinese on The Goldfields, with important textile pieces such as The Chinese Banner.
The Ned Kelly Vault
The Sub-Treasury Gold office building is now home to one of the most significant Ned Kelly collections. It is an annex of the Burke Museum and students can experience the story of law and order and bushrangers in the northeast.
The Telegraph Station
Students can hear the story of communications and get the opportunity to see morse code in action and send telegraphic messages to the world.
The Powder magazine
The Powder Magazine is where students can see the history of gunpowder used for blasting on the goldfields.
Other Precinct Buildings
Includes the Chinese Protector’s Office, the Gold Warden’s Office, Police Stables, Police Lockup, Police Reserve and The Town Hall.
The Burke Museum’s collection is a valuable teaching resource. Please contact the museum to access information packs prior to your visit.
Current program themes include:
- Burke, the explorer
- Chinese Life
- Natural History
- The Street of Shops
The Burke Museum are currently developing a suite of study options within the Museum and across the Historic Precinct to tie units directly to VELS and the forthcoming Australian Curriculum.
Museum staff are available to liaise on other topics of particular interest to assist you in creating programs relevant to your current study areas. Feedback is always welcome!