Lying on The Kelly Way, midway between Wangaratta and Wodonga, Beechworth’s wide, tree-lined streets and solid, dignified buildings are reminiscent of the flamboyant, gold-rush days.
The interiors of these stately buildings of the late 1800s have been restored and now house restaurants, guest lodges and antique and specialty shops. The old town hall, which was built in 1858, now houses the Visitors Information Centre and, to the rear of the building is a tiny, dank cell that has become something of a shrine.
Australia's most celebrated bushranger, Ned Kelly, was locked up in the cell for six months as a 15-year-old after being convicted in the nearby court house in 1870 for assaulting one Jeremiah McCormick. Several other members of the Kelly family and his notorious 'gang' had brushes with the law in Beechworth, and the granite court house, in which 13 people have heard their own death sentences pronounced, was only pensioned off in 1989. It is now a museum.
Gold was discovered by a shepherd at nearby Woolshed Creek in the 1850s - a field which produced 31,800 kg of gold in 14 years and whose romance lives on through the National Trust protected powder magazine.
A dynamic arts community offers its range of work through an arts precinct, while Beechworth also presents the visitor with fine dining with a selection of wineries, restaurants, cafes and country pubs.
: Golden Horseshoes Festival (Easter), Drive Back Time Vintage Car Rally (May), Celtic Festival (November)
Things to do:
Beechworth Galleries and Bakery - Camp Street
Robert O'Hara Burke Memorial Museum - with display and shops depicting the town as it was 100 years ago
Bicycle hire and Horse Riding - and walking tours
Visitor Information Centre - in Ford Street
In the Area:
Cemetery - with Chinese burning towers and graves
Beechworth Historic Town - with trail to former mining sites
Self Drive Tour - along Gorge Scenic Drive
Lookouts - for views over the valley, Kelly's Lookout and Mt Pilot Lookout with Aboriginal cave painting nearby