By Jackson Russell
The childhood home of Victorian icon, bushranger Ned Kelly, is receiving some much-needed restoration works.
Works began at the Kelly House in February after the house and surrounding land in Beveridge was acquired by the State Government in late 2019 to ensure its protection and conservation.
The $700,000 works are being funded by Heritage Victoria’s Living Heritage Program and are being undertaken by a range of heritage specialists.
A Heritage Victoria spokesperson said the restoration works included conservation and stabilisation of the building and improving drainage at the site.
“Works to improve public access and interpretation of the site will also be undertaken,” the spokesperson said.
“The Kelly house is of archaeological, architectural and historical significance to the State of Victoria.”
Heritage Victoria is working to establish a committee of management to be appointed under the Crown Land Reserves Act 1978 to manage the site, following the completion of the works in the second half of 2021.
Minister for Planning Richard Wynne announced funding from the Living Heritage Program to restore and activate the Kelly House nearly four years ago in October 2016.
Before the works, the building was at risk of collapse following damage to the structure caused by severe weather in late 2016. Emergency repairs and stabilisation works were undertaken by Heritage Victoria.
As a boy, Ned Kelly lived in the house built by his father John ‘Red’ Kelly in 1860.
John Kelly was born in Tipperary, Ireland in 1820 and transported to Australia in 1841.
Once a free man, John Kelly moved near Wallan in 1849, married Ellen Quinn in 1850 and bought a 41-acre farm at Beveridge in 1854, which he later sold.
In 1859, John Kelly purchased a smaller 21-acre, 8.5-hectare, property and constructed the dwelling in 1860 using materials he could obtain from the bush, including local bluestone for the chimney.
The Kelly family, including Ned, resided in the Beveridge house until 1864 when the family moved to Avenel.