270km (3hrs) northeast of Melbourne.
Beechworth is by far the best preserved 19th century gold mining town in Australia. Not a single building in the town’s centre feels 20th, let alone 21st, Century. The Beechworth streetscape is so instantly charming because the buildings were largely constructed in the same style, at roughly the same time, and with the same material – the local honey-coloured granite.
However what this picture perfect town houses is what’s of most interest, arts, crafts, home-farmed alpaca clothing, galleries, an African artifacts boutique, festivals, antique stores, top-notch restaurants, walking and bicycle trails, talks, plays … Beechworth in north-east Victoria is a town where the only thing that seems to stand still is its history.
The courthouse retains its grandeur and original furniture, and visitors can stand in the same cell Kelly did before he was taken to Melbourne Gaol and hung. Beechworth’s current claims to fame, aside from it’s craft brewery include the to-die-for range of Beechworth Honey, the two hatted Provenance Restaurant and other regional fine food outlets along with the renowned Beechworth Bakery.
A town brimming with secrets of bygone eras, it’s not hard to see why people flock to Beechworth to walk the very same streets down which the Kelly Gang sauntered.
Robert O’Hara Burke was police superintendent in Beechworth from 1854 to 1858. Despite being well known for getting lost in the bush, he was selected to go on an expedition across Australia. Perhaps unsurprisingly, he and the ill-fated Wills failed to complete their journey of discovery, with Burke’s impatience and lack of bushcraft thought to be largely responsible.