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Beechworth is a carefully and tastefully preserved 19th century gold mining town which has become one of Victoria's most popular historic goldrush experiences. It has over 30 National Trust-listed buildings, most of which have been well preserved. The extensive use of honey-coloured local granite, and the determination to maintain the facades of many of the town's historic buildings has ensured that it is an ideal place for visitors to just wander and experience.
The public parks and gardens, with their mature English trees, the wide tree-lined streets, the 19th century houses and the picturesque setting in the foothills of the Australian Alps contribute to the graceful and dignified air of this charming town. Beechworth is located km north-east of Melbourne via the Hume Freeway. It is m above sea level. It is believed that when the town was surveyed in the government surveyor decided to rename Spring Creek, which had sprung up as a hastily constructed gold mining town, after his birthplace in Leicestershire, UK.
There is no UK town of Beechworth but there are a of streets and private houses by that name.
It is a cleverly deed guide which opens to reveal a total of 34 places of historic interest along Ford Street and 16 places of interest in Camp Street. A total of 50 places. Each has a photograph on the brochure and a suitable explanation of their age and importance. There are more detailed descriptions, of all the places marked in bold type, below.
They are, from the starting point of the Bank of Victoria in Ford Street, as follows:. Former Bank of Victoria - now Beechworth Gold The former Bank of Victoria building - one of several substantial bank buildings which emerged in the heyday of the gold era — currently houses Beechworth Gold which is officially located at 29 Camp Street. It is on the corner of Ford Street and Camp Street. The current building was completed in to replace a large stone bank built in but destroyed by fire. The building features arched windows on the ground floor and a small cast-iron balcony above the main entrance.
Inside you can see the original gold vault which was used when the building was a gold office. It also contains an impressive light chandelier with over crystals and some solid gold horseshoes. The original toilet blocks, servants' quarters and balcony have been restored and a Victorian-style fountain has been installed in a fine stone pool within the garden area and there are impressive wrought-iron gates. The first hotel, a single storey building, was built by JD Fisher and he sold the premises to T Tanswell.
The second, and current, hotel is a two-storey stone and brick structure with a decorative iron lacework veranda. The facade, with its richly gilded crest on the front window and French doors, has been carefully restored. The Kelly gang are said to have frequented the establishment, even when there was a price on their he. To the rear of the building are the coach house and stables which were built in by an American named Hiram Crawford who established his firm and a coach-building works with Tanswell's acting as the booking office. A regular coaching service operated from Melbourne to Beechworth by but Crawford's proved the most successful.
He was later to make important contributions to the Methodist Church in Victoria. Small extensions were made to the church in The front facade has angled corner buttresses with stylised pinnacles, a quatrefoil and blind lancet in the gable, drip moulds over the windows and central door, and an Irish cross at the head of the gable. The building is notable for its use of local granite, giving it a character peculiar to the Beechworth area. The delicate Gothic glazing bars on the windows appear to have survived intact.
The foundation stone for the first stage, comprising the nave, was laid in ; the contractors were Stevens and Balfour. The tower and chancel were added in Built of local granite, the church is dominated by the square tower centrally located at the west end.
Pairs of buttresses express each corner of the tower and it is crowned by a castellated parapet. The architect was Leonard Terry. The first, which was the first hotel in the town, was built in It was extended in and altered in A seat theatre was built within the hotel in where acts of international renown performed for the miners. As such it was the social centre of the district. It is a fine example of Australian country hotel architecture, simply composed with a deep verandah to the street. The drawing room on the first floor is a notable feature of the interior.
The Star Hotel is an outstanding element of the Ford Streetscape.
Emphasis is placed on the chamfered corner which incorporates the entrance, quoined corners at first floor level and a distinctive coat of arms at parapet level. The latter is highly modelled and incorporates a kangaroo, emu, lion and rising sun surrounding a central coat of arms. The remainder of the building is devoid of decoration and windows are simple, unadorned rectangular openings. The ground floor of the building employs banded rustication, and this horizontality is accentuated by a continuous sill at ground level, a plain cornice dividing the ground and first floor levels and another at parapet level.
A separate entrance in Ford Street originally provided direct access to the gold buying office. High granite walls, which surrounded the rear yard of the property for security, have been retained with minor alterations. Deed in the Renaissance palazzo mode by prominent Melbourne architect Leonard Terry, in recent years Freeman on Ford has seen meticulous renovations in which the building's Victorian Italianate architecture has been returned to its original splendour.
It was deed by architects J. Over the years it has been a public hall, a courthouse with cells beneath and now a Visitor Centre. Inthe front to the building was replaced by a new two-storey section deed by George Jobbins and built by Thomas Sandham. The hall consist of five bays intersected by pilasters and is deed in a classical idiom. They were formally laid out in and contain some exotic species donated by Ferdinand von Mueller who was responsible for Melbourne's Botanic Gardens. The giant Californian sequoias date from this time. The fountain and the rotunda date from There is a useful storyboard which has been erected on the site.
The building comprises an unusual square tower, pinnacles and spire; matching panel-backed buttresses; lancet windows with label mouldings; and intersecting arch window tracery. It includes an exposed brick Sunday school that was added to the rear of the church in The tower has pairs of tiered buttresses in each corner which are surmounted by pinnacles. These were all deed by the Public Works Department, and conformed to a new English concept in prison de, called the panopticon, where radiating wings of cells could be kept under observation from a central hub. The gaols were all enclosed by high perimeter walls with observation towers and stone gateways flanked by staff living quarters.
The Beechworth Gaol was built in several stages, using granite quarried on the site by prisoners. The panopticon with two wings of cells, a central hall and a kitchen wing were built inand the gaol opened in while still incomplete. The walls, offices, outhouses and staff accommodation were completed by Conditions were primitive and it was not until that the cells were provided with toilets and running water.
The gaol has a close association with the Kelly gang, with Ned Kelly imprisoned there for a total of about two years between and Ned's brothers Dan and James, other members of his gang and his mother, Ellen, and her new-born baby also spent time there. Twenty-five Kelly sympathisers were held there awaiting trial, as were Crown witnesses during committal hearings. It demonstrates the restrained ornamentation and high quality construction characteristic of Public Works Department buildings at the time. It forms part of an important precinct of public buildings in Beechworth.
In the period numerous weatherboard government offices, which were constructed when gold was first discovered, were replaced by a more substantial complex of public buildings, constructed of local honey-coloured granite. Also surviving on the site are the brick Stablesportable timber Lock-Up, and brick Police Residence Along with other notorious criminals including other members of his family, Ned Kelly appeared before the Beechworth court during the s on robbery and assault charges.
Records demonstrate that most of these buildings were on the site in and constructed of timber. The only one of these remaining is the stone Lock Up which was constructed in and has since been partly demolished. He died in while on that expedition. It is a rare example of such a collection of buildings. These five buildings are of architectural ificance for their construction of unusual honey coloured granite, which was collected locally. The buildings demonstrate early stonemasonry techniques and fine craftsmanship.
The Warden and Chinese Protector's Offices are rare surviving examples of their type and period, with the Chinese Protector's Office, in particular, being a unique example of a building associated with that specific function. The Telegraph Office is also a rare surviving example of its type in Victoria.
The Police Stables and the Police Residence are fine intact examples of their type, and contribute considerably to representing the continuing history of the site. The courthouse closed in and opened as a museum in Built of granite by Scottish stonemasons it features a central block with gabled ends containing the main courtroom, flanked by office wings. The furniture and fittings are original. It is open seven days a week from Tickets can be purchased at the Visitor Information Centre or at the Courthouse.
Telegraph Station Erected in with the front veranda dating from The building is solidly constructed in distinctive local granite and forms part of the finest group of provincial public buildings in Victoria.
The front wing has distinctive arched windows with extrados and import mouldings. The veranda brackets are also noteworthy. Wooden Lock Up also known as Ned Kelly's Cell Located at the rear of the Town Hall is a small dark cell with a dirt floor which, for six months, imprisoned Australia's most notorious bushranger, Ned Kelly then aged 15following his first conviction in It was built to house prisoners who had been arrested and were waiting for trial in the Court House.
It was built in to replace the original which was destroyed by fire in It was deed by Peter Kerr who incorporated the tower, which dated frominto his de. The present building is an Italianate structure with a square tower containing a bell and the original clock.
It features a colonnade on the ground floor and a balcony with slender columns facing Camp Street. On the street is an unusual iron drinking fountain with spouts in the shape of a lion's head. Camp Street Newsagency Located at Camp Street, since there has been a newsagency on this site. The original wooden structure was destroyed in the great fire of It was owned by James Ingram, known as the 'Grand Old Man of Beechworth' who sold books during the goldrush and who was a driving force in the development of the first hospital and first school in town.
Zincke was the solicitor for the Kelly family, including Ned and Ellen and their associates. Born in Jamaica and educated as a lawyer in the UK, Zincke became the clerk of the court in Beechworth inbefore setting up his legal practice in the Camp Street premises. By all s Zincke was a sought-after solicitor who found plenty of business in the bushranger-besieged north-east in the late s.
At the Glenrowan siege ofthe entrepreneurial lawyer offered his services to those involved. He acted for more than 20 Kelly sympathisers who were being held in the Beechworth Gaol. Empire Hotel Located on the corner of Camp Street and High Street, the Empire Hotel has the dubious distinction of having been burnt down twice — in and The fire started in the hotel stables and destroyed seven buildings with another four buildings being seriously damaged.
In August the hotel was purchased by Walter John Nicholas and in a second storey was added and the name changed again — this time to The Hotel Nicholas. For most of its history it has been associated with baking and pastry cooks. In local boy, Marty Matasoni, ed the business and he was largely responsible for expanding it so that today the company has bakeries in AlburyBendigoBallarat and Healesville and Yackandandah Brays Photographic Studio Located at 33 Camp Street, and built inthis was originally the photographic studio of James Bray who achieved fame by photographing Ned Kelly, his gang and his sympathisers.
It is a simple single storey building.
It is now known as the Green Shed. The site had already been used by doctors since It is a private residence and is not open to the public. It is arranged around a veranda-ed courtyard.Seriously seeking Beechworth
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