Beechworth as it was in the mid 1800's.
Beechworth as it was in the mid 1800's.The gaol at Beechworth
The gaol at BeechworthLock Up
Lock UpCell door at beechworth lockup
Cell door at beechworth lockupBeechworth lockup
Beechworth lockupThe Oven's district hospital
The Oven's district hospital
Ned Kelly History - Beechworth Stories

26 June 1880

Aaron Sherritt is shot and killed.

Aaron Sherritt. The night he was killed.

Aaron Sherritt's meagre shed was protected by four policeman who all remained inside the house most of the time and only left after dark.

The occupants of the shed on the night that Joe Byrne shot and killed Aaron Sherritt were Sherritt's 15 year old wife of 6 months and his mother in law, and of course Sherritt himself.

Sherritt's neighbour was handcuffed, he was a German fellow known as Anton Wicks and he was used to draw Aaron Sherritt to the door of his shed.

Ned knocked on the door, Sherritt shouted "Who's there?" The German replied "Anton Wicks, I've lost my way."

Sherritt roared with laughter but soon found himself staring at Joe Byrne down the barrel of a shotgun. Joe opened fire and hit Sherritt in the chest, he fired a second shot and hit him in the stomach, Sherritt ahd paid for his disloyalty with his life.

Dan and Joe fired a number of shots in the house itself, through the bedroom walls where they were sure the police were hiding, they were right, they were in fact hiding in the bedroom where Sherritt's wife and mother in law had been ushered under the bed for their own safety.

After threatening to burn down Sherritt's home they rode off leaving his body in the doorway of the house.

Ned Kelly History - Beechworth Timeline

Joseph 'Joe' Byrne is born at Woolshed, a town close to Beechworth in northern Victoria.

10 November 1870
Ned Kelly is imprisoned for 3 months for assault and lewd behaviour.

27 March 1871
Ned Kelly is released from gaol. He has a good behaviour bond for one year.

9 May 1872
Joe Byrne appears in court to testify as to the true identity of a miner in Beechworth.

17 April 1873
Jim Kelly sentenced to five years for stealing cattle.

4 July 1873
James 'Jimmy' Quinn appears in court in Beechworth on charges of assault.

22 September 1873
Joseph Byrne is fined 20 shillings for the use of a horse which he has illegally obtained.

February 1874
Ned Kelly is released from prison on a good behaviour bond. The remission for good behaviour within prison is 6 months.

August 1874
A fight between Ned kelly and Isaiah 'WIld' Wright goes twenty rounds at Beechworth. Ned is triumphant.

Ned Kelly works as a navvie on the construction of the Beechworth railway line.

1 February 1876
Charges against Joseph Byrne and Aaron Sherritt for not retaining a hide for a month after a cow is butchered are dropped.

30 May 1876
Joseph Byrne and Aaron Sherritt are gaoled for the killing and eating of a sheep which they did not own. They each receive six months.

July 1876
In Beechworth, Steve Hart is sent to Beechworth Gaol for stealing and illegally using a horse.

13 July 1876
The first train on the new Beechworth line arrives at Beechworth.

13 January 1877
Joseph Byrne and Aaron Sherritt fight with chinaman Ah On. They appear in court on charges of assault on 13 February

13 February 1877
Byrne and Sherritt appear in court charged with assaulting Ah On. Byrne is acquitted and Sherritt is found guilty. The case is brought before the court again on March 1st when Sherritt argues that he fought in self-defence.

June 1878
Ellen Kelly is released from Beechworth Gaol and bailed to appear at a later date

9 October 1878
The turning point for Ned Kelly. Ned's mother Ellen Kelly is sentenced to 3 years with hard labour in Beechworth Gaol for her alleged part in the attempted murder of Constable Alexander Fitzpatrick. William Skilling and William Williamson are given six years each for aiding and abetting the attempted murder of Fitzpatrick. Skilling wasn't actually at the house, it was Joe Byrne whom Fitzpatrick wrongly identified as Skilling. Skilling served his time and upon his release he disappeared abandoning his family.

3-10 January 1879
Round up and arrest of Kelly Sympathisers. They are incarcerated at Beechworth Gaol. Fearing that the gaol may be attacked by the Kelly Gang looking to release their supporters the gates are changed from the existing wooden gates to iron ones.

26 June 1880
Aaron Sherritt is shot and killed.

6 August 1880
Ned Kelly's preliminary trial begins at Beechworth Court House.

Kelly Trail - Beechworth

1. The Telegraph Office

2. The Court House

3. Beechworth Gaol

4. Harry Power's Cell

5. The Burke Museum

6. Beechworth Lock Up

7. The Ovens District Hospital

8. The Powder Magazine

9. Road to the Railway Station

Places to visit in Beechworth

The Ned Kelly Trail - Beechworth

The Ned Kelly Trail Stop 7

Charming 1852 goldrush town of Beechworth. Here you can visit the courthouse where Ned Kelly, his mother and many sympathisers were tried and watch a re-enactment of the Ned Kelly trial. (For details call 5728 2721).

View the exterior of the Beechworth Gaol where Ned and his mother were held and learn about the history of Beechworth's colourful past at the Historical and Cultural Precinct which includes the Courthouse, Telegraph Station, Bourke Museum, the Powder Magazine and view a documentary at the Town Hall. Beechworth offers visitors a wide choice of accommodation making it the perfect place to spend the night.

Ned Kelly History in Beechworth

Old Court House
The Court House was erected in 1858 by contractors Smith, Bank and Chambers at a cost of 3,730 pounds. The building originally comprised a small courtroom flanked by two pairs of offices, with a projecting rear wing housing the sheriff and his deputy.

At the peak of the gold rush in the late 1850's and early 1860's, it served seven functions: Police Court, Mining Court, Court of General Sessions, Court of Petty Sessions, County Court, Supreme Court and Insolvency Court. Extensions were completed in 1865 by contractors John Stevens for 1,499 pounds.

The building served all the judiciary purposes in the Beechworth area until the 1970's. By the 1980's however, it was only being used once a month as a magistrate court and finally closed its doors in 1989.

Beechworth Gaol
Beechworth Gaol was completed in 1864 and was described in its early years as a place of utter despair for its male and female inmates.

Eight people were hanged at Beechworth and it is here that 25 of Ned kelly's sympathisers were held. Thinking that the Kelly Gang might try to release them the wooden gates were replaced by iron ones.

The capacity of the prison today is 123 inmates although the prison is due to be decomissioned and redeveloped in the near future.

Harry Power's Cell
Between the years 1863 and 1870 the Gentleman Bushranger Harry Power made seven appearances at Beechworth Court House and spent considerable time in the holding cells pictured left.

Constructed in 1859 the Town Hall was also used as a court house due to the pressure of judicial business. Below the Town Hall were storage vaults, a fire engine house and three prisoner cells.

The cells had spiral staircases to the court above.

Harry Power is one of Australia's most famous bushrangers connected with hundreds of armed hold-ups, horse stealing and coach robbery offences. He is also credited with tutoring the young Ned Kelly in a life of crime.

Harry Power died in 1891 and with him died the 'Golden Age' of bushranging in North Eastern Victoria.

Beechworth Lockup
Beechworth lockup is in the main Cultural and Historical Precinct behind the old Court House and Telegraph Office.

Prisoners arrested and awaiting trial were kept here on remand until their trials came up in the nearby court.

Males were kept in the left cell and females in the right cell.

Completed in April 1867 for 695 pounds by builder Lewis Griffiths. Early plans show that the lock-up originally had a t-shaped footprint. The southern part of the building was demolished some time after 1958 resulting in its current incomplete appearance.

For security reasons the stone used was carefully cut and dressed so as to require a minimum amount of mortar.

The lockup is the only surviving building to remain on the site of the 1856 police reserve.

Scratching on the back of the male and female cell doors suggest that the celss may have been used well into the 1950's.

Ned Kelly was kept here in 1871 and his mother Ellen in 1878.

Ovens District Hospital
For a time this was the only hospital between Melbourne and Goulbourn in New South Wales and had an enormous catchment area drawing its patients from far and wide.

The building was built in 1857 at a cost of £2347.