A Ned Kelly Centre, but when ?

This page is provided to stimulate discussion and ideas for a future Ned Kelly Centre.

The Penleigh Boyd and Bill Denheld Ned Kelly Centre proposal of 2003 is just one idea. Our aim was to produce a bold, gimmick free, truly Australian building. It should be modern, minimal, timeless in style and straightforward. It should not be distracting, stylized or a pastiche of the 1880's. The use of a simple palette of all Australian materials: glass, iron, new and recycled timbers, flagstone paving were envisaged. The building should be serene – a place for contemplation – yet stimulating to encourage interest. A high lookout is also provided to allow visitors to orient themselves in Kelly country. There is a dichotomy in the Kelly legend: hero or villain? This building functions like a courthouse: here is all the information – you, the visitor, weigh up the evidence.
Such is the Spirit of the building we created.





The Boyd/Denheld building
as seen from Gladstone         Street

Model view over Glenrowan  buildings and placement of the Ned Kelly Centre in the town partly over railway line with a 26 metres tall tower to take in spectacular 360 degree views right across to the Victorian Alps. With this additional tower the building functions not only as an educational experience but a tourist magnet as well, all necessary for a financially positive outcome.


A Ned Kelly Centre seems no closer, thirteen years have passed since that effort. 

Perhaps a fresh start is required. It seems fundamental that any Ned Kelly Centre must have the endorsement of the descendants of Ned Kelly. Failing that it will not have the necessary authority to tell the true Kelly story. From our position, as an interested party wanting to help facilitate a Ned Kelly Centre in our lifetime, we suggest an open public ideas competition which asks, for example, in 20 words or less, what is the aim of a Ned Kelly Centre? Is it perhaps: " To be a central place for NK memorabilia" or 
"To present the NK story in a factual unbiased setting, like a courtroom "....etc. etc.

The ideas competition would then be assessed by the descendants with one agreed aim, or agreed group of aims, emerging. If the descendants cannot reach agreement, it is perhaps best that a centre not be built. However, once an agreed aim is known, professional help can express that aim into a building brief – i.e. a list of functional requirements for a proposed building.

We, Penleigh Boyd and Bill Denheld, would be happy to assist in that process of developing the agreed aim into a building brief.

Once a building brief is available, then a design competition could be held to bring forth ideas of what the building could look like, how much it would cost and even where it would be best located.

The 2003 Boyd /Denheld concept proposal included the re-opening the Glenrowan railway station. Trains from Melbourne, surrounding country regions or even Sydney could arrive at Glenrowan for day visits. Visitors from Melbourne or Sydney would be a wonderful new initiative bringing additional tourists to Glenrowan and the Ned Kelly Centre. What is the current status of the Station re opening? Is anyone working on that initiative? Tourism Victoria?

This webpage will host free any other re developments regarding a Ned Kelly Centre for any town or district.




Ned Kelly Centre by TERROIR with Hirst Projects + Thylacine, completed a feasibility study for the Ned Kelly Interpretive Centre in Glenrowan, for the Rural City of Wangaratta in June 2012. The study evaluated the opportunity to develop a nationally significant Glenrowan interpretive centre based around all elements of the Ned Kelly uprising. 

   Further comment  



An almost shingle tower! Architect is Alex Popov from Sydney. His scheme for Miranda Cellar Door in the King Valley, "A Tower...stands out from the landscape to intrigue thirsty motorists". His tower is just a light well whereas ours at Glenrowan is a lookout with slots through which to view the landscape - much as the Kelly gang viewed the scene behind their helmets! But his approach has some elements in common with our proposal. This is an example of what Glenrowan could be missing out on. This building was completed 2008

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Probably the closest thing to a Ned Kelly Centre is the Sub-Treasury building in Beechworth now home to The Ned Kelly Vault. It is an annex of The Burke Museum and houses one of the most significant Ned Kelly Collections in Australia from both The Burke Museum and private collections. On display is the original Ned Kelly's death mask, Ned Kelly's gun named Betty, brother Dan Kelly's pistol, the original table from the verandah of The Anne Jones Hotel Glenrowan, original photographs and documents, all a culmination of many years work by Ian Jones and Matt Shore 'Ned The Exhibition'.
However this is small deal as there is no real room for an interpretation of the whole Kelly story which is vast. There are a lot of interesting exhibits there which Kelly descendant families have given over for exhibition. The Ned at 19 Boxing photo 1874 was believed acquired by by Matt Shore the Vault curator around the time for 'Ned The Exhibition' at Melbourne South Bank 2002. This venue while interesting will qualify as a Ned Kelly Centre for locals but not for international tourists.



The Border Mail: 16 June 2017,

A Ned Kelly interpretive centre for Glenrowan could finally get off the ground into action, after years of talk and proposals. Wangaratta councillors will be asked to accept a proposal to support a possible new centre by offering financial assistance and making the preferred site available. Joanne Griffiths, descendant of Ned Kelly and director of the proposed Ned Kelly Centre, wrote to the council and asked for assistance to buy or hold in-kind the preferred site at Glenrowan, assist with planning and publicly support the centre.

If approved, it would be slated to open in 2020 to coincide with the 140th anniversary of Ned Kelly’s death. A report will be presented at Tuesday’s meeting, recommending support for the idea in principle, but delaying any final decision until recommendations from the Ned Kelly Alive research project were released in December. The research project – supported by Wangaratta, Indigo, Benalla and Mansfield councils – will develop a business case for direction to enhance the region’s Ned Kelly history. 

“For council to engage in support for a private development as a stand-alone product may detract from the broader opportunities to develop the Ned Kelly story as a nationally significant heritage trail,” the report stated.

The Border Mail : 22 June 2017,  Shana Morgan

Hold up Ned, new Kelly history centre for Glenrowan can wait.

Kelly descendant Joanne Griffiths asked for help to purchase a Glenrowan site, but councillors at Tuesday’s meeting voted to wait for the outcome of a separate Ned Kelly tourism research project. “Councillors do need to provide in-principle support to Joanne wherever possible, but until we can get some real facts and figures we definitely should be holding off on any decision,” Cr Mark Currie said.

“The work that’s being done around the Ned Kelly centre is a very good outcome, potentially, for the town.” Cr Dean Rees commended Ms Griffiths’s hard work and passion for the project, but also voted to wait. “I’ll just remind all councillors and people here that Glenrowan is within our municipality … This is where the main situation occurred with Ned Kelly and it’s a very important thing for us here in Wangaratta.” “An interpretive centre that is proposed in future years will be a great thing for Wangaratta in general. “It will boost our tourism and tourism leads to dollars coming into Wangaratta.”


Further comment