Whilst there have been a few museums that have come and gone over the years, following is a brief run down of what is still current followed by a section detailing gone but not forgotten favourites. (At least with me anyway!)
KATE'S COTTAGE (Gladstone St. Glenrowan) Excellent museum and reconstruction of Kelly Homestead. Highlights include a replica suit of armour (apparently made by Rod Gerrett-owners grandfather).
Some items include: original newspaper engravings, some firearms, props from the early eighties mini-series" Sara Dane", a fence reputedly built by Jim Kelly various photographs of Gladstone Stein bygone days.Interestingly,the bricks on the floor are from the old Euroa police station. Although currently undergoing a renovation, lets hope the atmosphere remains the same.
COBB and Co. Gladstone St.Glenrowan.) Another excellent museum in a more formal setting. Location is in basement under souvenir shop. Proprietor Gary Dean also has a suit of armour. This one was used in the 1980 re-enactments. Steve Harts spur appears in a glass case as does a helmet prop worn by John Jarrett in the excellent mini-series" The Last Outlaw"(1980).The Kelly story is told in pictures in a logical if somewhat staid fashion with a lot of illustrations being culled from a copy of Keith McMenomys 1984 book. her is a generous section devoted to Jack and Violet Kelly/King which I found extremely interesting.
GLENROWAN TOURIST CENTRE Gladstone St.Glenrowan) Although there are only 2 museums in Glenrowan as mentioned above) I feel that the tourist centre must be mentioned because before Bob Hempel took it over in 1983/84,it was a well presented museum. At that stage, as created by Don and Valda Titbits-the pioneers of Kelly Tourism @ Glenrowan), you could inspect McDonnell Railway Tavern bar as the prime exhibit. God knows what Hempel did with it. Apparently it is somewhere within his crass, historically inaccurate, bloody expensive show. This was back in the days before the original Kelly statue was stolen and replaced with a plastic likeness of singer "Lazy Harry".
BENALLA PIONEER and COSTUME MUSEUM (Mair St.Benalla).
As Benalla has often claimed to be the centre of the Kelly story, the Kelly section of the museum hardly does it justice. Highlights include the dock from Old Benalla Court house and Needs green silk sash. This should probably be putting in an appearance @ Ned: the exhibition but that's life.) Museum also claims to have gaol door on which Joe Byrnes body hung against. Lately though, I have heard that this artefact isn't authentic. Signage in the Kelly section is of a very amateurish nature and needs replacing badly.
KELLY MUSEUM Bridge St.Benalla.) No longer operating but worthy of a mention. Run by Earn Straughair, a former mayor of Benalla, this museum was my first memory of Kelly Country. Highlights included an original reward poster, a prison bed from lock up, a police officers foot locker, the gaol door now in pioneer museum), a replica suit of armour which was originally @ Glenrowan I believe.) All exhibits were always lovingly covered in cobwebs. I miss it. It's not generally looked on favourably by Kelly purists but it had a certain something.
BURKE MUSEUM Loch St.Beechworth)Originally created in honour of Robert O'Hara Burke, the figure of Ned Kelly has long taken over. Highlights include an indoor streetscape of Beechworth's yesteryear. another replica suit of armour, Ned's death mask, Aaron Sherrit doorstep currently @ Ned: the exhibition) and some unknown pieces of armour discovered in the Woolshed valley. I think.) Kelly story is adequately conveyed visually.
THE CARRIAGE MUSEUM Ford St.Beechworth.) They claim to have one of Daniel Morgan's saddles. I am not convinced.
FARMERS ARMS MUSEUM Euroa-near Seven Creeks park.) Nothing here specifically related to Ned but certainly well worth a visit!
OLD MELBOURNE GAOL Russell St.Melbourne,) Currently the site of the excellent NED: THE EXHIBITION. On a standard day however, highlights include the National Trust suit of Armour, original beam on the gallows which both Ned and Ronald Ryan were hung from. An excellent gift and souvenir shop.
STATE LIBRARY of VICTORIA (Melbourne) An excellent collection of Kelly artefacts-a suit of armour, Jerilderie Letter and more to be set up bad displayed in the coming months. I'm excited!!
Museums aren't the only places to get a feel for the Kelly story. Stand @ the reconstructed Railway station @ Glenrowan, swat the flies away on a hot day @ Eleven mile creek as you gaze @ the remains of Kelly Homestead. And sweat as you wind your way to the Woolshed valley which in my opinion is the most unspoilt and beautiful of all Kelly sites.