This project aims to thematically unite the disparate Ned Kelly tourism offerings throughout the region, and position Victoria’s High Country as the home of the Kelly story. Through use of cutting edge-technology and interpretive techniques, this project advocates for telling the Kelly story from a range of perspectives, developing an immersive, engaging and informative experience.
The goal is to create a ‘must-do’ Australian experience, attracting tourists to the region and increasing visitor spend and length of stay, while promoting dispersal throughout the region, and creating local job opportunities.
The report provides the direction required to consolidate and enhance the region’s Ned Kelly history into a contemporary and economically leverageable tourism product.
The project used a robust methodology that drew on a product audit and experience gap analysis, stakeholder engagement and consultation, concept creation, and market testing. Priority projects throughout the region that offered a strong suite of Kelly experiences were identified and assessed.
An experience development framework was devised, offering an overarching and cohesive interpretive structure, and ensuring that new concepts and investments would no longer be considered in isolation and without an underpinning narrative. The structure provides a strategic basis for investment in interpreting the complex Kelly story, identifying the hero and signature experiences for development.
Three key themes were identified, with proposed signature experiences aligned to each one. These experiences encompassed a diverse range of experiences, including a Ned Kelly Interpretive Centre, a siege site augmented reality experience, an Art Trail and a Police Memorial.
Though Ned Kelly was executed 140 years ago, promoting his story has met with mixed responses, particularly among the descendants who remain in the region. Tourism agencies have tended to steer away from sharing the story, with previous attempts to use the Kelly story as a tourism experience leading to conflict between the families and between consumer groups. This has historically made it difficult for tourism agencies to promote the experience without generating a negative response.
Effective community consultation and input is key to the success of the project. A further solution is to change the perspective from which the story is told. Shifting the focus of interpretation to include other historical actors – police, hostages, townspeople, as well as the Kelly Gang themselves – enhances inclusiveness, and fosters shared ownership of the story.
Client Tourism North East, Mansfield Shire, Indigo Shire Council, Rural City of Wangaratta and Benalla Rural City.Project partner EarthCheck.