Ned Kelly Interpretive Centre Scoping Study


Project Commenced: June 2011
Project Completed: June 2012

Project overview

The story of bushranger Ned Kelly and the Kelly Gang has long captured the Australian imagination, yet there remains no central site dedicated to interpreting this historic story. This Study explores the scope and feasibility of developing a Ned Kelly Interpretive Centre in the town of Glenrowan, the site where the Kelly Gang were famously killed, and Ned himself captured.

It was prepared for the Rural City of Wangaratta and included consultation with representatives of the Glenrowan community under the direction of the Project Steering Committee.

Key content

The Centre was envisaged being split into two experiential zones: the free open public space and the ticketed space. Both of these spaces embrace the notion of permeability, allowing visitors to freely move around these zones. The public spaces will be themed and connected thematically to the ticketed experience.

The study identified the need for clear sight lines being maintained by any future building, to complement existing commercial activities within the town. At the same time, the Kelly Centre should retain the park-like character of its proposed setting.

We envisioned the content of the Centre spanning a series of zones. These include the Siege sites, an exhibit of the few artefacts that remain, and the digital Conversation Gallery, emphasizing contemporary engagement and participation. This is the largest of the interpretive spaces, with content ranging from the time of the siege to the present day. It explores the dialogues and debates around different facets of the Kelly story, its contested history and the influence the story still has today.

Other interpretive devices include the Journey Through the Trees, a large open ‘room’, where a forest of tree-like columns create a series of broken views, evoking the historic bush environment of the siege site. Both the floor and trees will be active with elements to discover and interact with. Peepholes in the trees will reveal historic scenes, sounds will tell elements of the story. Quotes will illuminate on the ground as visitors approach. The space will be active and respond to human presence, allowing visitors to discover the story through exploration and interaction.

The Kelly Story Touch Table is a large multi-touch interactive media experience focused on a birds-eye view of the siege site. Visitors will be able to use a time slider to move from a map of the 1880s landscape to a satellite image of today. Nodes on the map will open content windows.

These interactive interpretive approaches are supported by three viewing galleries that highlight and frame views toward the three key sites—the capture site, the train station, and the Ann Jones Inn. The visitor will be enticed to visit the actual sites, which will contain silhouette profiles of original buildings or scenes.

In addition to outlining site interpretation, the study also included a market segment analysis, business case, and financial modelling.

Client The Rural City of Wangaratta. This project was undertaken in partnernship with Terroir and Hirst Projects.