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Kelly Country - Travel Victoria

Updated on June 24, 2014

Ned Kelly, Gold and Wine in North East Victoria

Up in the north east of Victoria is Kelly Country, a favourite destination for lovers of food, wine and beautiful scenery

There are five wine regions up here - Rutherglen, Beechworth, Alpine Valleys, King Valley and Glenrowan - as well as artisan brews.

Take your pick of luscious muscat, vibrant Italian varieties,sparkling whites and rich ales from craft breweries.

The High Country

The common image of Australia is of the hot dry Red Centre or miles of golden beaches, but there's a significant region where another set of myths and traditions of identity were born. Up in the bracing air there is a land of clearwater streams, blue skies and rugged mountains, the High Country of South Eastern Australia.

Tall tales and legends of high drama start up here. Ned Kelly made his last stand, defiant to the end, and the wild peaks of the Snowy Mountains are home to the legendary Man From Snowy River, the loved poem by Banjo Paterson

Heritage of Bushrangers, Horsemen and Gold

The Great Alpine Road, one of Australia's great touring routes, winds through the region showcasing stunning alpine landscapes, heritage towns, and local food and wine between Wangaratta, Bairnsdale and the Gippsland Lakes.

First Stop : Beveridge

Just up the track from Melbourne

Ned Kelly was born in Beveridge, just up the track from Melbourne, and when his father died moved with his mother and the rest of the little Kellys to Greta near Wangaratta. Along the way, the widow and her family become known to the Victorian police.

The house where Ned was born still stands in Beveridge, and his father John Kelly is buried in the nearby cemetery at Avenal.

You can see the grave of Ned's mother, Ellen, in the cemeteries at Greta.

Benalla - On the lake


Benalla is a pretty little place on the Broken River. This river was dammed in the 1970s creating a wide waterway known as Lake Benalla.

On the western bank of the river are the restful botanical gardens, home to an art gallery, the Sir Weary Dunlop memorial statue and Benalla's famous rose gardens with over 2,000 varieties of colourful roses.

Take a Stroll along Lake Benalla


The eastern bank of Lake Benalla is lined with a network of bicycle and walking tracks which meander along through the several islands that exist in the lake.


Markers, Masks and Museums

Beechworth is another well preserved gold rush town. It's no surprise that many of the lovely buildings are registered with the National Trust.

The Beechworth Courthouse, built in 1858, is part of Beechworth's historic and cultural precinct and is a magnificent example of a gold-rush courthouse. It's well known as the place where Ned Kelly had his first court appearance in 1880.

Ned Kelly and his gang were often around Beechworth and the Burke Museum houses plenty of memorabilia of the Kellys.

There are bits and pieces of Kelly armour, but a more grotesque exhibit is waiting for you. Ned's Death Mask.

Throughout the nearby country are various markers at the sites of important events in the careers of Ned Kelly and his gang.

Historic Beechworth

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There are some particularly fine examples of historical homes and miners' cottages here, a Courthouse, a Powder Magazine, (where the gunpowder used in goldmining was stored), the Beechworth Telegraph Station, a Lock-up and Police Stables, Chinese Protectors Office and the Burke Museum.


Wonderful Wine and Fruits of Glenrowan

With Kelly connections

Glenrowan has a rich wine making history.

Folklore has it that Ned Kelly helped the Bailey family plant their first grapevines as a fencing contractor. The ensuing 130 years have established Glenrowan a reputation for full-bodied reds, particularly Shiraz and Durif, fragrant whites, and delicious fortified wines.

The Cellar Doors are intimate, historic and welcoming.

Glenrowan is also just fabulous for fruit lovers, with strawberries, cherries, nectarines and peaches.

A number of these orchard gates are open to visitors who can't resist freshly picked, tree-ripened, sun-kissed summer fruits, also available as jam, ice cream, preserves and chutney throughout the year.

Glenrowan and the Last Stand

Ned Kelly Heritage

The Ned Kelly Museum in Glenrowan

Glenrowan was a quiet little town used as a coach staging point between Benalla and Wangaratta until the events of June, 1880 made the tiny hamlet a widely reported and photographed dramatic crime scene.

Today, Glenrowan is still a quiet little town with just one hotel, one motel and a caravan park, but this is Kelly Country and you also find two museums, the Kelly Museum and Kellyland, a souvenir shop and a resident historian, Gary Dean.

More Cellars in Rutherglen

There are 21 cellar doors in Rutherglen!

A huge variety of wines are produced here in the combination of great sunshine, cool nights, warm days and long dry autumns. Muscat and Tokay grapes reach high levels of sweetness and flavour, and the Rutherglen reds such as Shiraz and Durif develop into great cellaring wines and vintage tawny ports.

Many of the great winemaking houses of Rutherglen sprang up in the gold rush days of the mid nineteenth century and are still owned and run by the fourth, fifth and sixth generations of the original family.

Kelly Country and the High Country

Beechworth, Victoria, Australia

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My Favourite Little Country Towns in Victoria

Barmah, a country town in Victoria
Barmah is a tiny little town on the Murray River and right on the edge of the breathtaking Barmah State Forest. You'll find the world's largest stand of River Redgums...

Walhalla, a Country Town in Victoria
Like its mythological counterpart, Walhalla isn't easy to get into. It's hidden away in a steep valley among the dense forests of the Baw Baw mountains...

Clunes, a country town in Victoria
My favourite part of Victoria is the Central Goldfields region. So much of who we are today was forged up here in the gold country, Clunes population 900, ...

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    • CharlieAlford profile image


      6 years ago

      I've been living in Melbourne for 8 years and Kelly country is the only thing in Victoria I am yet to explore. Your lens has me convinced its time for a weekend away. Thanks :)

    • ShazTapp profile image


      6 years ago

      There's so much natural beauty and history in Victoria, thanks for enlightening me. Great lens!

    • PaulaMorgan profile image

      Paula Morgan 

      7 years ago from Sydney Australia

      Really nice part of Australia to visit... I enjoyed learning more about Ned Kelly too. Blessed by the Australia Angel

    • SidneyMorgan LM profile image

      SidneyMorgan LM 

      8 years ago

      Wow Susanna your lens are something else. I've been to Kelly Country several times and even so I learned a lot reading your information. Very well presented and done and I love the pictures!

    • SusannaDuffy profile imageAUTHOR

      Susanna Duffy 

      8 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      @anonymous: If you email me via My ProfileI will email back with the Jerilderie Lettr

    • profile image


      8 years ago


      I am a Canadian and I very much enjoyed reading about your Australian hero Ned Kelly. I would like to read his complete 8000 word Jerilderie letter. I have read two books on his life and have seen the most recent film starring Heath ledger. Marilyn Nay-McKague

    • religions7 profile image


      10 years ago

      Great lens.


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