Ned Kelly siege site under threat, Glenrowan historian Gary Dean says

Glenrowan's Gary Dean says plans to build a replacement bridge on Beaconsfield Parade will
Glenrowan's Gary Dean says plans to build a replacement bridge on Beaconsfield Parade will "desecrate the original integrity of the precinct". Photo: Mark Jesser

A Ned Kelly historian says the boundaries of Glenrowan's heritage precinct need to be updated to protect the site from an inland rail bridge project.

Gary Dean opposes Australian Rail Track Corporation plans to replace the Beaconsfield Parade crossing with another bridge at a different point of the street, saying the new location was where the Kelly gang conducted their 1880 siege.

"That street was in the middle of the bloody siege site," he said.

"Ned was standing in that street when he fired the first shot, wounding Superintendent Hare.

"Part of the problem is the siege site was never protected properly in the first place."

Mr Dean wrote a submission asking the Australian Heritage Council to revise the Glenrowan heritage precinct as part of his objections to the ARTC proposal.

The corporation announced last month the Glenrowan project received support from the federal Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment to move forward without further assessment under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.

The town of Glenrowan is strongly linked to the story of bushranger Ned Kelly. Photo: Mark Jesser

The town of Glenrowan is strongly linked to the story of bushranger Ned Kelly. Photo: Mark Jesser

General manager Victoria projects Ed Walker said yesterday ARTC remained committed to consulting with community members.

"ARTC is working closely with Rural City of Wangaratta Council to ensure our designs align with the siege site precinct, to ensure the project can maximise future growth and development opportunities for Glenrowan," Mr Walker said.

"We continue to listen to local residents, business owners and community groups who have provided valuable feedback regarding the location of the bridge, the desire for improved pedestrian and cyclist access across the bridge and the potential impacts of design and construction."

A Wangaratta Council spokesman said the council had not yet adopted a formal position on ARTC's proposed design.

In January 2019, councillors voted not to support the corporation's original solution to lower the existing railway track, instead asking that other options be investigated.

"The main reason for this position was to protect the nationally significant Glenrowan heritage precinct and retain connectivity," the spokesman said yesterday.

An Environment Department spokesman said the department considered advice from its heritage branch and Heritage Victoria.

"It was determined that the placement of the new overpass at the edge of the precinct is not likely to notably alter, modify, obscure or diminish the listed heritage values," he said.

No further assessment is required under the EPBC Act, but the project is still to be fully approved.

This story Ned Kelly siege site under threat, historian says first appeared on The Border Mail.