They haven’t sat side-by-side for nearly 140 years, but two important Ned Kelly artefacts will soon be reunited in Beechworth.
Burke Museum staff traveled to the Victoria Police Museum in Melbourne to pick up the original cash box from the Glenrowan Inn, which was the site of the Kelly Gang’s dramatic last stand in June 1880.
The cash box will be on long-term loan to the Ned Kelly Vault, where it will go on display alongside the original bullet-ridden dining room table from the Glenrowan Inn. The cashbox and table are the last two significant objects remaining from the Inn – site of the infamous siege and site of the deaths of three Kelly Gang members (Joe Byrne, Dan Kelly and Steve Hart) as well as civilian Martin Cherry.
Burke Museum Manager Cameron Auty said, in a major win for the Ned Kelly Vault, this is the first time these two important Kelly artefacts will be together since the siege.
“The Kelly Gang bailed up 62 locals into the Inn and they waited for the Beechworth-bound police train to crash just past the Glenrowan station. The train was delayed for hours, so the table was dragged out onto the verandah to make room for the gang’s prisoners to dance. Several photos survive, showing the table during and after the siege’.
“At the end of the siege, the Glenrowan Inn was burnt down and any items that survived both the gunfight and the fire ended up in different collections across the country.
“The Ned Kelly story is such a big part of Indigo Shire’s history and it attracts many visitors to the region every year so we are thrilled to have the table and cash box on display together.
“Our thanks to the Victoria Police Museum for working with us to organise this loan, which is coming to us from a private donor. This important item from the siege of Glenrowan will now sit alongside other important Kelly artefacts including Ned Kelly’s death mask and his rifle,” said Mr Auty.
Founder of the Ned Kelly Vault, Matt Shore, said the small brass cash box was owned by Ann Jones, proprietor of the Glenrowan Inn.
“In a tragic twist, Mrs Jones lost her only son, thirteen-year-old John, during the siege when he was shot in the hip by a police bullet. Her Inn was burnt to the ground by the police in an effort to flush out Dan Kelly and Steve Hart after Ned was shot down and captured.
“Poor Mrs Jones lost her boy, her home, and her business. If any artefact symbolises the tragic events which engulfed so many people in and around the Kelly story, this is it,” said Mr Shore.
The cash box will be on display for two months at Beechworth’s Burke Museum from 20 May 2019, and will then move to the Ned Kelly Vault to be displayed alongside the rest of the collection.