A recommended pitstop on the interminable Hume Highway is the township of Glenrowan. We stopped for lunch and stayed for a look around the Ned Kelly museums between Melbourne and Victoria’s high country on the Great Alpine Road.
Glenrowan is famous mostly for being the location of Australian bushranger Ned Kelly’s ‘Last Stand’. As you can see from the above photo the town does not fail to celebrate the man or the event! Iconic rebel, folk hero, or plain criminal, he was wounded and captured here in Glenrowan after a pitched battle between police and his gang.
A few months later he was tried and sentenced to death by hanging. Apparently when the judge concluded with: “And may God have mercy on your soul”, Kelly replied with: “I will see you there, when I go.” There were a number of irregularities with the trial and the result seemed inevitable but Kelly’s legend only grew with his death.
Glenrowan is a cheerful little village, with no period architecture to speak of but a couple of museums, souvenir shops and eateries. It’s a welcome break amongst the dry, hot Victorian farmland punctuated by dusty trees.
The museum features a replica of the homestead Kelly lived in with his family (actually around 9 kilometres from Glenrowan). The museum itself is mostly just a collection of household and agricultural items from the latter part of the 19th century but the reconstructed homestead is very evocative of life in those days.
Covered with bark and lined with cardboard, with old newspapers for wallpaper, the sagging walls and indistinguishable odour are a reminder of a tough life in pioneering Australia.
This is a replica of one of the suits of armour made and worn by the Kelly gang during the events of June 28th 1880. The four remaining original suits of armour are on display in various Melbourne museums.
At Linda’s Billy Tea Rooms the sound of Australian folk music was in the air, the pumpkin soup tasted like, well pumpkin chopped up in someone’s kitchen, and the thick slice of damper was very satisfying.
By Natasha von Geldern
Have you visited Glenrowan in Australia? What did you think?