A $1 million project to transform the Beechworth Courthouse into a digital replica of the Ned Kelly trial has been inspired by Joan of Arc.
A digital interpretation of the Joan of Arc trial opened in Normandy, France in 2015 and research presented to Indigo Council says a similar approach in Beechworth could bring 58,000 tourists to the town each year.
Councillors will meet on Tuesday night to decide if they want to give the Ned Kelly project the go ahead.
Under the proposal, the council would contribute $500,000 over three years and rely on an equal $500,000 contribution from the Victorian government.
“The proposal for Beechworth Courthouse is to create a high-quality, immersive interpretation of the Kelly gang and family’s trials and experiences at the courthouse, inspired by the interpretation of the trial of Joan of Arc in Rouen Cathedral in France,” the council report stated.
“The experience will be based around audio-visual projections and recreations, culminating in a powerful digital experience of the committal hearing in the main courtroom.”
The project was recommended in the Ned Kelly Alive report, released to the public earlier this year, as a “game changer”.
It also fit in with Indigo Council’s own tourism objective to focus on using Beechworth’s heritage attractions to bring in visitors.
“Beechworth’s Burke Museum and historic precinct are key pillars in the cultural heritage landscape of Indigo Shire,” the council report stated.
“Cultural heritage tourism is receiving renewed focus at state and regional levels.
“Indigo Shire, and Beechworth particularly, is uniquely positioned to leverage maximum benefit from this heightened focus.”
It also proposed a new Ned Kelly Experience at the Old Beechworth Gaol, which would include artefacts already on show in the town’s vault display as well as a theatrette incorporating virtual reality experiences.
Indigo Council’s report revealed the project at the old gaol would cost $3 million in total, made up of $1.5 million in private funding and $1.5 million from the Victorian government.
“Once complete, Beechworth will boast an exciting precinct courthouse development, a Ned Kelly experience of national significance,” the report stated.
“There is the opportunity to leverage the 100,000 visitors to the Old Beechworth Gaol.”
The Indigo Council meeting will be held at the council chambers in Beechworth on Tuesday from 6.30pm.
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