2000s Timeline

Note: This page is a constant work-in-progress, with new information and corrections being made all the time. To search on the “2000s Timeline” for any particular year, person, event, business, shop etc, simply press CTRL+F and type in the thing you are looking for in the small box that will appear on the screen.

2000 – Feb 10

Peter Batchelor, the Victorian Government Minister for Transport, officially opens the newly constructed Pedestrian & Bicycle Bridge over Spring Creek (above), along with the completion of the strengthening of the original 1875 stone bridge (below).

2000 – Mar

Jarmo ‘Jerry’ Jokinen at the ‘Beechworth Football Netball Club’ (photo: Simon Dallinger)

Finland-born Jarmo ‘Jerry’ Jokinen establishes an aluminium foundry called Engineering Pattern and Specialists (EPS) at 21 Crawford Street in Beechworth’s ‘Industrial Estate’. Always interested in local sport, Jerry will serve as President of the Beechworth Football Netball Club from 2005 to 2007, with his EPS business being a major sponsor of the club. Jerry and his wife Karen will eventually retire to Tasmania, where Jerry passes away in 2019.

2000 – May 28          

Snow falls on Ford Street – Sunday May 28th 2000.

Snow falls heavily on the Beechworth Plateau from soon after dawn on this Sunday morning, accumulating to 30cm in depth and completely isolating the township for several hours around the middle of the day. Downed trees, blocked roads and icy conditions make travel almost impossible in and out of the area through into Monday. Record low temperatures, gales, thunderstorms and hail follow as a second intense pulse of polar air surges into the north-east. Damage from high winds is widespread in the most severe winter weather since the cold snap and snowfalls in Beechworth on July 15, 1966.

Beechworth Police Station surrounded by snow – Sunday May 28th 2000.
Snow also falls in the neighbouring Yackandandah valley, and in Bright and Myrtleford and as far north as Baranduda, 7km south-east of Wodonga at an elevation of 160m on Sunday afternoon. It is the second heaviest snowfall in the area in a hundred years, after the fall of July 1966. 
Snow surrounds the Old Beechworth Gaol – Sunday May 28th 2000.
Thirteen students have to be rescued from a hut at Langford’s Gap near Mitta Mitta, and across the state four deaths are caused by the weather – two by falling trees and two in car accidents caused by the poor weather. Many roads are closed by snow and fallen trees, including the Harrietville to Mt Hotham section of the Alpine Road. 
Snow covers Ford Street (looking south from the Gaol) – Sunday May 28th 2000.
Snow along Camp Street outside ‘The Finer Things of Life’ (left), the ‘Brigadier Scottish Shop’ (centre) and ‘House in the Country” right)

Some Beechworth locals even strap on their skis to get around the town!

On skis through town – outside the ‘Beechworth Bakery’ on Camp Street – Sunday May 28th 2000
On skis – outside the ‘Beechworth Post Office’ on the corner of Ford and Camp Streets


Klause Pozzebon renovates the old Corner Hotel building on the corner of Ford and Camp Streets and opens Pozzebon’s Pizza. It is not successful and closes after a couple years. The building will then become Victoria’s Café before being run as Taylor’s Milk Bar (below).

‘Taylor’s Milk Bar’ on the corner of Ford and Camp Streets


Helen Christensen establishes Beechworth Boutique at 79-81 Ford Street, specialising in women’s apparel and footwear. The two shops have had many occupants over the years, including Paper Trail and Campagna, Gray and Mallinder Solicitors (below) and Divine Linen.

79-81 Ford Street in 2009

2000 – Jul 1                 

The IGA Supermarket at 73-77 Ford Street closes and moves into it’s large new store fronting Loch Street where it is officially opened by Don Chambers, the Mayor of Indigo Shire.  The owner of the building – James McCormack and his family – have purchased and demolished three old houses to make way for the purpose-built supermarket and car park.

Foodworks Supermarket at 22 Junction Road

Beechworth’s other supermarket – ‘Foodworks’ (above) – is at 22 Junction Road, opposite Beechworth Primary School. The shop was originally established in 1948 by Daniel and Betty Dingwall as a tuck shop for the school across the road.


An arcade is opened, running between 73-75 Ford Street, through to the newly re-located supermarket at the rear. Named the Golden Vale Centre, one of the first tenants is Samantha Pryor’s Rubens Hairdressing at shop 4. Others to follow include L.J. Hooker Real Estate, Beechworth Chiropractic, Reflective Soles, Collins Booksellers and the Welfare Thrift Shop.


Meryl McMillan obtains the franchise to operate a Collins Booksellers store at 73 Ford Street, former site of the IGA Supermarket. Diane Ingwersen takes over the business in 2012, renaming it Beechworth Books, before it is purchased by Charles Dean and Nadia David in July 2021, who run the popular book store today.


Robert and Janelle Ransom take over the Beechworth Motor Inn at 54 Sydney Road.

The ‘Beechworth Motor Inn’ is built and opened in 1968 by the Francis family. It is Beechworth’s first motel, and for 15 years it is part of the ‘Best Western’ chain of motels but is now independently owned and operated the Ransoms.

The now independently run ‘Beechworth Motor Inn’ at 54 Sydney Road

2000 – Sep

The Beechworth Football Club – playing in the Ovens & King Football League – win the Premiership, under the guidance of coach Michael Quirk, defeating the team from Moyhu by 20 points. (Beechworth: 6 goals, 9 behinds – 45 points / Moyhu: 4 goals, 1 behind – 25 points). The Beechworth Bombers (below) will win the flag again the following year.

2000 – Oct 14

Award-winning author Peter Carey at ‘Tapsell’s Books’ in Beechworth (photo: Stephen Tapsell)

Stephen Tapsell from Tapsell’s Books at 91 Ford Street purchases the original fourth draft of Peter Carey’s seventh novel “True History of the Kelly Gang” and offers it for sale at his book shop for $50,000. During the 1990s, author Peter Carey (above) visited Tapsell’s Books in Beechworth several times while researching his Ned Kelly book. The fourth draft, which Carey had carried around the district during his research trips, features the author’s hand-written notes, thoughts and suggestions throughout the manuscript. Tapsell buys the beautufully bound fourth draft of the book directly from Carey. The State Library of Victoria will later purchase all the other Carey drafts and source materials.

A poster (by artist Maree Faulkner) announcing the launch of Tapsell’s catalogue of the Peter Carey book
A signed first edition print of Peter Carey’s “True History of the Kelly Gang”, on sale at ‘Tapsell’s Books’.

“True History of the Kelly Gang” will win the ‘Booker Prize’ in 2001. The high-profile London literary award is conferred each year for the best novel written in the English language, which has been published in the United Kingdom and Ireland. Always greeted with anticipation and fanfare throughout the publishing world, the winner of the ‘Booker Prize’ guarantees worldwide publicity that usually leads to a major international sales boost. The day after Carey is named the winner of the ‘Booker Prize’ Stephen Tapsell sells two first editions of “True History of the Kelly Gang” for $450 each!

2000 – Nov                  

Beechworth Toys and Collectables is established by Nigel Smith and Jenny Dyson at 77 Ford Street (in a new building constructed on what had been a laneway beside the supermarket). It specialises in quality toys from around the world, including wooden toys, educational games, traditional rocking horses and wind-up tin toys. Quickly outgrowing the small shop, in 2002 it will move up the road to its current location at 51 Ford Street (above), an historic and well-preserved building with beautiful, pressed metal ceilings that came by ship from England in 1889. Sadly, Nigel Smith will pass away suddenly in March 2009.

The interior of ‘Beechworth Toys and Collectables’ with its 1889 pressed metal ceiling.

2000 – Nov 17-19

Having been ‘revived’ in 1996, the Beechworth Theatre Company stages a production of Robert Harling’s “Steel Magnolias”. Directed by Ildiko Howlett and produced by Ken Melville, it is performed at the Beechworth Memorial Hall.

The first ‘Beechworth Dramatic Society is founded in May 1866. Over 100 years later, in 1979, the ‘Beechworth Theatre Group’ is established and stages a number of productions before being incorporated as the ‘Beechworth Theatre Company’ (BTC) in 1984. Ceasing operations in 1991, it is re-established in 1996 with an adaptation of the Charles Dickens classic “A Christmas Carol”, staged at the ‘Bijou Theatre’ at the former Mayday Hills Asylum. BTC continues to this day.


Geoff Palmer takes over The Stone Cottage at 6 Tanswell Street and converts it into self-contained guest accommodation. The 1984 built English Cotswolds-style house sits behind a picket fence with roses and deciduous trees framing the cottage’s mellow stone walls. Geoff creates a second guest house on the property – The Barn – featuring a spiral staircase, with two bedrooms and large barn doors hinged from the windows.

Detail of ‘The Barn’ at 6 Tanswell Street


As the popularity of computers grow, Tony and Deanna Rowland take over the Chicken Shop at 8 Camp Street (on the corner of High Street and Camp Street) and open Computers @ Beechworth. They will stay at this location until 2009 when they move their computer business to new premises at 40 Ford Street next to the D4Dogz pet shop.

This building was the original site of ‘Spencer’s Butchers’ in the 1930s (on the right in the picture below).


Pierre Masclef and Helen McAlpin at their L’Oliveraie Olive Grove

Pierre Masclef (from the Loire Valley in France) and his partner Helen McAlpin (who grew up in nearby Stanley) establish L’Oliveraie, a 24 hectare olive grove with over 2,700 trees on Greenwattle Road, 3km from Beechworth.


After debuting in Mount Buffalo in 1996, the annual Opera in the Alps event moves to Beechworth, performed in the grounds of the former asylum at Mayday Hills. The event runs over four days and includes a workshop for an 80-member opera chorus, culminating in a twilight concert, opened by former Deputy Prime Minister Tim Fischer, who acts as the event’s patron.

‘Opera in the Alps’ will become a regular autumn fixture in Beechworth over the coming years, moving to its new location at the Golf Course atBaarmutha Park’. 

2001 – Mar

Beechworth Gold commissions local farrier Robert Bremner to create a pair of horseshoes from solid gold. Made in the courtyard of Beechworth Gold (the former 1861-built Bank of Victoria building), the golden horseshoes are shod onto the horse (below) that will lead the Easter 2001 Golden Horseshoes Parade (below). These golden horseshoes are now on permanent display at Beechworth Gold.


Bob Dunnett at ‘Beechworth Berries’ (photo: ABC Local)

Bob Dunnett establishes Beechworth Berries at 46 Reid’s Way, Wooragee, about 6km from Beechworth. Dunnett is the son of a Warrandyte orchardist (who was the son of a fruit grower, who was the son of a fruit grower!). Specialising in premium grade strawberries, Beechworth Berries has over 30,000 plants and from the farm gate people can pick berries and other seasonal fruit themselves, learn more about the growing process and experience the farm’s stunning orchards.


New Zealand-born Anthony Flahive and Frances Coburn (whose parents live near Beechworth) purchase the recently renovated 1877 Black Springs Bakery for $785,000 from Rob Carr. The 10 acre property is located at 464 Wangaratta-Beechworth Road, about 5km from Beechworth. They make even more improvements to the cluster of old granite buildings and prepare it for luxury accommodation. They open a shop in the ivy covered old Bakery building selling luxury French toiletries, ceramics, linens and enamelware. In 2002 they will move that part of the business to 33 Ford Street in Beechworth and establish their first Frances Pilley store.

The Barn – originally the grain shed – at the 1877 Black Springs Bakery today
The Black Springs Bakery had once been at the centre of the small goldrush town of Black Springs which consisted of several hotels, a blacksmith and even a small state school. The Black Springs settlement is destroyed by a bushfire at the turn of the 20th century – except for the bakery – which continues supplying bread to the region until 1942. The bakery and its cluster of associated buildings – like the granite barn – are now the last remaining original buildings of the former settlement.  


Beechworth’s ‘Golden Serpent Dragon Boat’ training on Lake Sambell in 2024 (photo: Coral Cooksley)

The Beechworth Dragon Boat Club Inc. is founded by Kellie Jones and a group of experienced Dragon Boaters, who between them contain accreditations in coaching, sweeping and officiating. Training on Lake Sambell, the boat team races as the ‘Beechworth Golden Serpents’ with a club uniform of black and gold, bearing the logo of a Golden Serpent, with the motto ‘Racing for Gold’ written in Chinese.


The Butcher Shop at 61 Ford Street – Phillip Wilkinson (left), Brian Voight (centre) and George Fendyk Jnr (right)Note the vacant block on the right.

After decades in business, the butcher shop at 61-63 Ford Street finally closes. Run for many years by Roy Hill, it is taken over by George Fendyk Snr in the 1950s, who eventually passes on the business to his son, George Joseph Fendyk Jnr, who has worked with his father at the shop for 23 years. He will be joined by Phillip Wilkinson and Brian Voight. Voight will later take over the business and run it until it closes. Peter and Fay Mim who have been running the small greengrocer next door (in one of the shops on the ground floor of the Star Hotel) since 1996 will move into the premises at 61-63 Ford Street and establish the Goldfields Greengrocer (below).

61-63 Ford Street as it looks in 2020 – with the ‘Goldfields Greengrocer’ where the butcher shop once stood, and the Beechworth branch of the ‘Commonwealth Bank’ built on the vacant block next door.


Beechworth Le Blanche Ice Creamery’ at 14a Camp Street

Brothers Heath and Dean Anders, who successfully took over the popular Bright Ice Creamery – which had been established in Bright in 1986 by Italian gelato master Mario who migrated from Tuscany – now establish Le Blanche Ice Creamery in the small shop at 14a Camp Street between The Finer Things of Life and the Brigadier Scottish Shop.

2001 – Sep

Beechworth’s Echoes of History is launched. By following the Echoes of History brochure and map from the Visitor Information Centre at the Town Hall, visitors can view a series of history pavement plaques around the town and learn about the town’s fascinating history. And, playing at the Beechworth Telegraph Office, are a series of new voice recordings which recreate some of Beechworth’s most famous and infamous identities giving their personal views on the development of their town.

2001 – Sep

For the second season in a row, the Beechworth Football Club – the Bombers – playing in the Ovens & King Football League – win the Premiership. Under the guidance of coach Michael Quirk, the Beechworth Bombers (above) defeat the team from North Wangaratta by 27 points. (Beechworth: 20 goals, 6 behinds – 126 points / North Wangaratta: 15 goals, 9 behinds – 99 points). The following year, the Bombers will make it to the Grand Final again, but will be defeated by the team from Moyhu.

The ‘Beechworth Football Club‘ will switch to playing in the ‘Tallangatta & District Football League‘ in 2004 and change their name to the ‘Beechworth Bushrangers(see further entry in 2004).

2002 – Jan                   

Nicolas and Lyn Henry open The Ardent Alpaca at 33-35 Camp Street. A ‘purveyor of fine alpaca apparel and yarn’, the large shop specialises in Australian alpaca garments and homewares. They will also open an Ardent Alpaca store at The Como Centre in South Yarra.

The large 1903 building is originally home to ‘Barlow’s Licenced Grocer’, before being divided in half, with the east section becoming ‘Roy Hill’s Butcher Shop’ in 1940, then later operating as a florist. The grocery store finally closes in the late 1970s, with the premises re-opening as a children’s clothing shop before becoming a toy and sports store. In 1980 Max and Heather Colebourne refresh the building as an art showroom and art supply business and from 1991 it operates as ‘Walker’s Antiques’, before Don Walker’s retirement in December 2001.


33 Ford Street in Beechworth where ‘Frances Pilley’ will be established

Anthony Flahive and Frances Coburn – who own the old Black Springs Bakery – take over the shop at 33 Ford Street and establish their first Frances Pilley store, selling luxury French toiletries, linens, Polish ceramics, Austrian enamel, Syrian bath mitts, Greek olive-oil soap and Portuguese pots. They will also launch a second Frances Pilley store in Daylesford. The name Frances Pilley is a combination of Pilley Street in East St Kilda (where Anthony and Frances first met) and her first name. The Beechworth store operates from one of the two buildings that were previously part of the Buckland Fine Art Gallery (below), next door to the Salvation Army.


Tapsell’s Books’ – the second store in Rutherglen (photo: Stephen Tapsell)

Stephen Tapsell, who runs Tapsell’s Books at 91 Ford Street in Beechworth, opens a second store at 77 Main Street in Rutherglen.


Seven kilometres from the centre of Beechworth, veterinary nurse Robyn Foa builds a series of dog boarding kennels on the former site of the ‘Three Mile Mine’. The following year Robyn and her team officially open Beechworth Boarding Kennels & Cattery (also known as Foa’s Ark) at 190 Library Road (above). Accredited with the Pet Industry Association of Australia (PIAA) Robyn also establishes a dog training group on the 6.8 acre property.  The Beechworth Boarding Kennels & Cattery now features 23 dog kennels – each with individual outdoor dog runs (below) – as well as a 15.0m x 6.0mm cattery enclosure with 18 cubicles and a secure 36 sq. m. outdoor area for cats. A licensed wildlife shelter, a seasonal creek runs through the property which includes a delightful chestnut orchard as well as several paddocks where a range of farm animals graze.


After purchasing Beechworth’s old Oriental Bank building in 1997 and lovingly renovating the ‘Renaissance Palazzo’ style building at 97 Ford Street, Jim Didolis and Heidi Freeman (of the famous Freeman family of Beechworth) finally open Freeman on Ford, their luxury five-star ‘Bed & Breakfast’ accommodation. Two of their suites – the Crystal Suites – overlook the rear garden and pool (below) with direct veranda access.  

The building, originally constructed for the Beechworth branch of the ‘Oriental Bank’ in 1876 by prominent Melbourne architect Leonard Terry, it becomes the home of the ‘Brigidine Convent & Boarding School’ in 1886, then in 1906 it is taken over as Beechworth’s ‘State Saving Bank of Victoria’ branch until 1988, then it is converted into a private residence.
The rear of ‘Freeman on Ford’


Jodie Robinson and Steven Goldsworthy open Beechworth Honey on the corner of Ford and Church Streets in the building which had been the home of the popular Buckland Gallery for the previous 19 years. It produces and stocks over 30 honey varietals.

Jodie Robinson is one of a long line of Robinson beekeepers in Beechworth, starting with her great-grandfather Benjamin Robin who is born in Beechworth in the 1880s and establishes a small beekeeping business in his 20s. Benjamin’s sons William and Clive Robinson will expand their father’s operations into a fully-fledged business. Alan Robinson (Jodie’s father) and his brother Keith will also become commercial beekeepers following in their father Clive’s footsteps.
The interior of Beechworth Honey on Ford Street


The Beechworth Theatre Company stages a production of Oscar Wilde’s classic 1895 play “The Importance of Being Earnest”. The ‘trivial comedy for serious people’ is directed by Wendy Stephens and performed at the Beechworth Town Hall.

2002 – Aug

Ruth Parker behind the counter at the Beechworth Pharmacy

After graduating from Monash University with a Bachelor of Pharmacy in 1997, Ruth Parker takes over the Beechworth Pharmacy at 82 Ford Street. She also has a Graduate Certificate in Applied Mindfulness. As a qualified Consultant Pharmacist, she is able to visit clients in their home environment and form closer connections.

2002 – Oct

Ian Smith establishes Beechworth Classic Apparel, a specialist women’s clothing boutique at 71 Ford Street.

2002 – Nov

The Lake Labyrinth is installed in the Woodland Glades area at the Lake Sambell Reserve (McConville Avenue, behind the Sandy Beach). It is designed by artists Donna Page and Chris Dormer as part of the Victorian Government’s Creative Village Project and built by Derek Isles, Darryl Higgins and David & John Sharp from rocks of local granite. The Lake Labyrinth design is based on the circular form of the Cretan Labyrinth and features a classical seven-circuit design, 15 metres in diameter. The ancient symbol of the Labyrinth has been used over millennia as a meditation tool to foster mindfulness and well-being through a guided concentric walk.

“The seven circuits of the Cretan Labyrinth correspond with the seven spheres of the sacred planets and the seven principles of the human being and the cosmos. Passing to the centre of the Labyrinth and returning to its circumference represents the involution and evolution of the universe, the coming into birth and the passing out of earthly life of an individual” – John Algeo, American Theosophical Society’s Quest Magazine. 

2003 – Jan 13              

After many years working in the caravan industry, John Rollins establishes Beechworth Canvas in the factory space at the rear of 21 Crawford Street in Beechworth’s ‘Industrial Estate’. In 2008, when Beechworth Tyre Service closes its business in the front section of the complex, Rollins moves his Beechworth Canvas office and showroom into the space (above). Beechworth Canvas specialises in custom-built caravan annexes and awnings, ute campers, trailer covers, verandah awnings, tents and assorted camping accessories.  

2003 – Feb 15

A pair of Chinese Lion statues are unveiled at the entrance to the Beechworth Chinese Gardens. The official unveiling is carried out by Elaine Franks, a direct descendant of the Quonoey Family.


Garry and Jackie McVea and their daughter Kerrie Lawrence and her husband Vaughn Lawrence move to Beechworth from Melbourne to take over the historic Beechworth Newsagency (NewsExpress) at 26 Camp Street, next door to the Beechworth Emporium,. The McVea’s are soon joined by Garry and Jackie’s son Ian McVea and his wife Tracy.

In January 2021, Tracy McVea will be appointed Captain of the CFA Beechworth urban fire unit.


Beechworth Wine Estates is established by John & Jo Iwanuch. Located at 1287 Diffey Road, it is just a few metres from the site of the old Baarmutha Railway Stop on the former Everton to Beechworth railway line (now the Everton-Beechworth Rail Trail).

The former Baarmutha Railway stop, a few metres from today’s ‘Beechworth Wine Estates’.


Mick and Jo Westra establish Beechworth Plumbing Plus at 3 Harper Avenue.

2003 – Jul

The Masonry Blades – a permanent sculpture by Wilson Hurry and Associates – is unveiled in the Woodland Glades area of the Lake Sambell Reserve. It represents a stylised interpretation of aspects of Beechworth’s heritage, the colours of the natural surroundings and buildings … with an acknowledgement to Ned Kelly’s armour and helmet.

2003 – Jul 13

Ross ‘Brooksy’ Brooks establishes Beechworth Tyre Service at 21 Crawford Street in Beechworth’s ‘Industrial Estate’ (above).

2003 – Jul 27

To commemorate the 150th anniversary of the naming of Beechworth, the first Kerferd Oration is held in the George Briscoe Kerferd Conference Centre at La Trobe University’s Mayday Hill Beechworth Campus. It is now an annual, free community event. Named in honour of George Briscoe Kerferd (1831-1889), the Beechworth community leader, the 10th Premier of Victoria (1874-1875) and a Judge of the Supreme Court of Victoria, the Kerferd Oration brings an eminent speaker to Indigo Shire to foster discussion and promote active citizenship in the community.

The first speaker, in 2003, is John Harber Phillips AC, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Victoria, who presents a talk on “the North-Eastern Victoria Republic Movement: Myth or Reality? A criminal lawyer’s dissection of the evidence associated with the mission of Ned Kelly”. 
Other speakers at the Kerferd Oration since 2003 have included – Cathy McGowan A.O.; actress Ailsa Piper; Senator Malarndirri McCarthy; Barry Irvin A.M.; Hugh Mackay A.O.; Dr Simon Longstaff A.O.; Bernie Geary O.A.M.; the Honourable Tim Fischer A.C.; the  Honourable Justice David Harper; The Reverend Tim Costello A.O.; Barbara Holborow O.A.M.; and Professor Tim Flannery. 


Ian and Robyn Fetherstonhaugh establish The Beechworth Pantry, a gourmet delicatessen serving breakfasts, lunches, coffees and cakes, at 77 Ford Street. Over the next 19 years it will become a Beechworth institution, both for locals and visitors alike.

The building which houses ‘The Beechworth Pantry’ is constructed in 2000, on the site of a laneway that ran beside the supermarket. Before the ‘Pantry’, it is has been home to a Fish and Chip Shop, an Antiques Store, a Chicken Shop and, originally, ‘Beechworth Toys and Collectables’, now located at 51 Ford Street.

2004 – Mar

Having competed in the Ovens and Murray Football Association (O&MFA) and the Ovens and King Football Association (O&KFA) since 1893, the Beechworth Football Club now join the Tallangatta and District Football League (T&DL). They will finish fifth in their debut season, eighth in 2005, sixth in both 2006 and 2007, and seventh in 2008. They play in their first Grand Final in 2009 but are beaten by Tallangatta Valley.

When they join the T&DL, the Beechworth ‘Bombers’ have to choose a new nickname and new jumper style, because Dederang-Mt Beauty also wear red and black and are known as the ‘Bombers’. So, after a vote, the Beechworth Football Club’s new nickname becomes ‘The Bushrangers’ and they will now wear Red and Royal Blue vertically striped jumpers. 


Dirk Borleis in front one of his portable workshops

Specialist cabinet maker and kitchen designer, Dirk Borleis establishes Borleis Kitchens at the rear 40 Mellish Street in the large workshop owned by Mick Breen behind his Beechworth Gas business. As the business expands, he moves to a larger factory at 26-28 Diffey Road in 2008. Borleis Kitchens custom build kitchens, laundries, vanities, shop cabinetry and beautifully hand-crafted furniture.

TheBorleis Kitchensfactory on Diffey Road


Having purchased the Star Hotel building on Ford Street from Keith and Dorothy Graham in 2002, new owner Heidi Freeman begins extensive conservation work on the iconic 1864 two-storey building. The chimneys are all fully restored, the fascia, gutters, rainheads, downpipes are all replaced, and repointing is completed. Major drainage improvements are carried out, including the installation of an extra stormwater pit.

Work carried out on the roof and chimneys of the ‘Star Hotel’.


Rocco Esposito and Lisa Pidutti establish Warden’s Food and Wine at the former 1869 Warden’s Hotel building at 32 Ford Street.

2004 – Oct

Indigo Shire Council lodges its opposition to poker machines in Beechworth with the state’s gambling authority. This follows a man connected with Beechworth’s ‘Commercial Hotel’ applying for a gaming licence from the ‘Victorian Commission for Gambling Regulation’. Mayor Bill Hotson states “Poker machines would damage Beechworth’s economy and drive away tourists”.

James Toole takes part in a ‘Beechworth Pokie Protest’ (photo: James Wiltshire)
In August 2105, the Indigo Shire Council, following the initiative of councillor Don Chambers, becomes a member of the ‘Alliance for Gambling Reform’. Always opposed to poker and gaming machines, the shire – which covers Beechworth, Rutherglen, Chiltern, Yackandandah and Tangambalanga – is the only North-East council area with no gaming venues.

2004 – Nov

African Heritage opens at 83 Ford Street, selling a range of traditional East African artefacts, fabrics, craft supplies, exotic jewellery and gifts.

2004 – Dec

‘The Galloping Goat’ restaurant in Stanley

8 kilometres from Beechworth, French chef Michel Renoux opens The Galloping Goat at 22-44 Stanley Road. Set on 5 acres, the restaurant and function centre, with French-inspired décor, features open fireplaces in two dining rooms with seating for 70 diners, with a north-facing outdoor deck for a further 30 guests.

Originally from the small village of Saint-Sulpice-la-Foret in the heart of Brittany’s cider country, Michel Renoux arrives in Australia in the early 1970s and moves to the North-East of Victoria in 1981 with his wife Heather.

2004 – Dec 20              

The gates close on the historic Beechworth Gaol

After 140 years in operation, Beechworth Gaol (H.M. Integration Prison Beechworth) finally closes and is decommissioned. Prisoners are transferred to the newly built Correctional Centre (see next entry).

2005 – Jan                   

The new ‘Beechworth Correctional Centre’ (photo: John Russell)

Beechworth Correctional Centre, a modern minimum-security prison, is opened as a replacement for the old bluestone HM Prison Beechworth. Unlike the old Beechworth Gaol which is located at the northern end Beechworth just 500 metres from the centre of town, the Beechworth Correctional Centre is located 4 km away from the town centre at the southern end of Beechworth, further along from the old Zwar’s Tannery on Malakoff Road. The new Correctional Centre has an operational capacity of 120 male prisoners, mainly those either serving short sentences or are at the end of longer sentences and being prepared for release.

Foyer of the ‘Beechworth Correctional Centre’ (photo: John Russell)


Following an extensive building program by Beechworth Health Service, residential aged care, acute hospital beds and community health are all relocated to Beechworth Hospital on Sydney Road.


The decommissioned Beechworth Gaol is sold by Corrections Victoria to Sam Lawson’s Melbourne company Salmore Developments for $1.7 million. Lawson initially displeases some Beechworth locals and history purists when he announces his plans to redevelop the buildings and create new housing, restaurants, shopping precinct and hotel accommodation. Instead, he will establish Beechworth Gaol Unlocked, which lead both historical and ghost tours throughout the buildings, before deciding to put the Gaol up for auction in 2015.

The new owner of the Beechworth Gaol -Sam Lawson from ‘Salmore Developments’


The historic 1868-built Hibernian Hotel on the corner of Camp and Loch Streets undergoes extensive renovations, modernising the pub, bistro, function rooms and accommodation facilities and, in 2009, brand new Hibernian Apartments are added next door (pictured below).

2005 – Apr 30-May 1

Beechworth’s ‘Drive Back In Time’ weekend returns for another year. The popular annual event – run by The Beechworth Old Cranks Motor Club Inc since 1998 – invites car enthusiasts to come to Beechworth with their vehicles – which must be 25 years or older – vintage, veteran, classic, and modified cars, along with classic trucks, tractors, buses and motorcycles.


Former boxer ‘Long John’ McCubbin at the ‘North East Boxing Gym’ (photo: Ben Eyles)

The North East Boxing Gym opens at the La Trobe University campus at Mayday Hills. Run by boxer John ‘Long John’ McCubbin, the gym aims to promote responsibility and discipline through sports training, with McCubbin working closely with the local Police to offer training to disadvantaged youth in the area, as an alternative to the court system.

After running the ‘Northside Boxing Gym’ in Preston in Melbourne for 15 years, ‘Long John’ and his partner Bedelia, better known as Biddy, relocate to Beechworth to manage four cabins they’ve built on their property and to “sit back and relax”. His new Beechworth Gym will go on to produce a number of local title holders with one winning regional, state and national titles. Sadly, the ‘North East Boxing Gym’ will close at Mayday Hills in 2013.

2005 – Jun 7                            

The original ‘Bridge Road Brewers’ brewery shed on Bridge Road in Beechworth

Young married couple Ben and Maria Kraus establish Bridge Road Brewers, opening their first microbrewery in Ben’s father Josef’s shed on Bridge Road in Beechworth. It features a 10-hectolitre brewing plant and bottling line, along with a little bar and tasting room … all crammed into the small building. But Bridge Road Brewers will soon grow …

Maria and Ben Kraus


After a big storm rips through the nearby Stanley area, with hail damaging apple crops and taking a toll on local apple producers, Ben Clifton from the Amulet Vineyard – on the Beechworth-Wangaratta Road – decides to turn Amulet’s skills into making alcoholic apple cider with Stanley’s hail damaged apples. (Because the apples are marked due to hail, they are unacceptable for sale in local shops and supermarkets.) So, Amulet Vineyards also turns to successfully selling Cider.

Ben Clifton with Amulet’s new cider barrels.


The Ampol Service Station and Breen Brothers Motors at 4 High Street.

Robert Breen retires from Breen Brothers Motors at the Ampol Service Station at 2-4 High Street and the business is taken over by his son, Andrew Breen.

When Trevor Breen (no relation to the Breen Brothers) starts operating ‘Breen’s Couriers’ in Beechworth, the name causes some confusion, so when Bob Breen retires, Andrew Breen takes the opportunity to rename ‘Breen Brothers Motors’ to ‘Highbridge Motors’ – coming up with the new name as the business stands on the corner of Bridge and High Streets. 


The North-East Region Water Authority upgrades Beechworth’s Water Treatment Plant and converts it to a Dissolved Air Flotation and Filtration Plant, at a cost of $2.3 million, taking Beechworth’s water capacity to 10 megalitres per day.

The ‘Aquamats’ at the Beechworth Wastewater Treatment Plant in 2014.

The ‘Beechworth Water Treatment Plant’ dates from the late 1800s. ‘Kiewa Murray Water’ upgrades the plant between 1992 and 1995, at a cost of $1 million, with a further major upgrade during the 2001-2002 financial year.


Dianne Van Dorssen establishes Divine Linen at 79 Ford Street before moving to Shop 3, 59 Ford Street, on the ground floor of the old Star Hotel. Di’s shop specialises in homewares and fine linens including Vivian Grace, Bianca Lorenne and Bemboka. The store will later be owned and operated by Christine Endres. After serving Beechworth for 19 years, Divine Linen will close in 2024.


Peter Rue adds a balcony above his Beechworth Laundromatt at 55 Ford Street. The two-storey building had been constructed for George Gammon in 1865 and operated for many years as Gammon’s Medical Hall (until 1896) then as William Bowen’s Chemist shop (below) until 1916 – but had never had a balcony on the first floor. With the new balcony added, Peter Rue is able to make the first floor two-bedroom apartment available as one of Beechworth’s most central and popular B&B accommodation locations.


The former ‘Beechworth Benevolent Asylum’ with its unusual Flemish façade

The Ovens and Murray Hospital for the Aged on Warner Road closes. Established in 1863 as the Beechworth Benevolent Asylum, it features an unusual Flemish façade and features two large dormitories and other small rooms and buildings. It became known as the Ovens Benevolent Home in 1935 with the name changed again in 1954 to the Ovens and Murray Home then finally, in 1974, to the Ovens and Murray Hospital for the Aged.


The Beechworth Football Club amalgamate with the Beechworth Netball Club and is now known as Beechworth Football & Netball Club Inc.

2006 – Apr 7-9

The Beechworth Theatre Company stages the French farce “Chase Me Up Farndale Avenue, S’il Vous Plaît!”. Featuring cabaret-style seating at evening performances with drinks and nibbles, the production is staged at the Memorial Hall and directed by Wendy Stephens. The play proves very popular and Wendy will later direct a follow-up play for the Beechworth Theatre Company“We Found Love and an Exquisite Set of Porcelain Figures Aboard the SS Farndale”.


John Furlong outside his restored cottages at 56 High Street, with Ned Kelly statue (at right) placed at the front of site.

John and Lisa Furlong purchase the site at 56 High Street where the 1862-built Imperial Hotel once stood. Closed as a hotel in 1910 and finally demolished in 1966, the land is empty except for the small one bedroom, one bathroom Pickett Cottage at the front of the property, which the Furlongs retain. They then move an 1895 two-storey house from Berwick on to the land, which they divide into two, naming the upstairs section Kelly House and the ground floor Wright House. Over the next two years they restore the buildings using recycled timbers including Baltic pine while sourcing old locks and handles befitting of the era for the buildings’ doors and, in mid-2008, start offering them as holiday accommodation. The Furlongs quickly realise the historical significance of the Imperial Hotel as the location of the infamous Ned Kelly ‘Fight’ (see below), confirming it with the help of Ned Kelly expert Ian Jones and Beechworth’s Burke Museum.

The Imperial Hotel had been the site of the infamous bare-knuckle fight between 19-year-old Ned Kelly and 25-year-old Isaiah ‘Wild’ Wright on August 4, 1874. The fight, which takes place at the rear of the hotel beside the creek, lasts for a brutal 20 rounds before Kyoung Ned is declared the winner and becomes the unofficial boxing champion of the district.

2006 – Jun

The Beechworth Newsagency is awarded the Australian Newsagency Federation National Award for Excellence, the highest award attainable in their business. Owner and managing director Vaughan Lawrence and his wife Kerrie accept the award at a dinner and conference on Hamilton Island on behalf of themselves and co-owners Garry & Jackie McVea and Ian & Tracey McVea. They had recently spent $200,000 on a complete refit of the historic shop (below), including the installation of split system air conditioning, for the 680,000 tourists and 3,000 Beechworth residents they serve annually.


Qualified electrician Stewart Pearce establishes his JS Pearce Electrical Services business. Based at 165 Lawrie Road, but always mobile around Beechworth, Stewart has over 25 years’ experience in electrical repairs, maintenance and installations – including television antenna system design, repair and installation and phone wiring installation and repairs – having worked in the electrical service industry for both large and small companies in Melbourne and is accredited with the Clean Energy Council of Australia for the design and installation of solar electricity systems.


Beechworth solicitor Brendan Halliday and his wife Glendah

After leaving McKenzie-McHarg, Bailey & Halliday solicitors at 22 Camp Street, Brendan Gerald Halliday establishes his own legal practice – Halliday Solicitorsat 9a Bridge Road (below), site of the original 1855 Mackenzie Family Store on the steep Newtown Hill. He will later move his chambers to High Street.

As well as his respected legal work in Beechworth, Brendan was also a star player with the Beechworth ‘Bombers’ Football Club and served as their President in the early 1990s. He was a key figure behind the football club moving from the ‘Ovens and King Football Association’ (OKFA) to the ‘Tallangatta and District Football League’ (T&DL) in 2004 (when they changed their nickname to ‘The Beechworth Bushrangers’) and aligning the Beechworth Football Club with the Beechworth Netball Club. Sadly, after being diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease, Brendan will pass away in July 2015.


Libby Schirmer opens her boutique clothing store Rebus at 3/59 Ford Street. Specialising in hand-printed textiles and handmade jewellery, Libby moves her store in 2018 to its current location at 53 Ford Street, next door to Beechworth Toys and Collectables in a building constructed in 1889.

A ‘Rebus’ is a puzzle in which words are represented by combinations of pictures and words. 


Quickly outgrowing its original location on Bridge Road, Ben and Maria Kraus move their Bridge Road Brewers into the 150-year-old Old Coach House and Stables in Brewers Lane off Ford Street (behind Tanswell’s Commercial Hotel) and now employ 40 staff (predominantly in Beechworth). Bridge Road Brewers features a 340-seat taproom, pizzeria, and a 25-hectolitre brewhouse (below), making various craft beers which they also export internationally.


Vinny and Sharon Webb (below) establish Baarmutha Wines, planting grapevines at 1184 Diffey Road, Baarmutha, 6.5km from Beechworth.


The Beechworth Montessori School (operating as the Beechworth Montessori Children’s Group since 1997) opens a full primary school for 6-12 year olds at 42 Gilchrist Avenue, enabling children to complete their early childhood and primary school learning within the Montessori educational philosophy.

The ‘Beechworth Montessori School’ at 42 Gilchrist Avenue

2007 – Feb

Tony Iaria at ‘High Grove Berries’ – 9km from Beechworth

With experience in hospitality – running restaurants and a hotel – Tony and Carmelina Iaria and their two sons purchase High Grove Berries at 227 Mt. Stanley Road in Stanley to expand their family farming enterprise. The 40-hectare Stanley orchard features almost a hundred rows of trellised berry canes growing in the sub-alpine Stanley climate, including raspberries, blackberries (American brambleberries), blueberries, thornless blackberries, boysenberries, blackcurrants, cherries, redcurrants, waldoberries, as well as the tayberry (a blackberry-raspberry cross). The Iaria family have a background in horticulture and agriculture and retain their farming property in Mount Beauty where they run beef cattle, grow lucerne and have a small-scale chestnut operation.

People visit ‘High Grove’ to pick their own berries during ‘picking season’ – between mid-December and late January.


Allan Parker and staff outside ‘Gigi’s of Beechworth’

Chef and wine connoisseur Allan Parker purchases the popular Gigi’s of Beechworth Bar and Bistro at 69 Ford Street from Luigi ‘Gigi’ Cipolato who established the popular business in 1995. Parker’s background includes his work at restaurants including Ricky Ricardo’s and Saltwater in Noosa. Parker invites Andrew Roscouet to Beechworth to work as Gigi’s Head Chef. Born and raised in Jersery, Roscouet has worked at some of the UK’s most prestigious establishments including Gleneagles in Scotland, The Savoy Grill and The Berkley.

Whilst working at the Albert Roux Icon restaurant ‘Cafe Roux’ in Amsterdam, Andrew Roscouet was invited to Australia by Chef Raymond Capaldi to work at ‘Le Restaurant’ at the ‘Sofitel’ which, at the time, was the only 3 chef-hatted hotel restaurant in Australia. He also was also a chef at North Fitzroy’s ‘Matteos’ before running his own business, ‘Bistro 1404’.

2007 – Mar 6

One span of ‘The Spirit of Progess Bridges’ under construction over the Murray River

After almost 2 years of construction and a cost of $524 million, the new 17.4 km Albury-Wodonga Bypass opens to traffic, linking the Hume Freeway (from the Lincoln Causeway) at Wodonga with the Hume Highway at Ettamogah, north of Albury. It is the single largest infrastructure project to be undertaken in Victoria. It includes twin bridges – built by Fitzgerald Constructions – over the Murray River which are named ‘The Spirit of Progress Bridges’ in recognition of the former train service that ran between Melbourne and Albury from November 1937 until April 1962, and then through to Sydney until August 2nd 1986.

The twin spans of the completed ‘Spirit of Progress Bridges’. The Sydney-bound bridge is 195 metres long with 9 segments, while the Melbourne-bound bridge is 205 metres long and is made up of 11 segments.
The 2.6 km Victorian section of the ‘Hume Freeway’ extension is the final link in the ‘Hume Freeway Duplication’ from Melbourne to the Victorian/New South Wales border.
An aerial view of a section of the Albury-Wodonga Bypass


‘Tapsell’s Books’ in Rutherglen

Stephen Tapsell, who has been running his two Tapsell’s Books businesses at 91 Ford Street in Beechworth (established 1993) and at 77 Main Street in Rutherglen (established 2002), decides to close his Beechworth shop (which has been running out of space) and moves his vast collection of books, music and other paraphernalia to his rapidly growing Rutherglen store (above) which still operates today.

Maree Faulkner’s colourful painting of the interior of ‘Tapsell’s Books’ in Beechworth.


St Joseph’s Primary School at 6 Priory Lane celebrates its 150th anniversary in Beechworth, the first school having opened near the same site in a wooden building in 1857 next to St. Joseph’s Catholic Church (below).

2007 – Jun                          

‘1860 Luxury Accommodation’ on Surrey Lane.

Matt Pfahlert and Gina Bladon move an 1860 timber cattlemen’s hut – piece by piece – from near Taggerty (200 km from Beechworth) to their property at Beechworth where, between 2004 and 2007 – with the help of carpenter Mark White – they painstakingly reassemble and fit it out, then open it as 1860 Luxury Accommodation at 4 Surrey Lane.

Originally built by a timber feller as rough slab hut in Emerald (54km from Melbourne) in 1860, it was called ‘Rotherwood’. It is moved to Taggerty, in the late 70’s before being purchased in 2004. It then sits in numbered pieces in Pfahlert and Bladon’s Beechworth backyard as four years are spent reconstructing a number of other old buildings for recycled roofing iron, upright posts and hardwood flooring, before it is put back together again. The Jarrah floorboards are from an old Army training barracks, the mantel piece is an old railway sleeper and the fireplace plinth is made from the window sills from an old Beechworth pub!
The delightful rustic interior of 1860 Luxury Accommodation’

2008 – Mar

Katrina Witherow opens Dalcheri Natural Fibres at 47 Ford Street, a high-end natural fibre and ethically-sourced clothing concept store specialising in Possum and Merino garments made in New Zealand. Stocking a wide range of mens and womens knitwear and fashions featuring superior natural fibres such as wool, hemp, linen, wood fibre, cashmere, silk, and recycled fibres, Dalcheri also sells various clothing accessories (below). Since opening her shop, Katrina has become an active member of the Beechworth and District Chamber of Commerce.


The Bank Restaurant and Mews – which operates from the former Bank of Australasia building at 86 Ford Street – closes for business.


‘Larder’ on Camp Street

Former Sydneysider Natasha Davis opens Larder at 14a Camp Street. The Fromagerie & Provisions shop stocks a range of cheeses – including Victoria’s Locheilan farmhouse cheese – along with specialties like sweet hand-stretched buffalo mozzarella from Shaw River, and a range of chocolates.


The stage at Beechworth’s ‘Bijou Theatre’.

The Beechworth Theatre Company stages a special production of “The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe” at the old Bijou Theatre, located within the former Mayday Hills Asylum.


D4Dogz opens at 40 Ford Street. It is described as ‘a boutique store for humans who love their dogs’. The business will operate until November 2015.


Rocco Esposito, Lisa Pidutti and their 10 month old daughter, Chiara Esposito (photo: Peter Merkesteyn)

Rocco Esposito and his partner Lisa Pidutti are the winners of the The Age ‘Good Food Guide’ annual Wine Service Award. Along with their chef Douglas Elder, they operate Warden’s Food and Wine at the former 1869 Warden’s Hotel building at 32 Ford Street.

2008 – Oct

New ‘Beechworth Football Club’ coach Shaun Pritchard. (photo: Peter Merkesteyn)

Beechworth Football Club ‘Best and Fairest’ winner and 200-game player Shaun ‘Shaggy’ Pritchard is appointed to coach the club in 2009, taking over from Ian Romeril who stands down from the coaching role after two years at the helm. 33-year-old ‘Shaggy’ will lead the ‘Beechworth Bushrangers’ to a premiership victory in 2010, their first Grand Final win since 2001.

2008 – Dec 6

The Beechworth Community Book Store is established in the former Methodist Church Hall on the corner of Ford and Church Streets. Selling a vast range of secondhand books, it is a non-profit venture which benefits the community through the activities of the Beechworth Neighbourhood Centre. All books and other associated items (below) are donated by the community and the shop is staffed by volunteers.

2009 – Feb 7

Black Saturday Bushfires. As temperatures soar to a peak of 46.7 degrees, a number of bushfires begin in the late afternoon in Victoria, including the Beechworth-Mudgegonga area. The various fires will not be fully contained until February 16. Across the state, 173 people die, and another 414 are injured. More than 2,000 houses are destroyed, with various farm sheds, equipment and stock destroyed. Overall, the fire burns 33,577 hectares, including about 23,000 hectares of state park.

One fire starts south of Beechworth near the Library Road intersection on February 7th at about 6pm, while 24km from Beechworth, on the Myrtleford-Yackandandah Road, a firestorm races over the hill from Murmungee into Mudgegonga (see map below) at around midnight and John and Sue Wilson lose their lives after the firefighting water pump designed to protect their home fails in the intense heat.
A fire map of the area, with Beechworth at top left.


French chef Michel Renoux takes over Beechworth Fish & Chips at 68 Ford Street and relaunches it as the Ageing Frog’s Fish Bar and Deli.

Michel Renoux from Saint-Sulpice-la-Foret in Brittany
In June 2012 Renoux will sell ‘The Ageing Frog Fish Bar & Deli’ to his former apprentice chef Robert ‘Bob’ Langmead and his partner Shannon Smith.


Paul ‘Bear’ Dahlenburg at his ‘Eldorado Road Vineyard’ with vines from the 1890s

Paul Dahlenburg takes over the ailing vineyard on Eldorado Road, once owned by Dulcie Brack, a former Mayor of Benalla. The original vine rootlings had been transported from France and planted on the property – 18km from Beechworth – back in 1890. The Eldorado Road vineyard hasn’t been in proper commercial production for much of the last 30 years and has become neglected. Paul begins work on restoring one section of the vines at a time, isolating the ones he knows are the oldest.  As well as the grapes – mostly dry grown Shiraz and some Trebbiano – the large property also features almond trees, peach, pear and apricot trees, orange and lemon trees, along with mulberries, black figs, nectarines and walnuts. Paul will eventually plant new Chardonnay, Syrah (Shiraz) and Durif vines and pioneer Italian varietals Nero d’Avola and Fiano.

By 2010 Paul, his partner Lauretta ‘Laurie’ Schulz and their four children have retrieved one tonne of grapes from their first vintage, and roughly two tonnes from the 2012 vintage. In 2015 Paul and Laurie will open their ‘Eldorado Road Cellar Door & Cantina’ at 44 Ford Street in Beechworth as an outlet for their products.


Beechworth Massage & Myotherapy is established at Shop 3 in the Marion Arcade, 74 Ford Street. In December 2020, when they outgrow their small space, they move to Boiler House Lane (behind the Montessori School) and change their name to Balance Beechworth.

The ‘Marion Arcade’ is originally known as ‘Criterion Lane’ after the ‘Criterion Hotel (1854-1877) which stood on High Street, with the lane running between Ford Street and High Street. The busy laneway will later be renamed ‘Warren Lane’ in honour of Richard ‘Little Dick’ Warren (adopted son of newspaper proprietor Richard Albert Warren) who runs the popular Newsagent and Tobacconists shop at 74 Ford Street – on the corner of the laneway – from 1910 until his death at the age of 90 in 1950. In the 1980s the laneway will be partly roofed and renamed the ‘Marion Arcade’. Some of the tenants in the ‘Marion Arcade’ have included The Growing Suitcase’, ‘Definition & Style Hair Studio’ and ‘Beechworth Scrapbooking’ (below).
‘Beechworth Scrapbooking’ at Shop 2, Marion Arcade.
The entrance to Marion Arcade’, formerly Warren Lane, at 74 Ford Street, one of Beechworth’s two arcades.


Gamila MacRury with her saffron plants at ‘Gamila at Beechworth’ (photo: Dannika Bonser)

24-year-old engineer Gamila MacRury purchases 12-acres of farm land at 275 Fighting Gully Road at Beechworth and decides to plant an unusual crop for the area – saffron. Gamila at Beechworth is born. By 2013 Gamila has added olives (which take 6 years to start fruiting and 10 years to mature) to her farm and eventually starts producing healthy table olives, olive leaf tea, lemon myrtle & saffron olives, and bay, pepper and coriander olives, along with her steady and popular output of saffron extract.

The saffron flower after being picked in autumn. The tiny red stamens are then taken from each flower.
The saffron flower blooms for only one week a year, and each individual flower produces three stamens which Gamila then picks off by hand and dries. About 150,000 flowers are required for 1 kilogram of Saffron! After picking in autumn, the saffron is aged for 6 months and then sealed in air-tight sachets, with each sachet containing 6-9 strands – enough for a dish to feed approximately four.


Provenance restaurant in the former Bank of Australasia building.

Husband and wife team – chef Michael Ryan and Jeanette Henderson – who established their first restaurant – Range – in Myrtleford in 2005 (‘Country Restaurant of the Year’ in the Age Good Food Guide), move to Beechworth to open Provenance, their new restaurant in the grand old Bank of Australasia at 86 Ford Street. Ryan’s menu at Provenance has a strong Japanese influence, combining two cultures (along with Italian and French), a veritable antithesis to the notion of gastronomic ‘con-fusion’.

Michael Ryan and Jeanette Henderson

The bank’s original vault now houses the restaurant’s wine cellar, while the stables at the rear of the bank have been turned into luxury accommodation, while the former bank manager’s residence on the second floor has also been refitted as accommodation.

2009 – Aug

Beautiful ‘Barnsley House’ and gardens

After the ‘Black Saturday’ bushfires in February destroy their Rendezvous Cottages in Marysville, Rod Greenaway and his partner Barry Hlavac move to Beechworth where they purchase Barnsley House for $500,000. The popular Bed & Breakfast at 5 John Street had been built by Robert Barnes in 1859 and lovingly restored by Kelvin Clark and Terese Adams in 1987.

2009 – Oct

Robert Cowell – owner of Ford Street’s The Growing Suitcase shop – begins planting his new French-inspired ‘town garden’ on his large property at 14 Fletcher Road (which had originally been part of Donald Fletcher’s vast 1875 Beechworth estate on Fletcher’s Hill). With a strong grid design, Robert plants ornamental pear, clipped box and magnolia, later adding iris, tulips and geraniums.

Robert’s Beechworth shop ‘The Growing Suitcase’, in the Marion Arcade at 74 Ford Street (pictured below), features a wall covered in a distinctive golden bee wallpaper. Cowell sells a range of French wares, including Parisian lampshades, Diptyque candles, elegant paperweights, French linens and chandeliers and is one of only 20 shops worldwide that stock high-end ‘Le Prince Jardinier’ gardening and homeware products.

2009 – Oct                             

Janelle ‘Nelly’ Molyneux opens Nelly’s Niche home decor, gift shop and DVD hire shop at the former site of Tapsell’s Books and, before that, Parkinson’s Garage, at 93 Ford Street. Her husband Mike Molyneux operates Mike’s Beechworth Bazaar at 58 Ford Street.


Marcus O’Connor and Kristy Neville take over Beechworth Accounting and Financial Services at 47 High Street. In September 2022 O’Connor leaves to establish Beechworth Financial Services at 35 Camp Street, while Neville continues to run Beechworth Accounting at 47 High Street.                           

2009 – Nov 11

After operating from the former Beechworth Railway Station since 1987, the Beechworth Community Child Care Centre is officially opened at its new premises on Albert Road within the Mayday Hills precinct. It also serves as the new home of the Beechworth Kindergarten.

2010 – Jan

Lieutenant Pauline Middleton arrives in Beechworth to become the Corps Officer at The Salvation Army. She became a soldier in 1990 and is accepted into The Salvation Army Officer Training College in Melbourne in 2007, graduating at the end of 2008. As well as running the Beechworth Corps (church) and its associated services, Lieutenant Middleton also visits local aged care facilities to encourage residents, and becomes a chaplain at the Beechworth Correctional Centre, spending time with inmates who need her counsel, and their families when times get tough. Salvation Army community lunches are held every week after the Sunday morning worship service and on Fridays. The ‘Salvos’ provide needy Beechworth locals with food, furniture, clothing, and help with some bills. Pauline will be promoted to Captain in January 2014 and is promoted to Major on November 30th 2023, becoming the longest serving Salvation Army officer in Beechworth’s history.

The Salvation Army’s Beechworth Corps (Citadel) on Ford Street, built in 1920
The Salvation Army has had an active presence in Beechworth since 1884, just four years after the officially recognised start of the Army in Australia. When Pauline Middleton arrives in Beechworth, she takes over from Captains Peter and Ainsley McMaster, who move to Western Australia.


Winemaker Adrian Rodda (picture: younggunofwine.com)

After spending more than a decade under the tutelage of David Bicknell at Oakridge Wines in the Yarra Valley, Adrian Rodda moves to Beechworth, with his wife Dr Christie Rodda, and establishes A. Rodda Wines, producing a Chardonnay from the Smiths Vineyard, the oldest vineyard in modern Beechworth viticulture. Adrian is encouraged by his friend Mark Walpole who had planted his Fighting Gully Road Vineyard in the region in 1997. In 2012 Adrian will commence the “Chardonnay Project”, sourcing grapes from the Willow Lake Vineyard in the Yarra Valley and vinifies them in parallel with the Smiths Vineyard Chardonnay. Dr Christie Rodda becomes a permanent member of the medical staff at the Beechworth Surgery on Camp Street.


Graham Fisher, who owns Beechworth Pizza at 57 Ford Street, launches a second business – Beechworth Horse and Carriage.

Graham Fisher with his horses Boxer and Gypsy

2010 – May

Beechworth receives the top prize when the winner of the ‘Australian Tidy Towns Award’ is announced at Government House in Canberra, at a reception hosted by The Administrator, Dr Ken Michael AC

Beechworth is announced as the national winner of the Keep Australia Beautiful ‘Tidy Towns’ award 2009/10 at Government House in Canberra. As well as winning the overall Australian title, Beechworth also wins the Dame Phyllis Frost Litter Prevention Award, the Energy Innovation Award and receives a commendation in the Heritage & Culture category. Australian Tidy Towns National Judge, Dick Olesinski states: “Beechworth‟s diverse range of projects make up the community’s longstanding commitment to Tidy Towns and other related environmental and beautification approaches. The community as a whole have a strong sense of commitment and pride and are involved in a broad range of initiatives to ensure a sustainable future”.


The Beechworth Ice Creamery on the corner of Camp & High Streets (photo: Stuart Row)

After nine years, the Anders family and their Le Blanche Ice Creamery outgrow the small shop at 14A Camp Street and they take over the long-running Beechworth Ice Creamery across the road at 3 Camp Street, on the corner of High Street. They make all their own ice cream and sorbets at the rear of the new larger premises, using local fruits and ingredients, and their business grows into one of Beechworth’s most popular places for visitors (and locals) to visit in the warmer months.

Dean Anders busy at work making ice cream at the ‘Beechworth Ice Creamery’
The corner of Camp Street and High Streets is historically significant, not only because it was originally at the ‘centre of town’, but also because on the day of the first land auction in Beechworth – on September 7, 1853 – the bargain of the day went to the very first buyer Charles Williams, who paid just £3 for the allotments on this corner – where ‘The Beechworth Ice Creamery’ and ‘The Beechworth Sweet Company’ now stand. 

2010 – Jul

With support from the ‘Helen Macpherson Smith Trust Bushfire Grants Fund’ – which is established to assist in the restoration of community life in rural townships affected by the February 2009 ‘Black Saturday’ Victorian bushfires – the Beechworth Neighbourhood Centre creates a Community Garden on the land behind the Community Bookshop it had opened on Ford Street in December 2008. The garden is developed in partnership with the Beechworth Correctional Centre and Sustainable Gardening Australia. Renamed the Quercus Beechworth Community Garden in 2015, over the following years it will continue to (literally) grow and flourish, with members of the community encouraged to plant and grow items, with others welcome to take home produce from the garden, including bunches of herbs or green vegetable leaves for salads. The Quercus Community Garden (below) now consists of flowers, Australian natives, vegetables, herbs, and fruit trees, as well as offering places to sit and eat, chat, or relax.

The ‘Helen Macpherson Smith Trust’ is established in 1951. In accordance with the terms of the late Helen Macpherson Schutt’s (née Smith) will, income from her estate is to be paid in perpetuity at the discretion of Trustees to charitable institutions situated in Victoria. Since 1972, total grants made exceed $99 million. Each year, grants of between $4 million and $5 million are given to a wide spectrum of Victorian charities. Within 48 hours of ‘Black Saturday’ in 2009, the Trust establishes a special $2 million ‘Bushfires Grants Fund’ with a $1 million grant allocation to ‘Sustainable Gardening Australia’ for its proposal
entitled ‘Community Based Gardening in Bushfire Affected Areas’.

2010 – Jul

Beechworth community radio station Indigo FM is founded by local resident Paul Fitzgerald, with its first official home in a room at the rear of Nine Mile Music at 14B Camp Street. When Nine Mile Music closes at the end of 2010, Indigo FM relocates to the Beechworth Youth Centre at the former Beechworth Railway Station thanks to the support of Indigo Shire Youth Services before moving its base to a small studio within Beechworth Secondary College in early 2013. The station broadcasts on 88.0 FM.


Noel Evans with one of his Beechworth Taxis (photo: David Thorpe)

Noel Evans – longtime maths teacher at the Beechworth Gaol intergration prison, and trainer at the Beechworth Football Club – takes over the Beechworth Taxis business from Terry Baker. Along with driver Cheryl Walker, Noel will drive people around Beechworth and surrounding towns for the next 12 years.

Cheryl Walker’s great-great-uncle Frank Jarvis had one of Beechworth’s first taxis in the 1920s, an American-built ‘Flint’.


Jim McCormack constructs the coin operated Beechworth Car Wash on his land at 30-32 Diffey Road a few doors from his home. Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, it features three bays, plus car vacuuming and cleaning facilities.

In April 2016 Karen Allen will buy the business from McCormack and continues to run it successfully today.


After establishing All-Car Auto Electrical on Beechworth’s ‘Industrial Estate’ at 21 Crawford Street in September 2003, Craig Ramsay moves his All-Car Auto Electrical workshop to the rear of 71 Finch Street (a former motorcycle spare parts centre), next door to the Beechworth Ambulance Station. With over 40 years’ experience as an auto electrician, Ramsay continues to look after Beechworth’s auto electrical needs..


The Haldon Estate Wines is established at 59 Havelock Road, although it’s history dates back many years to when original owner Alexander Pritchard – elected as the Honorary Secretary of the first Beechworth Municipal Council in 1856 – plants a 9-acre vineyard in the 1850s. Then, in 1893, new owner – German businessman Frederic Haumann – builds a fine brick residence on the site. He names the house ‘Haldon’, describing it as a ‘Gentlemen’s Retirement Home’ (below).

Frederic Haumann in front of ‘Haldon’ – his ‘Gentlemen’s Retirement Home’


At the Lake Sambell Reserve, a new Amenities Block with toilets, baby change room and changing cubicles for swimmers are completed beside the Lake Sambell Playground (established in 1997). A Bocce Court and an outdoor gym ‘Fitness Station’ is also created (below) along with a new canoe launching area to replace the old boat ramp, as canoeing and kayaking become more popular on the lake.

Lake Sambell is named in honour of Leslie Herbert Sambell, Beechworth shire engineer and secretary of the ‘Forward Beechworth Committee’. 1n 1928 Sambell published a booklet entitled “Beechworth: The Ideal Tourist Resort” on the attractions of Beechworth for tourists and prospective residents. 
Lake Sambell Fitness Station.

2010 – Sep                   

Adrian ‘Oz’ Osborne opens his Splatoons Cartoon Shop & Gallery at 8 Camp Street (corner of Camp and High Streets) next door to Bec’s Take Away shop.

The prominent corner building has been home to a number of businesses over the years including ‘Spencer’s Butchers’ in the 1930s and more recently, a chicken shop and the ‘Computers @ Beechworth’ shop.

2010 – Sep

Beechworth captain Brayden Carey and coach Shaun Pritchard celebrate the club’s 2010 Tallangatta and District League premiership at Sandy Creek.

Coached by Shaun Pritchard and captained by Brayden Carey, the Beechworth Football Club‘The Bushrangers’ – finally take home the premiership flag – their first in 9 years – winning the 2010 Grand Final, defeating Yackandandah 18.9 (117) to 12.5 (77) at the Sandy Creek oval.

Unfortunately, ‘The Bushrangers’ will slump to a wooden spoon in 2013 after winning just one of their 18 home and away matches for the year!

2010 – Oct

The ‘Beechworth Butchery’ at 70 Ford Street

Luke Whybrow from the Beechworth Butchery is announced as one the winners in the North-Eastern regional heat of the ‘Victorian Sausage King Competition’. Co-ordinated by the Australian Meat Industry Council, Luke is awarded best in the ‘Lamb Class’ for his lamb, honey, mint and rosemary sausage.

Luke Whybrow from the ‘Beechworth Butchery’ (left, with guitar) beside Lex Fletcher (‘Beechworth Music Festival’ organiser) in a 2014 award-winning photograph by Wendy Stephens, taken for the ‘Ovens & Murray Advertiser’ to promote the ‘2015 Beechworth Music Festival’..

2020 – Oct 30-31

The Beechworth Theatre Company stages a production of “The Wind in the Willows” directed by Lorraine Monshing OAM and produced by Vicki Connell. The play is staged outdoors – in and around Beechworth’s Chinese Gardens and Lake Sambell (above) – with two performances each day – at 12 noon and a later show at 5pm – with family audiences encouraged to ‘pack a picnic’.  

Since being ‘revived’ in 1996 , the ‘Beechworth Theatre Company Inc’ will go on to present a range of stage shows to local audiences including “Cosi”, “Steel Magnolias”, “Bullshot Crummond”, “Dracula”, “Trial and Error”, “Life After George”, “The One Day of the Year”, ‘The Vicar of Dibley”, “The Importance of Being Earnest”, “Screwtape”, “California Suite”, “Black Comedy”, along with ‘Theatre Restaurant’ style shows, live Radio Plays and numerous ‘One Act Play’ Festivals.

2010 – Dec 1-3

Former ‘Beechworth Bowls Club’ Ladies President and committee member Lesley Smart with her husband Graeme on the green at the club – under water for the first time in memory (photo: John Russell)

After heavy and persistent summer rain, floods surge through the rain-drenched region, with some areas copping over 50 millimetres in a few hours. The Woolshed Falls become a raging torrent with white water rapids carrying trees like twigs, while the Beechworth Bowls Club ends up looking more like a swimming pool than a bowling green.

2010 – Dec

The ‘Nine Mile Music’ shop, next door to Elizabeth Mason’s ‘House in the Country’ store and the ‘Empire Hotel’ on Camp Street.

After many years in business, Nine Mile Music at 14B Camp Street closes for business.


Salmore Developments, the new owner of the Heritage listed Beechworth Gaol, opens the building to the public, offering tours under the banner of Beechworth Gaol Unlocked.


‘Traviarti’ on Elgin Road

After 15 years in the wine trade, Simon Grant and his partner Helen Murray choose Beechworth as the perfect place to establish Traviarti – a new vineyard – at 39 Elgin Road. They plant ‘nebbiolo’ in the red decomposed shale and mudstone soils just above the township. Simon will become President of the Beechworth Vignerons.

Simon Grant (right) from ‘Traviarti’ with fellow Beechworth vignerons Daniel Balzer (left) from ‘Willem Kurt Wines’ and Adam Castagna (centre) from ‘Castagna’. (photo: Matthew Smithwick)

2011 – May 23

Pro Vice-Chancellor Professor Hal Swerissen in front of the old Asylum.

La Trobe University Pro Vice-Chancellor Professor Hal Swerissen announces the university will close its Beechworth Hotel and Conference Centre facilities and the entire site will be prepared for sale. La Trobe University purchased the Mayday Hills Mental Asylum for $750,000 in 1996.

2011 – Jul 11

‘Hotch Potch’ at 39 Ford Street – the building was constructed by James Kyle in 1856

Netty Atkins takes over Hotch Potch at 39 Ford Street which had been established in 2003 by Greg Morcombe at 71 Ford Street. Hotch Potch specialises in quality kitchenware and gifts. The 1856-built shop had originally been home to a series of ‘Beechworth Undertakers’ including James Kyle and George Henry Farley.

The delightful interior of ‘Hotch Potch’ at 39 Ford Street. It will close in May 2023 after 20 years in business.


Terese Adams and 4 year old daughter Audrey at their new ‘Red Hill Footwear and Childrenswear’ shop on Ford Street (photo: Matthew Smithwick)

Terese Adams and Kelvin Clark open Red Hill Footwear and Childrenswear at 49 Ford Street, next door to Beechworth Toys and Collectables. The shop carries a range of items for children including underwear, pyjamas, casual clothing, baby gifts, hair accessories, watches, jewellery, purses, bags, and even bubble baths. Terese and Kel had restored Barnsley House in 1987 and owned and operated the popular Bed and Breakfast until August 2009.


Aaron Taylor and Martina Brazdovicova at the ‘Cellar Door Wine Store’

Cellar Door Wine Store is established at 62 Ford Street by former Provenance employees Aaron Taylor and Martina Brazdovicova. Offering wine by the glass or bottle, the store also showcases a range of cheeses, along with the Beechworth region’s wines, given very few local wineries have cellar doors open to the public. They will sell the popular store to the Bisset family in 2016 before relocating to Sydney.

Aaron Taylor stocks the shelves at his ‘Cellar Door Wine Store’

2011 – Sep 9

The Bendigo Bank opens a branch in Beechworth at 78 Ford Street in the shop formerly occupied by the Green Gekko Café (below).

‘Bendigo Bank’ begins in 1858 as the ‘Bendigo Mutual Permanent Land and Building Society’ on the Bendigo goldfields, in response to the sudden and rapid wave of migration, where it is established to improve conditions for thousands of migrants seeking their fortune. In Beechworth, the branch is operated by the Indigo Community Development Group Limited‘.

2011 – Sep

Lyn Oswald takes over Jacqueline’s Tearoom (above) at 34-36 Camp Street and renames it the Moments & Memories Tea Room (below), offering traditional English afternoon teas “with all its social glory”.

In the 1950s, 34-36 Camp Street is the home of Leo Kavangh’s ‘Beechworth Taxi Service Office and Garage’ then, in the 1960s, Ian Downs runs his ‘BP Petrol Station’ from this location before moving his ‘Golden Era Service Station’ to Ford Street in 1972.

2011 – Dec 6              

Monsignor Frank Marriott (photo – ABC Local News)

The burial yard of Beechworth Gaol is legally consecrated by Monsignor Frank Marriott from the Sandhurst Diocese, almost 150 years after the first prisoner is buried within the solid granite walls. The burial ground contains the remains of the eight prisoners hanged within the gaol between 1865 and 1881. With one exception, they are all executed for murder. A Sentence of Consecration document is signed by Monsignor Marriott during the course of the ceremony. Those in attendance include former prison staff and descendants of gaol inmates including Pat Oliver, the great-granddaughter of Patrick Sheehan, the first person to be hanged at the Beechworth Gaol in 1865.

The eight men hanged at Beechworth Gaol are – Patrick Sheehan, aged 31 (6th November 1865); John Kelly, aged 35 (4th May 1867); Peter Higgins (aka James Smith), aged 40 (11th November 1869); James Quinn, aged 30 (10th November 1871); Thomas Brady, aged 32 (12th May 1873); James Smith, aged 30 (12th May 1873); Thomas Hogan, aged 34 (9th June 1879); Robert Rohan (aka George Smith), aged 25 (6th June 1881). 

2012 – Jan 1                

After purchasing a property, planting olives and harvesting their produce, Ben and Lyn Ryder open Blynzz Coffee Roaster and Café at 43 Ford Street. Initially their deli-style café is intended as a way of offering their olive products to customers, but the coffee roasting side of the business quickly overtakes their original plans. Winning an award for their roasted coffee in their first year – and more awards over the succeeding years – Blynzz roasts 100% Arabica beans sourced from Mexico, Peru, Ethiopia, Colombia, Papua New Guinea and beyond, hand roasting single origins and blends. In July 2021 Lyn Ryder will take solo control of the business and change the name from Blynzz Coffee Roaster and Café to Table Three Seven Four Seven (Beechworth’s postcode – below), while Ben Ryder establishes a separate business – Beechworth Coffee Roasters – at 6 Boiler House Lane (off Gilchrist Avenue, behind the Montessori School).

‘Table Three Seven Four Seven‘ will close in April 2023 while Lyn Ryder takes an extended break, before she returns and re-opens the popular coffee shop and café in mid-July 2024.
Lyn and Ben Ryder at ‘Blynzz Coffee Roasters‘ (photo: TruPics)
‘Blynzz’ becomes ‘Table Three Seven Four Seven’ (Beechworth’s postcode) in July 2021.


Andrew Roscouet toasts the opening of the new Cellar Door at ‘The Plough Inn’23km from Beechworth on the Wangaratta-Beechworth Road.

Formerly the chef at Beechworth’s Warden’s Food and Wine and Gigi’s of Beechworth, Andrew Roscouet and his wife Feona take over the lease for The Plough Inn at Tarrawingee from the Nolan family, who have owned the historic hotel for over 150 years. Andrew will open a new cellar door at The Plough Inn on December 6th 2014.

The new Cellar Door will be housed in what had been a disused room near The Plough Inn’s bar entrance and will feature milled timber from a giant redwood – sequoiadendron giganteum – that fell near Beechworth oval 15 years previously.
The beautiful and appealing ‘Beer Garden’ at the rear of the historic ‘Plough Inn’

2012 – Apr 8                   

On Easter Sunday a suspicious fire destroys parts of the Salvation Army Corps (Church) at 35 Ford Street. The Beechworth Fire Brigade arrive at the building at 9:30pm and take 15 minutes to extinguish the eight separate fires lit throughout the building which causes extensive damage in the office, including the destruction of computers, printers, and photocopiers. The culprit is never identified. After extensive renovations, the building is reopened in July.

2012 – Jun 4

John ‘Snowy’ Anderson behind the counter at his Ford Street Men’s Hairdressers.

Beechworth’s long-time barber and men’s hairdresser John Groves ‘Snowy’ Anderson passes away at the age of 81. He has served the community for over 50 years from his popular hairdressers at 66 Ford Street in the Clement’s Buildings, next door to Vincent Shallue’s Butcher shop.

2012 – Jun                  

Former world number one squash champion Sarah Fitz-Gerald and Squash Victoria’s Fiona Young are the special guests at the official re-opening of the Beechworth Squash and Fitness Centre at 4 Mellish Street under the new management of Jason Dawson.


Graham Abbott and his daughter Vanessa at ‘Beechworth Gold’.

Vanessa Abbott purchases Beechworth Gold from her parents Patricia and Graham Abbott who had established Beechworth Gold in 1997 on the corner of Ford and Camps Streets.

The interior of ‘Beechworth Gold’

2012 – Aug 9

Another cold morning in Beechworth as light snow falls over the town.

2012 – Sep 29

Work begins of repairing the dam wall at Lake Sambell.

60 people gather at the Beechworth Town Hall to hear about a $3 million plan to repair cracks in the Lake Sambell dam wall which had been discovered in early 2012. At that time, the lake’s water level had been lowered two metres to avoid potential structural failure of the wall. Consulting engineer Richard Rodd tells the concerned citizens the embankment had been poorly built in 1928, and remained unfixed after more work was done in the 1960s. Investigations have now revealed that instead of stripping the foundations back to solid rock, crews built the embankment on top of alluvial material. Work begins shortly after the meeting. it will fully completed in August 2015.


Cafe Amalia, a Tapas Bar serving Mediterranean-style cuisine, closes for business at 52 Ford Street.

2012 – Dec 1

John Harvey (left) and Leo Nette with their model of the Beechworth Railway Station. (photo: Mark Jesser)

‘Beechworth Railway Weekend’. A detailed model of the Beechworth Railway Station in the 1960s is officially unveiled by former Deputy Prime Minister (and railway enthusiast) Tim Fischer in a newly dedicated room of the Beechworth Telegraph Station. The fully operational HO-scale model railway replica is the brainchild of Beechworth morse code expert Leo Nette, a volunteer at the Telegraph Station, who contacted scale modeller and fellow Beechworth resident John Harvey, secretary of the Wodonga Railway Modellers, to help build the miniature station, sheds, water tank and surrounds, with assistance from six volunteers using original engineering drawings from the Burke Museum. The permanent exhibition is still open to the public and has proved very popular with locals and tourists alike.

Detail of the miniature Beechworth Railway Station

2013 – Mar

George Fendyk, one of the new owners of the Mayday Hills Mental Asylum, wanders around his new property.

After sitting mostly empty since it closed the site in 2011, La Trobe University sells its Beechworth Campus at the Mayday Hills Mental Asylum for $1.5 million to local business, La Trobe Beechworth Pty Ltd, co-owned by Beechworth residents Geoff Lucas and George Fendyk.

The 106-hectare site comprises numerous buildings including a Conference Centre with a 20-room Hotel, Restaurant and Meeting Rooms; a three-level building used for accommodation; and nine smaller accommodation properties. The site also includes two buildings used as classrooms for a Montessori School, the ‘Bijou Theatre’ (that is the starting point for Ghost Tours), a Catering Centre, offices, Cricket Pavilion and Oval, the Beechworth Childcare Centre and Kindergarten, Gardening Sheds, Boiler Rooms, Maintenance Buildings, assorted storage sheds and a Chapel (formerly the Asylum’s Morgue!).

2013 – Mar

Kellie Henshall, who had been working for Rebecca Davies at her Bec’s Takeaway (below) at 6B Camp Street, agrees to take over the business, renaming the popular takeaway shop Kellz Kitch. (Before Bec’s Takeaway, the business had been operating as Cafe Lasserena.)

2013 – Mar 29                  

On Easter Good Friday, celebrated chef Sean Ford and his partner Lauren Heidke open The Ox and Hound bistro at 52 Ford Street, specialising in rustic French and Italian cooking styles. After moving to Beechworth in 2009, Sean and Lauren start a family (two children – Pearl and Anderson) and eventually take over the former site of Cafe Amalia, and create a cosy new dining space, seating just 30 guests, and add features including lights hanging from wattle tree limbs, recycled Snowline Fruits apple crates used as box shelving and wall panelling behind the bar, and woven cane bistro chairs. The original, historic pressed metal ceiling remains a feature.  

Interior of ‘The Ox and Hound’ bistro


The three-storey Nurses’ Home at the Mayday Hills Hospital is converted into the Linaker Art Deco Motel.

One of the rooms in theLinaker Art Deco Motel


The George Kerferd Hotel is opened at 22 Oak Avenue within in the vast former May Day Hills Hospital property. The 4-star hotel features 20 guest rooms, a swimming pool, tennis court, billiards room and a wedding chapel. The hotel also includes the newly opened GK Restaurant, overseen by French chef Michel Renoux.


Beechworth’s Michael Ryan voted ‘Chef of the Year’ (photo: Sydney Morning Herald)

Provenance restaurant’s Michael Ryan is named ‘Chef of the Year‘ in the Age Good Food Guide. Provenance, established in the grand old Bank of Australasia at 86 Ford Street in 2009, has received many accolades and awards, including two hats in the Good Food Guide for the last 9 years and is currently ranked no. 30 in the Gourmet Traveller Top 100 Australian Restaurants.

The interior of award-winning ‘Provenanceat 86 Ford Street


Rod and Jacinta Devlin establishes Devlin Real Estate at 75 Ford Street where L.J. Hooker Beechworth and Lupsons Real Estate had been based since 2000.

L.J. Hooker Beechworth, established in 2000 at 75 Ford Street.

2013 – May

Margo Maller and Peter Brygel purchase the beautiful house at 3 Finch Street. Built in 1895, it is surrounded by beautiful, English-style manicured gardens, and features a swimming pool, a tinkling fountain and an 80-year-old magnolia tree in the front garden. It had been operating as a ‘Bed & Breakfast’ some years earlier but had been closed for a few years. They will spend a number of months, and a lot of money, to bring it back into shape, and open it as Finches of Beechworth at the end of 2013. In 2016, Finches of Beechworth will win the Trip Advisor award for ‘Best Bed & Breakfast in Australia’.

Finches of Beechworth’ at 3 Finch Street


A Beechworth turn-off sign near the Ovens River on the newly named ‘Hume Freeway’ heading north towards the Victoria-New South Wales border.

With the completion of the Holbrook Bypass in NSW, the Hume Highway has now been fully upgraded to ‘dual carriageway’ standard between Melbourne and Sydney, with Tarcutta as the halfway point of the 840 km journey. Known as the Hume Highway in NSW, in Victoria it is known as the Hume Freeway, although the name reverts to the ‘Hume Highway’ in the outer metropolitan areas of Melbourne, ending at the intersection with the Western and Metropolitan Ring Road at Thomastown.

A section of the Albury-Wodonga Bypass, opened in March 2007
First proposed in 1964, the 17.4 km ‘Albury-Wodonga Bypass’ is finally opened to traffic on March 6th 2007. With approval finally granted in 2004 and construction commencing in 2005, the final cost of $524 million will be shared by the Victorian government ($150 million) and the NSW government ($374 million).

2013 – Jul

La Trobe University’sThe Pines Conference Centre’, formerly the ‘Turquoise Ward’, built in the late 1930s, which overlooks the cricket ground at Mayday Hills.

Mayor Barb Murdoch announces the Indigo Council will purchase the former Turquoise Ward building at 2 Kurrajong Way within the Mayday Hills Mental Asylum site for $500,000 as its new office base. It had been operating as The Pines Conference Centre for La Trobe University since they bought old Asylum in 1996. After refurbishment of the building, the council should be able to move in within two years. 17 Yackandandah staff in the Infrastructure Services Department will move to the new Beechworth offices, with 34 staff remaining in Yackandandah to provide essential services, including planning, building, natural resources and environmental health. Options for the council’s current Beechworth office, include moving the Beechworth Library.

Overlooking the ‘Mayday Hills Cricket Ground’, the new ‘Turquoise Ward’ is added to the ‘Mayday Hill Mental Asylum’ in the late 1930s to house the growing number of children who are being transferred from the ’Kew Cottages’ in Melbourne. However, the proposed new ‘Children’s Ward’ will prove somewhat unsuitable as it has no ‘exercise yard’ or ‘airing court’ meaning child patients have to be confined indoors. A solution is reached, with the children being escorted daily across the road to share the ‘airing court’ at the ‘Number 5 Female Ward’.

2013 – Aug

Dieter Bach, who established Gospel Antiques at the former Congregational Church at 40a Camp Street in 1998 needs more room, so he now opens a second antique store in the original 1861 Beechworth Common School No. 36 building at 17 Loch Street. Known as Crozzie’s CollectablesSchool House Antiques, it will close after 3 years.


Jim Didolis and Heidi Freeman’s Freeman on Ford is awarded Trip Advisor’s “Travellers’ Choice Award” for the ‘Top Bed & Breakfast’ in Australia. They will win the award again in 2015.

Jim and Heidi also own and operate Beechworth’s ‘Lakeside Chalet’ and adjoining ‘Lakeside Studio’ at 1 Kraus Lane on the shore of Lake Sambell, and the ‘Beechworth Hideaway’ in Priory Lane.
Heidi Freeman’s ‘Lakeside Cottage’ on the shores of Lake Sambell

2013 – Sep                            

Indigo Fuels takes over the Ampol Petrol Station just over the Newtown Bridge at 2-4 High Street and major renovations take place to convert it to a Shell Petrol Station. Highbridge Motors (who service cars) leaves the site. In 2016 Indigo Fuels will begin further renovations to add a Fast & Ezy 24 hour convenience store to the petrol station.

2016 renovations at Beechworth’s Shell Petrol Station to add a Fast & Ezy convenience store.

2013 – Oct                    

Highbridge Motors’ on Crawford Street.

Andrew Breen moves his Highbridge Motors business from the Shell Petrol Station at 2-4 High Street to new independent premises at 4/26 Crawford Street, part of Beechworth’s new ‘Industrial Estate’ which looks out onto the Rail Trail and natural water features (below).


Beechworth Toys & Collectables’ at 51 Ford Street (left) with the bricked-up front of the ‘Buffalo Lodge’ at 53 Ford Street – up for auction.

The Buffalo Lodge (The Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes)- which had occupied 53 Ford Street for a number of years – closes, and the bricks covering the front of the building are removed and it is converted back into a single shop. Rebus now trades from this shop.

5153 Ford Street in 2023.


Adrian ‘Oz’ Osborne moves his Splatoons cartoon studio from 8 Camp Street (corner of Camp and High Streets) to new premises at 62 High Street.

The new home of Adrian Osbourne’s ‘Splatoons’ shop, with signage by Beechworth’s resident signwriting expert Clem Angus.
The site on the corner of Camp and High Streets is taken over Bonnici & Associates – First National Real Estate which still operates from the location today.

2013 – Nov

The new Beechworth Fire Brigade Station (run by the Country Fire Authority) opens at 5 Victoria Road, replacing the old 1903 Fire Station which still stands at 35-37 Camp Street.

The original 1903 Fire Station (below) and adjoining Fireman’s Residence, is now owned by Steve and Jodie Goldsworthy of Beechworth Honey.
The 1903 Fire Station on Camp Street.

2013 – Dec

The Salvation Army purchase the house at 37 Ford Street (above) next door to their Corps (church) at 35 Ford Street and convert the small family home into their Thrift Shop (below) which will be officially opened in August 2014. The Salvo’s annual local welfare budget is around $100,000, now funded mostly by the new Salvation Army Thrift Shop.

2014 – Jan 15

Nicole MacIsaac and her Myrtleford-based sister Danni Townsend-O’Neil open Eva’s Sunday at 83 Ford Street to sell their independently owned Australian fashion linen label, along with other fashion products and labels including Angus & Celeste, Hip Hip Decay, SOH Candles, Rose & Lyle, Blanc & Nero Candles, and Lovers Eclectica. In 2023, Eva’s Sunday open a second store in Melbourne at 277 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy.

The warm and inviting interior of the ‘Eva’s Sunday’ store.


‘The Green Shed’ bistro’s Nathan Ackland and Megan Chalmers

After a number of years in business, The Green Shed bistro closes. Established by James Loveridge – who crushes and makes his own wines – and later operated by Nathan Ackland and Megan Chalmers, it is located in the 1891-built printing house at 37 Camp Street.

Interior of the 1891-built ‘Green Shed’ at 37 Camp Street


Dr Karen Hayes (above) establishes Indigo Chiro at Shop 4 in the Marion Arcade, 74 Ford Street (below) offering a range of chiropractic services.


Sally McGreogor takes over theBeechworth Sweet Company‘.

After Judi Borschman’s retirement from the Beechworth Sweet Company on Camp Street, long-time employee and book-keeper Sally McGregor purchases the popular store, established by Judi at 7 Camp Street in 1992.


Beechworth Secondary College.

Beechworth’s Secondary College has 241 pupils, the Primary School has 188 pupils.

Beechworth Primary School.

2014 – Mar 13

Louise Ritchie opens Silver Creek Sourdough bakery in Boiler House Lane (behind the Montessori School), specialising in a delicious and healthy range of sourdough breads, crumpets and pizza bases using all local and organic ingredients, including honey from Beechworth’s True Blue Honey for her popular ‘Spelt and Honey Sourdough’ bread.

On her first day in 2014, Louise produces a 10kg trial batch of dough and makes a profit of just $2.00! By 2024 ‘Silver Creek Sourdough’ is processing around 750kg dough into bread and pizza and 300kg crumpet mix over 5 production days.

2014 – Mar

Steve and Jodie Goldsworthy from Beechworth Honey open their new Beechworth Honey Discovery centre in the former Bank of NSW building (built in 1865). Beechworth Honey is established in 1993 with its manufacturing headquarters located in Corowa. The business wins the Regional Victoria Business Achievement Award in 2013.

The rear courtyard of ‘Beechworth Honey Discovery’
The Goldsworthy’s will later convert the former bank manager’s residence on the first floor of the old bank into the three bedroom ‘Hive Apartment’ luxury accommodation.

2014 – Apr

After a gap of 156 years, the pistol gifted to Robert O’Hara Burke in Beechworth returns to Beechworth, arriving in a crate from Dublin after a successful bid at auction. The ‘Tranter’ pistol was given to Burke in 1858 as a gift from his fellow police when he left Beechworth for his ill-fated expedition across Australia with William John Wills, taking the weapon with him. It will be found next to his body after he and Wills die on the return journey in 1861. After a tip-off that the pistol is about to be auctioned in Dublin – with a starting price of $1,500 – the Burke’s Museum’s limited funds are bolstered by a $3,000 council grant and $3,000 from the Friends of the Burke Museum group and finally a call to arms at the Nicholas Hotel just five hours before the auction begins. Publican Ross Lucas chips-in $1,000, as do Stanley nut growers Andrew Cook and Anita Mihaljevic, along with several others who generate the final winning bid of $18,000. The inscription inside the pistol case reads “Presented to R. O’Hara Burke Esq. Supt. of Police by the Officers of the district on his transfer from Beechworth, November 1858”.

Welcoming Robert O’Hara Burke’s pistol back to Beechworth – Burke Museum Manager Patrick Watt, Collections Manager Linda Peacock, Sergeant Geoff Still and Beechworth history expert Bob Simpson (photo: Tara Goonan)


Luke Stribley (left) with his parents Mick and Sharon – their ‘Beechworth Machinery’ store is named ‘Graden Industries’ 2014 “Dealer of the Year”.

Beechworth Machinery is named ‘Graden Industries’ “Dealer of the Year”. The business, established by George Fendyk in 1990, is at 30 High Street, the original site of Ladson’s Cash Grocery Store, established in 1882 (below).

‘Ladson’s Cash Grocery Store’ at 30 High Street

2014 – May 10

Lex Fletcher and Rikki Raadsveld launch the first annual ‘Beechworth Music Festival’ (photo: Mark Stephens)

The first Beechworth Music Festival is held at the Madman’s Gully Amphitheatre on the farmlands of the former Mayday Hills Mental Asylum. Unfortunately the rain falls … and falls … just before the festival kicks off, turning the ground into quagmire (see below), but this doesn’t dampen the spirits of the small but appreciative crowd and the festival is considered a success. Created by Lex Fletcher and Rikki Raadsveld, the annual event will move to the Australia Day long weekend from 2015.

2014 – Aug

Mayor Bernard Gaffney (left) with the Salvation Army’s Andrew van Gaalen and Captain Pauline Middleton (photo: Coral Cooksley)

Indigo Mayor Bernard Gaffney is on hand for the official opening of the new Salvation Army Thrift Shop at 37 Ford Street. Along with Beechworth business and community leaders are Salvation Army northern division captain Andrew van Gaalen and Beechworth’s own Salvation Army Captain Pauline Middleton. The building, next door to the 1920-built Salvation Army Citadel, had been purchased by the Salvos at the end of 2013 and transformed into a Thrift Shop (below) as part of an on-going project supported by the Beechworth Correctional Centre, builder Peter Novosad, local businesses and generous donors.

2014 – Sep

The third annual ‘Beechworth Proms’ are held at Christ Church and $3,000 is raised and donated to Breast Cancer Awareness Australia. This year’s theme is “a tribute to citizens of the Beechworth district who enlisted 100 years to serve in the Great War that was to end all wars”. Entertainment begins outside the church with Geoff Crossman leading the Beechworth Concert Band.


The huge ‘Crossley’ QVD7 diesel engine is relocated to Wallace Park in Beechworth.

The world’s last-surviving seven-cylinder Crossley QVD7 (350 horsepower) diesel engine and electric generator is relocated to a purpose-built ‘tin shed’ next to the Beechworth Bowls Club at Wallace Park, where it can be viewed by the public. The $75,000 project is a joint venture between the volunteers at the Old Cranks Motor Club and Beechworth Rotary. The 13 tonne British-built Crossley engine was originally imported to Beechworth by Albert Michael Zwar in 1936 – at a cost of £6,000 – to provide electrical power for the expanding Zwar’s Tannery, one of Beechworth’s biggest employers, as well as providing electricity for street lighting throughout Beechworth.

After the closure of ‘Zwar’s Tannery’ in Beechworth in 1961, the Crossley diesel engine is moved to French’s Sawmill at Mount Beauty, before being returned to Beechworth where it sits unused for many years inside the Beechworth Railway Goods Shed.  
The ‘Crossley’ engine in its new ‘tin shed’ home at Wallace Park beside Albert Road.


Mike and Heather Allen open The Press Room wine bar at 37 Camp Street in Beechworth’s 1891-built printing house. (It will close in September 2020 after the business suffers from the Covid pandemic.) Mike and Heather have since moved to Kyneton where they have established Miss M’s Lounge.

The delightful and inviting interior of ‘The Press Room’ at 37 Camp Street
Mike and Heather Allen from ‘The Press Room’.

2014 – Nov                   

Jack and Mai Melbourne, from Yackandandah, open the Lemongrass Café at 74 Ford. The popular café specialises a wide range of Asian food including Korean, Vietnamese, Japanese, Thai, and Chinese, with a selection of Sushi, Rice Paper Rolls, Chinese Dim Sims, Home Made Spring Rolls, Pizza Pieces, Pies, Thai curries and noodles.

For many years the shop at 74 Ford Street operated as a popular tobacconist and newsagency. Originally run by American George Judah Lyon, he sells the business to Alfred ‘Alf’ Foster and his wife Sarah in 1871. In 1910 it is taken over by Richard Rowe Warren – nicknamed ‘Little Dick’ – who will run it successfully until his death at the age of 90 in 1950. The laneway that runs beside the shop will be named ‘Warren Lane’ in his honour (now ‘The Marion Arcade’).

2014 – Dec

Members of the ‘Beechworth Concert Band’ – Steve Scott, Tony Mitchell, Geoff Crossman, Rob Humphrey and Hans Sommer (photo: John Russell)

Carols by Candlelight are held once again in the Town Hall Gardens in Beechworth, with music lead by the Beechworth Concert Band.

The ‘Beechworth Concert Band’ rehearse for the big night (photo: John Russell)

2015 – Jan 19

Jamie Horne establishes Indigo Real Estate at 29B Camp Street. As well as being a fully qualified Real Estate Agent, Jamie has a Bachelor of Business, a Certificate of Accounting, and a Certificate of Professional Writing and Editing.  He is the founding Chairman of the Indigo Community Development Group Ltd. and spent five years as a volunteer Ambulance Community Officer. He created the beechworth.com.au website.

Jamie Horne from ‘Indigo Real Estate’


The Beechworth Mountain Bike Park (MTB) is completed at 177 Alma Road. Built by local Paul Fitzgerald and his team, it features a comprehensive trail network of beginner green trails right through to highly technical XC loops and a jump track.


The Bar at ‘The George Kerferd Hotel’ – now home to the ‘Breton Creperie’

Michel Renoux, head chef at The George Kerferd Hotel, opens a new dining experience at the GK Restaurant – the Breton Creperie bistro and bar. Located at 22 Oak Avenue within the Mayday Hills Village in the vast former May Day Hills Hospital property, Michel serves up a delightful range of French crepes.

Bretons’ are Celts who live in Brittany in North-West France. Michel Renoux is from the small village of Saint-Sulpice-la-Foret in Brittany, whose people are counted as one of the six Celtic nations.

2015 – Mar

Owen and Judy Richards (owners of Albertines on Albert Road) purchase the old Wallace Memorial Ward at 19 Warner Road for $362,500. Built in 1890 as part of the Ovens and Murray Hospital for the Aged, it is named in honour local mining entrepreneur and parliamentarian John Altson Wallace who donated £1,100 for the building of what was the 12-bed female ward of the hospital when it was known as the Ovens Benevolent Asylum. The Richards completely renovate the rear and interior of the building into a delightful home, leaving the heritage-listed front exterior untouched. They will put it up for sale in April 2023.

2015 – Mar

Writers & Directors Colin and Campbell Cairnes on location at Beechworth’s former May Day Hill Lunatic Asylum during the four week shoot of “Scare Campaign”

Brisbane filmmaking brothers Colin and Campbell Cairnes arrive in Beechworth with cast and crew to shoot their new Australian feature film “Scare Campaign” at the former May Day Hill Lunatic Asylum. Having had critical and box office success with their first horror film “100 Bloody Acres” in 2012, they searched Australia for the perfect location for their second ‘fright-fest’ until they arrived in Beechworth, realising the old asylum had the perfect atmosphere. “Scare Campaign” features actors Ian Meadows, Meegan Warner, Josh Quong Tart, Olivia DeJonge and veteran Australian film star Sigrid Thornton.


Paul Dahlenburg and Lauretta Schulz open the Eldorado Road Cellar Door = Cantina at 44 Ford Street, part of the original home of the Beechworth Coach House. In mid-2023 the popular business will expand next door, taking over the shops at 46-48 Ford Street.

Paul ‘Bear’ Dahlenburg and Lauretta ‘Laurie’ Schulz took over a derelict vineyard, planted in the 1890s, on Eldorado Road in 2009 and began refreshing and replanting the vines.

2015 – May

The Indigo Shire Council finally move their Beechworth offices from behind the Beechworth Servicemen’s Memorial Hall to the refurbished Turquoise Children’s Ward building at Mayday Hills.


The Beechworth Neighbourhood Centre is renamed Quercus

The Beechworth Neighbourhood Centre – which operates from the old Wesleyan Chapel at 26 Ford Street – celebrates 30 years of service to the community and – in recognition of changing expectations of the community – is renamed Quercus Beechworth. It continues its ongoing focus on community food, community learning, community enterprise, community support and community events. The Community Bookstore next door (in the former Sunday School Hall) is also renamed as the Quercus Bookshop (below).

Quercus is the Latin name for a type of English Black Oak. One of these magnificent trees stands on the corner, beside the ‘Quercus Secondhand Bookshop‘ (above) … and 25 of them line the avenues around the ‘Mayday Hills Mental Asylum’, planted in the late 1860s.

2015 – Jun 24

The 1856-built church hall at 7 Church Street – once the home of James Goldsworthy’s Beechworth Grammar School – is restored and repurposed as the Old Stone Hall, a new gallery, studio and art space for Beechworth’s creative industries and arts community. The building will also become the home of Kore Graphics and the Beechworth Photographers..


Eileen and Steve Wallace – new owners of ‘Barnsley House’

Steve and Eileen Wallace take over the historic 1859-built Barnsley House at 5 John Street, the popular Bed & Breakfast that had been lovingly restored by Kelvin Clark and Terese Adams in 1987.

The beautiful gardens at Beechworth’s ‘Barnsely House’

2015 – Jul                    

Graham Fisher moves his Beechworth Pizza shop from 57 Ford Street to 69 Ford Street where Gigi’s of Beechworth Bar & Bistro had operated for 14 years.

2015 – Aug 1

After almost three years of work, the long-awaited repair and rebuilding of the Lake Sambell dam wall is completed in June with a $2 million grant from the Victorian Government. The project, to make the structure safe, comes in at a cost of $3.1 with the remaining $1.1 million provided by the Indigo Council. It is officially opened by Indigo Shire Mayor Bernard Gaffney and Bill Tilley MP on August 1st.

Looking up at the new dam wall from the end of the Chinese Gardens.


Dominik and Ngaire King open the Peddlar Cafe (or Pedddlar!) at 40 Ford Street. It will operate successfully for three years before closing in 2018.

2015 – Oct                   

Shabbir and Asrathe Hussain

After moving to Beechworth in 2012, Shabbir and Asrathe Hussain establish the Beechworth Indian Restaurant at 32 Ford Street in the former Wardens Hotel, built in 1869 by Edwin Warden as the Midland Counties Hotel. Wardens Food and Wine had operated from the building from 2004 to 2009.

The Hussain’s ‘Beechworth Indian Restaurant’ at 32 Ford Street.

2015 – Oct 24-25

80 years after Tom Parkinson began pushing Tony ‘Sid’ Evans in a wheelbarrow the 55 miles from the front of Parkinson’s Garage on Ford Street in Beechworth to the Mount Buffalo Chalet for a wager of £20, a new ‘Barrowthon’ is established by Guy Wilkinson, Kate Scott and others. Around 100 people – making up 11 teams – enter the two-day 88 km event, to raise money for their chosen charities, with the winning team from the Beechworth Brewery taking line honours, finishing at 10am on Sunday. The team from Headspace Albury Wodonga raise the most money – $6,000 – with a total over $17,000 going to nine separate charities. The ‘Barrowthon’ will become a popular annual event for the next few years.

The 2015 Barrowthon begins at 7.15am on Saturday morning outside the ‘Beechworth Bakery’ with Cathy McGowan (independent MP for the seat of Indi) setting the participants on their way. Also there to watch the start of the race is the great-grandson of one of the original 1935 racers, and a 95-year-old Beechworth woman who was there at the start of the original race in 1935!
The original 1935 ‘Wheelbarrow Marathon’ saw just two men complete the gruelling 55-mile journey in eight days, travelling on rough, muddy and sometimes snow covered tracks, with Tom Parkinson always ‘pushing’ and Sid Evans always ‘being carried’ in the barrow … whereas the 2015 competitors follow the much more pleasant and navigable ‘Murray to the Mountains Rail Trail’, stopping at Porepunkah on the first night after travelling 55 km, before completing the final uphill 33 km section to Mt Buffalo on the second day. Competitors are only required travel the first and last 5 km stretches with a team member sitting in their team’s wheelbarrow, while in the middle section of the marathon participants may take turns in simply pushing their ‘decorated barrows’ empty, with ‘refreshment break stops’ every few kilometres.
Guy Wilkinson, one of the 2015 ‘Barrowthon’ organisers, at Beechworth’s ‘Burke Museum’ with the original wheelbarrow used in the 1935 marathon. Note the wheelbarrow’s pneumatic rubber tyres that ‘Dunlop’ was inspired to create for the original event.

2015 – Nov 27              

Attending the auction – Wangaratta solicitor John Suta (left) and Ned Kelly biographer, historian and television writer and producer Ian Jones.

Beechworth Gaol Auction! When Sam Lawson decides to sell the decommissioned Beechworth Gaol (which he purchased for $1.7 million in 2005), over 150 people gather in Beechworth for the auction of the 3.5 hectare heritage listed property. After an opening bid of $1 million from Albury businessman Allan Black and three other bids, it is passed in at $1.75 million, falling short of the expected $2 million price tag. However, a sale is negotiated shortly afterwards, going to Sydney-based Dunnett Properties Group for an undisclosed figure.

The Dunnett Properties Group will pull out of the sale (for undisclosed reasons) before the looming settlement date in April 2016, but the Beechworth Gaol will finally be sold, privately, to a consortium made up of 44 people in November 2016 for $2.5 million.

2015 – Dec

Husband and wife team Rocco Esposito and Lisa Pidutti return to Beechworth to open Project Forty Nine, a local Providore, Café, Enoteca, Wine Bar and Delicatessen at 46-48 Ford Street. The number ‘Forty Nine’ refers to the address of their farm at 49 Ressom Lane, about 6km out of Beechworth, where they make their own wine, including chardonnay, under the name ‘Project Forty Nine’, practicing organic and biodynamic farming methods.

Rocco and Lisa Esposito created the award-winning ‘Warden’s Food & Wine’ restaurant in Beechworth in 2004 at the former ‘Warden’s Hotel’ on Ford Street. After leaving Beechworth in December 2009, Rocco Esposito spends almost five years as Sommelier and Director of Wine at Melbourne’s three-hatted ‘Vue de Monde’ fine dining restaurant at the Rialto Towers on Collins Street, before returning to Beechworth in 2015 to open ‘Project Forty Nine’ (below).

2015 – Dec

The new Beechworth Library.

The new Beechworth Library opens in its new home at the rear of the Beechworth Servicemen’s Memorial Hall. Prisoners from the Beechworth Correctional Centre are brought in to help move over large 150 crates of books and DVDs from the Library’s former site on the corner of Albert Road and Harper Avenue. Now located with the shire’s Maternal and Child Health Services, the new library is jointly opened by Indigo Shire Mayor James Trenery and the Member for Benambra, Bill Tilley.

2015 – Dec

Geoff and Dawn Brown at their ‘Asylum Ghost Tours’ (photo: Simon Bayliss)

Geoff Brown and his wife Dawn take over the ghostly tours run in Beechworth by Twisted History to become the directors of the newly-named Asylum Ghost Tours after purchasing a large portion of the decommissioned Mayday Hills Mental Asylum (opened in 1867, closed in 1995). The Browns and their staff run tours – both daytime history tours and evening ghost tours – as well as paranormal investigations.

2016 – Jan 16

Just before closing time, a 15-year-old girl sets fire to Beechworth’s only remaining supermarket, the IGA in Loch Street. The massive blaze, started by rolls of toilet paper doused with accelerants, lasts for over six hours before being deemed ‘under control’, but completely guts the 15 year old building.

At the same time as the supermarket is burning, a crowd of 4,500 concertgoers are attending the 20th annual ‘Opera in the Alps’ event at the Beechworth Golf Course less than 2 kilometres away and they soon become aware of the smoke from the blaze.

2016 – Feb

Debby Donkers, from ‘The Spa Beechworth’, in front of the former Ovens Benevolent Asylum with its striking Flemish façade.

Plans are announced to turn the disused but heritage-listed former Ovens Benevolent Asylum at 9 Warner Road into an $1.8 million “wellness” hub. The hospital building, which closed in 2005, is being developed by Debby Donkers, the owner of The Spa Beechworth, and Michael Taylor of Beechworth design and construction business Modspec. The plans include Ms Donkers’ business (currently operating from the nearby former Mayday Hills Mental Asylum), along with accommodation, a shared art studio, restaurant, bar, furniture maker and food purveyors. There are also plans for a possible cinema and cider house.

2016 – Feb

The restored 1875 Chinese Silk Banner admired by Burke Museum manager Patrick Watt, glass cabinet designer Mark Wang, collections manager Linda Peacock and Copland Foundation trustee Ian Stephenson.

After 400 hours of intensive work over a two-year period at Artlab in Adelaide, a historically significant Chinese Silk Banner is returned to Beechworth. The banner had been commissioned by the citizens of Beechworth in 1875 in gratitude to the Chinese who had made a substantial contribution to the development of the Beechworth Benevolent Asylum. At a cost of over $30,000 – financed with the support of the Friends of the Burke Museum and a number of generous donors – the restored banner is unveiled at a function held by the Copland Foundation, which financially supports museums, art galleries and libraries. The banner is to be displayed in a glass case at the Burke Museum. The glass case is designed (for free) by prominent Chinese-Australian Mark Wang, who is the director of Design Australia and a board member of the Melbourne Chinese Museum.

The banner features both Chinese characters and English words: “Presented to the Beechworth Chinese committees of the public institutions in that town in commemoration of the carnival 1873”.

2016 – Mar

Work begins on demolishing the burnt remains of Beechworth’s IGA supermarket. Phelan Shilo Partners are engaged to design and rebuild the $11m state-of-the-art facility.

2016 – Mar

Mick and Jo Westra at their Beechworth Plumbing Plus store in Harper Avenue

Mick and Jo Westra generously agree to vacate their Beechworth Plumbing Plus building in Harper Avenue so that the IGA supermarket can move in, temporarily, until the store is rebuilt after the fire. In April, following council approval, the IGA liquor store temporarily moves into the former Beechworth Library site on the corner of Albert Road and Harper Avenue and will operate there between 2016 and 2018.

2016 – Mar

The independent Australian feature film The Comet Kids shoots some of its scenes on location in Beechworth, taking over both Ford and Camp Streets early in the morning, along with other nearby locations. Written and directed by Glenn Triggs, the family film is actually set in America, with Beechworth doubling for a rural US town. The film, distributed by Pinnacle Films in Australia and Echo Bridge in America, features a number of child actors including Xavier West and veteran Australian actors like Reg Gorman, Marty Rhone and The Castle’s Tiriel Mora.

‘The Comet Kids’ is just one of a number of Australian film and television projects shot in the Beechworth. Others include ‘Mad Dog Morgan’ (with Dennis Hopper and Jack Thompson) filming at the Woolshed Falls, the old Police Lock-Up, the Gunpowder Magazine and the Beechworth Courthouse in 1975; the horror film ‘Scare Campaign’ filming at the Mayday Hills Asylum in March 2015; and the episode ‘Dying Deposition’ of the popular Channel Nine police drama series ‘Division 4’ shot in and around the Beechworth Gaol in 1974.


Beechworth’s grandest Victorian-era residence Myrla, built in 1875 by successful Beechworth goldminer Donald Fletcher, is purchased by Pierre Masclef (from the Loire Valley in France) and his partner Helen McAlpin (who grew up in nearby Stanley). The couple established L’Oliveraie in 2001, a 24 hectare olive grove with over 2,700 trees on Greenwattle Road 3km from Beechworth. After 4 years they will put Myrla up for sale in 2020 with an asking price of $1.69m.

‘Myrla’ stands in a magnificent Victorian-style garden of just under a hectare, designed by leading German botanist Baron Ferdinand von Mueller, director of the Melbourne Botanic Gardens. The property includes two water features – a classic tiered fountain in the front and a modern reflection pond in the courtyard hemmed by a Beechworth granite retaining wall. There is also a small granite dairy/smoke house in the courtyard and an evergreen oak tree planted in 1875. The entire property is surrounded by massive, manicured box hedges.  


Mick and Jo Westra move their Plumbing Plus store to 22 Junction Road, opposite Beechworth Primary School, on the site of the former Foodworks Supermarket.

2016 – Apr

$2.5 million consortium leaders Clayton Neil and Matt Pfahler.

After being purchased for an undisclosed sum in 2015, the Beechworth Gaol is sold, again, this time to a consortium of 44 people led by Clayton Neil and Matt Pfahler for $2.5 million. The syndicate is made up of (mainly) local people and one of Melbourne’s leading benefactor families. The sale of the 3.5 hectare heritage listed property re-ignites the hope that Beechworth Gaol will finally be cared for properly, as it has Victoria’s highest heritage classification. The consortium states that they are “committed to transforming this highly-valued heritage site into a thriving community space for the social and economic benefit of the region”.

‘The Old Beechworth Gaol’ administration offices are based in the former ‘Turnkey’s Building’

2016 – Apr

‘Arcadia’ at 91 Ford Street

Susan Reid opens Arcadia at 91 Ford Street, selling a range of fine art and handmade craft products that include textiles, timber, fabric, plants, botany, and even bird feathers, plus virtually every art medium. Susan has a professional background in theatrical costume making, and has worked on both stage and screen productions in Australia and the USA. In November 2018 Susan moves Arcadia to a smaller shop at 14a Camp Street then, in September 2019 Arcadia moves again, this time joining forces with the Hello Dolly shop at 29a Camp Street.

The colourful and creative interior of ‘Arcadia’

2016 – Apr                   

Peter Bisset and his son Lachlan Bisset outside the ‘Cellar Door Wine Store’
(photo: TruPics)

Peter and Cecily Bisset and their son Lachlan purchase the Cellar Door Wine Store at 62 Ford Street from Aaron Taylor and Martina Brazdovicova. Lachlan previously spent ten years as a wine waiter at the iconic Café Sydney at Circular Quay. The Bisset’s will offer Mediterranean or Moroccan style food, with future plans to restore the historic 1850’s cellars below the building for tasting rooms and events (below).

2016 – Jun                  

Penny and Will Bonnici, who operate their First National Real Estate business in Wodonga, open a Beechworth office. They take over the building at 8 Camp Street (corner of Camp and High Streets), fully renovate the old building – originally the home of Spencer’s Butchers (below) – and open as First National Real Estate – Bonnici & Associates.

‘Spencer’s Butchers’ on the corner of Camp and High Streets in the 1930s

2016 – Jul

After it is deemed racist by the Advertising Standards Bureau, the Beechworth Sweet Company withdraws its long-running television commercial featuring a toy golliwog winking and waving. The advertising watchdog rules the character “represents a symbol that humiliates and ridicules”. The commercial depicts an animated version of its famous logo, which is made up of a toy golliwog, a wombat, a kitten, a dog and a teddy bear around a jar of old-fashioned confectionery. The golliwog (or ‘gollie’ as the sweet shop refers to them) has been part of the Beechworth Sweet Company’s logo since 1992. It will remain as part of their iconic logo, but will no longer appear to be ‘moving’ in television advertising.

The ‘Advertising Standards Bureau’ has no jurisdiction over the design of a company’s logo, however, by animating the golliwog to wink then move its hand into a lolly jar in the tv commercial (in its final shot), the ‘Beechworth Sweet Company’ is deemed to have drawn “specific attention” to the golliwog.

2016 – Jul

Clothing store Sassy Road and Dapper Drive opens at 45 Ford Street. It is Monika Hood’s second Sassy Road store, having established the business in Mount Beauty in 2010.


David Haythorne, Sue Hiatt and some of their menagerie at ‘Beechworth Wildlife Stays’ (photo: Mark Jesser)

Sue Hiatt and David Haythorne establish Beechworth Wildlife Stays on a 2.5 acre bushland property at 278 Buckland Gap Road, 2km from the centre of Beechworth. Surrounded by an olive grove and the Beechworth State Park, visitors can stay in a 55 square metre luxury ‘Glamping Tent’ and then feed the various creatures, including an assortment of farm animals, native animals, snakes … even ‘Billy’ the crocodile! Beechworth Wildlife Stays also operates as a wildlife shelter, taking in injured animals.

‘Beechworth Wildlife Stays’ Glamping Tent.


Patrick and Ada Mickan establish the Beechworth Natural Farm, providing the local community with fresh and healthy Bio-Dynamic produce that is not sprayed with any pesticides or herbicides. The 11-hectare property is located at 13 Kibell Lane, 2.4 km from the centre of Beechworth.


Gina Kromar opens Beechworth Floral Designs at 20 Camp Street. Born in Beechworth and raised in nearby Stanley, Kromar has had a long career in floristry as a floral designer, retail manager, tertiary educator and Floriade and industry demonstrator. The shop at 20 Camp Street has had numerous occupants over the years, including a couple of different shoe shops including Jim and Veronica Matassoni’s Footwear Store and Bridie Maree’s Shoes (below).

2016 – Oct 15-16

The second annual ‘Barrowthon’ is held, with teams of participants making the 88-kilometre trek from Beechworth to Mt Buffalo pushing wheelbarrows to raise money for charity. While the inaugural ‘Barrowthon’ the year before attracted around 100 participants, the 2016 race involves 240 participants and charitable donations will surpass $55,000! The event celebrates the original 1935 ‘Wheelbarrow Marathon’ when Tom Parkinson pushed Tony ‘Sid’ Evans in a wheelbarrow – over 8 days – from Beechworth to the Mt Buffalo Chalet.

Two of the ‘Barrowthon’ organisers – Kate Scott and Guy Wilkinson (photo: Greg Scullin)

2017 – Jan

‘The Plough Inn’, 23km from Beechworth at 2322 Wangaratta-Beechworth Road.

After running the Hopton family’s historic Plough Inn at Tarrrawingee for 5 years, Andrew Roscouet and his wife Feona sell the lease of the famous watering-hole to a partnership of five men – Matt Sammon, Jonathan Koop, Hayden Sharp, Andrew ‘Ducky’ Donald and Mick Wilson. Wilson’s uncle is Michael ‘Mick’ Nolan, the last remaining connection with the Nolan family and the present pub built by Hopton Nolan in 1864.

Three generations of Nolans have run ‘The Plough Inn’, including Mick Wilson’s grandparents, who had nine children, including his mother Toni and uncle Michael ‘Mick’ Francis Nolan. Nicknamed the “The Galloping Gasometer” Michael Nolan was a celebrated footballer in the VFL where he was part of North Melbourne’s first ever VFL premiership team in 1975, and also played in the losing Grand Finals of 1976 and 1978
Part of the vast stone cellar below ‘The Plough Inn’

2017 – Apr

Just in time for the annual Golden Horseshoes Festival at Easter, young entrepreneurs Tim Jarred (above), Chris Cole, Aron McLean and Nick Gatsios establish the Mayday Hills Escape Room. In the interactive and immersive experience, audience members are ‘trapped in a room’ at the former Mayday Hills Mental Asylum and use clues to find a key, solve a ‘mystery’ and ‘escape’ within a specified time. Tim, Chris, Aron and Nick incorporate the genuine history of the Asylum into the experience.


Nathan Cowan in front of his recently purchased Billson’s Brewery.

Leaving their jobs in Melbourne and selling their St. Kilda home, 28-year-old Nathan Cowan and his partner Felicity Cottrill move to Beechworth after purchasing the former Billson’s Brewery at 29 Last Street, with assistance from Nathan’s parents. Nathan’s great-grandfather William Cowan operated the old Butter factory in Wangaratta and Felicity’s family hails from Albury.

Before they purchased the former ‘Billson’s Brewery business and associated buildings and equipment from ‘Murray Breweries’ (who had owned the business since 1914), Nathan had studied Exercise Physiology before transitioning to packaging design, and Felicity was working as a Nuclear Medicine Technologist at theRoyal Children’s Hospital‘.
‘Billson’s Brewery’ has never stopped operating since it’s foundation in 1863, but from 1914 is has traded as ‘Murray Breweries’ (or ‘M.B’ – above). Nathan Cowan will return the name of the business to ‘Billson’s Brewery’ as first order of business.

2017 – Jul

Indigo FM’s new base – ‘Bunya House’ – the former Beechworth Child and Maternal Health building

Beechworth’s community radio station Indigo FM gets the green light to move into a new studio at the former 1950s Beechworth Child and Maternal Health building at 103 Ford Street – now known as ‘Bunya House’ – next door to the Beechworth Town Hall. Indigo FM will share the facility with Beechworth Urban Landcare and Sustainability (BULS) and the Beechworth Women’s Shed (BWS). 103 Ford Street had been the location of the ‘Beechworth Comfort Station’ (toilets) next to the Town Hall in the 1960s and 1970s (below).

The Beechworth ‘Comfort Station’ on Ford Street in 1976 (photo: George Tibbits, University of Melbourne. Faculty of Architecture, Building and Town & Regional Planning)
Run by volunteers and broadcasting on 88.0 FM, ‘Indigo FM’ had been based at the ‘Beechworth Secondary College’ since early 2013, where it has seen its initial three regular weekly radio programs grow to over 15 separate shows broadcast every week.

2017 – Jul

George Fendyk in front of the Kerrigan’s house from ‘The Castle’

Geoff Lucas and George Fendyk – owners of the former Mayday Hills Mental Asylum – pay $40,000 to purchase the iconic ‘Kerrigan house’ featured in the film “The Castle” which had been standing on a block of land at 3 Dagonet Street in Strathmore next to Essendon Airport. At the end of 2017 Fendyk transports the complete building – chopped into four parts – on a convoy of four trucks to Beechworth, with plans to make it the reception office at his proposed caravan park in the Mayday Hills precinct.

In 2019, the Indigo Shire Council will reject the proposal for the development of the caravan park at Mayday Hills.


Work continues on rebuilding the IGA supermarket.


Read Moreland with her partner Steve North at their property just out of Beechworth where she has established the ‘Three Mile Kichen’ (photo: Simon Bayliss)

After moving to Beechworth from Melbourne in 2014 to work as an emergency care nurse at the hospital, Read Moreland, from her little property just out of town, establishes Three Mile Kitchen. Her baking sideline focuses on bagels, croissants and pastries, along with her special ‘cruffin’ (a croissant and muffin hybrid), a morning bun made with croissant dough, brown sugar, orange and cinnamon. Read’s tasty treats are available at the Beechworth Farmers’ Market (held on the grounds of Christ Church on the first Saturday of the month).


Cameron Auty with the original brass cash box that was at the ‘Glenrowan Inn’ during the Kelly Gang’s last stand (photo: James Wiltshire)

Cameron Auty – former Collections Manager of Museums Australia (Victoria) – takes up the role of Burke Museum and Beechworth Historical Precinct and Indigo Heritage Manager.


Daniel Balzer of Beechworth’s ‘Willem Kurt Wines’

After establishing Willem Kurt Wines in 2012 and releasing their first wines in 2014, Daniel Balzer and Marije van Epenhuijsen now purchase land at 365 Buckland Gap Road, 3.5km south of Beechworth. The paddocks are developed into a property with a seven-acre vineyard which will feature an off grid winery, substantial plantings of trees and native gardens, and a natural reed bed wastewater filtration system. 2022 marks the first season in which the entire Willem Kurt production comes exclusively from the Buckland Gap Road vineyard site. The Willem Kurt Vineyard is planted to Chardonnay, Syrah, Vermentino, Sangiovese and Pinot Noir.

The name ‘Willem Kurt’ is derived from the middle names of Marije and Daniel’s two children. Their respective heritage being Dutch and German, Willem and Kurt are names that have been used in their families for generations.
The entrance to ‘Willem Kurt Wines’ on Buckland Gap Road.


With over 15 years experience as an A-Grade electrician, Paul Donaldson establishes All Space Electrical in Beechworth. Based at 13 Pritchard Lane, he is always mobile with his twin-cab ute around the area. Paul completed his first year of training in his home town of Wagga Wagga. Since then, he’s worked in the North East region of Victoria, Melbourne, and overseas, helping bring venues ‘to life’ for the London 2012 Olympics Games.

Paul Donaldson’s ‘All Spaces Electrical’ vehicle near Yackandandah.

2017 – Aug 12-13

The Beechworth Historic Re-enactment Group rekindles the Beechworth Golden Hills 1857 Festival, providing a ‘living history’ of life on Beechworth’s goldfields. 60 ‘re-enactors’ participate in the weekend event where the ‘Government Camp’ is once again staffed by uniformed members of the 12th and 40th ‘Regiments of Foot’ displaying their skill-at-arms drills, and a ‘Gold Commissioner’ issuing mining licences to visitors, while members of the Bendigo Chinese Association are on hand to re-create the lives of Chinese miners with an authentic Chinese camp, complete with its very own Tea House and Joss Temple. The festival commences on the Saturday morning with 50 Redcoats and 100 miners parading through the street of the town.

The first ‘Golden Hills Festival‘ originated on Boxing Day in 1960 and ran for the next 5 years before being replaced by the current ‘Golden Horseshoes Festival‘ in 1966.
The ’12th Regiment Re-Enactment Group’ from Wodonga lead the opening day parade down Ford Street in Beechworth for the ‘Golden Hills Festival’

2017 – Oct 15                            

Andrew Madden, Scott Daintry and chef Shauna Stockwell take over the historic Empire Hotel on the corner of Camp and High Streets. They gut the interior of the two-story 1880 building, remove the T.A.B. gambling facilities, polish the floorboards hidden under sticky carpet, and create a bright, fresh pub which retains its period charm and history.

New owners Andrew Madden, Shauna Stockwell and Scott Daintry on the freshly polished floorboards of the ‘Empire Hotel’ (photo: Mark Jesser)


Suzy Unsted takes over Rubens of Beechworth Eco Hairdressing at Shop 4 in the Golden Vale Centre arcade.  

‘Rubens of Beechworth Hairdressing’ had been established by Samantha Pryor in 2000 when the arcade first opened. Sarah Duffy later owned the hairdressers for a few years. 

2017 – Oct 21-22

The third annual ‘Barrowthon’ is held, with teams – in wheelbarrows – racing the 88 km from Beechworth to Mt Buffalo over two days to raise money for charity.

‘Barrowthon’ organiser Guy Wilkinson with his daughter Elsa (photo: Elenor Tedenborg)

2017 – Nov

The entrance to the ‘Mayday Hills Art Society’ building

The Mayday Hills Art Society is established by Wendy Stephens and Christine Cansfield-Smith. MDHAS – a non-profit organisation – is based in a two-storey building (in the former Mayday Hills Asylum) which contains art studios, workshop and events spaces, two galleries, an art library and the small  Playhouse Theatre stage. The MDHAS mission is to be a centre of excellence in the arts and sciences, with an aim is to provide innovative activities that encourage creativity, advance the talents of people in the visual and performing arts, sciences and environment, and provide opportunities for the exchange of ideas to benefit the communities of northeast Victoria. 

Founders of the ‘Mayday Hills Art Society’ – Wendy Stephens & Christine Cansfield-Smith (photo: James Wiltshire)

2017 – Nov

Helen McGowan and Matt Grogan from Halliday Solicitors outside their new office

After practising from their office at Beechworth’s Anglican Church Rectory on Ford Street for three years, local solicitors Helen McGowan, Matt Grogan and their staff move their Halliday Solicitors office and chambers to the Gaoler’s Building at the Old Beechworth Gaol (below).

‘Halliday Solicitors’ was founded by Brendan Halliday in 2006. Sadly, after being diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease, he passed away in July 2015. As well as his respected legal work in Beechworth, Brendan was also a star player with the Beechworth ‘Bombers’ Football Club and served as their President in the early 1990s. He was a key figure behind the football club moving from the ‘Ovens and King Football Association’ (OKFA) to the ‘Tallangatta and District Football League’ (T&DL) in 2004 (when they changed their nickname to ‘The Beechworth Bushrangers’) and aligning the Beechworth Football Club with the Beechworth Netball Club.

2017 – Nov

Henry de Zwart, a qualified and technically minded mechanic, establishes Beechworth Automotive on the corner of Oak Ave and Kurrajong Way within the grounds of the former Mayday Hills Mental Asylum, in the building that was formerly the large Mayday Hills Boiler House.

2017 – Nov

Beechworth’s Home Hardware and Timber at 4-6 Camp Street is named ‘State Store of the Year’ at the Independent Hardware Store Awards.

2017 – Nov

Carol Elvin-Jensen opens her store Carol Carol Living at 66 Ford Street. It features global interiors inspired by travel. The shop is one of two on the ground floor of the Clement’s Buildings. Carol will close the shop in early 2021.

The Clement’s Buildings at 66-68 Ford Street has previously been the home of – amongst others – John Groves ‘Snowy’ Anderson’s Gents Hairdressers’ (below right).

2017 – Dec

Nigel Walker establishes The Bike Hire Company, providing shuttle buses with bicycles for visitors who wish to cycle the bike and rail trails and back roads of the High Country region around Beechworth. With a range of bikes that can be delivered and picked up door-to-door in Beechworth, Bright, Everton, Milawa, Myrtleford, Oxley and Wangaratta, Walker also provides maps, panniers and logistical support.

2018 – Jan 26-27

Getting bigger every year, the fifth annual Beechworth Music Festival is held at the Madman’s Gully Amphitheatre on the farmlands of the former Mayday Hills Mental Asylum. Created by Lex Fletcher and Rikki Raadsveld, the annual event began in 2014 and will continue until 2019. (In 2020 the Covid pandemic will sadly put an end to the fun).

The 2018 Beechworth Music Festival atMadman’s Gully Amphitheatre

2018 – Feb

After the Bell family had successfully run The Old Priory guest house since 1986, and following the death of her husband Graeme in 2017, Pam Bell decides to put the property and the business up for private sale at $2.15 million. The grand 1904 three-storey former Brigidine Convent & Boarding School is one of Beechworth’s most iconic buildings.

The Brigidine Convent and Boarding School in 1913, with students lining the balconies.

2018 – Mar

Evan Smith creates a striking sculpture in front of Beechworth’s famous ‘Logan Stone’. Situated beside the main road, at the top of Newtown Hill, as you enter Beechworth, the eye-catching metallic artwork is of a little girl appearing to brace the huge granite boulder from rolling down the hill. Inspired by Saint Thérèse of Lisieux of France (who died in 1897), the sculpture reflects “Hope”. Manufactured by welding metal off-cuts at Pennyweight Engineering (established by Brian Smith, Evan’s father), it stands on land which Brian’s father Michael Vincent Smith and the Smith family have owned since the 1950s.

The “Hope” girl sculpture being put in place at Beechworth’s ‘Logan Stone’ by sculptor Evan Smith with the help of his older brother Troy Smith. Evan uses a friend’s young daughter as the model for his ‘Saint Thérèse of Lisieux’ sculpture, making her small to accentuate the size of the boulder and the hope it will take to keep it from rolling onto the road below.
Known to goldminers from the time they arrive in Beechworth in 1852, the ‘Logan Stone’ is only identified as a ‘rocking stone’ in the 1890s when it is discovered that it will ‘rock’ slightly if pushed hard enough. The word “Logan” is derived from the word “log”, which in an old English dialect, means “to rock”. In some parts of the United Kingdom, ‘Rocking Stones’ or ‘Logan Stones’ are still referred to as ‘Logging Stones’.

2018 – Mar 8

Dani Price (above) opens Your Own Beauty at shop 2 in the Golden Vale Centre arcade, 73 Ford Street. Dani had completed her Diploma in Beauty Therapy in 2017 where she was also awarded Diploma Student of the Year. The shop offers a range of beauty treatments including professional Dermalogica skin analysis, professional facials, waxing, manicure and pedicures, tinting, henna, IPL hair reduction, ear piercing, lash perms and spray tans, along with high-end retail products for all skin types.

2018 – Mar

Dave and Jennifer Hodges at theirBarking Owl Distilling Co’ shearing shed

Dave and Jennifer Hodges establish the Barking Owl Distilling Co in a 1950s shearing shed at 149 Reids Way, Wooragee – between Beechworth and Yackandandah. The distillery produces a range of small-batch gin, vodka, liqueurs and brandy, utilising local raw grains, fruit and botanicals. Jennifer, who is also a ceramic artist, operates from a studio at the same old shearing shed, making and selling her Woolshed Ceramics.

Inside the 1950s built ‘Barking Owl’ shearing shed.

2018 – Mar

Beechworth Food Co-op’ president Jade Miles with her partner Charlie Showers.

Indigo Shire leases the former Beechworth Railway Station building to the Beechworth Food Co-op at a weekly rent of $120. The co-op is a not-for-profit group established in January 2015 and previously housed in an obscure shop in Gilchrist Avenue and need larger and more prominent premises. With over 800 members led by president Jade Miles, the Beechworth Food Co-op also plan to conduct workshops and lectures in the building. It will open in November. Education group University of the 3rd Age (Indigo U3A) will be allowed to continue to use the old station under the new deal.

2018 – Apr

Plans are announced for a new property development – Silver Creek Estate – on what had been vacant farmland in Newtown behind the Beechworth Squash Courts. 10 house lots are offered for sale and once work begins, a new one-way street is created – Foundry Place – named after John Duncan and Mark Straughair’s Beechworth Foundry which operated near the new development site from 1859.

The newly created Foundry Place in Newtown

2018 – Apr 11              

The Beechworth IGA supermarket is officially reopened after an $11 million re-build and re-fit following its 2016 fire.


After moving to Beechworth in 2017 from his hometown in Albury, electrical technician Peter Sprunt sets up Pete’s Electrix, servicing homes and businesses in Beechworth and surrounds. A fully qualified maintenance electrician, Peter also works as a Disability Support Worker.


Award-winning artist Kathy Ellem opens her Kathy Ellem Fine Art gallery and workshop space at 45 Ford Street. Ellem grew up on her family’s apple orchard in Beechworth. (45 Ford Street had been trading as clothing store Sassy Road and Dapper Drive since 2016.)

The colourful and inviting interior of ‘Kathy Ellem Fine Art’ on Ford Street
Beechworth-born artist Kathy Ellem (photo: Claudia Stephenson)


Former Melbourne taxi driver Ian Gracie (above) establishes Indigo Personalised Transport & Tours in Beechworth. Starting with one vehicle, the fleet grows, including the acquisition of the former shuttle bus from the Hotel Nicholas. IPT provides personalised transport services and tours covering the Beechworth and Indigo Region. The successful company will later become known simply as Indigo Personal Taxis. Sadly, Ian Gracie will pass away in December 2020 after a battle with cancer. Mark Webster then takes over the IPT business.

Ian Gracie was a member of Beechworth’s ‘Indigo FM Community Radio’, becoming Secretary in 2017 and co-hosting radio shows including the popular Sunday night show ‘The Irreverents’ alongside Dan Goonan and Norm Gay. Ian was the driving force behind Indigo FM moving their studio from Beechworth Secondary College to ‘Bunya House’ on Ford Street in July 2017, sharing the space with the ‘Beechworth Urban Landcare and Sustainability’.

2018 – Jun

Beechworth’s Our Community Op-Shop at 12 Camp Street officially joins Quercus Beechworth, having been auspiced by Quercus for many years. The shop was formerly occupied by Indigo Central – a clothing, music and Video & DVD Hire store (below).


The Beechworth Tip and landfill area, which has been located at 1620 Diffey Road since the 1950s, is upgraded to the Beechworth Transfer Station with a large green shed, office and other facilities built at the site through the Sustainability Victoria Fund. The transfer station is now fully manned and able to deal with the growing amount of ‘e-waste’ and other modern requirements including recyclables, along with the usual landfill, metals, car batteries, tyres, garden waste and rubbish requirements.

2018 – Jun

After many years of gaining experience as a Sales Consultant with Garry Nash Real Estate in Wangaratta, Deborah Ravida establishes Ravida Real Estate at 76 Ford Street. The shop had previously operated as the Beechworth Boudoir (below).

Debbie Ravida from ‘Ravida Real Estate’

2018 – Jul 4

Paula MacDonald opens her Rustique Soul café at 38a Ford Street, specialising in a range of baked potatoes and pancakes along with coffee, cakes and slices, as well as gifts, sculptures, plants and gardenware. The building had previously been the home of The Diggings Pottery Garden Gallery, Beechworth Blooms and the French-style café Bouchon at Botanicals.

The bright and colourful interior of the Rustique Soul café.

2018 – Jul

Renovation and cleaning work begins at the Old Beechworth Gaol.

The Old Gaol courtyard is prepared for the puclic meeting area and cafe.
The completed courtyard at the Old Beechworth Gaol

2018 – Jul 23

The re-installed Beechworth Town Hall Organ is now a centrepiece of town’s cultural heritage and has been played on more than 200 occasions since 2018

Beechworth’s 1852-built Organ returns! After leaving Beechworth in June 1907 (purchased by William Anderson for just £20), the Beechworth Town Hall single-manual Chamber Organ is discovered at St Albans Anglican Church (which had permanently shut its doors in 2017). The Beechworth Organ Society – with generous grants from the Indigo Shire Council, the Copland Foundation and support from the local community – raise $6,000 to purchase the prized organ at auction. Wakeley Pipe Organs Pty Ltd. carefully break the instrument down into about 2,000 pieces and return it to Beechworth and reconstruct it within the Beechworth Town Hall – exactly as shown in the 1886 photograph (below). The organ is made of pine and leather, and has 256 leaden tin pipes, 66 keys and five stops. It is one of the four oldest organs of its type still in use in Victoria.

Conductor James Cunningham Snr (front centre holding baton) with members of the ‘Beechworth Philharmonic Society’ in front of the newly installed Organ at the Beechworth Town Hall in 1886
Built in London in 1852 by ‘W. Hill & Son’, the pipe organ is originally ordered in the mid-1880s by the ‘Beechworth Philharmonic Society’. The second-hand organ is finally installed by William Anderson in the ‘Beechworth Town Hall’ on December 20th 1886. A few weeks later, Anderson will return to Beechworth to install a second organ – this time at the Christ Church.

2018 – Aug

The Spa Beechworth’ at the former Ovens Benevolent Asylum with its striking Flemish façade.

The Spa Beechworth relocates from the old Mayday Hills Mental Asylum to its new home at 9 Warner Road, in the former Ovens Benevolent Asylum buildings. There are 27 separate buildings on the large site, with many being renovated and restored by new owner and well-being entrepreneur Debby Donkers. Luxury hotel accommodation will be added to the site in the coming months.


‘Ride Republic’ at the ‘Old Beechworth Gaol’

Bike Hire company Ride Republic opens at the Old Beechworth Gaol (OBG) complex, offering Electric Mountain Trail Bikes (E-MTB), cycling adventures and guided tours on a selection of curated routes on the backroads around Beechworth. Ride Republic also offers a shuttle service to and from the OBG with their Shingleback Trailer and ‘Old Mate’ Troopy (below) which can carry up to 10 passengers (and bikes) at a time.

2018 – Sep                   

Dan and Clare Cooper with their daughter Ruby at ‘CC’s Quality Meats & Smokehouse’

After running the Beechworth Butchery for more than 11 years, Luke and Kylie Whybrow sell their business at 70 Ford Street to Dan and Clare Cooper who rename it CC’s Quality Meats & Smokehouse (below). Dan Cooper completed his butcher apprenticeship at the Beechworth Butchery 22 years earlier. In December 2020 CC’s Quality Meats opens a second butcher shop at 33 High Street, Yackandandah. Their Yackandandah butcher shop will close in mid-2023.

2018 – Sep                             

Work begins on the $6.2 million Rail Trail from Beechworth to Yackandandah after being officially launched by Jaclyn Symes, MLC for Northern Victoria along with Indigo Shire Mayor Jenny O’Connor and CEO Trevor Ierino. The 31km cycling and walking track, mostly following the route of the old railway line between the two towns, will be completed by 2023.

2018 – Sep 29

Wooragee resident Emma Nankervis opens Ivy Phillips at 71 Ford Street – between Beechworth Pizza and Beechworth Books – selling high quality men’s and women’s fashion and homewares. She names the store “Ivy” after a name she had in her mind if she ever had another child, and “Phillips” after the lane that runs behind the shop.

Opening day at ‘Ivy Phillips’ – Emma Nankervis (left) with Susan Norman who works alongside Emma at the shop
The “Ivy Phillips” shop at 71 Ford Street had previously been the home of Greg Morecombe’s “Hotch Potch” and then Ian Smith’s “Classic Apparel”. Emma will open a second “Ivy Phillips” store at 53 Standish Street in Myrtleford on Sunday 27th November 2022 and another shop in Beechworth – “Spencer Phillips” at 39 Ford Street in December 2023.

2018 – Nov 9

Evan Smith’s sculpture of ‘Richard’ panning for gold in the courtyrd of ‘Beechworth Gold’ in the centre of town becomes a popular and iconic image for visiting tourists and their cameras.

Evan Smith creates a sculpture, and fountain, to stand in the courtyard entrance of Beechworth Gold, on the corner of Ford and Camp Street. The metal sculpture of a man – ‘Richard’ – panning for gold, is commissioned by Vanessa Abbott from Beechworth Gold. Designed specifically to be 1.5 times larger than an actual man, it is fabricated and welded together from metal off-cuts at Pennyweight Engineering in Crawford Street, a business established in 1986 by Brian Smith, Evan’s father.

Evan Smith at the ‘Pennywieght Engineering’ workshop with his sculpture of ‘Richard’

2018 – Nov 9

‘Beechworth Food Co-op’ president Jade Miles and Costa Georgiadis from ‘Gardening Australia’ at the grand opening of the Co-op at the old Railway Station. (photo: James Wiltshire)

The Beechworth Food Co-op is officially opened inside the former Beechworth Railway Station building with Costa Georgiadis from ABC-TVs ‘Gardening Australia’ cutting the ribbon to launch the new venture.

Inside the ‘Beechworth Food Co-op’ store at the former Railway Station.

2018 – Dec                             

The large and iconic 1870 Beechworth Post Office on the corner of Ford and Camp Streets closes and a new, smaller Post Office opens at 12a Camp Street next to the Beechworth Our Community Op-Shop. According to Australia Post, it had to close the old Beechworth Post Office as it was unable to modify the entrance at 28A Camp St, which was causing issues for disabled customers.

2018 – Dec 13

The damaged ‘Golden Ball Bridge’ over Hodgson’s Creek.

Following days of heavy rain, the Golden Ball Bridge over Hodgson’s Creek on the Beechworth-Wangaratta Road is badly damaged by flood waters, causing the immediate closure of the bridge and the road. Some of the bridge’s piles which support the structure are washed away, along with part of the road which is severely eroded from the force of the water. Traffic is immediately diverted via the Beechworth-Chiltern Road and the Buckland Gap Road, causing long delays over the busy Christmas and summer tourist period. In mid-January, Regional Roads Victoria erect a temporary 70 foot single lane ‘Bailey Bridge’ (below) so that light traffic can continue to travel, one lane at a time, between Beechworth and Wangaratta. After major structural work is carried out on the Golden Ball Bridge, it is fully reopened in time for the 2019 Easter long weekend and Beechworth’s annual Golden Horseshoes Festival.

The temporary single lane ‘Bailey Bridge’ hastily built over Hodgson’s Creek.
The ‘Golden Ball Bridge’ is named after the ‘Golden Ball’ property established by Isaac Phillips in 1857 and later his ‘Golden Ball Hotel’ which stood next to Hodgson’s Creek in the 1880s. Rumour has it that Aaron Sherritt met with the local constabulary at the ‘Golden Ball Hotel’ to give them information about the Kelly Gang … information that would get him killed by Kelly Gang members Dan Kelly and Joe Byrne at Sheritt’s home on June 26, 1880. Today ‘Golden Ball Wines’ operates from the site.

2019 – Jan

After running Finches of Beechworth for 6 years and winning numerous awards for their beautiful five-star luxury ‘Bed & Breakfast’ property, Margo Maller and Peter Brygel announce they are closing the business at 3 Finch Street. Sadly, Margo will pass away two years later on January 18th 2021.

Part of the beautiful gardens at ‘Finches of Beechworth’

2019 – Feb

Gold leaf gilder Clem Angus busy at work on the Golden Horseshoe monument (photo: James Wiltshire)

Beechworth’s 1954 ‘Golden Horseshoe’ monument at the entrance to the Gorge Road, along with the ‘Pick & Shovel’ statue in the centre of town, are both refreshed when the landmarks – erected to celebrate Beechworth’s centenary – are covered in gold leaf (from sheets of transfer paper) by Beechworth signwriter and gilder Clem Angus. As gold doesn’t tarnish, it should make them glisten for about 50 years. Indigo Mayor Bernard Gaffney says the council rely on the expertise of a range of regional craftsmen, with Clem Angus one of a few signwriters that still paint directly onto surfaces and is renowned for his work with gold leaf.

Clem Angus below his completed gilding work on the ‘Pick & Shovel’ monument, which once again glistens in the centre of Beechworth.

2019 – Mar

Annabelle Bourchier at ‘Collective’ (photo by James Wiltshire)

After establishing Belle Bourchier Bakes in 2016 and moving to Beechworth at the start of 2018, Annabelle Bourchier opens up a new eatery at 40 Ford Street simply called Collective. With a passion for food, Annabelle and her chef Ameena Paul offer innovative breakfast and lunch menus with freshly baked treats.

2019 – Apr

Victoria Police members with Jeanette Dryden outside ‘Dryden House’ 104 Ford Street.

The Police Residence at 104 Ford Street is transformed into Dryden House – a multi-use accommodation facility for Victoria Police employees working in Eastern Region Division 4 (ED4) away from home or in the process of relocating to the area. It is named in honour of long-time injury management consultant Jeanette Dryden who assists police employees return to work after physical and mental injuries.

2019 – Apr

Walworth – one of Beechworth’s grandest old homes – is sold for $920,000. Beginning as a single-storey house in the 1850s, it is finished as a commanding and iconic two-storey solid red brick Victorian residence in 1868. Built for Judge Thomas Spencer Cope – chair of the Beechworth General Sessions Court – it is later owned by Beechworth pharmacist George Gammon and his wife Kate and then by coach builder Thomas Augustus Connolly of Crawford and Connolly Coach Builders. Standing at 12 Kars Street, it has been historically referred to as “The Retreat” and features a classic grass tennis court (below).

2019 – Apr

Indigo Power switches on its first community-owned solar power system at the Old Beechworth Gaol. The solar panels are paid for by philanthropists and community members who have invested in Indigo Power. The 89-panel, 30-kilowatt solar system at the historic prison complex will deliver roughly 55% of the site’s energy needs and at the end of the 10-year contract, Indigo Power will give the system back to the Gaol which will then benefit from free clean energy for the remainder of the system’s life, estimated at 25 years.

Members of Indigo Power, Totally Renewable Yackandandah, Indigo Shire Council and the community celebrate the switching on of the 89 solar panels at the Gaol (photo: Eliza Beck, ABC Goulburn Murray)
‘Indigo Power’ is born from ‘Totally Renewable Yackandandah’ (TRY), a volunteer-run community group formed in 2014 with the aim of powering Yackandandah with 100% renewable energy by 2022. In 2017, TRY establishes Australia’s first mini-grid project, partnering with ‘Mondo Power’ and ‘AusNet Services’, successfully linking 169 Yackandandah homes with renewable-energy systems.

2019 – May

Work continues in revitalising Billson’s Brewery at 29 Last Street, as owners Nathan and Felicity Cowan welcome their son Charlie into the world.

Nathan and Felicity Cowan with their new son Charlie, born in May 2019.

2019 – Jun                   

The empty interior of the old Beechworth Post Office – 2019.

The old Beechworth Post Office is offered for private sale. The impressive site has a residence above the main office area, which includes five bedrooms, a lounge room, bathroom and balcony.

Original staircase in the old Beechworth Post Office – 2019.

2019 – Aug

Solicitor Andrew Thomas buys Graeme J. Bailey’s legal practice at 22 Camp Street and the legal firm is renamed Bailey Thomas Solicitors.

Carrying on a long tradition of Beechworth solicitors, Graeme J Bailey has been based at 22 Camp Street since 1976, and the building itself has been a legal practice since 1861, when William Lawrence Zincke and his senior legal partner Frederick Martin established their law firm there.

2019 – Sep

Dirk and Nika Bester at their newly-named Glenbosch Wine Estate‘.

South Africans Dirk and Nika Bester take over the Amulet Vineyard from founders Sue and Eric Thornton and their son Ben Clifton. At the start of 2020 they rename it the Glenbosch Wine Estate and expand the business to include a distillery and a fine-dining restaurant. Located 10 km from Beechworth at 1036 Beechworth-Wangaratta Road, Everton Upper, the name ‘Glenbosch’ is a blend of two very personal words for the Bester family – ‘Glen’ (which means ‘valley with running water’) from the 300-year-old Bester family farm (‘Glen Peter’) in South Africa, and ‘Bosch’ (which means ‘bush’), part of the town of Stellenbosch, where Dirk’s family is from. So ‘Glenbosch’ means valley and bush, as one third of their new property is native Australian bushland. At the start of 2023 Dirk and Nika open a second fine-dining restaurant and cellar door – Glenbosch on Dean – in the heart of Albury, at 453 Dean Street.

‘Glenbosch Wine Estate’ fine-dining restaurant on the Beechworth-Wangaratta Road

2019 – Sep 24

Sri Lankan-born Amandhi de Silva establishes Amandhi’s at 35 Camp Street. Her environmentally conscious and sustainable café serves fresh breakfasts and lunches Wednesdays to Saturdays. The small shop had previously been storage space for The Ardent Alpaca store next door.

2019 – Oct 22

A fire breaks out in the roof of an artist’s building at the former Mayday Hills Mental Asylum where patients used to do arts and crafts, near the perimeter wall. Police and Firefighters respond quickly to the blaze at around 3pm. Though thick smoke pours from the weatherboard building, the incident is brought under control after about half-an-hour.


The Beechworth RSL – established in 1921 – successfully negotiates the lease of the ‘Long Room’ of the Beechworth Servicemen’s Memorial Hall from the Indigo Shire Council. Beechworth RSL President John Eldrid is happy that this area will be linked by a new door and be a positive addition the RSL Club Room and Bar on Ford Street.

Beechworth RSL Sub Branch President John Eldrid served in the Royal Australian Air Force for 29 years (photo: Kylie Esler)

2019 – Nov 8-10

Beechworth’s Celtic Festival is held for the 25th year, with a Celtic Dinner – complete with haggis – served at the old Beechworth Gaol (above). The weekend also includes Albury-Wodonga Pipes and Drums, who perform on the streets twice taking part in massed bands, and in the Tattoo on Saturday night.

2019 – Dec

After establishing the popular Gum Tree Pies in Yackandandah, Polish-born Sebastian Nedziak and his Yackandandah-born wife Melinda open a new Beechworth Gum Tree Pies store at 49 Ford Street.

Sebastian and Melinda Nedziak at their original ‘Gum Tree Pies’ store in Yackandandah (photo: Mark Jesser)
Having started making their pies in 2007 at their ‘Gum Tree Café’ at ‘Keebles Nursery’ in Yackandandah, and then travelling to sell them at various markets including Canberra, Sebastain and Melinda purchase John Dale’s Butcher shop in High Street when the Yackandandah butcher retires in 2016. After expanding to Bright, then Beechworth in 2019, they go on to open a fourth ‘Gum Tree Pies’ store in 2020, inside a replica train carriage behind the old Railway Goods Shed at Junction Place in Wodonga.

2019 – Dec 22

Conductor Jackson Harnwell rehearses ‘The Beechworth Singers’ – Chris Russell, John Purkis, Alison White, Margaret Phillips and Lynne Oliver, with pianist Sandra Williams (photo: Wendy Stephens)

Established in 1979, The Beechworth Singers stage a special ’40th Anniversary Christmas Concert’ at the Beechworth Town Hall, led by director Margaret Phillips.

2020 – Mar

With bigger plans, Travis Hunt closes his Beechworth Cyclery – servicing and repairing bicycles – in front of the Beechworth Gaol after successfully running the small business at the location for a couple of years. He purchases a small shop in Marion Arcade (off Ford Street) in the centre of town and re-opens the business at the end of June (see entry below).

2020 – Mar

‘The Benev’ boutique hotel and luxury spa finally opens on Warner Road.

Accommodation finally launches at the former Ovens Benevolent Asylum at 9 Warner Road … just six weeks before Covid-19 closes businesses all over Australia! Debby Donkers and her team have spent seven years developing the Boutique Hotel and Luxury Spa within the handmade brick skeleton of the 160-year-old building. Now fully restored and repurposed, the new complex is officially named The Benev. Featuring luxurious and relaxing guest rooms, The Benev is also home to a Sensory Garden, a Dabble Bar and open-air Herbal Baths. A ‘wellness concierge’ guides guests to the spa for massages – known as ‘The Slow’ – offering a choice of beautiful oil blends. The complex is designed to promote modern wellness and to satisfy real human needs.

2020 – Mar 2                

Singer-songwriter Liv Cartledge and her photographer partner Jake Lancaster (above) open a small shop called Tiny at 14a Camp Street, specializing in coffee, jaffles, toasted sandwiches and, in the evenings, cocktails. 

2020 – Mar

Beechworth Designer Gifts’ – Corrie, Judy and Jacqui Pierce (Photo: TruPics)

After almost 30 years in business, potters Judy and Ric Pierce close their Beechworth Designer Gifts shop at 56 Ford Street.


Just three years after buying Billson’s Brewery in 2017, Nathan and Felicity Cowan have revitalised and grown the business and the site at 29 Last Street now includes a brewery and distillery, along with a whiskey bar, cafe, taproom, beer garden, a Barber, and a Blacksmith, along with a large Cellar Door shop (below) stocked with their ever-increasing range or cordials, sodas, gins and whiskeys.    

2020 – May 14

David Haythorne stands amongst the ruins of ‘Beechworth Wildlife Stays’.

Tragedy strikes Beechworth Wildlife Stays when fire tears through Sue Hiatt and David Haythorne’s 2.5 acre bushland property at 278 Buckland Gap Road, 2km from the centre of Beechworth. The fire – which starts inside their home – destroys most of the buildings on the site (established in 2016) along with all their possessions, nearly all their animals and reptiles, including three baby crocodiles, as well as the couple’s much-loved dog and cat and pet cockatoo. Despite also losing their computers and all their business records, they are determined to rebuild and reopen the prospering holiday business.

Happier times at ‘Beechworth Wildlife Stays’ – Sue Hiatt with Billy the crocodile.


A range of Michael Ryan’s ‘Beechworth Bitters’ including ‘Yuzucello’

While his Provenance restaurant in Beechworth is forced to close during back-to-back ‘Covid’ lockdowns, chef and owner Michael Ryan and his partner Jeanette Henderson use the time to create the Beechworth Bitters Company, producing cocktail bitters from a long-forgotten purchase of bittering botanicals. Always fascinated with Amaro (Italian for ‘Bitter’) and cocktail bitters, they use more than 120 botanicals – citrus, fruit, herbs, leaves, bark, roots, spices (many coming from local producers) – to create their tasty range, including ‘Yuzucello’ – their take on a ‘Limoncello’ – an aromatic citrus flavoured liqueur featuring yuzu from the Ovens Valley, delicately accented with hints of flowers and lemongrass.

The ‘Beechworth Bitters Company’ delivery truck outide the ‘Provenance Restaurant’ (Note the number plate – 1-Amaro)


Historic ‘Bloomfield House’ in Stanley

Bryan McKenzie purchases Bloomfield House, the beautiful home built in 1860 by American-born mining entrepreneur Joshua Cushman Bigelow at 1 Little Scotland Road in Stanley, 7.8 km from Beechworth. McKenzie makes numerous modern improvements to the historic property, including adding solar power and solar hydronic heating, new ensuite bathrooms to all the bedrooms and insulates the roof, then replaces the original cut timber shingles under a new iron roof. The garden receives a makeover including the creation of a beautiful new feature pond (below).

The entrance to ‘Bloomfield House’ covered in snow.

2020 – Jun 19

Cecily Bisset opens Vintage on Ford at 64 Ford Street, next door to her other business – Cellar Door Wine Store at 62 Ford Street. The shop had been trading for some time previously as Ikoleji – The Healthy Home Shop and The Clothes Line, a new and vintage fashion store (below).

2020 – Jun 29

After closing his Beechworth Cyclery service and repairs business at the Beechworth Gaol at the end of March, Travis Hunt relocates to the centre of town after purchasing new premises at shop 2 in Marion Arcade, 74 Ford Street. Passionate about cycling and North-East Victoria, Travis services more than 600 bikes each year.

2020 – Aug                  

Phil and Cate Lithgow outside ‘The Plough Inn’ at Tarrawingee.

Phil and Cate Lithgow purchase The Plough Inn in Tarrawingee, 23 km from Beechworth from the Nolan family. The historic pub – built by Hopton Nolan in 1864 – has remained in the hands of the Nolan family for over 150 years but suffers major structural damage in the floods of December 2018 (below) when it was being run by Matt Sammon, Jonathan Koop, Hayden Sharp, Andrew ‘Ducky’ Donald and Mick Wilson. Wilson’s uncle is Michael ‘Mick’ Nolan, the last remaining connection with the Nolan family and The Plough Inn.

Floods damage “The Plough Inn’ at Tarrawingee in December 2018.

2020 – Aug                  

Already established in Albury and Wodonga, Nadine Trist opens a Beechworth branch of her popular Hello Darling women’s clothing and homewares store at 66 Ford Street. She will move the shop to larger premises at 54 Ford Street in 2021.

2020 – Aug

Beechworth’s Burke Museum adds a Medal of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) to its permanent collection after it is donated by the McKenzie-McHarg family. The medal was awarded to the late David Aloysius Patrick McKenzie-McHarg in 1976 for his outstanding services to the community during the 1960s and 70s. The highly respected Beechworth solicitor served on the United Shire of Beechworth Council for more than a decade, including seven years as President. Renowned as a public speaker, McKenzie-McHarg played a significant role in the community including various sporting organisations. He passed away in 1992.

Beechworth solicitor David Aloysius Patrick McKenzie-McHarg in 1940

2020 – Aug                   

After over a year on the market, the old Beechworth Post Office, on the corner of Camp and Ford Streets, is sold in a private sale for $1,358,500. The (unnamed) buyer is reported to be “one of the original and founding families of Beechworth”. They do not reveal their intentions for future use of the iconic 1870 building.

2020 – Sep

Having founded The Bike Hire Company as a ‘portable business’ in Beechworth in December 2017, Nigel Walker takes over the shop at 95 Ford Street – next door to Freeman on Ford – as a fixed location for The Bike Hire Company. In September 2024 Nigel Walker moves his bikes to a new permanent home in a more centrally located shop at 49 Ford Street, between Dalcheri Natural Fibres and Beechworth Toys & Collectables.

The shop that Walker takes over in 2020 at 95 Ford Street had been the home of the ‘Salvation Army’ thrift shop for a number of years. It is a section of the building that had been ‘Parkinson’s Garage’, selling ‘Shell’ petrol for many years before that. The shop at 49 Ford Street (that opens in September 2024) had most recently been the Beechworth base of ‘Gum Tree Pies’.

2020 – Sep 26

Snow on the ground at the Beechworth roundabout in the centre of town.

On the coldest spring day in 20 years, a flurry of snow falls in Beechworth on this Friday morning for the first time since the last big cold snap, during late autumn, on 28 May, 2000.

Another cold morning in Beechworth as light snow falls over the town.

2020 – Oct                   

The Beechworth Railway Goods Shed (photo: John Harvey)

At a cost of $590,000, the Indigo Shire Council completes work on the refurbishment of the old Goods Shed at the former Beechworth Railway Station in order to provide a space for business opportunities and commercial activation of the railway precinct. Due to the historic nature of the building, the refurbishment includes re-use of the original deck timbers; the re-creation of the original trusses and downpipes to show how they once functioned on the Railway Avenue external deck; the retention of all internal walls and evidence of steam train smoke is still visible on the underside of the old roof; and the re-creation of the original train tracks on the floor to show exactly where train carriages once sat.

2020 – Oct

Beechworth photographer Gary Coombe releases his book ‘Beechworth’. Edited by Jennifer Reed, the book contains a beautiful collection of Gary’s images of the town.

2020 – Oct 14

Beechworth is named Australia’s ‘Tidy Town’ … again!

For the second time, Beechworth is announced as the national winner of Australia’s Most Sustainable Community in the Keep Australia Beautiful ‘Tidy Towns’ awards. Traditionally, the 2019 Tidy Town winner – Santa Teresa in the Northern Territory – would have hosted this year’s awards ceremony but, due to the Covid-19 pandemic sweeping Australia (and the world), the awards ceremony is held online instead. Beechworth is also named the winner in the ‘Dame Phyllis Frost Litter Prevention’, ‘Environmental Sustainability – Energy‘ and ‘Environmental Communication and Engagement’ category awards. Beechworth, with a population of 4,566 (at the time of entry), wins three of nine categories and scores highly in the remaining six categories.

2020 – Nov                  

The two Falck Clocks when they arrive at the Burke Museum (photo: Jackson Peck)

After being in the private collection of Ken Hose since 1970, the Burke Museum raises $15,000 to return the Falck Clocks to Beechworth. The two clocks were made in Beechworth by Charles Frederick Falck, a master watch-maker from Prussia who immigrated to Australia in 1854. Now worth tens of thousands of dollars, the clocks were part of his famous shop window display on Ford Street.

Falck made the first of the two large eagle clocks in 1855 and it went on to win a gold medal for excellence in horology at the ‘Exhibition in Melbourne’ in 1856. The second was made in Beechworth around 1870. 
The two Falck Clocks (photo: Leonard Joel)

2020 – Dec

Established in 2009, Beechworth Massage & Myotherapy moves from the Marion Arcade on Ford Street to its new, larger home at the end of Boiler House Lane (off Gilchrist Avenue, near Silver Creek Sourdough and the Montessori School) and rebrands as Balance Beechworth. The new studio offers remedial, therapeutic and pregnancy massage, along with myotherapy, pilates and yoga.

2021 – Jan

Well-known local couple Joan Simms and John Hennessey complete Beechworth’s first certified ‘passive house’, only the second of its type to be constructed (so far) in North East Victoria. The small but striking one-bedroom house on Nam Shing Lane is between 70 to 90 per cent more efficient than a home of the same size, which helps reduce its carbon footprint on the planet. After receiving the architectural concept, Ovens and King Builders set about completing the construction plans in mid-2020 with the requisite detailing to achieve the rigorous ‘Passive House Standard of Construction’. The home’s superior performance is attributed to a grid-connected 4kw photo voltaic power supply system; external wall insulation of 100mm PIR foam, battened and fitted with ‘Colorbond Enseam’ wall claddings and triple glazed, aluminium/timber composite windows. The building has a very low energy demand due to high insulation, which includes special insulation layers hidden in the walls and roof, and triple glazed windows making it a completely airtight building.

The house will be awarded the ‘GreenSmart Home of the Year’ in 2021 by the Housing Industry Association (HIA). It is also named the ‘Northern Victoria Home of the Year‘, the ‘Custom Built Home of the Year‘ and receives the ‘HIA Northern Victoria GreenSmart Sustainable Home’ award.
Joan Simms and John Hennessy in front of their award-winning ‘Passive Home’ on Nam Shing Lane (photo: Kurt Hickling)

2021 – Jan

Beechworth’s first female fire captain Tracy McVea (photo: Coral Cooksley)

Tracy McVea – one of the owners of the Beechworth Newsagency since 2003 – is appointed Captain of the CFA Beechworth Urban Fire Brigade, the first female captain in the brigade’s 154-year history. Tracy and her husband Ian joined the local fire brigade as volunteers in 2011. The newly named Captain McVea is also chair of the CFA District 24 Women’s Reference Group – created in 2016 – comprising women from across all District 24 brigades, as well as staff representatives.

2021 – Mar

Beechworth’s Home Timber and Hardware store (above) re-brands to Mitre 10 (below). The building at 4-6 Camp Street was constructed and opened as a True Value Hardware store in 1992.

‘Mitre 10’ is the parent company of ‘Home Hardware’.
The sign featuring ‘Rusty’ and ‘Sandy’ – the ‘Home Hardware’ mascots – is removed.

2021 – Mar 9 

Crippled by the covid pandemic, Paula MacDonald closes her Rustique Soul café at 38a Ford Street after running the café since July 2018.

2021 – Mar

Qualified electrican and builder Robert ‘Bob’ Bourke arrives in Beechworth, settling at 482 Chiltern-Beechworth Road, and establishes his own handyman business – “A Bob’s Worth”.

2021 – Mar 19             

Hello Darling’s new premises at 54 Ford Street.

Nadine Trist moves her popular Hello Darling women’s clothing store from 66 Ford Street to larger premises at 54 Ford Street, next door to the Ox and Hound bistro. Hello Darling also has stores at 86 High Street in Wodonga and at Albury’s Myer Centrepoint as well as 488 Dean Street in Albury.

The beautiful skylight ceiling at 54 Ford Street – ‘Hello Darling’

2021 – Mar 30             

Jamie Stacey and Helen Haines combine their surnames (Stacey and Haines) and open Coffee Staines Café and Carvery at 72 Ford Street, the former site of the Granite Café (below).

2021 – Apr

One of the new eco-cottages – with outdoor hot tub – at the ‘Glenbosch Wine Estate’

Dirk and Nika Bester open three new purpose-built luxury ‘eco-cottages’ at their Glenbosch Wine Estate, 10 km from Beechworth at 1036 Beechworth-Wangaratta Road Beechworth, Everton Upper. The three cottages (with a fourth on the way) have views over the vineyard and feature either a pizza oven or a woodfired hot tub.

‘Glenbosch Wine Estate’ eco-cottage with wood-fired pizza oven

2021 – Apr

Beechworth Speech Pathology & Psychology opens at Shop 3 in the Marion Arcade, 74 Ford Street. Speech Pathologist Jasman Stuzinski looks after all areas of speech pathology including paediatric speech, stuttering and fluency, language assessment, literacy and phonological difficulties, and intervention services. Clinical Psychologist Andrea Pavarino attends to patients dealing with emotional and psychological issues.

The ‘Marion Arcade’ is originally known as ‘Criterion Lane’ after the ‘Criterion Hotel (1854-1877) which stood on High Street, with the lane running between Ford Street and High Street. The busy laneway will later be renamed ‘Warren Lane’ in honour of Richard ‘Little Dick’ Warren (adopted son of newspaper proprietor Richard Albert Warren) who runs the popular Newsagent and Tobacconists shop at 74 Ford Street – on the corner of the laneway – from 1910 until his death at the age of 90 in 1950. In the 1980s the laneway will be partly roofed and renamed the ‘Marion Arcade’ (below).

2021 – Jun 16-21

One of the numerous ‘Winterwords’ events in 2021 – ‘In Conversation’ at the Beechworth Town Hall.

With a $3,500 ‘Covid Grant’ from the Community Bank Beechworth & District (Bendigo Bank), the inaugural Winterwords Festival begins in Beechworth with an art exhibition at the Mayday Hills Art Society. Organised by the Winterwords Autonomous Collective (an incorporated association which also receives financial backing from the Indigo Shire Council and the Into Our Hands Foundation) and led by the festival’s creative director Janet Tweedie, the week-long festival is a celebration of words in Art, Drama, Film, Games, Music, Poetry, Prose and Storytelling. It features discussions and special guests at various locations in Beechworth and the nearby town of Stanley. Winterwords becomes a popular annual event Beechworth in June.

Ellen Engwerda (left) with her innovative artwork of ‘Morse Code’ with Winterwords creative director Janet Tweedie at Mayday Hills Art Society’s exhibition opening (photo: Coral Cooksley)

2021 – Jun

Nathan Cowan from Billson’s Brewery takes over the beautiful ‘Bed & Breakfast’ property at 3 Finch Street (most recently operating as Finches of Beechworth) and renames it The Brewer’s House as it is situated on the original site of George Billson’s ‘Malt House’. Incorporating three private suites, the luxury accommodation property also features a solar-heated mineral water swimming pool.

In the late 1860s George Billson and his wife Isabella operate a ‘Malt House’ from 3 Finch Street in Beechworth. The original two-storey brick ‘Malt House’ is demolished in the 1880s replaced by the current stately residence in 1895. Surrounded by beautiful, English-style manicured gardens, it features a tinkling fountain and an 80-year-old magnolia tree at the front of the house.  

2021 – Jun

Diane Ingwersen (left) with the new owners of ‘Beechworth Books’ Charles Dean and Nadia David.

Diane Ingwersen sells Beechworth Books at 73 Ford Street to Charles Dean and Nadia David. The popular book store was established in its current location in 2000 by Meryl McMillan.

2021 – Jul 12

After being closed for a while, the Beechworth Squash Courts and Fitness Centre at 4 Mellish Street is purchased in April 2021 for $570,000 and refreshed and refurbished by new co-owner Kara-lee Mackinnon, then reopened with a new name – Newtown Fitness – on July 12th.

Part of the new interior of ‘Newtown Fitness’ on Mellish Street.
In 2023, the original squash courts are removed and reconfigured as part of the gym, and two modern treatment rooms / office spaces, are created, available to be rented by allied health professionals.  


The Beechworth Contemporary Art Space opens at 29a Camp Street. Curated by Nina Machielse Hunt, the unique art gallery showcases works from artists of note from Beechworth and other towns in North-East Victoria. The small, but deep, space snuggles neatly between the Beechworth Bakery and the Beechworth Gold store.

Beechworth Contemporary Art Space’ owner and curator Nina Machielse Hunt

2021 – Jul

Naomi Ingleton opens her Farmacy Co store – a Herbal Apothecary and Juice & Elixir Bar – at 66 Ford Street (the Clement’s Buildings), next door to the Ageing Frog Fish Bar at 68 Ford Street. Ingleton is a Chef, Horticulturist and Ayurvedic practitioner and wants to use her store to share her love of herbs and their medicinal benefits through a range of products and clinical consultancy.

66-68 Ford Street, also known as the ‘Clement’s Buildings’ – and before that as the ‘Crawford’s Buildings’ – has previously been the home of ‘J.G ‘Snowy’ Anderson’s Gents Hairdressers’ and, most recently, ‘Carol Carroll Living’ and women’s clothing store ‘Hello Darling’. 
The ‘Clement’s Buildings’ (previously the ‘Crawford’s Buildings’) at 66-68 Ford Street.

2021 – Sep 16

After operating since November 2018 at the former Beechworth Railway Station – and battling through covid restrictions – the Beechworth Food Co-op closes as their lease with the Indigo Shire ends. In its almost 3 years operating from the site, over $160,000 is paid to local fruit and vegetable growers.

Inside the ‘Beechworth Food Co-op’ at the former Beechworth Railway Station.

2021 – Sep

Tom O’Toole from the Beechworth Bakery

Tom O’Toole – owner of Beechworth Bakery – announces his retirement from the highly successful business he created in 1984. Now with a chain of Beechworth Bakery stores in Albury, Ballarat, Bendigo, Bright, Echuca, Healesville and Yackandandah, Tom’s long-time business partner Marty Matassoni will take over the business, having started working from O’Toole, after school at age 13, before taking on an apprenticeship at the Beechworth Bakery at age 16.

New Beechworth Bakery owner Marty Matassoni with Tom O’Toole.

2021 – Sep 6                

Nick Musso opens PhysioLife at 9b Bridge Road. It is Beechworth’s Pilates, Sports Injury and Physiotherapy clinic. It replaces the ‘Aboriginal Investment Art Gallery’ on the site (below left) which had also been the home of ‘The Spirited Chef Foodstore & Comestibles’.

2021 – Sep 11

The ‘Beechworth Barber Shop’, with another piece of beautiuful window artwork by Beechworth’s resident signwriting expert Clem Angus.

Suzy Unsted from Rubens of Beechworth Eco Hairdressing opens a separate business at Shop 3 in the Golden Vale Centre arcade – The Beechworth Barbershop, offering haircuts for men and boys. The Golden Vale Centre is at 75 Ford Street, on the original site of the Beechworth Supermarket.

2021 – Nov

Lee & Craig Docherty purchase the three cottages – Pickett Cottage, Kelly House and Wright House at 56 High Street. Standing on the original site of the 1862-built Imperial Hotel, the buildings had been lovingly restored by John and Lisa Furlong and opened in 2008. The Docherty’s rename the luxury accommodation complex The Inn Beechworth, with the old Ned Kelly sculpture still standing proudly beside the front of Pickett Cottage (above).

2021 – Nov 4               

In the 1850s Mackenzie Family Store building on the hill at Newton – the entrance to Beechworth – Oliver Payne and Megan Peirce open The Beechworth Conservatory at 9a Bridge Road, a boutique indoor plant shop, coffee shop and design studio. In the delightfully restored shopkeeper’s residence next door, at 9c Bridge Road, they offer AirBNB accommodation.

Oliver Payne, Megan Peirce and chihuahua Maya outside their ‘Beechworth Conservatory’ in Newtown.

2021 – Nov

Beth Bartsh, creator of ‘Wild Emery’ wellness products

Beth and Alistair Bartsh establish Wild Emery, making self-care and wellness bath and body products, including ‘small batch’ handmade natural soaps, botanical bath salts, lip balms, bath bombs and shower steamers. Selling their products to over 200 stores across Australia, Wild Emery operates from a studio at the rear of the family home at 48 Library Road, just around the corner from Bartsh Road which is named for Heinrich and Dorothea Bartsh who arrived in Beechworth looking for gold in 1857 and their son Frederick John Henry Bartsh who was born in Beechworth in 1865. Frederick’s grandson built the Sunnyside homestead on Bartsh Road.

A range of ‘Wild Emery’ shower steamers.
Heinrich Bartsh, a blacksmith, was born at Freiennald in Prussia. He died in Beechworth in 1866 leaving Dorothea with four young children including Frederick. In 1867, Dorothea married Christian Voigt, a gardener at the Black Springs where they both lived. A further child, William Voigt, was born in 1868. Dorothea died in 1910 and Christian Voigt in 1911. 

2021 – Nov 15

‘Beechworth Dental’ opens at 14 Camp Street

Doctor Jennifer Jong and Ellen Larkin establish Beechworth Dental at 14 Camp Street. Jennifer and Ellen are also part of the Alliance Dental Group in Myrtleford.

Previous tenant at 14 Camp Street – Brigadier Scottish Shop
For many years the two shops at 14 Camp Street had been the home of the ‘Brigadier Scottish Shop’, opened in 1991 by John and Maria Harvey. John Harvey establishes the annual ‘Beechworth Celtic Festival’ in 1995.  

2021 – Dec 25

After owning and running Beechworth Taxis for 12 years, Noel Evans sells the business to Rod Bell.

2022 – Jan

The front door at the new Billson’s Head Office.

As Billson’s continues to expand their Beechworth operations, Nathan Cowan and his team outgrow their small office at the original Billson’s Brewery building on Last Street, so they establish a new head office on the first floor of The Birches – the former adminstration building on Coates Crescent at Mayday Hills (below).

2022 – Jan

Malaysian-born Mei ‘Pinky’ Lee establishes Carriage Massage in the former restaurant building next to the Carriage Motor Inn at 44 Camp Street. Within a few months ‘Pinky’ has moved her popular service to more central premises at 8a Camp Street (above) near the corner of Camp and High Street.

2022 – Feb 17             

After much restoration of the original Manchester House / Corner Hotel building on the corner of Ford and Camp Streets, Miss Amelie Gourmet opens, diagonally opposite the old Beechworth Post Office. Co-owners Chef David Kapay and businessmen Ken Little and Jim Myer opened the original Miss Amelie restaurant in a railway shed at the historic former Wodonga railway station in 2016, before opening a second shop at Myer Centrepoint in Albury..

Frederick ‘Fritz’ Dreyer took over the ‘Manchester House’ building in 1869 and converted it into ‘Dreyer’s Hotel’ which is quickly renamed ‘The Corner Hotel’. It later becomes ‘The Central Hotel’, ‘The Astor Café’, ‘The Dolphin Café’, ‘Pozzebon’s Pizza’ and ‘Taylor’s Milk Bar’. It almost burns down in June 1911 when illuminations (Chinese lanterns) for the coronation of King George V fall onto the balcony and start a fire.     
Chef David Kapay on the fully restored balcony of Miss Amelie Gourmet.

2022 – Mar

The Beechworth Football Club – the ‘Bushrangers’ – begin their 2002 season with a big win against Rutherglen – 20.19 (139) to 8.3. (51) at Baarmutha Park. The co-coaches of the ‘Bushrangers’ are Tom Cartledge and Brayden Carey (below), who will continue as co-coaches in 2023.

2022 – Mar                

Heather Wells opens Fabric Playground and Gifts at 29 A Camp Street.  

2022 – Apr

Work begins on the $600,000 Lake Sambell Precinct Reviltalisation project which will replace the boardwalks around the clay banks, remove a number of large declining pines, improve all walking tracks around the lake, construct new bridges, new timber stairs and new bench seats and add new signage throughout the precinct.

2022 – Apr 9

‘Spring Ditch!’ production manager Adam ‘Lacca’ Lacovich (left) with festival founders Lex Fletcher and Rikki Raadsveld at the Stanley Recreation Reserve (photo: Ash Smith)

The inaugural Spring Ditch! family festival is held at the Stanley Recreation Reserve. Effectively replacing the Beechworth Music Festival (established in 2014) the event is headlined by Murray Cook (from The Wiggles) and his Soul Movers and The Meanies and, between the music acts, there are events including a Wood Chop display, a Tug O’War, Golden Boot Toss, pony rides, and special kids ‘chill out’ zones. Co-founders of the Beechworth Music Festival, Lex Fletcher and Rikki Raadsveld have established the new event which ‘tips its hat’ to the former Stanley New Year’s Day Sports held for over 130 consecutive years, which finished its long run in the 1990s.

Crowds flock to enjoy ‘Spring Ditch!’ at Stanley, 7km from Beechworth
The new festival takes its name from the local ‘Spring Ditch’ mine hole, which was converted into a wetland with tree plantings by students from the Stanley Public School in the 1980s. The historical ‘Stanley New Year’s Sports Day’ would consist of events like the wood chop, tennis and horse competitions, dog shows, running races and wheelbarrow races.

2022 – Apr

The rear extension at ‘Mitre 10’ – framework by ‘Yackandandah Engineering’

Beechworth’s Mitre 10 on Camp Street begins construction on an extension at the Tanswell Street rear entrance of the 1992-built hardware store.

The rear extension at ‘Mitre 10’ completed

2022 – Apr 16

A new exhibition – ‘The People of Beechworth’ – opens at the Burke Museum over the Easter weekend. Showcasing the resilience and diversity of the Beechworth community, it features 10 photographic portraits of current Beechworth residents, comparing and contrasting their stories with historical collections and personalities of the town. Among those featured in the 10 large scale portraits, captured by Beechworth photographer Erin Davis-Hartwig, are locals Dr David Lawrence, Tracy McVea and Corey-James Jackson, whose stories link to the arts, emergency services and education. The exhibition also includes a portrait gallery of the broader community through images captured at a series of community open days. These portraits are projected onto a wall alongside the current “pioneer board” which features the town’s 19th century founders, and aims to showcase the diversity of Beechworth’s almost 4,000 residents.

2022 – Apr

Alexandra Perry with her mother Elizabeth Mason at their new store ‘Merchant Rutherglen’

Elizabeth Mason, who has run The Finer Things of Life shop in Camp Street since 1990, teams up with her daughter Alexandra Perry to open a new store at 122 Main Street in Rutherglen. Merchant Rutherglen sells beautiful Art Deco jewellery – exclusive gold jewellery and sterling silver classic designed items, cultured pearls, earrings and pendants. Their jewellery includes only natural precious and semi-precious stones.

2022 – May

Baarmutha Park Sporting Precinct – Tennis Courts.

The Beechworth Lawn Tennis Club opens its new tennis courts at the Baarmutha Park Sports Complex on Balaclava Road. The new site includes four new ‘Rebound Ace’ cushioned acrylic hard courts with LED lighting. The former Beechworth Lawn Tennis Club between Albert Road and Tanswell Street is to be subdivided into a new housing estate (below).

Proposed housing subdivision on the site of the old Beechworth Lawn Tennis Club

2022 – May 25

Silver Creek Sourdough’ at 6B Boiler House Lane.

The property at 6B Boiler House Lane (off Gilchrist Avenue, behind the Montessori School) is sold for $350,000. It is the home of two separate tenants – Ben Ryder’s Beechworth Coffee Roasters (opened in June 2021) and Louise Ritchie’s Silver Creek Sourdough Bakery (opened in 2014).


The historic Beechworth Gallery building at 8 Albert Road (corner of Albert Road and Kerferd Road) is sold to Nathan Cowan of Billson’s Brewery for $1.2 million to potentially use as the new Billson’s head office. Constructed in 1857 as a ‘wine and spirit merchant’, the historic building has been home to several businesses over the years including Robinson’s Store (below).

The 1857 building (above) features vast, solid cellars in the basement (below).

2022 – Jun 1

Snow dusts trees in the township of Stanely (photo: Michelle Clayton)

The first day of winter brings a cold snap and a light dusting of snow in Beechworth and Stanley, with heavier falls at nearby Mt. Stanley (below).

Snow on the road to Mt. Stanley (photo: Kylie Hunter-Boyd)

2022 – Jun 15-19

The second annual Winterwords festival is held in Beechworth, with over 20 seperate events held at various locations throughout the area including Beechworth, Stanley and the Woolshed Valley.

One of the many attractions at Winterwords 2022 – Traditional Bookbinding at the Old Beechworth Railway Station

2022 – Jun                  

A $4.5 million sewer upgrade project begins in Beechworth, designed to help resolve the town’s sewer capacity issues during heavy rainstorms. A 1km horizontal long-bore is being drilled from the North East Water’s wastewater treatment plant in Woolshed. The project involves construction of a new 4km long sewer transfer pipe from the bottom of Church Street, along Last Street, Sydney Road and Old Chiltern Road, then under the Historic Park to the sewage treatment plant on McFeeters Road near Woolshed Falls. The new, larger transfer pipe will allow more inflow and protect against sewer spills. A new pump station is also being constructed at the bottom of Church Street.

Beechworth Wastewater Treatment Plant.

2022 – Jul

Mick & Jo Westra (left) with new owners of ‘Beechworth Plumbing & Supplies’ Shaggy and Trina.

Shaun ‘Shaggy’ Pritchard and Petrina ‘Trina’ Sanderson take over Beechworth Plumbing Plus at 22 Junction Road from Mick and Jo Westra, who had established the successful business in 2003. Under the new owners, the business is renamed Beechworth Plumbing and Supplies.

‘Best and Fairest’ winner Shaun ‘Shaggy’ Pritchard plays over 200 games for the ‘Beechworth Football Club’ and will be the club’s coach from 2009 to 2011, leading the ‘Beechworth Bushrangers’ to premiership victory in 2010.

2022 – Jul                    

After 157 years of operation, Billson’s Brewery opens a new centrally located outlet store at 37 Camp Street. Called Billson’s Soda Bar, it specialises in freshly mixed sodas, ice cream spiders and hot chocolates, coffees and teas. It also features a “secret speakeasy” at the rear of the premises.

Billson’s Hospitality Manager Sam Whitfield prepares the front ‘Soda Bar’ ready for customers.
The Billson’s Soda Bar ‘secret speakeasy’ at the rear of the building.

The 1891 building is originally the home of Andrew Porritt’s newspaper the ‘Ovens Register’, later ‘The Green Shed Bistro’ and then ‘The Press Room Wine Bar’ (2014-2020).

One of the front windows at ‘Billson’s Soda Bar’ with beautiful gold leaf signwriting by Clem Angus.

2022 – Jul 31               

After 22 years in business, Manager Frances McDonald announces The Ardent Alpaca shop at 35 Camp Street will close.

2022 – Aug

‘Beechworth Wildlife Stays’ Sue Hiatt with Bendigo Bank’s Beechworth manager Sam Johanson.

Some good news for Beechworth Wildlife Stays after the 2020 fire which destroyed much of Sue Hiatt and David Haythorne’s property. They are among the recipients of Beechworth’s Bendigo Bank funding program, with a $1,500 contribution to go towards the construction of a shed for rescue joeys, as their property also operates as a wildlife rescue centre. Bendigo Bank’s Beechworth manager Sam Johanson issues 17 grants in 2022 amounting to $47,000, which includes $1,500 for the Beechworth Toy Library to create additional storage space.

2022 – Aug

American-born chiropractor Dr Sanda Thompson takes over the Indigo Chiro practice from Dr Karen Hayes at Shop 4 in the Marion Arcade, 74 Ford Street. After obtaining her Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science and Sports Medicine in the USA, Thompson completed her Chiropractic degree at RMIT University in Melbourne before moving to Beechworth with her husband and three daughters. Indigo Chiro provides a range of chiropractic services, including acute, chronic, paediatric, family-based wellness care, along with a variety of holistic products.

‘Indigo Chiro’ had been established in Beechworth’s Marion Arcade in 2014 by Dr Karen Therese Hayes, who tragically passes away just before Christmas in 2022


The Beechworth Veterinary Hospital moves from 6a Camp Street into new premises at 1 Harper Avenue, after refitting the original 1965 Beechworth Kindergarten on the corner of Harper Avenue and Albert Road. The hospital is operated by ‘Indigo Veterinary Services’.

2022 – Sep

Beechworth Pharmacy owner Ruth Parker is named ‘Most Outstanding Community Pharmacist’ by the Australian Patients Association, sponsored by the Pharmacy Guild, for her work with the Beechworth community during the covid pandemic.

After suffering a stroke in 2012, followed by chronic pain, Ruth Parker is motivated to give back to the Beechworth community by helping to educate others on how to manage and live with pain. She embarks on a ‘Bachelor of Health Science (Naturopathy)’ to be able to offer both pharmaceutical and natural medicine to improve health outcomes. Sadly, Ruth suffers another medical episode on June 29th 2023 and passes away, aged just 47.  

2022 – Sep                   

Marcus O’Connor moves his Beechworth Accounting and Financial Services from their premises at 47 High Street, where he has been operating for 13 years, and he and business partner Kate Walker establish Beechworth Financial Services at the refurbished shop at 35 Camp Street where The Ardent Alpaca had traded for 22 years. Beechworth Accounting remains at 47 High Street.

2022 – Sep                   

Paul Conroy sells Warden’s Hotel (1869) to Billson’s Brewery owner Nathan Cowan for $900,000 who plans to restore the 153 year old building and re-open it for accommodation.

New owner of ‘Warden’s Hotel’ Nathan Cowan (left) with previous owner Paul Conroy.
Since closing as a hotel in 1975, the Warden’s building has served as school camp accommodation, a bed and breakfast, a wine bar, and, most recently, an Indian restaurant.

2022 – Sep

Winning artist Susie Losch

The inaugural Beechworth Contemporary Art Award takes place over three days. Organised by Nina Machielse Hunt, Creative Director of the BCAA, over 200 entries are received from around Australia, with 10 proposals ultimately selected. The artworks are all created to be site specific and are installed at various sites around Beechworth. The BCAA judge, Sydney based curator Sebastian Goldspink, announces artist Susie Losch (above) as the award recipient of $10,000 with her artwork ‘Swell’. The event will return in 2024 as the Beechworth Biennale.

2022 – Oct 7

Ian & Robyn Fetherstonhaugh at ‘The Beechworth Pantry’ which they established in 2003 (photo: Ovens and Murray Advertiser)

After almost 20 years of serving breakfasts, lunches and coffees at The Beechworth Pantry, Ian and Robyn retire and close their popular Pantry at 77 Ford Street.

2022 – Oct

Water rushing over the Spring Creek waterfall.

Along the Wallace Park-Spring Creek Walking Track (officially opened by Victorian Premier Jeff Kennett in 1998) water rushes over the waterfall into the deep cut tail-race after heavy and constant rain.

2022 – Oct

The Woolshed Falls in full flood.

Water surges over the Woolshed Falls following constant rain.

2022 – Oct

Christina and Troy Dillon open the Vino Bar at 40 Ford Street (formerly the home of Annabelle Bourchier’s Collective café). It trades from Friday to Sunday offering a range of premium local Beechworth wines, beers, French Champagne and food.

2022 – Oct 27               

Oddfellows Hall in Loch Street the day after the shooting.

60-year-old Paul Flegal, who lives at the Oddfellows Hall in Loch Street, is killed in a shootout with Barry David Butler at Butler’s property on Buckland Gap Road (below). Butler claims he has no idea why he is targeted by Flegal, who had been making threatening calls and leaving angry messages for him leading up to the shooti as well as making armed threats against Butler around town. Flegal arrives at Butler’s property (with another, unnamed, man who flees the scene) and opens fire using a gun fitted with silencer. A volley of 15 shots are fired by Flegel, one of them hitting Butler in his chest plate before travelling up his arm, severing nerves, and preventing him using the limb. With his uninjured arm, Butler uses an unregistered .45 calibre semi-automatic handgun to fire back, killing Flegel. Butler, who is flown to the Alfred Hospital and spends eight days receiving treatment, does not face charges over Flegel’s death, which is believed to be considered self-defence, although he is later charged with having three illegal guns at his property, and faces drugs charges after police find cannabis plants, and small amounts of marijuana, ice and cocaine at his property at the time of the shooting.

The scene of the shoot out on Bucjkland Gap Road.

2022 – Oct/Nov           

Heavy rain and flooding continue throughout the region, and water from the “Rocky Mountain Mining Company” tunnel – that runs under the township of Beechworth (completed in January 1880) – pours out from the opening above the Gorge.

2022 – Nov 2

The continual heavy rains now take their toll on the 1926-built Spring Creek Bridge on the popular Gorge Scenic Drive Road. It causes structural damage, forcing the closure of road to all vehicles from Powder Magazine to Pritchard Lane. Pedestrian access to the park is still available but there is no access across the Spring Creek Bridge. An engineering assessment of the damage will be undertaken to understand the extent of the damage and an estimate of how long it will take to repair. It has been closed ever since with no re-opening in sight, which is a real blow for the many tourists (and locals) who have enjoyed making the spectacular ‘Gorge Road Circuit’ for many years.

2022 – Nov

The road beside Lake Sambell covered in water, overflowing to the land below.

With the persistent rain, Lake Sambell overflows, flooding the area around the lake (above and below).

House threatened with inundation of water below Lake Sambell

2022 – Nov                  

Rocco Esposito and Lisa Pidutti move their popular providore and wine store Project Forty Nine from 46-48 Ford Street to newly refurbished premises across the road at 57 Ford Street next to the former Star Hotel.

Rocco Esposito and Lisa Pidutti at ‘Project Forty Nine’

2022 – Nov 18

The first Drag’d Out Festival begins. Put together by Andrew Madden and his partner Scott Daintry, who run the Empire Hotel, over 8,000 tickets are sold for the 4 nights and 3 days of the festival. Part of Camp Street is closed to traffic on the Friday afternoon and evening when a street party and disco is held. Saturday features events like roving drag queens and kings, “Drag Bingo and Trivia”, all leading up to the “Wine ‘n Dine Divas”, a cabaret-style drag show at the Memorial Hall, and Sunday is “Frock Up Family Fair Day” at the Police Paddocks. Drag queens Vanessa Wagner and Cindy Pastel headline the sold-out event which attracts over 2,000 people to town. Drag’d Out returns to Beechworth in 2023.

2022 – Nov 27

The ‘Ivy Phillps’ store in Myrtleford

Having successfully established her Ivy Phillips Beechworth store at 71 Ford Street in September 2018, Emma Nankervis opens a second Ivy Phillips store at 53 Standish Street in Myrtleford selling high quality men’s and women’s fashion and homewares. This will be followed by another shop in Beechworth – “Spencer Phillips” – in December 2023, selling kitchenware at 39 Ford Street.

2022 – Dec 26

Michael Patterson and Emma Smith (above) open their Little Nev outdoor takeaway coffee business on the forecourt of the old Golden Era RACV Service Station at 34 Ford Street. Little Nev (NEV stands for ‘North East Victoria’) operates from a beautifully restored and converted horse float which had been sitting, old and rusting, in Emma Smith’s family paddock and is lovingly transformed during the covid lockdowns in 2021. The coffee at Little Nev is supplied by the Sixpence Roastery of Bright. Little Nev also serves Budd Hot Chocolate and Chai, a variety of tea drinks including Patto’s Iced Tea, and home-made lemonade from Yack Ingredients of Yackandandah. Michael will restore and refit a second horse float in mid-2023 to travel around North East Victoria selling coffee at festivals, weddings and events.

2023 – Jan 21

After months of renovations, creative couple Dore Stockhausen and Marcus Foley finally celebrate the grand opening weekend of their OneoffTwo Studios at 5A Coates Crescent at Mayday Hills in Beechworth. The studio and gallery feature paintings by Dore and jewellery by Marcus, a respected gold and silversmith.

Dore Stockhausen and Marcus Foley established their ‘OneoffTwo Studios’ at Nungurner, near Metung, in East Gippsland in 2006, before moving to Beechworth in 2022.

2023 – Jan 23

The swimming pool and spa surrounded by gum trees at the newly named ‘Grand Oaks Resort’

Property management specialists Lee Rourke and Simmone Neumann purchase Beechworth’s George Kerferd Hotel from property developer George Fendyk for just shy of $2.6 million. They will change the 20-room hotel’s name to the Grand Oaks Resort. Standing at 22 Oak Avenue in the Mayday Hills precinct, the building stands on the original site of the 1907 Medical Superintendents quarters, later rebuilt as the Kerferd Clinic, an early psychiatric treatment centre.

New owners of the ‘Grand Oaks Resort’ Lee Rourke and Simmone Neumann.

2023 – Jan

Work begins on the Silver Gardens Estate, a new housing development to feature 10 houses on the former site of the Beechworth Lawn Tennis Club.

2023 – Feb

34-year-old Narelle Forrest at Beechwoeth’s famous ‘Rosstulla’ property

After mentoring their daughter in all aspects of cattle breeding and stud management, Narelle Forrest takes over Rosstulla at 64 Davidson Lane from her parents Rex and Trish Forrest. Narelle transitions to the management of the Rosstulla Poll Hereford Stud after the 60-year reign of her parents. The fourth generation successful Beechworth cattle enterprise dovetails with a flock of fine wool merinos. The quality of the Forrest’s wool has been recognised on numerous occasions, including the accolade for ‘Best Prepared Clip’ in the 2018 Elders Catalogue.

Rosstulla’s Rex and Trish Forrest

The Forrest family have been farming in Beechworth since the mid-1800s when Scotsman David Forrest first arrived in the district. Since then, ‘Rosstulla’ has been managed by further generations of the family including Balfour Ewing Forrest, and his son Balfour Greig Forrest (who is also a Beechworth Councillor for many years, and Shire President from 1931-1932) and, most recently, his nephew Rex Forrest. ‘Forrest Lane’ is named in honour of the family.

2023 – Feb

The Lake Sambell Precinct Revitalisation is almost complete. The Rotary Club of Beechworth – with the support of Evan Taylor from Beechworth Sand and Soil and excavator and bobcat operator Tim Goldsworthy – reinvigorate the Boat Ramp area. They clean up the area, level out the foreshore, and place river rocks under a bed of sand to make it more ‘user friendly’ for water craft, including the popular Beechworth Golden Serpents Dragon Boat Club (below).

2023 – Feb

Street lighting and curbing is built on a new road (Government Road) which has been created off Forrest Lane in preparation for a new housing development.

2023 – Mar                  

The new 2023 home of the ‘Beechworth Contemporary Art Space’ (left doorway) and ‘The Prospect’ holiday accommodation (right doorway).

The renovated and refreshed 1858 building at 89 Ford Street is relaunched as the Beechworth Contemporary Art Space, with The Prospect holiday accommodation opening on the right-hand side (and upstairs) of the same building, operated by Beechworth Short Stays. Nina Machielse Hunt’s original Beechworth Contemporary Gallery at 29a Camp Street (next door to the Beechworth Bakery) has moved to this new site.

It would appear that Robert O’Hara Burke once resided in the apartment above 89 Ford Street when he was Police Superintendent at Beechworth between 1854 and 1858.

2023 – Mar

Beechworth’s popular Bridge Road Brewers is voted the “Best Brewery Venue in Victoria” in the Beer Cartel‘s annual craft beer industry survey. 

2023 – Mar 31

The final stage of Lake Sambell Precinct Revitalisation is completed with the installation of all-new signage around the lake. The new bridges, walkways and steps are now open.

2023 – Apr 1

The recently closed Beechworth Pantry at 77 Ford Street rises from the ashes to become the Phoenix Cafe & Restaurant. Operated by Zhicheng Li and his family – who also run the Chinese Village restaurant in Camp Street – it is open from 10am to 2pm, serving Australian Brunch and Asian Meals along with authentic Chinese tea.

2023 – Apr 6

The damaged culvert over Rising Sun Creek between Beechworth and Wooragee.

Just days before the annual Golden Horseshoes Festival in Beechworth, Regional Roads Victoria close a section of the Beechworth-Wodonga Road after announcing a badly damaged culvert over Rising Sun Creek needs assessment and repair. It appears the main road will be closed to all traffic for some months, and a detour is put in place via the Beechworth-Chiltern Road and Reid’s Way.

2023 – Apr 8

‘Walter Beechworth Hair Salon’ at 38a Ford Street

After purchasing 38a Ford Street in early 2021, Walter Facci and his wife Rachael Antoniou finally complete renovations on the building (where Rustique Soul had been trading) and the former, popular Melbourne hairdressers are able to open their Walter Beechworth Hair Salon.

The impressive, fully renovated interior of ‘Walter Beechworth Hair Salon’
Originally from Myrtleford, Walter had been running his popular ‘The Lab for Hair’ salon in South Yarra for 22 years before he and Rachael decided to relocate to Beechworth with their daughters Chiara and Estelle for a ‘quieter country life’.

2023 – Apr 7-10

The stunning 2023 ‘Golden Horseshoes’ poster created by Oliver Payne from the ‘Beechworth Conservatory’

Despite the inclement and chillier-than-expected weather, the 2023 Golden Horseshoes Festival is more popular than ever, drawing huge numbers to Beechworth and, in particular, for the parade on Easter Saturday afternoon.

Crowds gather at Tanswell’s Hotel to enjoy the Golden Horseshoes Festival.

2023 – Apr

The newly completed ‘Rail Trail’ underpass beneath the Beechworth/Yackandandah roundabout.

Construction nears completion on the $6.2 million ‘Rail Trail’ from Beechworth to Yackandandah, with the opening of the trail’s underpass at the Beechworth-Yackandandah turn-off roundabout. The 31km cycling and walking track mostly follows the route of the old railway line between the two towns.

The ‘Rail Trail’ map – from Beechworth (in sections) to Wooragee and Yackandandah.

2023 – Apr

Owen and Judy Richards put up their fully renovated home at 19 Warner Road for sale. It is the former Wallace Memorial Ward built in 1890 as the new female ward for the Ovens Benevolent Asylum next door. The home has an all new rear and interior, with the front exterior untouched.


Havelock Road land development

Land is offered for sale where Havelock Road intersects with Alma Road in a new housing development. The eight home-development lots are priced between $385,000 and $480,00. Situated 1,300 metres from the centre of town, the properties stand adjacent to the Murray to Mountain Rail Trail and the Beechworth Golf Club.

Havelock Road is named in honour of Sir Henry Havelock, a British General who spent most of his career in India. There is a statue of Havelock in Trafalgar Square in London.

2023 – May 20             

After 14 years at 93 Ford Street (site of the old Parkinson’s Garage), Janelle ‘Nelly’ Molyneux moves her Nelly’s Niche home decor and gift shop to the shop next door to Mike’s Beechworth Bazaar at 58 Ford Street (run by her husband, Mike Molyneux). It features a large section for dog and pet products at the rear of the store.

Janelle ‘Nelly’ Molyneux in her new store.

2023 – June 4

The Beechworth Singers, founded in 1979, hold a special Sunday afternoon concert at the Beechworth Town Hall. Margaret Phillips leads the singers in “Songs from the Shows” to a packed and appreciatve crowd, who enjoy the beautiful mix of local voices performing musical numbers from “West Side Story”, “The Lion King”, “Oliver!” and many more.

2023 – Jun

Paul Dahlenburg and Lauretta Schulz open their new Grand Flor Private Tasting Room (below) at 46-48 Ford Street, next door to their well established Eldorado Road Cellar Door & Cantina at 44 Ford Street.

2023 – Jul

The restored exterior of the 1890-built ‘Charnwood Cottage’ on Loch Street

After selling in January 2020 for $400,00, the almost three years of renovations are completed on the 1890-built Charnwood Cottage at 11 Loch Street, directly opposite Ritchies IGA Supermarket. Situated on a quarter acre block that was once the home of Melrose’s Ovens Bedding Factory (destroyed by fire in 1871) the weatherboard home features 12-foot high ceilings, 4 fireplaces, hardwood floors and sash windows, and stands two doors from St. George’s Hall (built in 1865). With its complete makeover and update – particularly in the rear section of the home – Charnwood Cottage will be put on the market again in April 2024 with an asking price of $1,630,000. The cottage is named after the historic ‘Charnwood Forest’ which covers approximately 67 square miles (170 km2) in Leicestershire in England.

‘Charnwood Cottagebefore renovations

2023 – Jul 21

After almost a quarter-of-a-century running Beechworth Machinery at 30 High Street with their son Luke, Mick and Sharon Stribley retire from their successful business. Originally established by George Fendyk in 1990, Beechworth Machinery is taken over by Gary and Helen Lowndes.

Mick Stribley (left) with Gary and Helen Lowndes (centre) and Sharon Stribley (right) outside ‘Beechworth Machinery’ (photo: Coral Cooksley)

2023 – Jul 25

Following a private sale for $1,358,500 in August 2020, restoration work finally begins on the iconic 1870-built former Beechworth Post Office building. The work includes replacement of roof slates, plumbing, conservation works, and render and timber repairs, as well as the demolition of non-heritage significant amenity buildings, all supervised by “an experienced heritage architect”. It appears, when work is completed, the iconic and much photographed building will be used for residential purposes.

2023 – Jul 28

After being closed to traffic since April 6th, work finally commences on repairing the damaged bridge over the Rising Sun Creek culvert on a section of the Beechworth-Wodonga Road. Regional Roads Victoria install a temporary ‘Bailey Bridge’ and traffic lights that will allow single lane ‘light traffic’ over Rising Sun Creek, but heavy vehicles will have to continue using the detour on the Beechworth-Chiltern Road via Reid’s Way. The repair work takes eight months and, a full year after the Rising Sun Creek Bridge is closed, it is safely restored and opened to two-way traffic again in April 2024.

The temporary ‘Bailey Bridge’ over the Rising Sun Creek.

2023 – Jul 29

The old tin shed in Phillips Lane transformed into ‘The Hub 3747’ marketplace.

After refurbishing and fitting out the old tin shed in Phillips Lane, Bernie and Anne Jovaras officially open The Hub 3747, a marketplace that caters for a variety of makers, producers, artists and small businesses from North East Victoria, showcasing a wide array of the region’s talent under one roof. It will be overseen by Taryn North and Nick Gatsios of Creative Collective 3747, who specialise in restoring wine barrels. The permanent indoor marketplace showcases a rotating display of locally made homewares, furniture, art, ceramics, clothing, garden art, furniture, soft goods and beverages. Phillips Lane runs parallel to Ford Street and leads to the IGA Supermarket. It can be reached both from Church Street and Star Lane.

2023 – Aug

Luke Brock at ‘Kerrupjmara Meats’ (photo: Coral Cooksley)

Beechworth-born Luke Brock establishes Kerrupjmara Meats and Black Bird Consultancy in a newly renovated section of the old Mayday Hills Hospital. Kerrupjmara (meaning: Freshwater People) is contracted by Discovered Wildfoods, a wild harvest game meat company. Kerrupjmara Meats utilise whole beasts and are as environmentally responsible as possible, applying a First Nations lens. In 2024 Black Bird, together with Discovered Wildfoods will open their doors to the public and create a training facility to provide opportunities and ongoing support to young people living in remote Aboriginal communities.

Luke Brock started out as the ‘clean up boy’ at ‘Arthur Stephenson’s Butcher Shop’ on Ford Street when he was 13 years old, then spent the next decade working in abattoirs and boning rooms in Myrtleford, Wodonga and Eurobin. In 2000, he commenced work at the old Beechworth Gaol, beginning a 20-year association with the ‘Department of Justice’ supporting the Koori men and their families while in custody at Beechworth before spending five years at ‘Rumbalara Aboriginal Health Cooperative’ as Deputy CEO and then CEO. In 2022 Luke provided the Acknowledgement of Country at Beechworth’s Golden Horseshoe Festival and was the MC for Mitch Tambo’s performance at the festival.

2023 – Aug

Sarah and Michael Voigt – both from long-standing Beechworth and Yackandandah families – open Property Collective Real Estate at 75 Ford Street, where Rod and Jacinta Devlin had been operating Devlin Real Estate since 2013. Sarah began her real estate career in Beechworth, where she served the community for over 10 years before expanding her knowledge and skills. Michael has over 15 years’ experience in building and construction.

2023 – Aug

24 Alma Road, future site of ‘Alma Place’

A new housing development is announced at 24 Alma Road. To be named Alma Place and featuring a Community Park, the land has a very pleasant view directly out onto the Beechworth Golf Club.

Alma Road is named after the ‘Battle of the Alma River’ that occurred in the Crimean War between French, British, and Ottoman forces against the Russian army defending the Crimean Peninsula near the port city of Sevastopol on 20 September 1854.

2023 – Aug

Andrew Thomas moves his Bailey Thomas Solicitors office from 22 Camp Street to new premises on the ground floor of The Birches Building – the former Administration Building – on Coates Crescent at Mayday Hills.

2023 – Aug 23

Dominik ‘Dom’ King, who had established the Peddlar Cafe on Ford Street in 2015, opens a new sandwich bar at 31 Camp Street. Inspired by Beechworth’s connection to Ned Kelly, he names it Bandit. As well as making his ‘very good sandwiches’ during the day, on Thursday nights (below) Dom opens up to serve his famous pasta and other specialties!

2023 – Aug 31

Ying Hua Lai’s ‘Ying Massage’ in Beechworth’s ‘Golden Vale Centre’ arcade.

Ying Massage opens for business at Shop 2 in the Golden Vale Centre arcade at 75 Ford Street, offering traditional Chinese massage. The business is managed and operated by Ying Hua Lai who had been working as a massage therapist in her home city of Nanning, the capital of the Guangxi region in Southern China before migrating to Australia in 2018.

2023 – Sep 5

After finishing up at the Beechworth Barbershop at Shop 3 in the Golden Vale Centre arcade at the start of July, 21-year-old Martin Miranda opens his own Martin’s Barber Shop at 29 Camp Street.

21-year-old Martin Miranda busy at work in his new Barber Shop.
Martin arrived in Australia with his family from Argentina in 2010 and, after moving to North-East Victoria, began playing with the ‘Wodonga Diamonds’ Soccer Club’ and is eventually selected to play in the senior team. On Australia Day 2018, the then 16-year-old Martin is the recipient of the ‘Emma George Scholarship’, an honour which recognises a Beechworth Olympian.

2023 – Sep

An ‘Evie’ public Electric Vehicle Charging Station is opened in the car park next to the Burke Museum at 26 Loch Street. The 50KW charging station offers two types of connectors – CCS and CHAdeMO.

‘CCS’ (Combined Charging System) is from the European Automobile Association, while ‘CHAdeMO’ is from the Japan Electric Vehicle Fast Charger Association.CHAdeMO’ is an abbreviation of “charge de move,” equivalent to “charge for moving,” and is a pun for “O cha demo ikaga desuka” in Japanese, meaning “Let’s have a cup of tea while charging”!

2023 – Sep 18

Dr Hearn at the reception area of her new Beechworth clinic

Dr Suzi Hearn opens Freedom Chiropractic and Joint Health at Shop 3 in the Golden Vale Centre arcade, right next to the newly opened Ying Massage. Dr. Hearn B.AppSc. (Chiro 1986) has over 35 years experience as a chiropractic practitioner, and also operates clinics in Myrtleford and Bright. She will offer her services at her Beechworth clinic on Monday and Thursday afternoons and evenings.

‘Freedom Chiropractic and Joint Health’ patient room

2023 – Sep 28

The Beechworth Gift Shop & Tobacconist opens at 2/91 Ford Street. The manager of the new shop is 23-year-old Tim Prestianni (above) who had been working as a junior chef at Beechworth’s Hibernian Hotel.

2023 – Oct 1

Happier times – former manager Nathan Howse with owner Melinda Nedziak at the opening of ‘Gum Tree Pies’ in Beechworth in 2019 (photo: James Wiltshire)

After trading for almost 4 years at 49 Ford Street, Sebastian and Melinda Nedziak are sadly forced to close their popular Gum Tree Pies store after failing to find a permanent local pastry cook. They continue to run their outlets in Yackandandah, Bright and Wodonga.

Founded in Yackandandah in 2016 and expanding to Beechworth in 2019, the Beechworth ‘Gum Tree Pies’ store has been unfortunately fraught with problems almost from day one … not long after opening just before Christmas 2019, parts of Beechworth are evacuated due to the Black Summer bushfires, followed by the COVID-19 lockdowns from March 2020, staff shortages, rate rises, and the ever-increasing cost of living. Then, in January 2022, a car hits and damages the front of the building! (below)

2023 – Oct

Celebrating Beechworth’s win are, from left – Kate O’Toole, Andrew Madden, special guest Costa Georgiadis (from ABC-TVs ‘Gardening Australia’), Pieter Mourik, finalist Christine Luckman, Lyne Hayes, Beechworth committee member Iris Mannik, Scott Daintry, committee member Anne Wilson, finalist Peter Anfruns and Libby Mourik (photo: M.J McDermott)

Beechworth is crowned the state winner in the 41st annual Keep Australia Beautiful Victoria (KABV) awards, the fifth time Beechworth has won the award. At the awards ceremony held in Melbourne, four local projects also win awards in various categories, including the Drag’d Out Festival in the ‘Wellbeing’ category and the Burke Museum’s “People of Beechworth Exhibition” along with ‘Totally Renewable Yackandandah’. Beechworth has four previous Victorian Tidy Town awards – 2009, 2014, 2017 and 2019.

2023 – Oct 28

Metal in the Mountains is held in Beechworth for the fourth time. Taking place outdoors, it rattles the stonework of the buildings around the open-air area of the Police Paddocks and draws a crowd of over 250 people who gather to hear eight bands play throughout the afternoon and evening.

Heavy Metal band ‘Hidden Intent’ close Beechworth’s ‘Metal in the Mountains’ festival

2023 – Nov 10-12

The first Beechworth Heritage Festival is held. Replacing the long-running Beechworth Celtic Festival (first held in November 1995), the new Heritage Festival is a celebration of the town’s rich local history, including its First Nations, Chinese and Celtic forebears, and all the heritage trades that have shaped the community. The three-day festival – held under hot and sunny skies – features captivating performances, interactive exhibits, and a celebration of the range of cultures that have defined Beechworth’s identity. Many of the activities are centred at the Police Paddocks with Heritage Trade demonstrations (below), musical performers, dancing – including an Indigenous performer and Didgeridoo maker – and performances from the Brass Band and Pipe Band. A market with a range of stalls and food outlets is also held at the Queen Victoria Gardens.

2023 – Nov 21

The new home of the ‘Chinese Village Restaurant’ at 77 Ford Street

After 38 years operating from 11-15 Camp Street, Beechworth’s perennial Chinese Village Restaurant moves to its new home, opening its doors at 77 Ford Street where Zhicheng Li and his family had been running the Phoenix Cafe & Restaurant since April 1st 2023 in conjunction with their original Chinese Village Restaurant.

2023 – Dec

A row of ‘Tesla Destination Chargers’ in the ‘Billson’s Brewery’ carpark at 29 Last Street

Billson’s Brewery and Bridge Road Brewers join the growing list of Beechworth businesses to install Tesla Destination Chargers for electric vehicles. Other businesses with facilities to charge electric cars around Beechworth include Golden Heritage Accommodation, the Glenbosch Wine Estate and Haldon Estate Wines (below).

2023 – Dec 5

Imogen Bradley with her faithful dog Willow

Professional dog groomer Imogen Bradley opens her Willow & Co Dog Grooming shop (temporarily) at 43 Ford Street (while Lyn Ryder is taking a break from her Table Three Seven Four Seven café at the shop). Beechworth-born Imogen had studied dog grooming at Pitter Patter Paws in Melbourne before returning home to Beechworth in November 2023 to establish her business. At the end of May 2024, Imogen relocates Willow & Co Dog Grooming across the road to its new permanent home at Shop 2 in Marion Arcade, 74 Ford Street (below) as Lyn Ryder returns to re-establish her coffee shop and deli-style café at 43 Ford Street in July 2024

2023 – Dec 6

Wooragee resident Emma Nankervis, who opened her first Ivy Phillips store at 71 Ford Street in September 2018 and her second Ivy Phillips store at Myrtleford in November 2022, now opens her third store – Spencer Phillips at 39 Ford Street in Beechworth. Spencer Phillips specialises in quality homeware products (kitchenware, bathroomware and more) along with a range of women’s fashions.

2024 – Jan 25

The Californain Redwood tree struck by lightning in Centennial Park (photo: Coral Cooksley)

One of Beechworth’s tallest trees, a Californian Redwood (number 27) is struck by lightning. Standing on the Churches Walk in Centennial Park behind the old Ovens Goldfields Hospital façade on Church Street, the tree is split all the way from the top to the bottom, meaning it is no longer viable to retain and, sadly, it is quickly felled for safety reasons.

2024 – Feb 19

After originally establishing his Beechworth Cyclery service and repairs business in the front of the Old Beechworth Gaol in early 2018 and then moving to a small shop in the Marion Arcade off Ford Street in June 2020, Travis Hunt now moves to much larger premises at 17 Camp Street. The new prime location of the Beechworth Cyclery shop carries on a long tradition of bicycles and bicycle service and repairs at 17 Camp Street which began in 1973 when the Collier family open their Seagull Cycle Works in the building (below), followed in March 1999 when Wayne and Kaye Richardson took over the premises and established Beechworth Saws and Cycles.

2024 – Feb

After owning and operating the Beechworth Laundromatt at 55 Ford Street for almost 25 years – and adding a balcony to the front of the first floor of the building in 2005 – Peter Rue sells the building and the business, including the popular two-bedroom B&B upstairs.

Constructed in 1865 for George Gammon and his Gammon’s Medical Hall’, the building later becomes the home of ‘William Bowen’s Chemist’ shop until Bowen’s retirement in 1916. The building on Ford Street will go on to become theBeechworth Dairy and Milk Bar’, the central place in Beechworth for all the town’s dairy products – milk, cheese, cream and so on, up until the 1960s.

2024 – Feb 26

With university qualifications in allied health, post graduate paediatrics, and an international certificate as a lactation consultant, Sharnie Gavin opens Akesó, an integrative health space at 29a Camp Street in Beechworth. Sharnie graduated with a double degree and Masters of Osteopathy in Melbourne 2008 and then subcontracted her services to multiple health practices in country NSW, Victoria, and the ACT before opening her own interdisciplinary practice in Brisbane in 2012. She then completed her postgraduate paediatric studies, going on to become the inaugural National Chair to the Paediatric Clinical Practice Group for Osteopathy Australia. Akesó is named after the Greek goddess of Well-Being and the Healing Process, worshipped in Athens and Epidauros.

2024 – Feb 27

Nathan Cowan (photo: Mark Jesser)

Billson’s Brewery owner Nathan Cowan announces that staff cuts are to be made at the popular Beechworth business, citing the ever-increasing costs of energy, freight, raw material and ingredients, as well as changing consumer behaviours in a market dominated by large foreign-owned multinationals, and dealing with the third highest spirit tax in the world. It is a major blow for the business – originally established in Beechworth back in 1856 – which Nathan and his wife Felicity purchased in 2017. They have worked hard to revitalise the business over the past eight years and successfully turned the historic brewery into a vibrant tourist destination. They also decide to place the 1869-built Warden’s Hotel back on the market (which they had puchased in 2022 for $900,000), along with the historic building at 8 Albert Road – for sale or lease – having purchased the 1857-built property (below) for $1.2 million in 2022.

2024 – Mar 23

Beechworth’s ninth annual High Country Hop is held on the Historic Precinct Reserve (the Police Paddocks). Celebrating the end of the hop harvest, the event features a diverse range of brewers to showcase their beers alongside live music, food and entertainment. Brewers from the North-East and High Country include Billson’s, the Mitta Mitta Brewing Co, the Bright Brewery, King River Brewing and festival hosts Bridge Road Brewers.

2024 – Apr 5

Auction Day at Beechworth’s ‘Empire Hotel’ (photo: Mark Jesser)

Empire Hotel owners Andrew Madden, Shauna Stockwell and Scott Daintry hold an auction for their iconic Beechworth pub. Hoping for bids in the range of $1.3 million to $1.43 million, it fails to reach its asking price and is passed in at $1.1 million. Since purchasing the hotel in 2018, they have renovated and transformed the 1879 building, growing the gay-friendly pub and restaurant business, starting a pub choir and serving as the Beechworth hub for the annual “Drag’d Out Festival”. The Empire’s ground floor is licenced for 186 patrons while upstairs is licenced for 55 (internally) along with 97 patrons (externally) on the grand wrap-around verandah overlooking Camp and High Streets (below). Upstairs also features six individual guests rooms, male and female bathroom amenities, breakfast and sitting rooms, plus the manager’s two bedroom private accommodation.

The wide ‘Empire Hotel’ balcony facing Camp Street

2024 – Apr 29

The ‘Beechworth Courthouse Kelly Trial Exhibition‘ is officially opened with around 40 guests attending the ribbon-cutting ceremony. The exhibition features original artefacts and a combination of traditional museum displays and modern projection technologies (above) and explores both Ned Kelly’s Beechworth committal hearing along with the dozens of trials and hearings that took place at the Beechworth Courthouse during the ‘Kelly Gang outbreak’ between 1877 and 1880. After the Courthouse closed in August 2023 – to allow the development to begin – the $1 million project experienced an unexpected hurdle in November 2023 with the discovery of remnant asbestos in the 1858 building’s roof. Noeleen Lloyd – the great grand-niece of Kelly Hang member Steve Hart – has spent two years working with the exhibition team to provide critical insights into the Kelly story which she is “deeply connected with”.

Indigo Shire Mayor Sophie Price cuts the ribbon to officially open the Beechworth Courthouse Kelly Trial Exhibition(photo: Carol Cooksley)

2024 – May 5

For the third time, Beechworth is announced as the overall national winner of the Keep Australia Beautiful National Tidy Towns Award. The announcement is made at an awards ceremony – held on the first weekend in May – in the town that won the national award in 2023 – remote Gascoyne Junction (population 72) in the northwest of Western Australia. The 2024 national judging panel state that they were particularly impressed with Beechworth initiatives such as the ‘Indigo Future Proof Action Group’, the ‘People of Beechworth Exhibition’, and Beechworth Honey’s Bee School and note that Beechworth “continually demonstrates commitment to sustainability and community spirit that is sought by the National Tidy Towns Awards”.

The ‘Keep Australia Beautiful Sustainable Communities Tidy Towns Awards’ began in 1968 in Western Australia and have been running nationally since 1990. Beechworth has previously won the ‘National Tidy Town Award’ in 2010 and 2020, and the title of ‘Victorian Tidy Town’ in 2009, 2014, 2017 and 2019.

2024 – May 10

Lyndal Perry as ‘Geraldine Granger’ (left) and Monique Hillenaar as ‘Alice Tinker’ in Beechworth Theatre Company’s production of “The Vicar of Dibley”

Beechworth Theatre Company’s latest production, “The Vicar of Dibley” directed by Kath Buckingham, opens at the Beechworth Memorial Hall. Over the years, the company has presented a range of wonderful stage shows to Beechworth audiences including “Cosi”, “Steel Magnolias”, “Bullshot Crummond”, “Dracula”, “Trial and Error”, “Life After George”, “The One Day of the Year”, “California Suite” and numerous short ‘One Act Play’ events.

The first ‘Beechworth Dramatic Society is founded in May 1866. Over 100 years later, in 1979, theBeechworth Theatre Group’ is established and stages a number of productions over the following two decades before being incorporated as theBeechworth Theatre Company’ (BTC) in 1984. Ceasing operations in 1991, it is re-established in 1996 with a production of “A Christmas Carol” staged at the Bijou Theatre at the former Mayday Hills Asylum, and BTC continues to this day.
“The Vicar of Dibley” on stage – (left to right) Daniel Kilpatrick, Elroy Bos, Joe Moran, Greg Clydesdale and Karin Micheline

2025 – May

In Stanley – 8km from Beechworth – Trini Percy establishes a roadside outlet for her Wild Flour Bakehouse products, on Old Mill Lane. Trini has been successfully baking for many years and has experience teaching apprentices at the Beechworth Bakery.

Trini Percy (Photo: Mark Jesser)

2024 – May 13

Vietnamese-born sisters Kate and Anna Nguyen open Beech’s Nail Salon at Shop 3, 59 Ford Street, one of the two shops on the ground floor of the old Star Hotel (below). Kate had a number of years of experience working at the Orchard Road Nail & Beauty Salon – located within Myer Centrepoint in Albury – before she and her sister open their own salon in Beechworth.

2024 – Jun 8

Josh Fraser and Shaquille Mackney open their Tough Luck Tattoo Club at Shop 3 in the Golden Vale Centre arcade (below), next to Ying Massage. They specialise in creating tattoos, along with piercings, as well as carrying a range of apparel and jewellery. Josh, who also works as an artist, designer and arborist, had spent the last few years creating tattoos at Unanswered Ink in Cranbourne before he and Shaquille decided to make a ‘sea change’ and relocate to North-East Victoria.

2024 – Jul

The restored ‘Gang Plate Layers’ cottage at 1B Harper Avenue

After a number of years of dedicated renovation work by the Lions Club of Beechworth, the 1876-built ‘Gang Plate Layers’ cottage at 1B Harper Avenue is officially opened. Built in 1876 by the Victorian Railways as one of three permanent homes in Beechworth for the ‘Gang Plate Layers’ and their families – many of whom had previously been living in tents along the railway line to Beechworth as they laid plates for the railway tracks – it is the only cottage that remains today, sitting on Crown Land on Harper Avenue. The restored cottage will now be available for use by the community.

Beechworth’s remaining ‘Gang Plate Layers’ cottage is believed to be just one of four surviving in Australia. The other three (known to be in existence) are in Menzies, Western Australia, 131km north of Kalgoorlie, also in the process of being restored.

2024 … to be continued