Originally built as the Beechworth Athenaeum in 1857, The Robert O’Hara Burke Memorial Museum was named in honour of Robert O’Hara Burke, the famous explorer and former Beechworth Superintendent of Police, after his death at Coopers Creek in 1861 during the Burke and Wills expedition. The collection includes Burke’s own bible, inscribed revolver and saddlebags used in the ill-fated expedition.
The Museum boasts a fascinating and historically significant collection of more than 30,000 individual items, many dating back more than 150 years. The collection includes the significant R.E. Johns collection of Aboriginal weapons and tools, a large collection of 19th Century native animal and birdlife taxidermy, significant Gold Rush era artefacts, and the “Street of Shops”, a unique recreation of Gold Era Beechworth.
A new section of the museum, the Ned Kelly Vault, opened in the former Sub Treasury building of the Beechworth Historic and Cultural Precinct in 2014. This collection is the most comprehensive of its type in regional Australia and includes the original death mask of Ned Kelly and numerous original items relating to the bushranger and his Gang.