Community ownership for a bright future

The consortium of 49 individuals, families and philanthropic organisations that purchased the Old Beechworth Gaol is committed to transforming this highly valued heritage site into a thriving community space for the social and economic benefit of the region. We invite you in!

What’s happening at the Old Beechworth Gaol?

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What is the vision for the Old Beechworth Gaol site?

The community consortium is committed to transforming this highly valued heritage site into a thriving community space for the social and economic benefit of the region.

Using a social enterprise model our mission is to build a thriving rural Australia by igniting entrepreneurship in young people and their communities and position this region as the southern hemisphere’s premier cycle tourism destination.

Who is behind the project?

The Old Beechworth Gaol was purchased by 49 individuals, families and philanthropic organisations. The group is being led by Matt Pfahlert, co-founder and CEO of the Australian Centre for Rural Entrepreneurship (ACRE).

Investors have been attracted to the project for a range of reasons including an interest in:

  • Developing tangible opportunities for our children to build meaningful careers in rural and regional communities
  • Rural community re-generation through the collaborative buy-back of community assets, combining commercial and community benefits
  • Social enterprise and entrepreneurship
  • Cycle tourism
  • History and heritage protection, including the history of the Kelly gang
  • Community development

Local leadership saw more than $1.7million raised out of the local community, which enabled philanthropic Trusts and Foundations to also support the project, raising a total of $2.5million.

Investors

Ben Gilbert & Tijana Simic
Bernie & Anne Jovaras
Bruce Anderson
Clayton & Kylie Neil
David & Jen Hodges
Digby Race & Fleur Stelling
Geoff & Ali McDonald
Janelle & Kel Boynton
John Hennessy & Joan Simms
John Sugden
Jonathan & Lizzie Chapman
Ken & Marjory Butterworth
Lou & Brenda Pomponio
Matt Pfahlert & Gina Bladon
Michael Curtin & Lesley Milne
Peter & Bec Sacco
Rick Thwaites & Wendy Connor
Sandy & Anne Geddis
Simon & Gina McPherson
Stephen Routledge & Jenny Indian

Lord Mayors Charitable Foundation
The Yulgilbar Group
June Canavan Foundation
Into Our Hands Foundation
ACRE

Lord Mayors Charitable Foundation
Yulgilbar Group
June Caravan Foundation
Into Our Hands Community Foundation
What do the plans for the site involve?

An integrated master planning process is underway for the site, including the old walled section and the 3.95 acres of land at the rear of the Gaol. Proposed uses for the site are:

  • A centre for excellence for rural entrepreneurship, housing the Social Enterprise Academy Australia and the Australian Centre for Rural Entrepreneurship (ACRE)
  • Heritage – honouring the heritage of the site and the role it has played in local history through the Kelly story
  • Visual arts, entertainment, film, culture, music and events programing
  • Hospitality and retail – showcasing regional beer, food and wine
  • Flexible co-working and collaboration space for small businesses and artisans
  • Luxury and mid-range accommodation focused on cycle tourism and cultural heritage visitors
  • A bicycle training and development centre
  • World class cycling tours and experiences tailored to individual needs
  • Bicycle school including youth based skills development program
  • Wellness centre and conference facilities
  • Possibly residential development
How will development of the Gaol site proceed?

The next step is to develop a fully integrated master plan for the site. This process will take into consideration existing requirements such as the heritage overlay, infrastructure and service needs and determine how best to deliver the aims of the project while considering environmental and other needs. It will also inform how the plan will be funded.

Master planning is expected to take 12 to 18 months. During this process the community will have opportunities to be involved.

How can I be involved?

Master planning is expected to take 12 to 18 months. During this process the community will have opportunities to be involved.

If you would like to receive updates about the project, please email info@oldbeechworthgaol.com.au  and your details will be added to our mailing list. Project updates will be provided every two months.

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