The town is principally known as the birthplace of bushranger Ned Kelly, although some historians have recently (June 2005) concluded the birth took place at Wallan East. Ned Kelly himself told us where he was born whilst on the train heading South after his capture at Glenrowan 1880. As he approached ‘Beveridge Station’ (pointing to the left) he said – “see that little hill over there, that’s where I drew my first breath”. ( the Age newspaper June 1880 )
Many historians have mistaken Ned’s words as spoken one month later on a train up to Beechworth (heading North) for his Preliminary trial when he said “that’s where I was born”, and they viewed Big Hill now (Mt Fraser) as the little hill Ned referred to. This meant historians had been looking for the little hill on the wrong side of the railway line for most of the last four decades. A fireplace and dwelling foundation has been found near the little hill some 3 KM North of Beveridge. See story by Bill Denheld. ‘Where was Ned Kelly Born?’
At Beveridge there is a cottage where the Kelly family lived for a short time – is still standing today, located on Kelly Street. It is recorded that John Kelly built this house but Ned was not born here. The Primary School is a bluestone building where the Kelly family once went to church. Beveridge, more than any other town has more original buildings that Ned would have seen or touched.
Ned grew up in the shadow of Big Hill now Mt Fraser and is a geological feature, a volcanic cone. It overlooks a landscape, that is mostly the same as, when Ned Kelly was born and explored it, in his first nine years. A quarry now operates at the side of the hill and is becoming a scare to perhaps a most important feature of Victorias history, for from it,on 14 December 1824, explorers Hume and Hovell first saw Port Phillip Bay.
A copy of the original Eureka flag symbolizing the Bold spirit of Ned ‘for a fair go’ because he was born during the time of Eureka, and flies atop this hill every year in his honour.