WANGARATTA’S mayor is keen for his council to buy the block which hosted the Kelly Gang’s infamous Glenrowan siege in 1880.
The Siege Street land that once housed Ann Jones’ Glenrowan Inn, but has been empty of buildings since 1976. is up for sale for the first time since 1952.
Owner Linton Briggs, who is seeking interest via Wangaratta real estate agent Garry Nash until July 4, said the time was right to sell.
“I’m not getting any younger, I’ll be 88 next time around and I’ve got to settle a few affairs and we’ll see where this tender process takes us,” Mr Briggs said.
The site has national and state heritage status and Mr Briggs expects the footprint of the inn, where the siege occurred will be preserved under new ownership.
Mr Briggs has kept the site vacant “out of respect to the descendants of Grace Kelly, Ned’s younger sister” and those killed at the site.
“To me it is a sacred spot, a sacred place,” he said.
“There’s been a lot of feeling in the town and district about this whole business and how it ended.
“I grew up and lived and worked with those people (affected) and I had no wish to do anything there that would upset anybody.
“I have too much respect for those people and what happened on the place.
“I think the way is clear for proper sensitive development of the property.
“There’s never been a better opportunity than the present time to do something meaningful with the property.”
Wangaratta mayor Ken Clarke will discuss buying the site with councillors at a closed forum on Monday.
“The possibility is there for the community to do something with it, if we purchased it,” he said.
“That’s my personal opinion but I’ve got to get the other six councillors to spend the money.”
Cr Clarke believes rural city residents would approve such an acquisition.
“I think we would get support from ratepayers because they’re certainly interested in the preservation of things that happened in 1880,” he said.
“I think they would be in favour of it.
“There’s no doubt that’s where the siege took place, so if we can do something with it, it would be in the interests of the city.”