From Renovation to Restoring the Ned Kelly House

Ned Kelly House

The Junk Map is part of a community of rust-loving creatives. We reached out to Michelle Coad and Doug Stoneman to ask if we could share their current project which is a very unique challenge. After much experience restoring houses and building with recycled materials, they are restoring a worn down, exact replica of the Ned Kelly house in Glenrowan, Victoria.

Five months ago this little cottage was being consumed by nature, completely overrun with vines. The bark roof was rotting away and the verandah posts were sinking. Michelle was visiting the region just as the state borders were opening back up and fell in love with the town.

Doug & Michelle had a strong feeling that this house chose them to be it’s next custodians. They sold up their house, car and brand new caravan and decided on a different kind of adventure.

The original Ned Kelly house is not open to public and is in a state of disrepair so it’s wonderful that visitors can see what the house would have been like in it’s original state, tell us about the property.

This is an exact replica of the original Kelly house, if the family were alive today they could easily move into it. There are items in there that actually belong to the Kelly’s that have been donated through the family. Everything we have here is authentic and reminiscent of the Kelly era. We also have a blacksmith workshop that is set up as a functional replica, we just need to find somebody to give us a few lessons!

The homestead is a 4 room cottage. It has 3 bedrooms and a kitchen with a little verandah on the front and it’s all slab built, constructed authentically as they would have done at that time.

How old is the Ned Kelly house and museum, when was this replica built?

The replica Ned Kelly house was built in 1971 by a lady called Annette Green, she established the business and had the cottage built out the back.

The owners before us ran the business for 37 years. They started with a lot of enthusiasm with a young family, did a lot of work extending the museum and restored what needed to be done but over time the property was difficult to manage with old age so now Doug and I have taken that flag to run with it.

Ned Kelly House

Tell us about the restoration process for the Ned Kelly house

We’re using a specialised builder that has worked on the likes of Craig’s Hut and the restoration of the High Country Huts after the bush fires, Jim Findlay. Jim uses traditional methods, he’s quiet amazing and Doug is extremely cleaver and hands on as well so working together they are achieving amazing results.

We are very hands on people and we came into this project knowing what we needed to do. We just stepped in and started taking action.

The cottage was covered in about 6 tonne of vine when we started, we could hardly see it. The vines had engulfed the property so we knew we were going to have a bit of work to do once it was removed! The vine invaded the inside of the building as well so that was our first priority.

The verandah was next, it was on the verge of collapsing. The posts were rotting down into the ground and the verandah had started dropping. I’m 5’6 and had to duck to get under it so we saw the urgency of that. 

The people next door had a restoration builder that they recommended and we went from there. The builder confirmed the verandah repair needed work straight away as it could become dangerous.

Next, we had newspapers printed from the local newspaper house which are copies of the original papers that were up on the wall.  The wallpaper had become very stained and started to fall away. Those are reproductions of original papers with stories of the siege and the likes. We’re in the process at the moment of getting the walls re-wallpapered with the newspaper.

We’re also going to replace some of the cloth ceiling. The calico cloth in the ceiling is what they used to use as insulation and a form of soundproofing.  We also want to beautify it because that sits directly under the tin roof.

Next year we will be refurbishing the chimney.  The outside of the chimney has timber slabs down the bottom and slats higher up. The interior structure is brick but the timber is rotting away and so it’s becoming a bit unstable so that will be our next major project on the cottage .

Ned Kelly House

We spoke briefly about one of your previous projects, a cottage which was entirely made from recycled materials, how did you source materials for this project?  

We used reclaimed timber for the bark roof and timber posts. We had a big storm up here a while back and the builder has a large property that had a lot of trees come down. He milled the timber and anywhere that we need to use new slabs and timber we used the felled trees. So we have been really fortunate that we were able to use those.

As for the tin roof, that was added to the replica house when it was built to make it waterproof. The original house didn’t have tin. The bark had all rotted under the vines so that couldn’t be re-used but the tin underneath was surprisingly in quite good condition so that was salvaged. We’ve been able to put the new stringy bark onto the roof and then pin it down with the logs that hold it all in place.

So that’s the cottage! We’re just more or less cleaning it up because it’s become run down over the years. I’ve done a lot of restoration work over my life time so this is just another step into doing a little bit more in a different way.

When this place decided it owned us, we knew what we were going to do. The process is quiet beautiful and so rewarding, it’s unbelievable how rewarding it is to achieve each step.

The Ned Kelly house, Kates Cottage and the Museum is open 7 days a week in Glenrowan, Victoria. To follow Michelle and Doug’s journey check out there Facebook page here.

Ned Kelly House
2 Responses
  1. Robert Harding

    Which particular Ned Kelly house is this a replica of? To my knowledge he lived in a few different places , certainly in Greta and in Beveridge.

  2. Tahlia

    Hi Robert, this is a replica of the Kelly’s homestead from 11 mile creek at Greta West. It’s the last family home that Ned and Dan live in before the siege at Glenrowan

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