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Antique Ned Kelly lock stolen from Benalla cell

A Benalla priest needs the community's help for the safe return of an antique lock stolen from Ned Kelly’s cell at the old Benalla courthouse.

MONIQUE FREER May 21, 2014 3:23am

A Benalla priest is seeking help from the community after thieves stole an irreplaceable antique lock from the old Benalla courthouse earlier this month.

Holy Trinity Anglican Church parish priest David Still said the cast-iron lock on Ned Kelly’s holding cell at the former courthouse was jemmied off and removed, leaving only the screws behind.

‘‘The door was pushed open and the locks were gone,’’ Fr Still said.

‘‘We think someone was after a bit of Kelly memorabilia.’’

The holding cell forms part of the Ned Kelly trail, which visits towns and sites where one of Australia’s most famous bushrangers spent his short life.

‘‘It was part of the trail he left around the area,’’ Fr Still said.

‘‘We’ve had it all set up as if he were in here.’’

In the late 1870s Ned Kelly was on trial at the former Benalla courthouse and was kept in the holding cell. He escaped from the courthouse and was captured across the other side of Arundel St.

The cast-iron lock was the original lock on the building during Kelly’s trial.

Fr Still said due to its historical significance the lock was invaluable.

‘‘The lock’s irreplaceable,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s part of the original building and in one sense it can’t be replaced.

‘‘We have the church open all the time and we have had little in the way of damage, so this is particularly disappointing.

‘‘It damages it for everyone else in the long term.’’

Fr Still said he was unsure of the worth of the lock, but it would be valuable for someone who was interested in rare Kelly memorabilia.

Benalla Police Sergeant Jenenne Stiles said the theft occurred between 7am on Sunday, May 4 and 6pm on Sunday, May 11.

Sgt Stiles said nothing else was removed from the cell however items had been disturbed.

Fr Still said it appeared Ned Kelly’s helmet had been tried on during the theft.

Anyone with information is urged to phone Benalla police on 57600200 or Crime Stoppers on 1800333000.

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