Eerie ghost towns, blood-soaked lunatic asylums, ruined theme parks, burned-out skating rinks, dilapidated factories. No, this isn’t the backdrop of some cheesy C-grade horror flick – they’re a few of the places on this list of Australia’s 10 creepiest abandoned locations.
South Fremantle Power Station
This mammoth monument first opened in 1951 but stopped powering Perth in 1985, and has spent the last three decades gathering dust, mould and graffiti. Sitting like a scar on the gorgeous West Australian coastline just south of fashionable Fremantle, the power station has often been pencilled in for redevelopment, but as it stands, the shell of a building continues to decay on some of Perth’s prime seaside real estate.
Gladesville Mental Hospital
Spanish immigrant José Paronella dreamed of building an Iberian castle in tropical North Queensland – so in the 1930s, that’s exactly what he did, constructing a Spanish-style fortress, cinema and ballroom in virgin forest. Nestled among lush bushland next to the Mena Creek an hour south of Cairns, Paronella Park is now caked in a thick layer of moss that only adds to the eerie atmosphere for visitors.
The bone-dry terrain of South Australia is dotted with ghost towns, and Farina is one of its spookiest. In its heyday in the late 19th century, this railway town in the Lake Eyre Basin reached a population of 600. But the population dried up after World War Two, and these days, all that remains of the township is some scenic stone ruins and plenty of tombstones.
Red Hill Skate Arena
This popular skating rink was built in the 1920s before it was ravaged by fire in 2002, leaving a burned-out shell of a building on Brisbane’s busy Musgrave Road. With several skates creepily still intact in the middle of the rink, this old Red Hill institution transformed into an urban art gallery over the last decade and a half, but it won’t remain abandoned for much longer, with redevelopment on the cards in 2018.
Aradale Mental Hospital
Victoria’s earliest psychiatric institution opened way back in 1865 and was only decommissioned in the early 1990s, which leaves an awful lot of time for ghosts to gather in the hallways. Originally called the Ararat Lunatic Asylum and renowned for its controversial treatment of the inmates, Aradale Mental Hospital now hosts ghost tours of the haunting grounds two hours west of Melbourne.
St John’s Orphanage
This former boys orphanage is just one of those places that gives you the heebie-jeebies, with smashed windows and windy hallways providing the perfect setting for ghost tours run from the nearby town of Goulburn. Opened by the Catholic Church in 1905 and remaining in operation for 71 years, the conditions that children were reportedly subjected to at St John’s are enough to make your skin crawl, too.
Queensland College of Arts
Fittingly for a former arts college, the murals on the walls of this disused Brisbane TAFE campus are a little more colourful than the crude graffiti you’ll find in most abandoned buildings. The QCA at Seven Hills has become dilapidated over the last decade and a half, with art supplies and reels of film strewn across the floor like a reminder of its former life.
From the start of the 20th century, these three huge malthouses in the New South Wales Southern Highlands serviced the state’s largest brewer, Tooth and Co. But when Tooth’s hit hard times in the 1980s, the Mittagong Maltings were put up for sale. Unable to find a buyer, the site has fallen into a state of disrepair over the last three decades, with graffiti staining the once-grand industrial architecture.
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