Monte Cristo Homestead, NSW
Constructed by the local pioneer Christopher William Crawley in 1885, the Monte Cristo Homestead has become a historic property, gaining its reputation as ‘the most haunted house in Australia’. This double-story late Victorian manor overlooks the town below, and was home to the Crawley family until 1948; after which it remained empty until the Ryan family purchased the property in 1963. They stated that upon arriving on the property the house was lit up – despite no electricity being connected to the property – yet when they reached the house the lights went out.
With eerie portraits of the Crawley family still hanging on the walls, the Ryan family will take you on a candlelit tour (which includes staying the night, and breakfast in the morning) through the homestead where you will hear about the many distressing stories: a stable boy who was burned to death as he slept on his straw bed, the baby girl who was thrown down the stairs, a maid who ‘apparently’ committed suicide off the balcony, the caretaker who was shot dead, and – perhaps the most harrowing of them all – Crawley’s mentally unstable son who was tied to the outhouse for over 30 years howling in the night. No matter whether you’re a believer or not, not everyone can make it through the night…
The quaint town of Picton has been named Australia’s most haunted town with several sites – Razorback Inn, Imperial Hotel, Wendover House, Maternity Hospital, Wollondilly Shire Hall, Stonequarry Viaduct and Emmett Cottages – rumored to be haunted. However, it is the infamous Redbank Range Tunnel that has drawn visitors to Picton for years. The 592 foot-long tunnel carved into the hills was used as a corridor for trains between 1867 and 1919, however, it was during this time that a high number of deaths and suicides occurred.
Witnesses have confessed to seeing lights, shadows and dark figures, as well as experienced electrical disturbances, gusts of winds and sudden drops in temperature as they venture through the tunnel, all of which have been rumored to be one of the many people who died on-site. Although ghost tours in the town were forced to close in 2011, you can still see and hear the many ghosts from the local Emily Bollard who – although unclear whether it was suicide or not – met the train in the middle of the tunnel, dragging her body right through to Picton – to the unidentified body of a man who was decapitated and dismembered here.
Manly Quarantine Station, NSW
The seemingly picturesque Quarantine Station (QS) has a deep, dark past that is sure to send shivers down anyone’s spine. The QS was built on the ground that the local Indigenous tribes once used for healing and burial rituals, and the station was used to isolate those with suspected diseases for over 150 years. Closing in 1984, the station offers many paranormal tours – with an optional overnight stay – to meet one of the many spirits that wander through the hospital, dining halls, morgue and especially the shower blocks. Cut off from civilisation, roughly 600 people died in the halls due to small pox, typhoid, scarlet fever, cholera or Spanish influenza. It has been noted that a charismatic Chinese fisherman and a small Jewish boy are amongst one of the noted fifty spirits pushing visitors over, passing through, and questioning who they are and why they’re there.
Old Melbourne Gaol, Vic
Closed in 1924, the dark history of the Old Melbourne Gaol brings many paranormal seekers to the sight as one of the very first places to visit. This prison-turned-museum displays many of the belongings and accessories (including death masks of those who were executed), as well as explanations behind the many criminal offences conducted. Of the 135 prisoners who were hanged, the prison is most famous for housing and executing some of the most notorious criminals seen in Australia from the famous bushranger Ned Kelly to the serial killer Frederick Bailey Deeming, who was reportedly linked to the killings by Jack the Ripper. From unexplained voices near the cells to ghost spottings, none of the reported hauntings have yet to confirm these two, yet nevertheless it’s still crawling with spirits.
Beechworth Asylum, Vic
For those seeking an evening thrill, nightly ghost tours will take you through the decommissioned psychiatric hospital of the Beechworth Asylum. Originally known as Mayday Hills Lunatic Asylum, dating back to 1867 and closed in 1995, it is believed that over 9,000 patients died in this facility. Whilst medication wasn’t introduced until the 1950s, patients would often be ‘treated’ with straight jackets, shackles, and electro-shock that would often cause bones to break, ligaments to snap and teeth to shatter. With that in mind, it is easier to understand why you would hear mysterious screams throughout the hospital. From Matron Sharpe, a woman who spent most of her life there, spotted as a grey hooded figure in a period costume, and an old man in a green jacket wandering the gardens spotted through the cottage windows at dusk, to the sounds of children laughing and playing, or patient Tommy Kennedy tugging at you down in the kitchen, this facility is without a doubt haunted.
Fremantle Arts Centre, WA
A simple walk past the Fremantle Arts Centre at night is bound to make you shudder, as, after all, this building was originally built as Western Australia’s first lunatic asylum in the 1860s. After years of torture and harrowing treatments on the patients, it is believed that one of the ‘evil’ nurses continues to haunt the halls – which has in fact seen the refusal of several security guards wandering through to that area, after a couple of guards were pushed down the stairwell by this ghost. However, it is the saddening voice that advises ‘those are chains’ talking about the leg chains on display from the convict settlement, the ‘strong smell of burning, the overpowering acrid stench of flesh burning’ in the area that was once known for electric shock treatment, the sexually-exploited teenage sisters who roam the area where bathhouses once stood, and the many cold spots, banging noises and footsteps that further enhances the uneasy feeling behind the colourful arts centre.
Fremantle Prison, WA
Some people refuse to step foot in Fremantle Prison at night, whilst others crave the suspense and thrill that the home to many disgruntled prisoners gives off. Whilst the prison was operating, 44 people were executed, all for murder, bringing about an unsettling atmosphere full of misery and death. From the clunking of chains to the rattle of the keys, the murderers, rapists, thieves, and, well, all the criminals imprisoned here were a part of the riots, floggings and executions that took place.
National Film & Sound Archive, ACT
Although the National Film & Sound Archive is now home to many images and sounds, what most don’t realise is that this building is in fact a living archive [of sounds]. Prior to 1984, the grand art deco building was home to the Australian Institute of Anatomy – a place were body parts were collected and kept. Due to this, hundreds of human skulls were kept in the downstairs corridor which today has reported high levels of poltergeist activity. Not only is this corridor home to some truly mysterious happenings but the dissection labs have tend to reveal some unwanted friends. However, it is in the recording booths of today that they hear unnerving noises as they watch tapes fall out of anti-gravity tape decks. Not to mention the little girl that pops out of a grate in the old theatre every now and again.
Port Arthur, TAS
The spooky, World Heritage-listed town of Port Arthur is one truly haunted historic landmark, where hundreds of men died within the early decades of settlement. It is believed that there are hundreds of lost souls hanging around town, whilst many are convinced the wall that separates the two worlds – the living and the dead – is ‘at its thinnest here’. Over 2,000 apparitions have been reported in the last 20 years alone, with local accommodation services encouraging their guests to fill out their ‘Unusual Occurrence Form’. Although there have been many visitors, it is the recurring visit of the Lady in Blue – ‘a weeping spectre of a young woman who died in childbirth’ – that has been noted time and again.
Boggo Road Gaol, Qld
One of the most infamous prisons in Australia was home to the toughest inmates, and scarily, even tougher wardens. The Boggo Road Gaol was a place of execution through until 1913, and was ‘home’ some of the most dangerous men and women in the country, like Whiskey Au-Go-Go firebombers Andrew Stuart and James Finch. This jail often saw rooftop riots, fatal overcrowding and executions occurring including the only woman ever hanged in Queensland, Ellen Thomson. These tough people are said to still be haunting the site, but it is the evil laughing ghost of child killer Ernest Austin who is believed to have ‘struck a pact with Satan to meet a quota of souls to avoid his own fiery doom in hell’.