9 Most Haunted Properties In Australia
Halloween may be a distinctly American tradition but Australia has its fair share of spooky stories to tell around the campfire.
Ghosts have made their presence known in buildings, houses and nature reserves across the country with particularly haunted hotspots being the usual places of death, crime and tragedy: jails, hospitals, Colonial-era homesteads, hotels and convict settlements.
If you enjoy things that go bump in the night, these nine haunted places are worth a look.
1. Princess Theatre, Victoria
Home to many a musical, this beautiful heritage theatre is also home to a benevolent resident ghost.
Actor Frederick Federici has haunted the Princess Theatre since 1888, after dying of a heart attack during the opening night of none other than the sinister opera production of Faust, which sees a suicidal scholar making a pact with the devil.
Although Mr Federici passed away offstage before the final curtain, the audience and cast members reported seeing him taking a bow with his fellow actors, bringing truth to the phrase that “the show must go on”.
Famous performers such as Lisa McCune, Bert Newton and Marina Prior have reportedly had encounters with Melbourne’s own Phantom of the Opera, and the venue’s staff are well aware of his presence.
2. Port Arthur, Tasmania
The site of Australia’s worst mass shooting, picturesque Port Arthur has a tragic past in both modern and colonial-era history.
The village and historic site was built in 1830 and served as a convict settlement for hardened criminals, many of whom succumbed to horrific conditions with their spirits said to still roam the area.
Strange occurrences have been reported at the former penitentiary and Reverend George Eastman’s house, which is reported to be the most haunted building at Port Arthur.
3. Picton, NSW
Often referred to as Australia’s most haunted town, Picton is home to the infamous Redbank Range railway tunnel, which claimed the lives of many Picton residents.
The most well-known resident is Emily Bollard, who was struck and killed by a train in 1916, and now often appears in the tunnel, along with ghostly children, weird lights and sudden cold spots.
The town’s old maternity hospital is another spooky location, supposedly inhabited by a grumpy matron and crying babies.
Other frightening areas include the Imperial Hotel, the council building and Stonequarry Creek.
4. Fremantle Arts Centre, Western Australia
Opened in 1864 as the Fremantle Lunatic Asylum, this gorgeous property is now the home of Fremantle Arts Centre’s artistic endeavours – but its spooky past still remains.
Once used to house the criminally insane, the building and grounds became a hotbed of horrific conditions and troubled souls.
Later, the building provided accommodation for homeless women and functioned as a poor house in the 1900s.
Redheads may get some unwanted attention from the spirit of a mother mourning the loss of her red-haired daughter, with visitors reporting they’ve had their hair pulled.
5. Devil’s Pool, Queensland
The stuff of legend in Indigenous culture, Babinda Boulders – also known as Devil’s Pool and the Washing Machine – in far north Queensland is said to be cursed by the spirit of a grieving woman who drowned following the loss of her lover.
According to Aboriginal folklore, a young woman named Oolana married an elder from her own Yidinji tribe but fell in love with a man from a touring tribe.
The couple were said to have run away together but were captured at the pool and Oolana jumped into the water to escape.
It’s believed her spirit’s anguished cries now causes the water to rise and rush in a torrent, with the result that it’s now claimed 17 lives – 16 of them being men.
Warning signs have since been scattered around the pool’s edges.
6. National Film and Sound Archive, ACT
No, these spirits aren’t a product of the cutting room floor – the National Film and Sound Archive building used to be the Institute of Anatomy for 50 years.
Now Canberra’s National Film and Sound Archive building, the property’s history of death, dissection and experiments still imbue it with a more macabre tone than its current incarnation.
After all, just replace film exhibitions for human skeletons and you’ve got a bona fide horror film setting.
Over the years, the institute has also exhibited ghoulish items such as Phar Lap’s heart and Ned Kelly’s skull and was a popular tourist attraction until the 1970s.
7. East Point Reserve, Northern Territory
Ask a Darwin local to tell you about the most ghostly place in town and chances are they’ll tell you about East Point Reserve.
This rocky enclave is reportedly home to the Poinciana Woman: an urban legend who haunts the flame-red poinciana trees after dark with eerie songs and screams.
She is said to be a malevolent spirit and the victim of a gruesome act, who is not a fan of men and hides in trees, waiting.
True or not, it’s one heck of a tale.
8. St John’s Cemetery, South Australia
A cemetery seems like a logical place for those who’ve not yet crossed over and this final resting place in Kapunda, South Australia, is certainly said to house several spirits in its midst.
Ghost seekers flock to the former mining town, just north of Adelaide, to catch a glimpse of one of the more famous local legends: a young woman looking for her lost baby.
The nearby reformatory has also spawned many spooky tales with visitors to the cemetery reported to have heard footsteps and wailing babies.
9. Monte Cristo Homestead, NSW
Last but not least, this heritage homestead is regularly referred to as the most haunted house in Australia.
Located just outside Wagga Wagga, the historic Victorian-era manor has seen some tragic incidents, including a maid falling off the balcony, the fiery death of a stable boy, and the fatal shooting of the caretaker.
Many of these souls are said to still wander the house.
Ghost tours are available at the homestead, if you dare.
– with Charlotte Durut