Feeling spooky? Discover five of Australia’s most haunted spots

Do you like things that go bump in the night? No, no that, I mean ghostly visions and haunted houses, of course.

There’s a special sort of thrill to walking into a space that’s got a reputation for being haunted. The shiver up your spine and staring at a shadow for far too long.

I feel qualified to discuss this. I once worked in a building that was well known for being haunted, The Gippsland Times office in Sale, Victoria, to be exact.

It would take up too much space to explain the many ghostly sightings in that building but, suffice to say, after some events a few visitors left the building and vowed never to return. It’s a gym now, I wonder if something ghostly drops in as they are getting punished by a Stairmaster.

So if you love the idea of a ghostly encounter, here are some of Australia’s most haunted places.

Port Arthur, Tasmania

Even before the unspeakable events of 1996, Port Arthur was known as a ghostly hotspot.

This World Heritage site is one of Australia’s best-preserved penal settlements, but it also housed some of the worst of the worst criminals who had reoffended and were sent to Port Arthur as punishment.

While corporal punishments were routinely meted out, particularly cruel psychological treatments were also used. These included withholding food and long periods of isolation. This led to many prisoners developing mental illnesses due to the deprivation of light, sound and human interaction.

It’s estimated more than 1000 people died during its use as a prison.

All this adds up to a great deal of bad karma and a great deal of unexplainable ‘activity’. The punishment cells are particularly well known for their creepy atmosphere.

Another notable Tasmanian prison is the Female Factory in Ross. Even the name is creepy.

This former workhouse had a high rate of disease and mortality due to poor sanitation and its swampy location.

I can also vouch for this one. I walked through the door and walked straight out again. It was drenched in misery.

Tours: You can stroll through the buildings of Port Arthur on your own during the day or take a lantern-lit ghost tour at night. The Female Factory is open to the public during the day.

Princess Theatre, Melbourne, Victoria

Perhaps Melbourne’s favourite ghost is Frederici at the Princess Theatre.

He is the ghostly form of Frederick Federici, an opera singer who rebranded himself from the more mundane Frederick Baker.

Federici had made a bit of a name for himself in the 1880s but his most famous career move was dropping dead while playing the role of Mephistopheles.

Well, dear old Federici got to haunting straight away because some of the cast swore he was there taking curtain calls after the performance.

There also appear to be no hard feelings, everyone who has encountered Federici over the years has said he is a benign presence.  

The theatre even has a tradition of saving him a seat on the first night of a performance.

Tours: There are no tours of the building, but you can maybe feel his spirit at a show or just enjoy a burger in his honor at Federici Bistro inside the building.

Monte Cristo House, Junee, NSW

The name of this place even sounds like it should be haunted.

The current owners aren’t mucking around, they just flat-out promote this property as Australia’s most haunted homestead.

It’s a gorgeous double-storey, brick federation home, but it’s also rumoured to be haunted by at least 10 ghosts.

The two most prominent are the spiritual manifestation of the original owner, Christopher Crawley, who died after a boil on his neck became infected and his wife, Elizabeth. Elizabeth died of old age, but she only left the house twice after her husband’s death and shut herself up in the attic for 23 years. That’s dedication.

But the family’s wretchedness doesn’t end there. Christopher Crawley is accused of getting two maids pregnant, one of whom threw herself from the upper balcony. The other had a baby, but the child suffered a debilitating accident that left him disabled. Rumour has it he was kept in chains in the coach room. His ghost makes its presence known by the sound of chains.  

Space doesn’t permit explaining all the ghostly lives, but it’s safe to say that lots of people died in really tragic circumstances and they are all determined to let you know about it.

Tours: Monte Christo is open for self-guided tours on Saturday and Sunday from 10am-3pm. No bookings required.

Wakehurst Parkway, Sydney, NSW

Ghosts don’t have to stay indoors if this road is any example.

This stretch of tarmac is well known for a bunch of spooky apparitions – from a girl in a white dress known as ‘Kelly’ to nuns.

In fact, Kelly sightings are blamed on several accidents on the stretch of road when drivers seemingly discovered a young girl in the car and crashed in panic. Kelly is also often sighted on the roadside.

Filmmaker Bianca Biasi did some research and told nine.com.au she thinks Kelly is the spirit of a nurse who lived at the nearby quarantine station.

Double your spookiness – the quarantine station also has a reputation for being haunted, with visitors reporting feeling the sensation of hands around their necks, being pushed in the chest most creepily, being submerged in water. Those ghosts are busy.

Tours: For the parkway, just get in your car and drive. Bonus bravery points for going after dark. For the quarantine station, there are several organised tours, look and book online.

Fremantle Arts Centre, Fremantle, WA

Sounds cheery right? An arts centre, what could go wrong? It’s a beautiful stone building but while it’s home to relaxing gardens and a sweet café now, it was once a lunatic asylum in the 19th century.

But it’s not just one of the most haunted buildings in Australia, it’s rumoured to be one of the most haunted buildings in the Southern Hemisphere. I’ll only believe this if someone can show me who measures these things.

Anyway, your chances of a ghostly encounter increase dramatically if you have red hair.

Redheads have reported feeling as if their hair has been tugged or touched. The phenomenon is blamed on a former inmate who lost her redhead daughter and killed herself in her grief.

Tours: The arts centre does not allow dedicated ghost tours, but you can book ghost tours for Fremantle that will include it in the itinerary because, apparently, this charming seaside gem doubles as a haunting hotspot. Other places where spooks like to hang out include the Fremantle Prison, The Roundhouse, and the Fremantle Cemetery, naturally.  

Have you ever done a ghost tour? Why not share your experience in the comments section below?

Also read: State by state guide to Australia’s whale watching hotspots

Jan Fisher
Jan Fisherhttp://www.yourlifechoices.com.au/author/JanFisher
Accomplished journalist, feature writer and sub-editor with impressive knowledge of the retirement landscape, including retirement income, issues that affect Australians planning and living in retirement, and answering YLC members' Age Pension and Centrelink questions. She has also developed a passion for travel and lifestyle writing and is fast becoming a supermarket savings 'guru'.


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