As far as buildings go, we’re definitely one of the younger nations in the world. But despite our youth, Australia is full of spooky stories of ghosts and horrible histories. You just have to to know where to look…
Where: Princess Theatre, Melbourne, VIC
Who: Frederick Federici
What: It’s one of Melbourne’s favourite legends, and for good reason: it features the iconic Princess Theatre which is frequently used to showcase some of the world’s biggest musical productions today.
The year is 1888 and one of Melbourne’s most famed opera singers Federici is hitting a high note before dramatically sinking into the stage on a mechanical lever. On the way, he has a heart attack and dies on the scene, literally. However, the rest of the cast have not learned of his death yet, and since Federici appears to bow with them as the curtain closes, no one realises anything is wrong. Until, that is, a doctor announced Federici’s death as being prior to the curtain close.
How was he up on stage bowing? Melburnians believe it to be his ghost, which is still sighted today. In fact, Federici reportedly makes regular appearances at the theatre, giving drama lovers an extra reason to catch a show.
Where: National Film and Sound Archive, Canberra, ACT
What: It might now be the National Film and Sound Archive… but long before it was re-purposed, this Canberra building was the Australian Institute of Anatomy, which also served as a morgue.
During its time as a morgue, the building witnessed hundreds of gory forensic examinations such as Ned Kelly’s skull and Phar Lap’s heart. And though the building has a brand new look now, there’s no stopping the reported poltergeists who supposedly haunt the downstairs corridor. Down here, much paranormal phenomena has been reported including employees being pinned against walls by an invisible force, various spirits roaming the floors, and a spectre that makes a mess of the place by throwing around old metal film containers.
Where: Devil’s Pool, Babinda, QLD
What: According to Aboriginal Legend, the stunning natural site of Babinda Boulders near Cairns is haunted by the ghost of a young, broken-hearted girl called Oolana.
For whatever reason, Oolana was torn away and forbidden from seeing her lover… so rather spend a lifetime without true love, she threw herself into the waters within the rocks, also known as the Devil’s Pool. Ever since, more than 17 young men have died in these exact waters… and folklore tells us this is Oolana luring them into the rocks that lie below, to stay with her for eternity.
Where: Port Arthur, TAS
Who: Convicts and victims of the massacre
What: Port Arthur is known as the site of the horrible massacre of 35 people that shocked the nation. But even before the time of Martin Bryant, the site had a vicious history.
Previously known as ‘Hell on Earth’, Port Arthur was well known to be one of the most violent and unjust prisons in the entire British empire. Home to misbehaving convicts for 47 years, the settlement saw more than 1,000 people put to death within the walls… so between two lots of horrible histories, it’s no surprise that that area is frequented by ghost sightings.
In fact, the museum today is so used to visitors putting in reports of ghosts, they’ve created their own ‘unusual occurrence’ form to make it even easier to keep track of paranormal activity.
Where: Dreamworld, Gold Coast, QLD
Who: A little girl and a 19th Century gold prospector
What: Dreamworld may be a place of fun and excitement, but it’s a little known fact that there is supposedly much more happening behind the scenes – and when the doors close for the day, the ghosts come out to play.
For years, the infamous Big Brother house was located in the bushland behind Dreamworld, and producers of the show often reported seeing and hearing a little girl wandering around the area.
Besides creepy little girl ghosts, employees of the theme park itself have seen regular appearances of a 19th Century gold prospector who was killed by a buzzsaw in the area. He makes such frequent appearances that they’ve named him Jack Darke, and he could very well be the reason behind the Buzzsaw ride, which takes precedence at the front of the park.
Where: Q Station, Sydney, NSW
Who: The disease-ridden patients who died in the building
What: Things don’t get much more grim than the history of Sydney’s Q Station. For more than 150 years, it was home to immigrants in Australia who were plagued with deadly and infectious diseases. The idea behind it all was that people with diseases would be isolated to avoid the spread of disease… but the reality was that most of the people who entered the building would never come out.
In addition to ghostly sightings, objects moving on their own, and weird visions in developed photos, the creepiest activity is the spirit of a mortician in a top hat, who is frequently reported to be seen patrolling the grounds at night.
Love exploring alternative sides of our fascinating country? Check out our activity deals and see Australia from a whole new perspective.