As a paranormal investigator and ghost hunter, I have travelled to many sites in Australia and around the world just to have spooky encounters! Crazy, right? But I love it. Here are five of the most haunted sites in Australia that I’ve visited (but there are LOTS more!).
AUSTRALIA'S TOP HAUNTS
RENATA DANIEL VISITS SOME OF AUSTRALIA’S
TOP HAUNTED LOCATIONS
Maitland Gaol, NSW
I’m a little biased here – I’ve been running ghost tours at this site for a few years and there is not a single tour where someone doesn’t feel, see or hear something crazy. The Gaol (pictured right) housed men, women and children from 1848, and there were also babies born in impossible conditions. The Gaol closed in 1998 after 150 years of continued operation, with thousands of prisoners spending time in those cells. People on investigations have seen full body apparitions, been scratched and fainted, heard voices and taken a ghostly friend home on occasion. Don’t worry, they all come back – the ghosts, that is!
Willow Court Asylum, New Norfolk, Tasmania
This is the oldest, continually run asylum in Tasmania. It was founded before 1827, which makes it older than Port Arthur. Asylums such as Willow Court have lain empty and often unused for the last decade, but the site is open for ghost tours. People who visit the asylum are met with apparitions of female inmates who still reside within and the sadness here is palpable — often it’s too overwhelming for some people.
Quarantine Station, Manly, NSW
This is such a site of contradictions! Q-Station sits in a picturesque spot, looking out to the impressive Sydney skyline in the distance, but it’s still soaked with the spirits of so many who died from some of the most painful and horrendous communicable diseases. The history of the site is incredible. From the 1830s until 1984, migrant ships arriving in Sydney with suspected contagious disease stopped inside North Head and offloaded passengers and crew into quarantine to protect local residents. It was Australia’s longest continuously operating quarantine station and held thousands until they were well enough to join the population. One of the most haunted spots on the site is the hospital: the Matron is a very strong spirit here. Visitors have also had super-creepy experiences at Gravedigger Cottage and the Asiatic quarters.
Fremantle Prison, Western Australia
Built as a convict barracks in the 19th Century, this prison (pictured above) remained in use until 1991. It was a place of hangings, floggings, dramatic convict escapes and prison riots. Inmates included imperial convicts, colonial prisoners, enemy aliens, prisoners of war and maximum- security detainees. The first convict transport sailed into Fremantle Harbour in 1850 and the Convict Establishment, as the prison was first known, was built by convicts between 1852 and 1859 using limestone from the site. Solitary confinement and the area used for hangings still has a very creepy vibe, and the prison as a whole saps your energy and leaves you feeling empty.
Aradale Asylum, Victoria
This is a disused psychiatric hospital located in Ararat in Victoria. Aradale and its two sister asylums at Kew and Beechworth were commissioned to accommodate the growing number of ‘lunatics’ in the colony of Victoria. Construction began in 1860 and was opened for patients in 1865. It was closed as an asylum in 1993 but, at its peak, Aradale housed up to 1000 patients. It is the biggest site of its type that I have visited within Australia. As you can imagine, it’s pretty scary during the day but once night falls it takes on an eerie and incredibly sinister character. There is a feeling of fear in each room and visiting is an amazing experience; as much for the insight into the type of care offered to those classified as insane in the early years of Australia’s history, as for the way this place leaves its mark on all who enter.
I am sure that even scarier places exist in Australia, but these are definitely my top picks. However, some of the craziest encounters I’ve heard about have happened in people’s private homes where the ghosts create a connection with their hosts — and you just can’t walk out the door if you live with the ghosts that haunt you!
RENATA DANIEL IS A PARANORMAL INVESTIGATOR
She works with: Newcastle Ghost Tours; Frightfully Good Paranormal and Spiritual Community; Spirit Talk Australia; Australian School of Ghost Hunting; Magickal Solutions and True Hauntings Podcast