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Black Rock House


“It is one of the most consistently active locations that I have visited”

Black Rock House was built in 1856 for Victoria’s first Auditor General Mr Charles Hotson Ebden.  With inspiration from Black Rock Castle in Cork Ireland, it was to be his family’s seaside holiday home and used to entertain Melbourne’s elite. Governor La Trobe would spend a lot of time here for the famous hunting breakfasts. Eventually Mr Ebden went back overseas and while the property remained in the family for many years, it was eventually sold and used as a boarding house until it became completely derelict.  In 1972, the Bayside Council purchased the property and worked with the Friends of Black Rock House to restore it to its former glory. Mystery has always surrounded Black Rock House.

From its large sandstone Castle Wall with battlements and Castle Gates to the rumoured underground tunnels, there is so much that is unknown about the house.  In the 1920s, a local newspaper ran a story addressing the myths surrounding the unknown house.

Two girls came by the property and asked the caretaker if they could visit the ‘haunted cellar’ where the ghost of a young woman dressed in white was said to reside.  The story was that her husband kept her locked down up there as she was an invalid.

The caretaker scoffed that no such thing happened and sent them on their way. In more recent years, passers by have claimed to see a figure jumping from the top of the building (where the old tower used to be) and men fighting in the front yard, thought to be a nod to a famous bare knuckle fist fight that took place on the property.

Paranormal activity

I have been investigating Black Rock House for almost five years.  It is one of the most consistently active locations that I have visited.  Some of the more interesting experiences have been in the ‘Death Room’ where the door unlatched and opened when we asked someone to come forward and speak to us.  There was no one out in the hallway and it is something that to this day we have not been able to recreate. In the children’s nursery there is a small rack of children’s clothing which once lunged forward and fell on the ground again with no one touching it.  Then there is Mr Ebden’s chair, the only piece of original furniture that belongs to the house. Many that sit in the chair feel like they are being touched with several people reporting they felt like they were being choked. Many people have spotted Mr Ebden himself roaming the halls.  Most recently a lady who was attending her very first investigation saw a face appear in the mirror of the death room. Her description matched that of Mr Ebden and when I showed her his photo she could not believe it. This was the face she saw. While many rooms have varying levels of activity, it is the hallway that seems to be the most active.  Investigating is often like a game of cat and mouse where you are continuously drawn out of rooms into the hallway with a lot of REM Pod activity, temperature drops and potentially EVPS all caught in the hallway.

Encounters with Annie

Psychics tell us that there are 13 resident spirits at Black Rock House, however there is quite possibly more.  The large mirror in the dining room was said to once be used in a séance many years ago, and a portal for spirits was opened and supposedly never closed.  Guests’ most favourite spirit is that of Annie, who resides in the living quarters. She was said to be a maid at Black Rock House and was very agitated and angry for a long period of time as she didn’t understand why people were coming in her room and not saying hello.

It seems she hadn’t realised she had passed away. We have asked her several times if she needs help or wants to move on and she is happy where she is, it is after all, her home. She is treated with affection and respect by all guests and staff who now greet her every time they enter the room.  The volunteers often ask her if it is OK to move furniture around. She interacts quite consistently with many guests and seems to take a bit of a liking to the men. If she doesn’t like you however she will also make it known. Some people are unable to enter Annie’s room, myself included. People often feel sick, anxious and get headaches which is an indication she does not want you there.

During a walkthrough one day I had a group with me and I was trying to explain her story. I started becoming very confused, dizzy, light headed and I almost didn’t know where I was. I had to leave the room. I immediately went to my brother Glenn and told him that she was upset and someone needed to talk to her.

As he entered the room, all of the equipment went crazy. It seemed she didn’t like being disturbed on that particular day.  On our most recent tour, my brother was setting up the equipment in the kitchen. When he turned around he saw her face standing in the doorway.

He asked ‘Is that you Annie?’ His equipment all lit up. He was shaken for the rest of the night. Earlier this year a relative of a person who lived at Black Rock House came forward to tell us that her Great Grandmother lived at Black Rock House. Her name was Annie and she was a maid.  Is it our Annie?

Sarah Chumacero

Black Rock House is open to visitors for daytime tours on the first Sunday of every month. See the Friends of Black Rock House website for more information. To book a paranormal tour, see the Black Rock House Paranormal Tour Facebook page.


Black Rock House is open to visitors for daytime tours on the first Sunday of every month. See the Friends of Black Rock House website for more information.

To book a paranormal tour, see the Black Rock House Paranormal Tour Facebook page.

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