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Australia’s Most Terrifying and Haunted Places: New South Wales

Picton TunnelThe oldest state in Australia, New South Wales, was the site of the first landing by the British in 1788. Eleven ships of the First Fleet set sail from Britain on 13 May 1787, with the leading ship, HMS Supply, reaching Botany Bay and setting up camp on the Kurnell Peninsula on 18 January 1788. For the next 225 years, people lived, and died, in a landscape varied and, at times, harsh and unforgiving.

This allows for a vast and plentiful list of places hounded by reports of supernatural activity, be they hospitals or asylums, private residence or stretches of road. This column will focus on the more-renowned places of paranormal interest within the state.


Picton, a quaint town south-west of Sydney, is reputedly Australia’s most haunted town. Its ghost tours ran from the late 90s through until 2011, when severe council restrictions forced the business to close.

The highlight of the tour was the infamous Redbank Range Tunnel. The tunnel runs 592 feet in length, carved into the hills of the Picton region. Used between 1867-1919, the tunnel served as the corridor for train services to and from Melbourne, until a new line was built around the hills. There are many rumours of spirits wandering the tunnel, allegedly related to the high number of suicides and deaths which took place on the train line before it diverted at a later stage. Witnesses have seen lights, gusts of winds, and shadows. There are also rumours of the ghost of a girl who had been assaulted and murdered, but she is seen rarely, and the ghost of a girl who hung herself at the entrance of the tunnel.

Above is a video documentary based on the anomalies around Picton.

Quarantine Station

Although picturesque and peaceful-looking, Sydney’s Quarantine Station (QS) harbours a dark past, entrenched in isolation, suffering, disease and death.

Built on ground used by Indigenous tribes for healing and burial rituals, the QS has been used for isolation of suspected disease carriers for over 150 years. From the 1830s to 1984, migrant ships arriving in Sydney with suspected contagious disease stopped inside North Head and off-loaded passengers and crew into quarantine to protect local residents from becoming sick. The QS ran for 150 years, growing during periods of infectious disease and shrinking during periods of health and reduced government coffers.

Many paranormal tours are run through the management of the QS, ranging from family-friendly tours to extreme tours, with an option of staying overnight. Guests can also take part in paranormal investigations run by the tour guides.

According to the site’s resident medium, there are at least fifty spirits wandering the hospital, the dining halls, the shower block, and the morgue, where an ominous mannequin lies under a sheet and the stench of death ignites the imagination. People who visit the now empty Quarantine Station are often pushed by people who are not there.

Monte Cristo, Junee

Monte Cristo Homestead, just outside the rural town of Junee, holds a reputation as Australia’s most haunted private residence, allegedly experiencing hauntings from at least ten ghostly entities. The original section was completed in 1885, with additional sections being added on over the years.

Monte Cristo Homestead has been explored by many ghost hunters – it has also been featured on the world famous Castle of Spirits website. The Australian Ghost Hunters Society regularly holds ghost hunts at Monte Cristo and have had some very interesting experiences there. Current owners Reg and Olive Ryan moved into the then-derelict house in 1963, and now run tours of the property outlining its dark and paranormal past.

Ghosts of Monte Cristo:

  • The ghost of original resident old Mrs Crawley has been seen many times in her former room
  • Many visitors report feelings of being unwelcome, and of being held in place while trying to ascend the stairs
  • Ghostly voices have been reported by visitors
  • Visiting psychics have reported Mrs Crawley’s presence in the dining room, one having left the room several times during a meal after allegedly being ordered to leave by the old lady
  • Then there are the mysterious lights and full-body apparitions reportedly witnessed throughout the years by visitors and guests

The Best of the Rest

Jenolan Caves

The Jenolan caves are the oldest caves in the world still open to the public for walk-throughs. It receives more than a quarter million visitors every year, and extends for miles beneath the surface. Every year, more and more stories emerge, of security gates rattling for no reason, display lights turning themselves on and off, and phantom figures appearing mysteriously. Many of the tales are connected to James Wiburd, Jenolan’s third caretaker, from 1903, and a passionate adventurer. It’s said that Wiburd so loved the place that he chose never to leave, lingering to keep an eye on things.

Maitland Gao

The building of Maitland began in 1844, with the official opening and arrival of the first prisoners in 1848. Built of sandstone, it is considered to be the most intact country gaol in New South Wales and is the longest continuously-operating correctional institution in Australia. Maitland Gaol closed in 1998. During its period of operation, sixteen men were hanged there, both at the main gates and in the back corner. Many spirits are said to haunt the old buildings.

Wakehurst Parkway in Sydney

A notorious stretch of highway that is known for many fatal crashes. Many are said to have been caused by a young girl by the name of ‘Kelly’, who appears in people’s motor vehicles as they drive along the dark road after midnight. If she is not informed that her presence is unwanted, she will make the car veer off the road and crash.

King George Avenue

King George Avenue in Tamworth has many reports of a phantom set of headlights appearing to people driving toward the city. Random electrical problems, such as fuses blowing, have also occurred frequently. This road used to be a popular drag strip for local youths, with a few reported deaths driving the rumours of a ‘ghost car’.


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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thisishorror.co.uk/columns/antipodean-nights/australias-terrifying-haunted-places-south-wales/


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  1. Lejla

    The most haunted place in Australia by far is the Tarban Creek Lunatic Asylum built in 1838. It is a large complex in Gladesville nsw and it is unknown to many as it is so well hidden. Full of beautiful sandstone buildings built by convicts, secret tunnels and the whole place is haunted. I work there as it is now used mostly by nsw health.

    1. Nicole

      are there any tours available at this place??? would really love to go!

      1. lejla

        Unfortunately no, but you can visit and walk around as it is open to the public (during the day).

    2. Flare

      HEY lejla i live on ground that was once used for unknown purposes at tarban creek and i think my house is haunted big time’

    3. mm

      I live near here and have experienced many experiences when walking during the day. I never believed in ghists until i had an experience here. I am surprised it is not more well known

    4. Janette

      My grandmother was a patient there. The stories are horrific, my grandmother recalled she refused to take the medication, her punishment was she was taken to wat she call the basement in there was a bed with leather shackles both legs and arms n head would be shackled a devise placed over her head and she would be electrocuted 2,3 or 4 times depending on wat nurse doctor was on beatings lack of food sexual abuse experimental brain surgerie it was know as if u went in as a patient u never got to walk out
      It took my grandfather many months to get my grandmother released

  2. Cassidy Anderson

    Tasmania is the oldest state as the first fleet landed there, that’s why they have port Arthur. That’s where they kept the convicts so that would be the most haunted!

    1. Peter Brooks

      Not sure what they taught you at school, but NSW is the oldest state and the destination of the First Fleet, not Tasmania. Port Arthur, by the way, isn’t even the oldest penal colony in Tasmania.

    2. Eryn

      I think you’re mistaken. Port Jackson was where they landed, in NSW.

  3. rob

    I’m in year three and I no the fist fleet was real so that makes this ghost story real

  4. Spoooky

    On wakehurst parkway, there was a guy driving along and a girl in a white dress sticks out her hand like she was hitchihiking. He pulls over and asks where she lives.she replies and takes her home. He walks up to the door and says to the father that answered “I picked up your daughter from the side of the road” he starts crying and says “my daughter died 10 years ago” the man looks at the girl and her white dress is filled with blood and her chest has stab wounds in it.

    1. chrissye

      That story has been common in at least 3 states in the US since the 1950s….. it’s just an urban myth. (The girl’s name is usually “Mary” and she was killed in a car accident. She usually gets picked up by a cemetery)

  5. Haydos

    I live in Picton and the abandoned hospital should have been mentioned. The hospital is so haunted that the staff refused to keep working their and so they built a new one right next to it. Some of the American ghost hunter people on those shows went their once and refused to stay the night. There is also a morgue underneath and it is cut into the bedrock so it has bedrock walls and floor which makes it cold and creepy.

    1. Diana

      Where is it?

  6. sherri hopkins

    I used to play as a child in Ben Boyd’s house in Neutral Bay,it was pretty spooky.

  7. Flare

    i live on ground that used to be used for the tarban creek asylum and in my opinion
    i think my house is haunted

  8. Becca

    There’s an intriguing story about a possible Aboriginal tapestry inhabited by weird beings in a lodging house in Mandurah in Tom Slemen’s book Tales of the Weird: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Tales-Weird-Tom-Slemen-ebook/dp/B00OXNCB4I/ref=zg_bs_277506_2

    1. jo

      Does anyone know the spooky history behind Blair Athol? TIA

  9. Maddie

    Have been to both the Q Station at Monte Cristo. At both I have definitely had experiences. The Govenor’s Ballroom and attached kitchen are probably the worst places I have been – the atmosphere is very oppressive and I felt physically ill. Also caught a photo of a face peering through a window (looked almost like a reflection) in the Hospital building. In Monte Cristo I entered the room at the right hand side at the top of the stairs. I became breathless and extremely nauseated and my brand new camera would not work – it couldn’t focus on anything and eventually shut down and wouldn’t turn back on until I left the room. In the bedroom opposite I also caught an unexplained mist in one corner on a photo.

    1. Ali

      Thats pretty creepy!

    2. Spooked.

      I felt the same in the room at the top of the stairs at monte Christo. It was icy cold and I felt really weird. I backed out very quickly and felt much better instantly.

    3. Sean

      Maddie find me on Instagram as chefsean666 I went too Junee n twice went to monte Cristo I too in that hall ballroom had a moment where I guess silly enuff was alone in that room mrs n brother n his GF were otherwise elsewhere and I had a flicker behind me in reflection of mirror of what I’d’ve guessed was a young girl running past behind me with a faint giggle…. I turned n nobody there!!! I fuckin wigged out also caretakers quarters I shat myself in coz of that bloody mannequin of shrouded lady next to the bed…. These are in my Insta posts…. Still freaks me talking bout em. That Chapel too at Monte Cristo…. Broad daylight I was there bout 11am … I did not wanna go into that chapel feeling of morbid soul numbing dread of it petrified me!!! Loved it tho!!!

  10. bandana shakya

    Maddie, would you share the photos with us?

  11. Allan. W. Gray

    Hello Everyone, Do ghosts really scare people that much, because I’m not scared at all, humans scare me a lot more. I lived in a haunted house for 12+ months and I found it fascinating as well as annoying. It was haunted by the former residents. The house was demolished some years ago. I once went to the famous QS several years ago, but nothing spooky there either, maybe I just wasn’t tuned in…But I’d like to visit a nice spooky place just absorb all the atmsphere.

  12. allan

    I lived at the “Mushroom Tunnel” ( as the next door neighbor ) from 1960 until 1985, some 25 years, and it was walled off for some time during this period, at either end, with an entrance door, for complete darkness and the growing of mushrooms. Having been through the tunnel probably several hundred times at least, often alone and feeling my way in the absolute complete blackness of the dark, so I have to agree with Mr Vincent and categorically state for the record that there is absolutely nothing paranormal or unusual about the tunnel or its surrounds and the whole myth was possibly created, for the gullible, as a means to a financial end, on a return trip from Tasmania.
    I mean really folks….picture this…….we even held a seance in there!……nothing at all, not even a whisper of air movement, no unusual feelings, no figures, no apparitions, nothing!

  13. Warren R Rodwell

    The L of Maitland GAO seems to have vanished in the article above …. Spoooooooky :-)

  14. Danny H.

    I live in the famous Child’s Road Chipping Norton haunted house (its the land that’s haunted). After discussions with a “spiritual helper” I managed after 27 long years to get rid of my unwanted guests. Apparently, a man in his late 40’s died before his wife who died in her early 40’s. They have been trying to find each other. I laid out salt, lit candles and said “Go to the light with love. Please leave this place.” This took a whole day but finally success! What did they do all those years? Heavy footsteps, cold areas especially in my master bedroom, feeling a prescence lay on my bed and strange whispers. To top it all off, I had to put up with noisy knocking throughout the night every night. I dared anyone $100.00 to stay in the master bedroom for one night. No one was game enough to take up the offer. When my mother was alive, she would see a little blond girl in 19th century attire although I never saw her. CREEPY! Now I’m ghost free!

  15. Shannon

    Is it strange that I feel overwhelmed when I am near a cemetery? There is a cemetery near a park where I live I can’t pass by it with having a sense of dread and a feeling of being watched.

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