Haunted places in the Illawarra and South Coast: part two

Stories of ghosts and sightings of the supernatural have filled humans with fear and dread since the beginning of time.

Click through the gallery above to see places across the Illawarra and South Coast rumoured to be home to ghosts in part two of our spooky series. Read below for more details.

Please note: the following are excerpts from archived Illawarra Mercury articles.

Helensburgh Tunnels

Helensburgh Tunnels: Legend has it spirit of miner Robert Hales still hides in the darkness, chasing and racing the trains, and running straight through unsuspecting visitors.

Helensburgh Tunnels: Legend has it spirit of miner Robert Hales still hides in the darkness, chasing and racing the trains, and running straight through unsuspecting visitors.

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In 1895 a miner named Robert Hales was hit by a train in the Helensburgh Tunnel, cleaving his body in two.

Legend has it the miner's spirit still hides in the darkness, chasing and racing the trains, and running straight through unsuspecting visitors.

The eerie breadth and beauty of the Helensburgh Tunnel has fascinated curious humans for generations.

Craig Bloxsome, owner and operator of a successful ghost tour business in Tasmania and now Wollongong, said: “A lot of people said they had experienced weird stuff in there, seeing things, sensations. Someone watching them."

Mr Bloxsome owns Wollongong City Ghost Tours which runs ‘Haunted Mystery Bus Tours’. More information here

Aliummare House, Wombarra

ALIUMMARE HOUSE: The heritage-listed Aliummare was built for the accountant of the Scarborough mine, Mr Parsons, in the late 1880s.

ALIUMMARE HOUSE: The heritage-listed Aliummare was built for the accountant of the Scarborough mine, Mr Parsons, in the late 1880s.

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Aliummare, a once-derelict Wombarra mansion, was built in the late 1880s and meticulously restored to its former glory.

The heritage-listed Aliummare was built for the accountant of the Scarborough mine, Mr Parsons, in the late 1880s.

Born in Wales, Mr Parsons gave his late Victorian "boom style" mansion the name Aliummare, which roughly means "by another sea" in Welsh.

Like many of the Illawarra's older homes, Aliummare comes with a ghost story attached.

Rumour has it that the ghost of a lady known as Madame Kurtz, who lived in the house during World War I, appears from time to time.

Although said to be popular with neighbours, Madame Kurtz was arrested as a spy and charged with treason after being caught sending morse code messages from the house, using an oil lamp, to German ships off the coast.​

Burnima Homestead, Bombala

Burnima Homestead circa 1905. In 2015, the owner of the home, Steve Rickett, pointed to part of the front of the house and said: “On a full moon the light shining off the windows makes this part of the house resemble a frowning, contorted mouth.”

Burnima Homestead circa 1905. In 2015, the owner of the home, Steve Rickett, pointed to part of the front of the house and said: “On a full moon the light shining off the windows makes this part of the house resemble a frowning, contorted mouth.”

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Burnima was built for Henry Tollemache Edwards in 1896 and harbours a number of macabre mysteries. 

Legend has it a young servant girl, who was thought to have become pregnant to Edwards, vanished on the same day the well in the southern garden was filled in.

A number of people claim to have seen the girl's ghost. In 2015, the home’s owner Steve Rickett said while sleeping in the old cook's room back in 2006, at about 2.30am Rickett was awoken by heavy breathing at the side of his bed. "I turned over towards the noise only to see a girl standing right along my bed," recalls Rickett, adding, "I screamed at it, kicked the doona at it and it vanished."

Waterfall Sanatorium and Garrawarra Cemetery

One of the many segregated houses for Tuberculosis sufferers on the delapidated grounds of the Waterfall Consumptive Hospital. Picture: Wolter Peeters

One of the many segregated houses for Tuberculosis sufferers on the delapidated grounds of the Waterfall Consumptive Hospital. Picture: Wolter Peeters

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Garrawarra Cemetery is so covered by vines, broken branches and time, it's almost as though it never existed.

But beneath the dense bush that has grown over the graveyards lie the remains of 2000 souls.

The cemetery, which also goes by the name of Waterfall General, was the final resting place for about half the tuberculosis patients who died at the nearby sanatorium early last century.

Opened in 1909, the sanatorium – the location of which was purposely chosen to help patients recover away from polluted city streets – later became a retirement home. In the early 2000s a facility for the elderly was built next door and the old sanatorium has been abandoned and unused since then.

Hill 60 bunkers, Port Kembla

Hill 60 tunnels

Hill 60 tunnels

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The two tunnels of the Illowra Battery dissect Hill 60 and were built in 1942 to house two huge, 16-inch guns and their six crews. They also allowed air to circulate and removed smoke produced by the battery's guns.

The guns were only used once - to fire a warning shot across the bows of a merchant ship that had strayed too close to mines - and in 1942 were partly responsible for the forced relocation of an Aboriginal community that had lived on the hill for many thousands of years.

Bulli Family Hotel

Bulli Family Hotel.

Bulli Family Hotel.

The Bulli Family Hotel opened on September 8, 1889, as an example of the Federation filigree style of architecture according to historian Anne Wood.

George Croft was the first owner and it was from his plans that architect William Kenwood prepared the design.

The hotel was very grand for its day, with 28 bedrooms, an assembly room, dining room, billiard room, parlours and bar, Ms Wood said. Electric bells connected the upper and lower floors and the water supply came from underground wells.

The hotel underwent a major revamp in the 1970s and was classified by the National Trust in 1976.

It also has a reputation for being haunted. In 1887, two years before the pub opened, the old bar was used as a mortuary for the 81 men killed in the Bulli mine disaster.

Former licensee Ted Cullen, who hung himself in the bathroom in 1930 following a fight with his wife, is also believed to be still walking the floors.

Mushroom Tunnel, Picton

Mushroom Tunnel, Picton

Mushroom Tunnel, Picton

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Redbank Range Railway Tunnel, also known as Picton Tunnels, and Mushroom Tunnel have fallen into disuse. 

Stories of suicide are linked with the tunnel and the tragic railway accident of the woman named Emily Bollard appears to be the basis of the haunted reputation of the tunnel.

Apparently when the tunnel was still in use by the railway, Emily had been walking through the tunnel and was killed by an oncoming locomotive. 

It is unclear whether she deliberately committed suicide or if her death was just an unfortunate accident.

A figure at the end of the tunnel has been seen, as if someone hung themselves.

At Picton, hauntings have been reported at the Wollondilly Town Hall, Picton Library and the Old Post Office.

Scarborough Wombarra Cemetery

The Scarborough-Wombarra Cemetery.

The Scarborough-Wombarra Cemetery.

Witnesses have seen a white figure standing at the end of the headland, looking out to sea.

If you’re looking to roam a little further afield…

The Monte Cristo Homestead, Junee

MONTE CRISTO HOMESTEAD, JUNEE: Australia's "most haunted home", Monte Cristo. Photo: Supplied

MONTE CRISTO HOMESTEAD, JUNEE: Australia's "most haunted home", Monte Cristo. Photo: Supplied

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Lawrence Ryan and his four sisters spent their childhood growing up in Australia’s “most haunted home”: The Monte Cristo Homestead in Junee. It was not long after they moved in that the Ryans began to experience some odd occurrences.

“One evening when mum and dad were driving back to the empty house they were both concerned by the amount of light pouring out of the windows and doors considering it had no electricity at the time,” Mr Ryan said.

“Their first thought was that the vandals were back and they were being burgled. Dad told Mum and us kids to remain in the car while he went to check it out, but on arriving at the front door, all the light immediately went out and they were plunged into darkness.”

After that first spooky incident, the Ryans both heard the footsteps of a woman in heels on a verandah above them, which at that time was full of holes and unusable. They witnessed items being moved around, strange noises, voices and plenty of creepy and unexplained sensations.

Macaria House, Camden

This iconic building, formerly Camden Council’s chambers, has a long and grisly history.

The land that Macaria was built on was originally purchased in 1846 by Sarah Tiffin (nee Milford) who was a housekeeper for the Macarthurs. The story goes that Sarah’s marriage became strained, her health declined, and she passed away in 1854 leaving the property in her estate. 

The Macaria building was later constructed for Henry Thompson, who ran the flour mill in Camden. He did not survive to live in the house. When it was nearly complete in 1871, Thompson died from a freak accident, when a horse unexpectedly bucked and kicked him in the head. 

It briefly became a school, before Dr Francis West and his family moved in. The family left the house under sad circumstances when Dr West died suddenly at the age of 58 in 1932.

The ghosts of Macaria are said to be the friendly and peaceful Sarah Tiffin and Bill despite no know owner of that name. Bill is more mischievous and aggressive, believed to be the cause of most of the paranormal harm experienced in the property. More here

Macquarie Fields Train Station

When the station is nearly empty late at night, the moans and groans of a teenage girl haunt the station. Apparently, screams begin and the then become much louder.

There was a report that someone saw a young girl wearing dancing clothes, covered in what looked like to be blood in her chest area (she was clutching her chest).

This spirit tale was likely born from an article published by an unknown source on July 11, 1906, which said a woman named Emily Gengeson was reportedly hit by a train and killed along the railway line at Macquarie Fields. More here

Gledswood Homestead, Catherine Field

Gledswood Homestead, Catherine Field

Gledswood Homestead, Catherine Field

The ghosts of convicts who built the property in 1810 are believed to haunt Gledswood Homestead. 

The house also has a pet cemetery where dogs playing can be heard late at night.

Find out more information here.

St Mark's Anglican Church Cemetery, Picton

In January 2010 a family visiting St Mark's Cemetery in Picton snapped a photo apparently showing the ghosts of two children who died almost 60 years apart. The photo appeared in major newspapers across the country. 

The children were believed to be Blanche Moon who was crushed to death in 1886 when a pile of sleepers that she and a number of children were playing on slipped, and David Shaw who was the son of a minister who died in 1946 from polio.

The photo gained considerable criticism within the Australian paranormal community with most claiming the photo was obviously photoshopped and that the children shown in the picture appeared to be wearing modern clothing.

Find out more information here.

Camelot, Kirkham

The beautiful and iconic Camelot, used as a location for television series A Place to Call Home, also has a dark past.

Camelot stands on the site of explorer John Oxley's Kirkham Mill. John Horbury Hunt designed Camelot for James White of Cranebrook in the late 1880's. 

White only enjoyed his dream home for only two years, passing away in 1890. His widow remained in the property until 1897 when she too passed away.

In 1901 it was purchased by by William Anderson and his wife Frances Faithfull.

Tragedy struck the Andersons in 1912 when William committed suicide and Frances died in 1948. Their daughter, Clarice Vivian, never marrying or having children, remained in the property until her passing in 1979.

The tales of their deaths and the rumour that the house was haunted began to grow. Find out more information here.

Campbelltown Town Hall Theatre, Campbelltown

You know the name but do you know the story of Campbelltown’s most famous ghost?

Fred Fisher was sent to Australia as a convict in 1816 and was later emancipated. He lived in Campbelltown and owned four farms by 1825.

On the evening of 17 June 1826, Fred Fisher disappeared.

The legend goes that four months later, a local farmer named John Farley was returning home from Patrick’s Inn, late one night in October 1826. On his way home, he passed a corner of the paddock that belonged to Fred, which adjoined George Worrall’s farm.

As he passed, he saw the figure of a man sitting on the fence of a bridge. As he got closer, he recognised the figure as Fred Fisher. 

As he approached, John became horror-struck and realised that he was looking at a ghost. He claimed that the ghost was bathed in an eerie light and had blood dripping from a wound in his head. 

Releasing a loud moan, the ghost beckoned to him, raised his arm and pointed to a creek back towards George Worrall’s farm before fading away. 

After the encounter, John ran to a local hotel, ‘The Harrow’, in a state of shock, claiming he had seen the ghost of Fred Fisher.

Fred’s body was found in 1826 in the shallow grave just where the ghost had pointed.

George Worrall went to trial for Fred’s murder in a criminal court, on 2 February 1827. He was sentenced to death and executed three days later.

Fred Fisher’s ghost is said to wander through Queen Street’s buildings, especially the Campbelltown Town Hall Theatre which is now on the site of Fred’s home.More here.

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