News

A LOOK INTO THE FUTURE

ghost hunts

 Although Ghost Hunts will be coming to an end soon, regular Ghost Tours will still be running until later this year. At a press conference last year, the previous Minister for Housing and Government Works advised us that “our tours have to change”. They have assured that we can continue to run tours after the redevelopment of the Boggo Road Gaol.

There will be some changes to come, the first being that our ghost hunts have to cease. What other changes we will have to make, no one claims to know. Frankly, we are frustrated with the process.

Ghost tours at the Gaol are one of the longest running in Australia, so now more than ever would be the time to come and support us! The other tours we offer are:

-Haunted Brisbane CBD Ghost Tour

-Haunted Brisbane Coach Tour

-Toowong Cemetery Ghost Tour s

-Haunted Redlands Ghost Tour

-Nundah Cemetery Ghost Tour

-South Brisbane Cemetery

-Ipswich Cemetery

-Charters Towers

-Ravenswood

-Norfolk Island (limited spots left for Halloween 2015 trip)

-Crime Tours

redlands

Haunted Redlands

Visit our website to find out more and book a Tour today!

Please join our Boggo Road Gaol and Ghost Tours Pty Ltd Facebook pages to be kept informed about the Gaols redevelopment

HALLOWEEN ON NORFOLK ISLAND

Regarded as a living hell for the convicts that were sent there, today Norfolk Island is the opposite. This small, green island, surrounded by deep ferocious seas is a paradise compared to what it once was.

The first convict settlement was established soon after the arrival of the first fleet to Australia in 1788: Through the 19th century the two more attempts to make Norfolk into an island prison ended in abandonment. The stories which came from those unfortunate enough to serve and be held on Norfolk were horrific.

The commandants were sadistic and cruel, and used their powers over life and death to try to crush the souls of the men and women sent there. Brutal floggings with whips, deprivation of food and water, punishing work regimes and regular executions by hanging created a type of convict that mainland Australia rarely saw.

For the convicts created here depravity and hopelessness was the norm.

These circumstances have been fertile grounds for folklore, ghost and crime stories. Norfolk has scores of haunted houses, buildings and ruins. Locals have long enjoyed sharing yarns and tales of the myths and legends of their island.

One of the most enduring ghost stories is that of the “Bloody Bridge” which we will be visiting on our Norfolk Island Ghost Tour in October. This stone bridge built by convicts was the scene of a horrific murder in which prisoners killed their overseer and disposed of his body by stuffing it into the stonework of the newly built bridge. There are several different versions told of the crime, but the bridge itself is an imposing and eerie place to visit and will be a highlight of the 4 day tour.

bloody bridge

We will also visit the ruins and Kingston – the island’s Gothic graveyard and also take in world class museums and displays. It really will be a trip of a lifetime – Norfolk Island’s convict history and hauntings is equal to Port Arthur.

The Norfolk Island Ghost Tour will be conducted by Jack Sim, Director of Ghost Tours. Who has been gathering stories from the islanders and local historians.

ONLY 5 PLACES LEFT!

Whole Tour Includes:
Flights to and from Norfolk Island (Brisbane Airport)
Accommodation at The Castaway Hotel (Twin Share)
Island Tours
Ghost Tours
Museum Pass
Small Car Hire (Vehicle insurance included. Fuel at your own cost)
Buffet Breakfast each morning (except Saturday 31st October)
Lunch Monday 2nd November (Other days lunch not included)
Dinner for three nights
Free time

Tour Does Not Include:
Travel Insurance (speak to Go See Touring Staff when booking for more information, and a quote. Travel Insurance is highly recommended, as there are limited services on the Island)
Fuel for hire car (fuel at your own cost)
Some lunches
Spending Money

Click here for more information
(Pricing, Daily Itinerary, etc)

BOGGO ROAD GAOL GHOST HUNT TOURS

We understand your concerns about closure of the ghost hunt tours – so here is an explanation as to why this has happened.

boggoroadgaol

Representatives of the Department of Housing and Public Works who are responsible for the Gaol, recently met with Ghost Tours Director Jack Sim. The Department advised they had received concerns about the ‘cultural sensitivity’ of operating ghost hunt tours within Boggo Road Gaol.

Our Director explained that the ghost hunt tours are very respectful and were very similar to paranormal investigations run at Sydney Quarantine Station and many historic Gaols around the world. We have never employed mediums or clairvoyants as part of the hunts, nor ever on our tours. Although we did not know where this concern was coming from, without any real choice, we offered to gradually cease ghost hunts by the end of June.

On 26 April 2015 the Boggo Road Gaol Historical Society Inc posted the following:

“We recently made representations to government about the inappropriateness of the commercial ‘ghost hunts’ at Boggo, and are pleased to say that we received a letter from Public Works minister Leanne Enoch informing us that the ‘ghost hunts’ will be stopped. Thanks to everyone who supported us on this.”

The Boggo Road Gaol Historical Society Inc led by Steve Gauge and Chris Dawson wanted to run ‘Psychic Cellblock Tours’ at Boggo Road in which they were going to have a clairvoyant channel the souls of deceased prisoners and speak to them. They have consistently tried over many years to close down ghost tours. Their blogs include scores of pages devoted to attacking
the credibility of Jack Sim and his business. They promote that they can take bookings for tours of the Gaol on their website – totally misleading people.

Our company went through an open public tendering process and we were chosen for the licence to run tours and events at the Gaol. There is no question of our integrity and ability to run the tours. We are absolutely dismayed that a single complaint from this organisation ended what has been a fascinating and popular experience at Boggo Road Gaol.

Three people were employed in conducting the ghost hunts have lost their hours. The hunts ran for 5 years between 2000 and 2005, before recommencing last year with not a single complaint received.

All we have ever tried to do, is to offer the historical experiences and tours that people ask us to, within the guidelines that the Department of Housing and Public Works have put in place.

Thank you all for your support and if you have done one of our Ghost Hunt Tours, let us know if you enjoyed it. We are worried that ghost tours of the Gaol will be the next change. Do them while you can as the Gaol is about to be redeveloped. Please join the Boggo Road Gaol Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/boggoroadgaol

ABC CHARTERS TOWERS HISTORY TOLD THROUGH GHOST TALES

STORY BY KATHLEEN CALDERWOOD
ABC NORTH QUEENSLAND ARTICLE

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Jack runs ghosts tours in Brisbane and has recently brought the business to Charters Towers. He was attracted to the north Queensland town because of its rich and prosperous history; he says the town is full of ghost stories. “People came to make their fortune and some of them did very well,” he said.

“A few of them in Charters Towers and Ravenswood are still there, allegedly haunting their houses that they built.

“[Gold] led people to do their very best; it also made some people do their bloody worst.”

Jack says it wasn’t difficult to find stories of the supernatural; as soon as people heard he was in town, he was approached constantly by locals with tales to tell. He collected the town’s ghost stories by interview locals, then combining their stories with the history of the place they claim is haunted.

“It’s really important that people we bring on tours, that they go to see a place that has a history of being haunted,” Jack said.

“That means we’ve had to go back and interview sometimes a couple of generations worth of people and you find there’s a common ghost story in old places like the Royal Hotel.”

Hotel home to grizzly tales

The Royal Hotel is one of the stops on the ghost tour – a grand old building with a dark past.

“It was here in 1901 that there was a dramatic and terribly violent incident that took place,” Jack said.

An estranged couple, the Cordays, met at the hotel. That was despite the fact that Mrs Corday, and her friend who accompanied her, knew that Mr Corday had violent intentions towards his wife following their separation.

“He was unhappy with her extra-marital relationships,” Jack recounted.

“After leaving them to come into the bar here to get some drinks for his partner… he re-entered the room [but] instead of having drinks in his hand he held a revolver.

“He shot her at virtually point-blank range in the head, and then took his own life in the bar.”

As the years went on it became well known around town that the dead couple haunted the pub.

They are joined by one of the hotel’s former proprietors, Mrs McDonald, who owned the pub for 50 years.

“The current owner of the hotel, she tells me that when she comes up the staircase she feels Mrs McDonald walking right beside [her] as she comes up the stairs each day,” he said.

“Not in a bad way, she just feels like the lady that was her predecessor is just there with her, helping her to manage the hotel.”

Using your imagination

Jack says Australia has a long history of sharing ghost stories, varying between tongue-and-cheek and genuinely creepy. He says it is a great way to learn about history in an unusual way.

“Almost without fail you can trace the origin of the story to a real tragedy of a real crime or a real event,” he said.

“From a historical perspective I think that it’s an invaluable way to learn about the history of the place.

“What we want to do is to share with the world the great stories of Australia, and ghost yarns [are] just a wonderful way to do so.”

Jack looks for people with a love of history and the ability to spin a good yarn to be ghost tour guides. There is no need for fake ghosts or ghouls to jump out from hiding places to scare people, instead the creepiness comes from good storytelling and the place itself, he says.

“I like to let people use something incredible these days that they don’t often think of, and that’s there imagination,” he said.

One of the highlights of Jack’s job is checking out the allegedly haunted buildings; by spending the night whenever he gets the chance. While these nights are usually uninterrupted, he says there have been a few creepy events during his stays.

“One of the most well known ghost stories [in Charters Towers] is that of the Park Hotel and Bridget Clancy is said to be the lady who haunts that establishment,” he said.

“When I was here in December last year the door of my hotel room just after two o’clock in the morning suddenly unlocked itself.

“The door swung open and there was no one there, now I guess the publican could’ve been playing a trick on me but I don’t think so.

“Most of the time I get a pretty good night’s sleep, occasionally something like that will happen… something a bit strange that you can’t explain.”

STAN POLLARD & CO.

Anyone who has visited the stunning gold rush Town of Charters Towers would have seen the ‘grand’ department store in the main street – Stan Pollard & Co. In 1899 the town had a population of approximately 30,000. With wealth pouring in from the Gold mines there was enough money to justify the building of this impressive department store originally known as Daking-Smith & Co.

At 16 Stan Pollard started working at Daking-Smith & Co.’s store, but in 1925 Daking-Smith’s business wound down and this building was left empty for many years. During that time, young Stan opened up a small Mens-wear store next to the old Daking-Smith building in Gill Street, and by 1934 he was able to purchase the Daking-Smith building in partnership with John Hall.

During that time, department stores were a refined place with a huge range of items including homewares and clothing. To complement the refined department store environment, the customer experienced a superior quality of service, the object of which was to make her feel special and confident. Stan Pollard was the king of customer service and creating a great shopping experience!

 

Stan Pollard  renovated and remodelled the store, removing most of the second floor and moving the cashier’s station to the back of the shop. Stan had an aerial money exchange system  ‘flying fox’ for the cash to be transported from the shopper to the attendant. Often children would place the money for the purchase on the flying fox, only to receive their change and a sweet in return.

STAN POLLARD with the "flying fox" (wooden barrel screws open to carry the money; clip underneath to carry the docket) the cord is pulled and the the cash 'flies' up to the office in the middle of the store. Change is put back in and the flying fox shoots back to the salesperson. The fox is on display at the Zara Clark Museum on Mosman Street.

STAN POLLARD with the “flying fox”. The fox is on display at the Zara Clark Museum on Mosman Street. Thank you to Meg (nee Pollard) for sharing the photographs of Stan Pollard

Stan was a smiling, enthusiastic business man who would often be seen standing out the front of his store encouraging passers by into his wonderful department store. After he passed away, many locals began to see his ghost…Even his daughter Meg believes his ghost still visits the store.

Join us on a CHARTERS TOWERS GHOST TOUR to hear the ghost story of Stan Pollard

A NEW GHOST TOUR IN TOWN

Charters Towers

Charters Towers Ghost Tours has been the talk of the town, with some great news articles being written up about the inaugural tour on the 24.05.2015. The first tour was taken by local history tour guide Erica Finlay and owner and creator of Ghost Tours pty Ltd – Jack Sim .

Painting of the Crime - CHARTERS TOWERS  SMALL

Jack Sim has always been fascinated by ghost towns ever since he read the book “Ghost towns of Australia” by George Farwell. Farwell’s book explored abandoned townships, ports and mining settlements around the country.

“For some reason, the concept of places that are now a shade of their former selves really appealed to me as a child. I’d often think of the hard working men and women that built these towns out in the bush in some of the most the most remote, desolate and isolated parts of Australia. One of the pictures in his book called the ‘unlucky digger’ was so macabre that it truly sparked a lifelong fascination with the history gold mining towns. I was six when I first saw this picture and as horrible as it was, I just wanted to know what had befallen this poor miner – who was he? what was the history that led him to this end? Even as a child, it seemed to me that the story of our country was often a very tragic one and I thought it was very important that people got to know about the hard work, toil and risks that our pioneers took to build our nation. Ghost towns seemed to be full of the stories that I wanted to share them with others.”

Charters Towers and Ravenswood were referred to in Farwell’s book. “These towns seemed really exceptional, so I always wanted to visit them. In December last year I finally was able to come up to North Queensland and visit Charters Towers and Ravenswood. I was thrilled to hear some of the best ghost stories I had ever heard. Local people shared with me their experiences with the spirits of the town. It’s through these stories that we will tell the history of these towns to visitors.”

Ghost Tours has been running in South East Queensland for the past 17 years and run tours of some of the most haunted places in the region, including notorious Boggo Road Gaol and grand Toowong Cemetery. However, we feel it’s time to spread out to new historical places and hence starting in North Queensland. For the past few months, Jack Sim has been learning about the fascinating history of Charters Towers and collecting the local legends and ghost stories.

Ghosts have been seen, heard & felt on tours – the inaugural tour was no exception. As the group wandered the darkened streets of Charters Towers they  visited the popular department store Target Country, reputedly to be haunted by its former owner, The Stock Exchange and the World Theatre . The World Theatre holds the blood stained table on which the Mosman street tragedy took place.

It was within the World Theatre that one of the customers saw a door open on its own accord. A ghostly figure has been seen wandering the halls of the World Theatre, some say that it is the ghost of the murderer Mr. Brown, who shot the Chairman of the company he worked for at the table…

One of the local journalists from the Northern Minor Newspaper , Morgan Oss went along on the very first ghost tour last week . “It was a very informative, local history evening.  I learnt things about Charters Towers that I didn’t know.  I was hoping to get some sort of experience on the tour & myself & 2 others who were with me had an experience at the top of the World Theatre.  I left feeling very happy that there was some ” ghostly ” action that night. The tourists & visitors to our town who go on the tour will get a one of
it’s kind Charters Towers experience.”

TO WATCH THE VIDEO CLICK HERE

CLICK HERE TO BOOK A CHARTERS TOWERS GHOST TOUR

JAMES KENNIFF: CHARTERS TOWERS

Charters Towers, a beautiful outback town South West of Townsville was once a thriving hub due to the large deposits of gold (the second largest city outside of Brisbane). As the gold dried up, mining became uneconomic, Charters Towers population slowly declined, but the stunning old buildings and ghosts remained.

On the outskirts of Charters Towers sits what the locals call “the old cemetery”, the Lynd Highway Cemetery was established in 1895. This bleak, barren and dead flat cemetery is bordered by a well maintained cast iron perimeter fence and charming front gate.  It is the resting place for a number of interesting local characters including Jupiter Mossman who, as the local lore has it, was one of the party that discovered gold in Charters Towers; Doctor Leonard Redmond who discovered Australian Dengue Fever; Frederick Pfeiffer, owner of the rich Day Dawn PC Mine and James Kenniff who was the last bushranger in Queensland.

The Grave of James Kenniff

James and his older brother Patrick were expert horsemen who made a living by horse stealing – a very serious crime.

They were wanted in connection to the theft of a horse. A police constable, Aboriginal tracker and station master pursued the brothers for several days through hard, mountainous country in Western Queensland. Surprising Patrick and his brother James they managed to overpower and arrest them both. As the tracker was sent to get handcuffs from the constable’s packhorse, gunshots rang out and the tracker ran for his life.

A later search found the constable’s horse wandering through the scrub and the burnt remains of the constable and station master.  The brothers were tracked down again and following a shootout, both were captured and tried for murder.

Throughout the trial Patrick maintained his innocence and was denied the right to appeal to the Privy Council in London, by the judge Samuel Griffith. Though there was public shock and outcry, the Queensland Government seemed to be determined to see him hang.

Patrick was sent to the Gallows of Boggo Road Gaol, protesting his innocence to the very last. His final chilling words were saved for one man, the Chief Justice, now Sir Samuel Griffith: “I am as innocent as the judge who sentenced me.”

James’s life was spared, but he was sentenced to life imprisonment with hard labour. Being released in 1914, he refused visitors and lived out his life alone. Some say he was the one who pulled the trigger. He took the secret to his grave in Charters Towers.

Grave of Patrick Kenniff

Visit the grave of Patrick Kenniff on a South Brisbane Cemetery Ghost Tour

James Kenniff

THE GHOST OF BILL

William_McNaughton_Galloway,_circa_1889

THE GHOST OF BILL

William_McNaughton_Galloway,_circa_1889

Nestled among the old graves of Toowong cemetery stands a well maintained memorial to William McNaughton Galloway – Bill. Beer and Bill are forever intertwined, Bill used his own money to finance the building of the Breakfast Creek Hotel, Bill’s love of alcohol however began to get him into trouble – his drinking habits were legendary.On the night he was to die the staff locked him in his room, but a fumbled attempt to get back into the pub via a drainpipe spelled his demise. After his death the stories began, that Bill’s spirit was still drinking spirits. In the decades after, the staff would claim to see their former boss as an apparition – a ghost. It was extremely lifelike, many saying he looked like a real person.

By the beginning of the 21st century Bills hotel had become legendary, however the grave of the man himself had slowly and surely deteriorated, until 2005 ghost tours Australia restored his grave. This has ensured it will stay intact for many many more years. $5 of your ticket price goes to our grave heritage fund, so that we may continue preserving some of Brisbane’s colourful history, heritage and hauntings.

As a nice gesture we left him a bottle of beer and the old pre WW2 beer glass. To date he has not opened the bottle…

PATRICK MAYNE

On the morning of the 26th of March 1848, the town of Kangaroo Point was shocked by several gruesome discoveries. At around 8am that morning, a man rowing in the Brisbane River found the severed torso and lower half of the body. Blood and entrails were discovered down a well and the severed head was found expertly butchered. There were many rumours as to where each body part was found, some say the head was found in the pub staring down at those who entered.

Patrick Mayne

Patrick Mayne

The poor victim had been in the local pub the night before, a man by the name of Robert Cox. Cox was a timber cutter down near Tweed Heads. It has been suggested that the motive for murder was money. Cox was owed a great deal of money from his work – it is said the motive was the money from his wages.
The cook, William Fyfe was convicted of the crime, but many in Brisbane believed the wrong man was convicted and hanged.

One of the men at that pub that night was a poorly young butcher – Patrick Mayne. Though not convicted of the crime, he may just have well been the killer. Within a year of the murder young Patrick Mayne married and came into a considerable amount of money. He purchased a butchers store and began to buy up real estate around Brisbane. He built up a veritable empire from nothing and became one of Brisbane’s wealthiest men.

Was Patrick Mayne the murderer?  Hear the rest of this creepy tale on a Ghost Tour. Visit his grave on the Toowong Cemetery Ghost Tour or visit the site of his deathbed confession on the Haunted Brisbane CBD Ghost Tour, you can even visit the scene of the crime on the Bloody Brisbane Coach Tour.

You can read more about Patrick Mayne here:

http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/mayne-patrick-13088

http://www.uqp.uq.edu.au/book.aspx/602/The%20Mayne%20Inheritance

THE FRAZER MAUSOLEUM : ROOKWOOD CEMETERY (1974)

Jack Sim recently visited the city of Sydney, and explored the Necropolis that is Rookwood Cemetery, – it is literally the City of the Dead and has lived up to its name. Rookwood cemetery is one of the largest burial ground in Australia.  Parts of the cemetery are wild, overgrown with a bizarre combination of bushland and exotic flowers, vines, trees and shrubs. Wildlife abounds. It has been the scene of sorrow, reunion, salvation, sadness, tragedy, violence, crime, murder and death.

Rookwood was created to accommodate a growing population, the old cemeteries of Sydney had filled up. It would be a great gothic theme park, designed to entertain the living and honour the dead.

In 1868, far from the city of Sydney (so property values were not affected) the new cemetery was opened to the public. The first burials took place in 1867; the first cremation in 1925. The “crem‟ as it is known is the oldest operating crematorium in Australia. The original cemetery was 200 acres, the cemetery today has grown to cover 699 acres (283 hectares). The remains of approximately a million people are either buried or held here.

Mausoleums, crypts and vaults dot the landscape. Grand gravestones and memorials of the rich and powerful sit side by side with more modest tombstones. Many have been damaged by more than a century of vandalism, neglect or decay.

One of these graves is the Frazer Vault – Built in 1894, this grand mausoleum dominates the Rookwood Necropolis. It once belonged to the Frazer family. The largest mausoleum in Rookwood, this vault was once the resting place of seven members of the Frazer family:

John – died 27 October 1884, aged 57 (founding father)

John – died 15 December 1878

Arthur Griffiths – died 8 November 1900

Sarah & Alice Mary – died 21 February 1901

Elizabeth – died 2 July 1914

They are no longer there.

It was commissioned by John Frazer prior to his death. Born in Ireland in 1824, Frazer immigrated with his brother and two sisters to Australia in 1842. In partnership with them, he built John Frazer & Co into one of Sydney’s biggest businesses.

Though John Frazer died relatively young, aged only 57, in 1884, he died very wealthy – the third richest man in the country, leaving an estate worth over 400,000 pounds.

Before his death he commissioned the building of an elaborate and theft-proof mausoleum to contain himself and his family for eternity – forever. It was never meant to be disturbed. In reality, it was to hold them all less than a century.

In 1974, Mr Mervin Manning, who was then the Manager of the Independent Cemetery here at Rookwood, received a bizarre telephone call at his office.

A funeral director requested permission to remove the coffins of the Frazer‟s from the vault. Apparently a distant relative of John Frazer wanted to have their remains cremated at the crematorium.

The undertaker was merely following the directions of the relative. Unable to believe that anyone would want to do such a thing, Merve decided to meet the person. The lady seemed nice enough – she was the great granddaughter of John Frazer – but determined to have her ancestors removed, no matter the cost.

A whole crew of people assembled on the day that the bodies were to be exhumed. It took a week for the experienced mason to dismantle each onyx sarcophagus. Each had been designed to never be opened after being sealed. Despite this, great care was taken to ensure that nothing was damaged. Mr Manning made the mason number each section in the hope one day maybe somebody would put them back together again.

When the first crypt lid came off a strange smell filled the room. It was not decay for the occupants had been dead for years. It was some kind of gas, perhaps methane. One by one, as each tomb was opened, the sweet smelling vapour, sealed for decades inside the stone vessels, drifted out.

The lady was adamant that every person was to be removed. Armed with records of who was buried there, each coffin had to be identified, opened and matched to the old registers.

When the lids were removed, the coffins inside were found to be in very good condition, but they discovered something unsettling…