By: Tatum Stafford
Though the oldest buildings in Western Australia may be deemed young by global standards, there are still plenty of haunted histories to explore.
While there are many spooky spots in Perth, if you're keen to venture a little farther, you won't be disappointed. From the paranormal activity in York to a quarantine camp in Albany with ghosts of former patients, here are eight of the best haunted places in WA.
1. Albany Convict Gaol
The Albany Convict Gaol was established to house convicts who were transported to Albany in 1852 as skilled labourers – many of which helped build the road to Perth many Western Australians drive today. The gaol became a public prison in 1873, a police lock-up during the Great Depression in the 1930’s and then a museum in 1996. Prior to the museum’s opening, the gaol underwent an extensive restoration to return the buildings to their original appearance – meaning if you visit today, you’ll be able to step back in time and experience how these early convicts lived.
To learn more about the building’s haunted history, hop on a late-night ghost tour. On the tour, visitors can enter the Black Hole – an eight by four foot punishment cell with stone walls and no windows. This spot is the source of the gaol’s most notorious ghost story: over 20 drunken soldiers were kept in the ‘hole’ for 24 hours, and three of them died. Staff say they often hear wailing noises coming from the room when nobody is around. If this isn’t enough to scare you off, we’re sure the dummy figures around the museum and gaol (like the one below) will stick around in your nightmares.
2. Old York Hospital
The Old York Hospital is a must-see for paranormal fanatics in WA. The hospital was built in 1896 to accommodate the growing number of ill prospectors in the Goldfields. After hospital operations ceased in 1963 it became a hostel, and today it’s privately owned.
There are plenty of stories about paranormal activity at the hospital in York, some even dating back to the 1920’s. The building is home to an elusive upstairs room, which former matrons used to refuse to go up to alone. A group who stayed in the hospital-turned-hostel in 1980 also noted moaning sounds coming from inside the walls, apparitions making their way through the hallways, and even a levitating teapot in the kitchen.
3. Oakabella Homestead, Bowes
The National Trust-classified Oakabella Homestead was established in 1851, and is situated 35 kilometres north of Geraldton. It was originally inhabited by some of the Wheatbelt’s most prominent families.
The spirit of a man named George is the most commonly-sighted paranormal presence at the homestead. In 1966, George accidentally killed himself while he was cleaning his gun in a room at the end of the cottage. Marks and stains still cover the walls and wardrobe in this room, and when a staff member at the homestead moved furniture in the room, they reported a constant banging sound until all furniture was back in its original place.
Today, the homestead has undergone a huge transformation by the Jackson family, who have owned the property for the past 100 years. It's now a café and tearoom, and welcomes caravanners and campers.
4. Big Bell Ghost Town, near Cue
When the Big Bell Mine was in operation in the early 1900’s, the town of Big Bell was thriving. However, once the mine closed its doors in 1955, most of the town’s residents moved on and the town soon became abandoned.
Today, you can visit the ruins of the Big Bell Hotel, visit the entry point to the old mine, and even see the remains of what was said to be the longest bar in Australia during the town's early 1900’s prosperity. The abandoned town is certainly eerie – but if you're after a bonafide haunted house, head to the old Masonic Lodge nearby in Cue. It's currently owned by the National Trust who plan on restoring it, but even its exterior is guaranteed to send a chill up your spine.
5. Camp Quaranup, Albany
Built in 1875 as a quarantine station, Camp Quaranup housed sick passengers from ships arriving in Albany in the late 1800’s. Its quarters are said to be home to multiple ghosts – notably in the nurse’s quarters and the morgue. One such character is the ghost of a young man who was electrocuted and buried underneath the building’s floorboards. Legend has it that each night, he walks around the area and howls.
Today, the facility hosts a number of school camps, weddings and community events; providing the unique experience to stay in accommodation with such a strong tie to local history.
6. Abbey Church clock tower, New Norcia
As Australia’s only monastic town, New Norcia has its fair share of haunted histories.
St Joseph’s Native School within the township was run by Benedictine Missionary Sisters from Spain from 1904 to 1974. 26-year-old Sister Maria Harispe one of the most influential women on staff, and spent 17 years living and teaching traditional Catholicism before becoming gravely ill with cancer.
Maria wore a blue habit, and it is believed that her ghost wanders around the clock tower every night at midnight; keeping an eye on the community she cherished for almost two decades.
7. The Tanami Road, Halls Creek
‘The Tanami’ is one of the most isolated roads in Australia, and its name may sound familiar to fans of horror film ‘Wolf Creek’. Tanami Road stretches past the infamous Wolfe Creek crater – and due to its remote location, it isn’t common to see any other vehicles or people on it (though you might spot the odd kangaroo, dingo or snake).
8. Patrick Taylor Cottage, Albany
Albany’s Patrick Taylor Cottage is the oldest surviving dwelling in the State, and is rumoured to be haunted by former tenant Major Fredrick Ingoldby on the anniversary of his death each year. According to workers, when September rolls around, Fredrick’s ghost is known to violently knock over display cases and items throughout the cottage.
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Last updated: July 2020