First published on 26 Oct 2011. Updated on 23 Oct 2012.
You’d think one of the fringe benefits of living in Australia is that we probably hadn't been around for long enough to accrue the array of discontented souls required to form a thriving ghost community. Boy is that wrong.
One of the longest running ghost tours in Melbourne, the Haunted Melbourne Ghost Tour is the passion project of Drew Sinton, owner of the Haunted Bookshop, occultist and all-round ghost enthusiast. From the Victoria Markets (which hosts the corpses of 9000 of Melbourne’s original inhabitants) to ghost-infested pubs and abandoned buildings, over two hours Sinton takes you on a rich historic tour of the murdered, the betrayed and the generally discontent souls of Melbourne’s past. There are walks each Wednesday and Saturday and the price is set at a definitely affordable $18/$20.
This crew specialise in creating new uncomfortable memories as they plunge you back into the gritty, blood-soaked past of Melbourne’s youth. From the opium dens of China Town through to the poor houses that sold bodies to local anatomists and the various killers that have called Melbourne their home, the Old Melbourne Ghost Tour will ensure you’ll never be able to look at the streets of this city the same way again. Prices range from $15 to $25, and there is a special session on October 31st.
133 people were hanged at the Old Melbourne Gaol – including, of course, the one and only Ned Kelly – so it’s probably fair to assume that at least some of them have stayed around to scare the bejeezus out of the unwitting and foolhardy who choose to look for them. Each Tuesday at 8.30pm, the good folk at the Old Melbourne Gaol host a tour and investigation of this most haunted of Melbourne buildings, taking people through the dark and winding tunnels and cells of a place whose bloody history stands alone in Melbourne’s annals. Or if you’re not so paranormally inclined, you can embark on one of the Hangman’s Night Tours, which brings together history and theatre as an executioner walks you through the halls of the place where his noose was feared above all else. Tours are held Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday at 8.30pm and cost $30/$35.
Convents are scary enough even when the nuns are still alive (although that may just be my Catholic upbringing talking), but wandering around a long defunct, nun-less convent in the black of night and you have a pretty literal description of terror. Even worse, the Daylesford Convent used to be a boarding school as well. Ghost nuns and ghost children? You’ve got to be kidding me. I bet the children sing ‘Ring-a-ring-a-roses’, too. Just before they push you down the stairs. All in all, a perfect recipe for a ghost tour, then! There’s two sessions a month, with the next happening on October 29th. Price is $45, including coffee and wine.