I am a freelance writer from Perth who is passionate about food and loves exploring new and exciting places. My best trait is that I am honest...and my worst trait is that I am honest. I will provide reviews that are well thought out and fair.
Published August 28th 2012
The most haunted house in WA, do you dare to visit?
Are you the type of person that enjoys watching horror movies even though they scare the hell out of you? Are you the type of person who just maybe believes in ghosts? If you are up for the challenge and want to visit what is reputedly the most haunted house in Western Australia, then I have found the place for you.
Oakabella Homestead is in a place called Northampton, which is about 500km north of Perth. It is classified as a historical town since it was founded in the 1850s, and is famous for being a mining town, and for its history using convicts in the mining process in the early days. Oakabella Homestead was built in approximately 1860, and still contains some of the original furniture, complete with creepy family portraits.
The manager, Loretta Wright has restored the homestead back to its original beauty and has found an assortment of relics that she displays in one of the rooms. The collection of relics consists of things like: bottles, farming utensils, home gadgets and indigenous artifacts. The homestead consists of a house containing thirteen rooms, complete with cat bones around that had been built into the doorframes (which apparently the first settlers had done to ward off evil spirits). The homestead also consists of a barn, a shearing shed, a blacksmith's workshop, stables and a cookhouse. You can take a tour of the homestead, and you will be shown around the property and will gain an understanding of what life was like in the 1800s. You will also get the chance after the tour to wander about the property, which sits on 1000 acres of farmland. You should definitely stay for the home made Devonshire tea that is offered in the small café. The dense, yet fluffy scones smothered in fresh jam and cream are a welcome treat after all that driving.
Okay, so what makes this place so scary? The tour guide will tell you all about the young boy who died from influenza in 1918. The boy who still haunts the homestead, and lived in the room that is inexplicably colder than the rest of the house. The boy ghost who once spoke to a living young girl who was visiting! The girl's mother saw her daughter talking to an invisible someone, who had apparently commented on how pretty her dress was. Creepy. Who else haunts the homestead? The third owner died in 1879 and allegedly once followed a visitor home and haunted him. The visitor had nightmares about his legs being on fire, which is no coincidence considering the owner had died fighting a fire. There was also a man who died in 1973 when he shot himself whilst cleaning his gun, and there was another young boy who died in 1885 after he fell out a window and broke his neck. The homestead clearly has many occupants, and if those walls could talk, well I am sure they would tell some seriously scary stories.
I didn't experience anything particularly scary, but I admit that there is something odd about the homestead that makes your hairs stand on end. I was quite disappointed with my tour actually, as I had a young lady host my tour group, and she was not particularly knowledgeable about the history of the homestead. I had many questions, which she could not answer. I did get to meet the owner, Loretta afterwards and she was more than happy to answer all of my questions. I asked about the going-ons of the place, and what other visitors have witnessed, and she told me that sometimes doors have swung open, strange noises have come from the corridors, the radio has turned itself on and off, and that farming tools have levitated in the barn.
Whilst 500km might seem like a bit of a drive, I guarantee that it is worth the trip. Plus there are wonderful things to see in the surrounding areas. Northampton is close to two small seaside towns: Port Gregory and Horrocks Beach. Plus, there is an incredible phenomenon close by…and no I don't mean the ghosts of Oakabella. There is a natural phenomenon close by: the Pink Lake. The lake gets its remarkable colour from algae blooms. Apparently, the algae react in a certain way in order to survive in the harsh conditions, and the unusual colour is the result of this process.
If you happen to be in the area on the second Saturday in October, make sure that you time your trip so that it coincides with the 'Airing of The Quilts'. The locals display old and new patchwork quilts up and down the street. There is music, entertainment, food, craft, stalls and there is even a parade. It makes for a very colourful day. Also, if you make the trip up North between July and December you will be treated to a view of the wildflowers that sporadically dot the roadsides. Oakabella Homestead is definitely worth the drive.
Another spot of interest is the Geraldine Lead Mine, which is about another 60kms further North from Northampton. The Geraldmine mine is the oldest mine in W.A., having commenced mining operations in 1858.
It is supposed to be haunted as well - supposedly by the ghost of a miner who drowned there.
The motoring writer for the West Australian, John Clydesdale, wrote a story about one of the earliest models of British steam traction engines, which was purchased by the mine, and landed at Port Gregory in 1858.
This engine and its 3 trailers was supposed to haul the lead ore from the Mine to the Port - in what was the first recorded use of a "road train" in Australia.
However, the Bray traction engine became bogged in the sand dunes near the port, whilst trying to get to the mine, and it was abandoned.
John Clydesdale camped at the Mine whilst doing research for his book on the Bray Traction Engine - and it was while he was camped there, that he and a mate had a terrifying encounter with a ghost whilst in their tent, in the wee small hours, just before daylight.
They saw a sharp pointed instrument, sticking several centimetres into - and being dragged along - the full length of the tent material, just a few centimetres above where they were lying in their swags.
Once this instrument reached the end of the tent, it was abruptly withdrawn - but a strange rotating light, like a kaleidoscope, with multiple colours, began dancing around the end of their tent.
They were both scared out of their wits and dashed outside to find absolutely nothing but open ground, the trees by the river nearby, and the gentle wind in the mornings early light. There were no footprints, nor any other sign of human life.
There was no-one camped within kms of the Mine, and they claim no-one could have driven up or walked up to anywhere near their campsite, without being seen or heard.
They could not formulate any explainable reason for the sharp item being dragged down the tent, nor the strange flickering light, which consisted of red, green and blue colours, about basketball size.
There have been other reports of strange events around the mine, including the sounds of phantom horses whinnying and the clanking of chains at night.