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Where's the Scariest Place in Brisbane?

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by Barry J (subscribe)
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Published February 4th 2017
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Scary stares in Brisbane (by Max Pixel / Public Domain)


Why seek the scariest sites in Brisbane? Maybe you're a Doomsday Prepper or a Zombie Hunter. You could be hoping to conquer a fear of heights or public speaking by being brave in terrifying places. Or maybe you're playing it safe by discovering which places to avoid, especially if you panic easily.

Brisbane, Australia's hippest city, became a bit hipper with its haunted history in these scary places:

Brisbane City Hall
Opening in 1930, our Brisbane's primary public building is often filled with politicians, automatically making it a terrifying place for many Brisbanites.

If Dorothy Dix questions scare you, avoid Question Time. The hall hosts a range of civic events, from orchestral concerts and floral garden exhibitions to royal visits and colourful pageants.

Violent deaths mark the hall's history, leading to frequent sightings of spooky apparitions.

Hauntings began during the hall's construction in an age when building site accidents were commonplace. Deaths at the site which bring terror, include the falls of workmen into the surrounding swamps, still an important Aboriginal site, as the foundations were installed.

As World War One loomed, the apparent suicide of George Betts, a seemingly happy husband and father, was committed atop the very visible clock tower, one of the tallest structures in the city in the 1930s.

During World War 2, Australia hosted thousands of American troops. Their jovial personalities, foreign accents and the odd piece of chocolate caused many local ladies to swoon, with over 12,000 marriages consummated during the war, leading frustrated Australian soldiers to begin the Battle of Brisbane, two nights of rioting against Americans who were "overpaid, oversexed, and over here". One GI ran foul of a local man in the City Hall during an argument over a woman, resulting in his stabbing death. His lover still haunts the building, reportedly seen travelling through the building, search for her lost love.

Breakfast Creek Hotel
Although built beside a creek named for the most important meal of the day, the Breakfast Creek Hotel in Newstead is also popular with "a disparate, yet harmonious, blend of wharfies, coppers, journos, lawyers, car dealers, bookies, small-time criminals and Labor Party identities".

Of the many keen drinkers, the hotel's founder, a Lord Mayor of Brisbane, William McNaughton Galloway, was one of its thirstiest. After he became desperately drunk during an evening entertaining a group of influential businessmen and politicians, his staffers locked him upstairs, hoping he'd sleep quietly and avoid embarrassing himself with any scandalous faux pas.

However, the boisterous laughter and jocular shouting woke him, tempting his thirst as he remained trapped in his room. Desperate, he climbed out the window, carefully sliding down the drainage pipe, still slippery and treacherous during a dark night.

In a distracted, drunken moment, he slipped, falling to his death. Since his tragic end, staff still spot Galloway roaming the hotel, hoping for one last drink.

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Brisbane's ghosts (by junko / Public Domain)


Brisbane Arcade
Over 90 years old, Brisbane Arcade has seen millions of shoppers, very much alive, shopping for everything from 19th century antiques to the latest smart phones. Unfortunately, not all the shoppers leave at closing time.

Store owners have been making reports for decades of unusual events. Strange reflections seen in the polished mirrors and stained glass windows and an eerie feeling of not being alone, the hairs on the back of your neck tingling.

One of the arcade's most iconic stores, the Room with Roses tea shop, is a favourite with Kevin Rudd, famous for his obsessive temper when served bad tea. The owner, aptly named Ms Bushell, has seen doors swinging open mysteriously and security guards have sighted a woman in a old fashioned black dress, distinctive for its large bustle, disappearing when they approach.

The paranormal paranoia in the arcade is linked to Mayne family, bound forever to Patrick Mayne, a butcher achieving suspicious wealth as a condemned man was hanged for a murder committed by Mayne. His descendants, shamed by his deed, built the arcade and donated large sums to the University of Queensland.

Whepstead Manor
Built in the 1890s, Whepstead Manor in Wellington Point was the family estate for the Burnetts. A farming family, their fates were linked to the sale of sugar cane, grown from the surrounding fields. During a series of harsh seasons with crop failures and debts mounting, they declared bankruptcy and sold the home.

By the 1930s, the manor housed the sick and elderly, recuperating in the natural surroundings. A common stereotype, the matron, or head nurse, was a strict woman, maintaining order much like the matron on A Country Practice. During this period, a Chinese immigrant, perhaps overwhelmed by the overbearing matron, was found suspended from a tree in the back yard, judged to be suicide.

Although the manor has been host for thousands of happy occasions, including wedding receptions and birthday parties, two ghosts can be seen wandering the halls - an intimidating woman and a frightened worker, their spirits still searching for a resting place.

Tower Mill
Although not the first building in Brisbane, the heritage listed Tower Mill in Spring Hill pre-dates the Town Hall by over a century, standing since 1828.

Convicts constructed the mill and also drove the treadmills, grinding maize and wheat to bake bread, feeding the colony. A decade later, the treadmill was idle as new sails harnessed wind-power for the grinding mechanism.

During the same period, in the 1840s, local folklore describes two Aboriginal men hanged from the mill's rafters, sentenced to death for the murder of two European surveyors.

Throughout its lifetime, the Mill was used as a central point for city surveyors, as the site of the Queensland Museum, to monitor weather cycles and to broadcast radio and television signals.

Despite the varied uses of the site, or perhaps due to them, Tower Mill has a history of haunting. Curious green lights shimmer in the uppermost windows, perhaps imbued with the spiritual energy of the ghosts of those convicted men.

Garnering international interest, a leading ghostbuster from the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI), Joe Nickell, dismissed claims of the paranormal, although local tour operators wonder if Joe's scepticism was influenced by the Ghostbusters reboot, a box office bomb.

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Brisbane's haunted homes (by cocoparisienne / Public Domain)


Which sites give you the creeps in Brisbane? Please let us know with a comment.

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