Kristen Greening is a professional communications coordinator and full time lover of Melbourne.
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Published October 21st 2013
Five places in Melbourne where the dead are not at rest
Halloween is nearly here, and although Australia doesn't traditionally celebrate the holiday, it's always fun to have a look at some of Melbourne's scariest attractions. If you're into history, or just enjoy a good scare, take a look at these spooky places!
1. The Melbourne Cemetery: the Melbourne Cemetery is one of Australia's most historically significant cemeteries. Established in 1852, it is the eternal home to some very notable Australians and comes with some truly terrifying stories about its occupants. Melbourne Cemetery Tours have been run for 25 years and will give you detailed knowledge of the fascinating characters buried here.
2. Old Melbourne Gaol: the Old Melbourne Gaol is Victoria's first and most famous gaol, built in 1842 it was the scene of 133 hangings – including that of Australia's most infamous criminal – Ned Kelly. There are several tours for those who are interested in the Gaol's chilling history, but the two night tours are for those who are truly looking for a scare.
3. Queen Victoria Market: funnily enough, the Queen Victoria Market is an exciting mix of multicultural stalls during the day. It has a buzzing atmosphere and is filled with cheap and delicious food, but unfortunately you can't avoid its dark history at night. To this day, there are thousands of bodies buried under the site – perhaps not enjoying being walked on all day. The Haunted Bookshop runs tours of the Queen Victoria Market, but be warned, once you know it's spooky history you may not be able to enjoy the shopping again!
4. Luna Park: opened in 1912, Luna Park has a colourful and rich history. It has faced two world wars, vandal attacks, fires – including one that tragically took the lives of six children and one adult – various remodels and face lifts and it still runs the oldest continually operating roller coaster in the world. In it's older days, Luna Park was the site of several tragic accidents that resulted in the deaths of staff and patrons, including that of Snake Charmer Henry Deline in 1913 (he was bit on the throat by one of this Tiger Snakes during a performance). These days, Luna Park adheres to strict safety measures and all rides are regularly tested and maintained to ensure safety – however the park's resident ghost, 'the Joker Ghost' is said to still be seen scaring guests!
Luna Park construction
5. The Princess Theatre:this beautiful old theatre was built in 1854 and is the setting to one of Melbourne's spookiest stories. In March 1888, Gounod's opera Faust was being performed at the Princess Theatre. The opera ends with Mephistopheles returning to the fires of hell, this role was being played by Frederick Baker, known as Federici. At the end of the opera, a trapdoor on-stage opened and Federici was lowered, signifying his descent to hell. As the audience held its collective breath, he had a heart attack and died immediately.
They laid him on the floor, lifeless, in his crimson costume. But it's said that death didn't stop him taking his bow on stage – his fellow cast mates swore he was there with them for the final bow even though at that point he was lying dead backstage. Sightings of Federici, still in his demon's costume, continue to this day.
I like your list and with an interest in the paranormal I was curious to see the places you included... I must mention, however, that there was never a fire which caused any deaths at the Melbourne Luna Park, as far as I am aware. The Sydney Luna Park, however (the only other of the 5 Luna Parks built across Australia which still remains in business) did have a fatal fire on the Ghost Train ride in 1979, which resulted in the deaths of six children and one adult. Thank you for taking the time to wrie these interesting articles! I enjoyed reading about my home town from the other side of the globe! ~M x