The highlight of the weekend was the ghost tour we did Saturday night. We met our guide at Ballarat train station under the full moon. He was dressed in a 20th century gentleman’s outfit complete with fancy walking stick. He did a fantastic job with the story telling and was very (boarder-lining on creepy) dramatic. When waiting to cross the road at traffic lights he would randomly stare at someone in our group of 12 without blinking or smiling. Very intense. When it was my turn I tried to stare back. That lasted around 10 seconds before I got all bashful and giggly. I wonder how long that stare took to perfect?
We began in the basement of Reid’s Guest House where we were all left in the pitch black wondering where our guide went. After a couple of minutes of this I took my phone out for light (I do not like small dark enclosed spaces) and he popped out saying “no lights please!” I think that must be how every tour begins, seeing who cracks first! This basement is actually the site of the very first ‘New York Bakery’ in Ballarat. This area used to be street level however due to flooding they raised the street. So a lot of buildings were constructed on top of old buildings. People have report seeing a woman in old fashion dress covered in flour or smelt backed goods but unfortunately all I could smell was damp.
Our guide walked us around the streets of Ballarat stoping at certain well known haunted buildings and told us about the history and hauntings of the place. One bar used to have a poltergeist who took a liking to a certain girl who worked there. Typical lights on and off and things being moved. He left when she did. An old bank is haunted by Mary, a serving girl who slit her wrists in the bath when she found out the man she loved was marrying someone else. People have reported seeing her in the window and workers hear her crying.
We spent a bit of time in the court yard of Federation Uni which was the old Ballarat Gail. They used to hang the criminals and some are still buried under our feet, standing up facing east so they can never rest… it became cold and windy when we were all sitting there.
The tour finished at Craig’s Royal Hotel were we could look at the picture of Mr Craig himself. It is said his eyes follow you… When our group was going inside I looked behind me to notice our guide had promptly disappeared only to reappear inside sitting on a chair a few minutes later. I asked how he did that but he only touched his hat in return. Maybe he was a ghost himself?
This tour was well worth it. I (unfortunately?) did not see or feel any ghosts but the buildings and their stories were so interesting. Ballarat is filled with so much different style architecture. You do not really appreciate it until someone draws it to your attention. Our eccentric guide was just thicing on the cake!
1. Karina and myself with our guide.
2. Old New York Bakery.
3. Outside an old building where a woman died when her large skirts caught fire. People feel 'cold spots' inside.
4. The old bank where Mary weeps for her lost love.
5. Craig's Royal Hotel.
6. Courtyard at Fed Uni. Remember what was under our feet?