Sydney’s a city that is normally associated with sunshine and beaches but the harbour city has a fascinating haunted history to its name. From spooky streets to creepy alleyways and ghostly tunnels, the city is filled with spooky places waiting to be explored. Since the spooky season is officially here, we’ve rounded up a bunch of legitimately haunted places in and around Sydney that are bound to have you calling for the Ghostbusters this Halloween.
1. The street with no name, Annandale
This viaduct in Annandale in a plush inner-west locality has been nicknamed ‘The street with no name’ by locals. It’s often referred to as one of the most haunted streets in not just Sydney but all of Australia. Reportedly, many years ago the street had a history of violence and murders. Several locals have gone on record and reported feelings of overwhelming fear and anxiety on the road and even sudden temperature changes. According to Dangerous Roads, children and dogs have also exhibited bizarre behaviour while on the road.
2. Darlinghurst Gaol
Darlinghurst Gaol has a famous reputation for being haunted by the spirits of the 76 people who were executed at the gallows. The executions were staged at the gaol’s entrance. In fact, public executions continued to take place at the site up until 1908. Visitors can take tours of the area, now dubbed ‘Starvinghurst’ for its grim past and meagre rations. Read all about it’s dark history here.
3. Studley Park House
Although built in 1889, Studley Park House has continued to be the subject of rampant speculation and ghost hunting over the years. The legend goes that 14-year-old Ray Blackstone died swimming in a dam on the property. Over 30 years later, history repeated itself when 13-year-old Noel William Gregory succumbed to appendicitis in the same house. It is believed that the two still play together at the mansion with locals reporting sightings and eerie voices heard around the expansive area.
4. Wakehurst Parkway
Wakehurst Parkway is popularly known as Australia’s most haunted road. Over the years several spine-tingling stories about the road have done the rounds. The most famous one is the apparition of a ghostly female figure in the middle of the road which has been reported by a number of bikers and motorists over the years. The locals have even nicknamed her ‘Kelly’. Another popular story revolves around the ghost of a young girl who hops into unsuspecting cars on the Parkway.
5. Q Station
At Q Station, you will now find unique hotel accommodations, wedding celebrations, and a restaurant with one of the best views of the city. However, all of this beautification, dressing up, and modernisation of the former quarantine station (see what they did with the name) can only barely cover up what went on here so many years ago. In its fifty-year history as Sydney’s former quarantine station, Q Station saw the arrival of hundreds of migrants from Europe with many carrying diseases and subsequently dying at North Head. An estimated 572 people not only died there but were also buried there and, as such, it is regarded as one of Australia’s most haunted sites.
6. The Town Of Picton
Picton, at just an hour’s drive from Sydney, makes for a perfect escape from the city but not for the faint-hearted as the town itself is home to a number of supernatural sites including the infamous Redbank Range Railway Tunnel (now known as the Mushroom Tunnel), which is one of Australia’s oldest railway tunnels. It is open to visitors from Monday to Friday, 8am to 2pm only and closed on public holidays.
The tunnel spans just short of 600 feet and was used heavily between 1867-1919 connecting Sydney with Melbourne. But what gives visitors the heebie-jeebies when visiting is the fact that locals claim many people committed suicide at this very spot, the most notable being Emily Bollard who was killed by an oncoming steam train in 1916. Unfortunately, or not, the tunnel has fallen into disrepair and is unsafe to walk inside. Visitors must remain on the outside, looking in.
Other haunted sites in Picton include the Wollondilly Shire Hall, the Old Maternity Hospital (now a private residence), and the Imperial Hotel, which is no longer the local watering hall.
7. Cockatoo Island
In its storied history, Sydney Harbour’s Cockatoo Island has been home to countless people and institutions. For a long time, it was used by the indigenous people of Sydney’s coastal region before becoming NSW’s newest penal establishment in 1839 as well as the colony’s grain storage site. An archaeological dig in 2009 discovered punishment cells beneath the cookhouse. Wonder if they were there for all the foolhardy convicts who tried to escape. Find out on a tour of the island.
8. Gladesville Mental Hospital
The Gladesville Mental Hospital used to go by another name, the Tarban Creek Lunatic Asylum. Thankfully the outdated uses and connotations are slowly disappearing from use and mental health is being given elevated importance in our community, but this is now. Back when this purpose-built mental hospital on the banks of the Parramatta River was built in the 19th Century, those suffering from depression, abuse, and other illnesses were treated the same as the clinically insane. It was supposed to be that these people were to rehabilitate these patients, but reports have surfaced that this just didn’t happen.
According to an investigation by the Herald, the bones of 1228 inmates are buried in an unmarked plot with the names of 305 of those lost forever. That’s no way to respect the dead but do you have what it takes to pay your respects?
9. The Rocks
It’s not hard to imagine that the city’s oldest neighbourhood has some secrets to share dating back to the European settlement. It is also believed that The Rocks’ narrow laneways and certain buildings are haunted. No wonder the historic neighbourhood is so famous for its ghost tours.