Eerie histories, spooky stories, things that go bump in the night. Beneath Melbourne's surface you'll find fascinating ghost sightings, gruesome goings-on, curious hauntings and general 19th-century creepiness.
Some of the city's most frequented and innocuous sites have resident ghosts, such as the fisherman who casts an ethereal line at night from Platform 10 of Flinders Street Station. Others, such as old homesteads and jails, are exactly the kind of place you'd expect to feel chills up your spine.
Not all these sites will get your blood rushing, but they’re sure to take you on a tour back in time. Visit on a misty winter's day, or at night, for full effect.
Old Melbourne Gaol
Scaring the toughest crooks since 1842. Iconic Aussie outlaw Ned Kelly met his demise on the end of the hangman's noose here at Victoria's oldest and baddest prison. Explore behind the hulking bluestone facade and tiny barred windows, walking the same cells and hallways, rattling the same iron doors as the downtrodden souls before you.
Visit the museum, and take a night tour if you're brave; listen for calls and wails through the eerie corridors.
On the surface a bustling place, with gardens, farmers' markets, artists at work in their studios, and bakeries nourishing lycra-clad cyclists. Skip back over a century, however, and the Abbotsford Convent was an asylum for 'fallen' and 'wayward' girls'. Sanctuary by the nuns involved unpaid physical labour in the commercial Magdalen laundry and severe conditions.
Plenty of today's residents will tell you the convent's corridors are haunted by the ghosts of the girls. And the laundries? They're creepy. Keep an eye out for tours, where you can explore the convent's hidden pockets.
Melbourne's most famous friendly ghost is that of opera singer Frederick Federici, who died in his beloved Princess Theatre in 1888 during a performance of Faust. As he was lowered through a trapdoor in the stage in the final scene, he suffered a heart attack. Talk about timing. He is said to haunt curtain calls and opening nights, often from a seat saved for him in the dress circle.
Visit a production at the stunning 1854 theatre for your own ghostly exploration.