Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Welcome To Melbourne: Walking Ghost Tour

I've lived in this fair city my entire life, but I've never really had the chance to explore its beauty. I've decided, this has to stop! So myself, and my trusty cameras are going out and about on the town, to bring you, my avid readers, some shots of Melbourne, and a little bit of history along the way...

Saturday 24th August - Walking Ghost Tour

The Haunted Bookshop
15 McKillop St, Melbourne
9670 2585
2030 - 2300 (approx)

So we start our journey at The Haunted Bookshop, with our tour guide, (I didn't catch his name, so we'll call him Snape,) and walk around the seedy backstreets of Melbourne.

We started off with a group of about 30-35 people, from all walks of life. There were grandmothers, granddaughters, people from other states, goths, new romantics, skeptics and believers. Now I'm not saying I believe in ghosts, I'm just saying there is another explanation for things, be it natural or supernatural. Maybe I'm a skeptic, maybe I'm a believer, I like to say I'm a little mix of both.

It was a pleasant Saturday night, with no clouds in the sky, and a light spring breeze in the air. Now, I won't tell you everywhere we went, or everything that was covered, but I will give you little spoilers along the way. If this isn't your thing, then please, stop reading now, and go groom your unicorn.

Our first main stop, was the Mitre Tavern. Located on Bank Place, it is one of the oldest pubs around. Originally built in 1868, it has undergone many transformations over the years, most notably when it was remodeled in the Queen Anne style between 1900 and 1910. The Mitre Tavern, is said to be home to a trapped spirit, most likely female, who haunts the first floor balcony, pining after her lost love. She's said to wear a flowing white gown, and be seen as a beacon of light, or the outline of a shadow.

After the Mitre Tavern, we covered the history of Bank Place, which is in the heart of the financial sector, then we were off! You'll have to forgive me, as I do not know the names of the lanes and streets, but I will do my best.

We visited Pugg Mahones, a classic Irish pub, located on Elgin Street in Carlton. Pugg Mahones is said to be haunted by another female spirit, often seen in the front windows of the pub.

After Pugg's, we went on our way, and made it to the Flagstaff Gardens. The gardens were first established in 1835, originally designed to be used as a grave site. During it's time as a cemetery it was aptly named "Burial Hill". But don't panic, all of the remains were removed and relocated to Fawkner Cemetery. A few short years later, in about 1840, the expanse of lawns was then to be used as a signalling hill. As the hill was the (then) highest point in Melbourne, a 50 foot flag pole was erected. These flags were used to signal to North Melbourne, that the ships had arrived, and they could come and collect their mail. Approximately 20 years later, when technology had evolved, a telegraph system was used to advise the towns people of the ships arrival, meaning the flag pole was no longer needed. Only 2 years later, in 1862, the residents of West Melbourne petitioned for the Hill to be used as public gardens, which is still it's current use today.

We continued on through Flagstaff Gardens, and made our way to the Queen Victoria Market. Between 1837 and 1854, the land was actually used as a cemetery. If you go the the QVM, you will see a large brick wall, running between the new shed and old shed. You may also notice that the steel pylons in the new shed, are actually held into place by large concrete blocks, where as on the other side of the wall, they're not. 
The new shed, is built on the consecrated side of the cemetery, and the other side of the wall stands on unconsecrated land.  So, if you were black, Chinese, Jewish, a criminal, or killed yourself, you were considered 'dirty', and were buried on the unconsecrated side.
It is said that 3 figures roam the grounds at night. Who are these mysterious figures? Legend says they are 3 horsemen who were hanged to death for their crimes. The first, hung by an untrained hangman, was left to suffer as the rope was not positioned correctly. The second and third, were killed mercifully by a well trained hangman. 

We concluded our tour in the QVM and were left to roam the streets, like unsettled souls. But, don't dispair, if you don't know your way around the city, you can follow Snape back to the bookshop and make your way from there.

All in all, I quite enjoyed the tour. Even though we didn't get to actually go into any of the buildings we were told about, our guide Snape was so informative, and with his hilarious theatrics, he made the night.

Jayde xx

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