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ALL IN GOOD SPIRITS...

Our spooky tales of ghosts and ghouls

Cover : Jocelyn Watts

Saturday, October 16, 2010

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The Chronicle, Saturday, October 16, 2010. — Page 21


Be afraid, very afraid,

Toni McRae has the last word for supernatural sceptics as self-proclaimed ‘victims’ offer evidence of hauntings at district buildings

ETHEREAL beings move pictures on our walls, run up and down our stairways at night, sometimes laughing, move objects off tables and push us from behind in the smalls of our backs and against our shoulders. They even talk with us, or is it in spite of us? We turn around to check. We face nothing but air, yet others, the non-believers, will judge our soundness of mind and our crumbling imaginations. There is no doubt the ghosts are among us. Claudia Kroenert, the very down-to-earth publican at Theebine, swears at least two ghosts live in the hotel. “One moves this photo here on the wall,” she says touching it a tad gingerly. “It crashes down quite frequently for no reason. “The fire extinguisher rocks from side to side and once it crashed on to the floor, again for no reason.” At Childers’ Grand Hotel, where Pam and Dennis Corliss openly accept they have a resident ghost, Luke the Spook is regularly busy. “Luke was a bloke who mysteriously fell over the hotel balcony to his death many years back,” says Dennis. “Something to do with SP betting. Well, I can vouch for it, he’s still around.” Their bottle shop manager, Jim Bradey, swears by Luke’s presence. “I was living here in room 11 and every time I put things on the bedside table at night they would have moved to the floor by morning. Finally I moved out because I felt someone else was living in there with me. “In another room in the pub, water started falling on to my face in bed straight out of the ceiling yet there was no pipe up there. We checked. And it wasn’t raining outside either. “Room 6 has long been said to be haunted. Some very weird things have happened to guests in there. It’s all down to Luke the Spook I reckon.” Howard’s Sue and Ian Davies gave up nursing and banking careers to take over the historic Grand Hotel. Sue has noticed one of the old pictures on the lounge room wall “moving slightly from side to side”. Lucy, the Davies’ famous spinning dog, seems to be bothered, say the locals, by an invisible force because she consistently goes round in mad circles on the floor of the public bar as though some-

Sue and Ian Davies at Howard’s Grand Hotel have seen a picture move and Lucy their Spinning Dog, as she’s known, perennially does loops in the bar as though someone or something is chasing her or her tail. Photo: TONI McRAE

Jim Bradey has experienced strange goings-on at the Grand Hotel in Childers. Objects move all by themselves off a bedside table (left), while guests have talked of “presences” in room six (right).

A “ghost” walks the hallway of the Criterion Hotel in Maryborough. Photo: JOCELYN WATTS 10m961

Claudia Kroenert can’t fathom why her pub fire extinguisher crashes off the wall to the floor. Photo: TONI McRAE

SPIRITS FROM PAST: Aunty Frances Gala returned from Great Keppel with this mysterious image in the sand in the drowning cave where her ancestors were murdered.

PHOTO HAUNTINGS: A Butchulla local took this photo on Fraser Island and was gob smacked when the image of the Aboriginal head appeared.

one is pushing her, or she is trying to catch something. The local Butchulla people are convinced spirits roam their traditional Country, the Fraser Coast.

They have regularly reported taking photos on K’gari, Fraser Island, and capturing ghostly images and orbs. Aunty Frances Gala, whose

Page 22 — The Chronicle, Saturday, October 16, 2010.

ancestry is partly from Great Keppel, brought back a recent photo from the island’s drowning cave where Scottish farmer immigrants chained Aborigines to the rock walls and left them there for the tide to swallow them. But it’s Maryborough that nurtures the secret poltergeist club. The spirits of the long dead even surprise practical publican Clay Clayton. He and wife Katie own the 132year-old Criterion where regulars and staff have long talked about the laughter of kids upstairs. “When we first moved in about six years ago,” Clay says, “there was just one man, Ian Kennedy, living upstairs. I brought in a painter and he opened up the 12

rooms ready for painting. “One night I heard heavy footsteps and a door slam and then another and another. I thought it was Ian closing the doors. I went up and found him sound asleep in his bed. All the doors were locked. It was very spooky. Next morning when I raised the matter with Ian he didn’t know what I was talking about.” Clay thinks the ghost in the pub is Billy Blue who died upstairs of Ross River fever. “This is the only experience with ghosts I’ve ever had but I now believe they exist. “The cleaner too has told me that things are moved around in the hotel frequently – with no explanation.”

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because they’re here

Ghost tales more than drinking yarns for pub patrons

By LES WILSON

THERE are some ghostly goingson at and around the lone Theebine pub, which stands beside the railway station between Maryborough and Gympie. It’s hard to define what’s happening, but mine host Claudia Kroenert says it’s ongoing. “Nobody’s frightened, but there are a lot of curious folk in the area who have their own answers to questions that may stretch back before the pub was built 101 years ago,” she says. Some of the mysterious things have been observed by handfuls of locals and they all swear they were sober when pictures fell from a wall without breaking. And a big window in the front bar crashed in front of them, but remained intact. Local gold fossicker Rick Reitenbach has researched the area over the years and he says the “ghost” or “whatever” that visits the Theebine pub could be a throwback to the mine host of the original local Braids Hotel on the Jenkins property, about five miles (8km) away. That mine host was allegedly shot dead by an angry patron and

the only visible thing that remains at the spot is a crumbling concrete cricket pitch. Some locals suggest this situation is where the famed utterance: “That’s not cricket” was first raised. The locals talk of Braids with some reverence, but there is little in the field outside the pitch and huge old fig trees near the Dickabram Bridge. It’s local history that a huge flood swept the area about 1877 or 1878 and wiped out everything within coo-ee. Others say there were still some buildings left after the flood, but locals became very wary of the area. Nevertheless, the facts are indisputable, says local Liam McGeough and his wife, Susan. When it was “stinkin hot” last summer three pictures fell off the wall without breaking. “The window crashed yet it was still held up by the locking device,” Mr McGeough says. “It was,” says another regular “as though someone was really annoyed by the heat and wanted to draw attention to it. “The locals just stared in amazement. Things crashing

PHOTO: Theebine hotelier Claudia Kroenert says this picture has often crashed on to the floor with no explanation. round their heads wasn’t normal.” And talking of crashing. No one has been able to provide an answer to the local train crash of 1967 when 20 carriages smashed to matchwood outside the hotel; or the mystery deaths of two men who were mapping the area in the 1920s. Or why someone tried to shoot the publican of the Theebine who only survived by bending down just as the shots were fired. And, certainly, no one has an answer why a very solidly fitted fire extinguisher crashed from the wall at the pub entrance at the start of the fire season.

SPIRIT IN PUB: Rick Reitenbach believes one of the Theebine Hotel ghosts belongs to a murdered publican. Photo: TONI McRAE

Shaky evidence of ghostly presence in hall MARYBOROUGH’S Carmel Murdoch, who is the council’s official Mary everything for the city, knows there is at least one ghost in City Hall. “When I finished working at night and went in to change, the photo of the old band rotunda wobbled at me. It did this several times. “Footsteps came rushing down the stairs straight at me. It was quite unnerving. I backed out a few times because I really did feel someone was there apart from me. “A woman who worked there evenings felt a female presence rushing down the stairs. “She screamed, ran out and said she could no longer work there at night.” John Meyers, director of the city’s Military & Colonial Museum, said one of the volunteers on the Maryborough Ghost Tour was working in the museum one night. “She felt someone pushing her from behind, quite strongly, and she became angry, turned around and no one was there,” he said. “On one occasion I was upstairs and definitely heard a man’s voice. I turned round to see who it was and nobody was there.”

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Photo: TONI McRAE

PHOTOGRAPHIC PROOF: Carmel Murdoch holds the photo that wobbles as she walks past.

Photo: JOCELYN WATTS 10m935a

‘Ghost’ was wife with a lantern HERVEY Bay seems to be strangely free of spectres. But Ghost Hill holds up the tradition. It got its name from the early days when the timber-getters were felling timber at Pialba. Until then it was just known as The Hill. The story goes that one night Mr List, who lived on The Hill near the top, was late home from Maryborough and his wife was concerned. She went out on to the road in her long white nightgown holding a lantern to look for him. At the same time Boyle Martin and Anders Christiansen were making their way back to camp at Bunya Creek after a night at the Hunters Hotel. Mrs List, on seeing the two men, ran for the cover of the trees and the two men thought they saw a ghost.

The Chronicle, Saturday, October 16, 2010. — Page 23


Fraser Life - All in good spirits