Ghastly ghostly sites of Glebe neighbourhood
By ALEC SMART
We tiptoed around several ‘haunted’ locations in the Glebe + Annandale environs after dark, listening for phantom footsteps whilst watching for spooky spirits. Warning: some of these sites are not for the faint-hearted.
"Street with no name" - Jubilee Park, Glebe. Photo: Alec Smart
The Abbey, 272 Johnston St, Annandale
The Abbey is a heritage-listed 50-bedroom Federation Gothic style mansion built by architect and Freemason John Young in 1881 of quarried Pyrmont sandstone. It is the most stylish of eight properties built by Young along a ridge above Rozelle Bay (two of which were demolished to build apartments).
Young, the builder of St Mary’s Cathedral in the city, decorated The Abbey in Masonic symbols. Gargoyles on the tower are rumoured to have been spirited away from St Mary’s by Young.
It is reportedly haunted by a “lady in white” who roams the house and grounds, and doors and windows are said to open by themselves.
Federal Park car park, Annandale
In 1976, a girl’s body was alleged to have been found “dumped in the carpark”, which suggests it was Federal Park.
Glitch: The legend describes the young victim as “thought to have been the victim of Sydney's first Satanic murder.” Paranormal websites all repeat the same information, often word-for-word, however, there are no police files nor newspaper reports of a girl’s body found near Jubilee Park in 1976, nor why it might have ‘Satanic’ elements.
Light rail tracks beside Jubilee Park, Glebe
In January 1966, a railway worker named Jock attempted to rescue an injured possum on what was then part of the Rozelle to Darling Harbour Metropolitan Goods Line (now the route of the Inner West Light Rail from Central to Dulwich Hill).
In the fog near what is now Jubilee Park tram stop he was tragically struck and killed by a goods train that roared out of the mist.
Glitch: The legend claims the killing happened the day before the line was permanently closed – yet the line was closed in January 1996, after goods trains declined, not 1966, when it was a busy freight line.
The Abbey, Johnston St, Annandale. Photo: Alec Smart
Jubilee Park Grandstand, Glebe
In the early hours of 24 August 1999, Reginald Mavin, 65, was clubbed to death in his sleep by an unknown assailant as he lay on an old mattress in the grandstand overlooking Jubilee Oval.
The former ambulance driver was one of four unsolved killings of vagrants over nine months between 1998 – 1999, known as the Starlight Hotel Murders, because the victims slept outside, often under the stars.
All of the unsolved murders shared common characteristics: the victims were bashed with heavy blunt objects (never found), they were all attacked as they slept, and each suffered mental illness or alcoholism.
The other three were: Joanna Franklin, 30, behind shops in Wattle Place, Ultimo, on 6 Nov 1998; Adam Murray, 59, by Robert Burns statue near Speakers Corner in the Domain, on 28 Nov 1998; and Ronald Cross, 59, in an alcove near the underground entrance to the Domain car park off Sir John Young Crescent, on 20 June 1999.
Overgrown path behind Glebe Viaduct, Forest Lodge. Photo: Alec Smart
Railway embankment, Glebe (behind the Jubilee Park viaduct)
Two 12-year-old boys were sexually assaulted and murdered here, six months apart, by the same killer in June 1976 and January 1977.
[On 9 July 1976, Garry Barkemeyer was sexually assaulted and clubbed to death with a rock.
Gary was lured with a younger friend to Jubilee Park from a park on Pyrmont Bridge Rd, with the promise of money if he helped stack boxes.
After the younger boy was instructed to wait, Gary was led by his killer behind the Jubilee Park viaduct into a forested glade where he was raped and murdered. The killer told the other boy to go home after the heinous crime was committed. The victim’s bicycle, upon which the two young lads travelled, was later fished from Iron Cove by Callan Park.
On 30 Jan 1977, Wayne Nixon, who was enticed by his killer from Leichardt Pool earlier in the day, was stabbed multiple times in the chest, stomach and legs after being sexually assaulted.]
Mark Gregory, 17, was arrested a year later and charged with both murders and in March 1978 convicted and given two life sentences.
Glitch: The murders are often described as happening on the ‘Street with no name’, the driveway between Jubilee Park and the viaduct, although they took place in the forest on the other side, now encircled by fencing.
268 Glebe Point Road, Glebe
On 18 May 1968, Simon Brook, aged 3, was abducted and brutally murdered, his body found the following morning in grass behind a construction site of new units at 268 Glebe Point Road.
Although it’s listed as an unsolved murder, Simon’s parents, who lived in Alexander Lane near Jubilee Park (where Simon was last seen watching kids playing), were convinced his killer was Derek Percy. Percy, the primary suspect, who died of cancer, aged 64, in a Melbourne hospital on 24 July 2013, was linked to the disappearance of nine children. Percy was also one of three suspects accused of the infamous 1965 Wanda Beach murders near Cronulla. In 1969 he was jailed for life for the murder of a child on a Melbourne beach.
Callan Park Mental Hospital, Balmain Rd, Lilyfield. Photo: Alec Smart
Callan Park Hospital for the Insane, Balmain Rd, Lilyfield
Callan Park Hospital for the Insane, consisting of over 130 buildings, was opened in 1878 on the shores of Iron Cove. The facility was launched with the stated intention to improve patient’s lives through psychiatric treatment, a relatively new medical discipline. Previously, disturbed inmates were chained up and beaten like wild animals, as no remedial drugs or therapies were available to treat various mental disorders.
However, Callan Park’s reputation almost a century later revealed administrators systemically failed to implement humanitarian relief. The Stoller Report of 1955 confirmed overcrowding, squalor and stench. A 1961 Royal Commission found staff were starving, intimidating, assaulting and failing to clean patients.
Callan Park eventually became Rozelle Hospital, and the last patients left in April 2008.
It is said many bodies of patients were buried anonymously in unmarked graves. Some died through neglect, others, ignored by their families due to the ongoing social stigma of mental health, just wasted away in the institution.
Ghostly figures are said to wander the grounds, and icy chills experienced in the heritage-listed Kirkbride, the central block of treatment rooms and former patient dormitories.
A supernatural horror feature film, Ravenswood, was filmed over 2 weeks in 2016, largely at night, and the crew reportedly experienced constant “eeriness”, with one member refusing to return to the film set after he was spooked by something.
Royal Botanic Gardens, central Sydney
Capitol Theatre, Haymarket, City
Hyde Park Barracks, central Sydney
Mortuary Station, Regent St, Chippendale
Central Railway Station, Haymarket
Hero of Waterloo Hotel, Millers Point
Observatory Hill, Millers Point
Darlinghurst Gaol, Forbes St, Darlinghurst
Tusculum House, Potts Point
Victoria Barracks, Paddington
Camperdown Cemetery, Newtown
Flour Drum Cafe, 531 King Street, Newtown
Cockatoo Island, Sydney Harbour
Gladesville Mental Hospital, Bedlam Point
Animal Quarantine Station, Abbotsford
Gore Hill Memorial Cemetery, St Leonards
The Quarantine Station, North Head, Manly
Wakehurst Parkway, Garigal National Park
Prince Henry Hospital, Little Bay
Henry Head Battery, La Perouse
Old Government House, Parramatta
Parramatta Gaol, Parramatta, Sydney
Studley Park, Carramar
St Bartholomew’s Church, Blacktown
James Busby High School, Green Valley
K Block, TAFE College, Liverpool
Town Hall Theatre, Campbelltown
Fisher’s Ghost Creek, Campbelltown
Macquarie Fields train station, Macquarie Fields
Old Helensburgh Railway Tunnels, Helensburgh
Waterfall Sanitorium, Waterfall
St Thomas’ Anglican Church, Mulgoa
St Columba’s Catholic College, Springwood
Redbank Range former railway tunnel, Picton
Studley Park House mansion, Camden
Monte Christo Homestead, Junee
Maitland Gaol, Maitland
Jenolan Caves, Blue Mountains
Milparinka former gold mining town
Berrima Court House, Berrima.
Trial Bay Gaol, Arakoon National Park
Lithgow town, Blue Mountains
Bald Hill Tourist Mine former gold mine, Hill End
St John’s Orphanage, Goulburn
Castlereagh General Cemetery, Castlereagh
Gore Hill Cemetery. Photo: Alec Smart