As mentioned in my last blogalong, there may be a mention of ghosts in the next one – well here’s a story –
The above pic is of snowclouds rolling in to Beechworth in the sunrise – Beechworth, North Eastern Victoria, gold rush country in 1852, and where notorious bushranger Ned Kelly was sentenced to death after the Glenrowan Siege, home of the notorious Beechworth Jail, and the even more notorious Mayday Hills Lunatic Asylum
In 1867, if you were lucky, as one of the first ‘guests’ at Mayday Hills, and if you were let out of your cell early enough, you would have seen a sunrise like this one.
As you were transported to this facility, you would have trotted up the hill in a shabby cart, along Albert Street, and the first part of Mayday Hills you would have seen was the gatehouse -
Around the corner to the right you would have alighted at the grand front door of Her Majesties Asylum --
On the right, just over the car roof, is the main entrance.
Once you were inside, you usually died there – 2 signatures to get you in, 8 signatures to get you out – from 8 year old horse thieves, to post natal depression, to drunken hallucinations, arsenic poisoning, men, women, children, all separated in a walled, 24 acre lunatic asylum
The first night, you would have slept in a cell like this – only a mattress and a pan – no lighting – wood shuttered thick glass windows -
If you were female, and lucky, you would have been housed in the female only, laundry wing – its warmer in winter snow – this wing now remains as the only example of an untouched 1800’s psychiatric ward anywhere in Australia.
If you were sick, you may have ended up in the infirmary, Grevillia House, like Ned Kelly’s uncle did.
Either way, most likely, you would only be waiting to become one of the 3000 plus that died in there.
Fast forward to today – Mayday Hills Psychiatric Hospital, as it was recently called, closed in 1995, and the buildings were gifted to La Trobe University. It is now a campus, but many of the buildings remain in original condition.
Throughout the operation of this facility, reports of ghosts and apparitions have been commonly reported by staff, and now staff and students of La Trobe are seeing the Matron walking down stairs and entering what is now the computer room, holding a lantern, as one of my friends, a nurse there, who saw her in 1995 can testify.
Green coated men wandering the old garden site, doors slamming, footsteps in empty upstairs rooms, orbs, lantern carrying and more now can be seen at Mayday Hills.
Eerie reflections like this one, light through a clear paned window on a cell wall -
I took these ‘green pics’ without flash in available light, then enhanced the contrast on the pc – the face on left in above pic is a ghost tourer – look at the middle top panel -
Taken in Grevillia House, Adam, the tour guide, was illuminated from the front – the light on the wall was not there when I took the pic – mebbe it was Kelly’s uncle, who left his signature scratched into glass in Grevillia, after being incarcerated for burning down a house, containing many relatives, including 14 year old Ned – who all escaped, by the way -
Next, taken over two nights, are a series of lights in windows and a doorway, that were not reflections of other lights, and not visible by my eyes when the pics were taken -
taken on the second night was this unexpected light –
And this unexpected light, taken at the front building –
But the best pics were taken the evening before, whilst on the ghost tour – www.beechworthghosttours.com – with Adam and a small but interested crew – again, no flash, no reflected light, contrast adjusted to show available light -
and a blowup of the doorway -
Now did I mention the smells? Death, portwine pipe tobacco, sly brewery, kerosene, or the creepy footprints in empty rooms, the feeling of illness when entering Grevillia, --- you decide – I will be back there for more investigation, that’s for sure – anyone for a tour?
Now, this blogalong isn’t about my weird pastimes, it’s about the environment.
I mentioned in the previous blogalong that the great plains feeding the Murray Darling River System looked green – how deceiving – whilst at Beechworth, I read in the local paper about the miserable state of Wodonga Creek, which leaves the Murray east of Albury, and joins it again west of Wodonga. This tweaked my interest, as a kid, I played in and around Wodonga Creek.
Soon the way back to the Whale Call Camp, I detoured around the Wodonga Traveling Stock route, as far as the rotted out bridge I used to ride my bike over –
And shook my head at what I saw – rivulets dry for the first time in my life, pylons meters above the old water level, trees dropping on the banks, a useless river, and still thousands of kilometers to go to get to the sea.
A few kilometers away, the Majestic Murray is no longer majestic – neither is the paddle steamer that plied it – stuck in mud – the Murray reduced to a dribble – river redgums in death throes, and water being sucked dry by agriculture, industry, and huge ‘decentralised’ cities.
And here’s something regular readers may have seen before – it is a new species of ground orchid that I found in 1998 – it is now named, and has just been added to the threatened species list as critically endangered.
Thelymitra adorata, the Wyong Sun Orchid –
has been determined – this brings on further considerations regarding long term planning and development in Wyong Shire.