Monthly Archives: April 2019

Ghosts of the Barossa Valley: Old Freemason’s Lodge

Ghosts of the Barossa Valley: Old Freemason’s Lodge

 Angaston’s first public library was founded in 1856. Due to its small size, it was found inadequate by locals who needed space to read and learn. A meeting was held in town, and it was decided a Mechanics Institute would be built. The local Oddfellow’s society of the ‘Loyal Park Lodge, Manchester Unity of Oddfellows’ (founded in Angaston on Dec 14, 1855) was also in need of bigger premises. The Oddfellow’s put a motion forward that they would like to pool their monies with that of the Mechanic Institute and build one large building to meet the needs of everyone.
A ‘Mechanic’s Institute’ is an archaic term used to describe a ‘working-class’ place of learning. In the late 1700s, early 1800’s, “mechanic” was anyone who worked as a tradesperson, craftsperson, artisan, and was generally working-class people. They were dubbed ‘poor man’s universities’ and later became known as trade-schools.
Mr G.F. Angas donated land, and a large two-story building was erected. It contained a library, a reading room on the upper floor, a school in the basement and a large room on the ground floor for the Oddfellow’s Lodge, and a large institute hall. The building was officially opened by J.H. Angas in 1870.
Over time, the library moved from the top floor into the basement. Other sections of the building were used as a Sunday School. Balls were held in the hall, the basement was used for meetings, flower shows, weekly dancing and elocution recitals. An upstairs room was utilised by local barber Tom Dawson, after losing his premises in a fire.
 In 1905, The Barossa Masonic Lodge No. 49 received its official warrant, and in 1907, raised the funds to buy the entire building. The Loyal Park Lodge Oddfellow’s, under a previous agreement, reserved its right to use its original lodge room. The front of the building was redesigned by the Freemason, and a new inscription applied which read “Masonic Hall 1910”.
Today the old Freemason Lodge is a bed and breakfast.
 There has long been a rumour that this building is haunted, but the story is a very weak one with almost no evidence. It contains just two lines which were dug out from a very old book no longer in print:
“It has been noted that a figure is often seen leaving the Hall and crossing the street, simply disappearing before spectators’ eyes as his feet hit the pavement on the other side of the road”
 Researched and written by Allen Tiller © 2019

Chinner, B., & Berry, P., ‘Angaston sketchbook’, (Rigby Adelaide 1976).

Baragwanath, P., ‘Mechanics’ Institutes role in Australia’s history’, The Guardian: The Worker’s Weekly, Vol.1526, (9 November 2011),, accessed 18 April 2019.

1936, Angaston and Nuriootpa: centenary souvenir, 1936, The Leader, Angaston viewed 18 April 2019,

Ghosts of the Barossa: Seppeltfields Winery

Ghosts of the Barossa: Seppeltfields Winery

Joseph Seppelt came to Australia from Silesia in Prussia (now Poland) in 1849 with his wife Johanna and three children. In 1851, Seppelt purchased 158 acres of land in the Hundred of Nuriootpa from Hermann Kook, farmer of Tanunda, at £1 an acre., and planted a tobacco crop, which failed. He then planted grapevines and named his new vineyard Seppeltsfield. 

Seppelt began selling his wines a couple of years later in Gawler, and along the Murray River vis paddle steamer. So successful was his product, that in just a couple of years he was able to build his first wine cellar in 1867.

Oscar Benno Seppelt – 1860
Sadly, Joseph never got to enjoy the fruit of his labours, dying in 1868. The vineyard was bequeathed to his son Oscar Benno, who in 1870 married Sophie Schroeder.
The entire Seppelt family hard a strong work ethic and took the time to address the finest details. The estate grew, and by 1888 contained the winery, storage cellars, laboratory, bakery, distillery, cooperage, piggery, poultry house, blacksmiths shop, vinegar house and lavish gardens. The estate also contained a gravity flow winery that was used from 1888 until 1983.
 The Seppelt‘s were very generous to their workers, and also built a large dining hall where they would feed their workers breakfast and dinner daily.

  The Company grew, acquiring Chateau Tanunda, and The Great Western Vineyards in Victoria as well as properties in New South Wales and in South Australia’s south-east regions.
 The winery was eventually acquired by Southcorp wines who ran the brand into the ground until in 2007, the brand found its saviours, A consortium called The Seppeltsfield Estate Trust, who carefully rebuilt the brand, bringing back its traditional wine making techniques and reputation for hospitality.
Although its current owners claim that the winery is not haunted, and that its alleged ghosts are not part of its history, local Barossa Valley folklorists may tell you otherwise.

 The winery has gained international attention for its alleged hauntings which includes:
  • ·         The ghost of a former maid who can be seen walking through the former Seppelt homestead and sometimes through the winery tunnels.
  • ·         In the barrel tunnel, loud footsteps can be heard above you where another floor once sat but is now removed.
  • ·         It is claimed that after 7pm lighting on the lower levels of the winery will not turn on.
  • ·         The old vinegar factory, that hadn’t been used for decades would at night, sound as if it was running again, with cranks turning and steam blasts from the old furnaces!
  • ·         Screams coming from an unidentified source in the gardens and vineyards.
  • ·         The sound of gunshots from a garden.
  • ·         A glowing light is sometimes witnessed at the top of the winery.
  • ·         Moans, groans, whispers and the sound of shuffling feet from disembodied sources in the old dining hall.
  • ·         Reports of feelings of paranoia and fear, in and around where Benno Seppelt’s private hidden retreat is located.
  • ·         Some people have been overcome with deep sadness in a garden.
  • ·       Constant feelings of being watched.

Whether or not you believe ghosts are real, Seppelt’s Winery is a stunning location, and one well worth a visit for its history, is wine….and dare I say it?…it’s spirits!

Oh, and Haunting: Australia fans…they also have Segway tours! :

1925 ‘MRS. B. SEPPELT DEAD’, News (Adelaide, SA : 1923 – 1954), 6 April, p. 5. (HOME EDITION), viewed 29 Mar 2019,

1931 ‘Death of Mr. Benno Seppelt’, Leader (Angaston, SA: 1918 – 1954), 14 May, p. 4. , viewed 29 Mar 2019,

Angela Heuzenroeder, ‘B Seppelt & Sons’, SA History Hub, History Trust of South Australia,, accessed 27 March 2019.

History, Seppelt (2019),, accessed 29 March 2019.

Benno died in 1930 and was buried in the Grecian family mausoleum on the site of a lookout built in 1927.

Ghosts of the Barossa – Barossa History Fair

Ghosts of the Barossa – Barossa History Fair

Got a ghost story from the Barossa Valley, or want more information about hauntings in the Barossa Region?
Historian, Genealogist and TV presenter from Haunting: Australia and paranormal investigator Allen Tiller will be hosting a “Ghosts of the Barossa” stall at this years Barossa History Fair.
Allen will also be available to record and preserve any local ghost stories that are brought to his attention on the day!

Allen has also agreed to present a talk on ghosts in and around the Barossa Valley! But seats will be very limited, so you’ll need to make a reservation.

More info on the Barossa History Fair: INFORMATION

Barossa History Fair – 12 noon until 4pm

Coulthard House, 66-70 Murray Street, Nuriootpa SA 5355

To host a stall at the fair or become an event sponsor, please contact Chris Murphy via email on or 0413 113 089.
Historian, Allen Tiller from The Haunts of Adelaide
with Barossa History Fair organiser Chris Murphy in Nuriootpa,
 who look forward to the free event in May.
photo: Michelle ORielly

People, Places & Ghosts: A History of Salisbury & Surrounds

People, Places & Ghosts: A History of Salisbury & Surrounds

Celebrate History Month with nostalgia, history and a ghost story or two with South Australia’s award-winning paranormal historian Allen Tiller.

Step back in time as Allen presents a nostalgic look at some of Salisbury’s most notable places, buildings and people whilst showcasing photos from the Salisbury Local History Collection

Light refreshments provided.

Date And Time

Thu., 9 May 2019, 6:00 pm ACST


Para Hills Community Hub
22 Wilkinson Road
Para Hills, SA 5096


Ghosts of the Barossa: The Ghost of Travus Klinkwort

The Ghost of Travus Klinkwort

 Just 6kms from the western Barossa Valley town of Greenock sits an old ruined homestead in a field. The house was lived in by the Klinkworts who had to Australia from Hanover Germany and settled in the region, establishing their farm. The couple had two daughters, Josia and Esther.
  Travus was a hardworking man, who was known locally as a hard worker but with a mean streak, and often, people would state he was a cold and heartless man. Sadly, Travus’ wife passed away, and he was left to run the farm and raise his daughters.
Travus was a harsh man. He worked his daughters hard and allowed them no pleasures in life. Their only social interactions away from the farm occurred at church. They came to resent and fear their father.
 The girls soon reached maturity, and curiosity about the other sex soon overcame their raging hormones. One night, Josia invited a young local boy named Randall out to the farm. The girls had lied to their father and said they were going for a walk around their farm. Instead, Esther stood watch between the house and the field, while Josia and Randall explored each other in the field.
 Travus sat in the house. He grew suspicious of the girl’s claims and grabbed a double-barrelled shotgun. He left the house, and under the moonlight, spotted Esther. He headed toward her quietly, then rushed forward as he drew clearer. Esther cried out to her sister. Josia and Randall jumped up and tried to get their clothes back on. Two almighty booms rang out across the field as Travus fired both shots from his gun.
 Josia and Randall were never seen in town again.
 The following season, Travus had the biggest and best potato crop in the region. Rumours began to spread throughout the town, but nothing could be proven.
 Esther, forced by her father to keep the family secret, became a deranged and crazy old spinster, who eventually lived, and died by herself at the farm.
 In recent years, many people have been to the old homestead to take photographs. Most don’t know the history of the house, but many have reported the image of a man appearing in their photographs of the home.
 One witness, a real estate agent, reported that he had visited the property when he been driving past. He saw it as a potential saleable property and decided to go have a look inside the building. He casually walked through, and all was quiet. He suddenly heard a low growl sound, much like a dog ready to attacks make, and became scared.
 He was relieved though, to turn and see a man standing in the room too, with the sound coming from him. He looked at the man, an older gentleman wearing a torn great coat, baggy trousers and a battered old hat. The man continued to growl. The growl suddenly filled the room, as if it was coming from everywhere, and with it, a smell of rotting potatoes assaulted the agent’s nostrils. Then, suddenly, the man raised an ancient shotgun at the real estate agents head, and with a small click, and a mighty bang fired it at him.
 As the flash of the blast filled the room with light, the estate agent thought he was done for, but in another instant, the room was empty and silent. The estate agent ran back to his car never to return.

Researched and written by Allen Tiller © 2019

This story first surfaced in Valerie Laughtons’True Barossa Ghost’s book, in which she stated that she changed the names of the people involved.

Davis, Richard & Davis, Richard Michael, (editor.) 2014, Great Australian ghost stories, ABC books, HarperCollins Publishers, Sydney, N.S.W

Laughton, Valerie Joy & Falkenberg, Darren, (photographer.) 1991, Valerie J. Laughton’s true Barossa ghosts (gathered together with good spirits), Laughton, Nurioopta, S. Aust

Munno Para West District Council Office – 9 Adelaide Road

Munno Para West District Council Office – 9 Adelaide Road

If you live in Gawler you’ve probably driven past the little building on the corner of Adelaide Road and Twelfth Street a thousand times but never given it a second thought.
Currently, the building is Creative Outdoors Display Centre, previously it has been used a second-hand store, and a tax agent, but none of these were its original purpose.

Bound in the south by the Little Para River, in the North by the Gawler River, The District Council of Munno Para West Was formed in 1854, a year after the District Council of Munno Para East was formed.
The council included the towns of Virginia, Smithfield, Penfield, Angle Vale, St Kilda and Gawler Blocks. Gawler Blocks were later to be known as Gawler South and removed from the District Council of Munno Para west in 1899.

The District Councils of Munno Para East & West were united to become the City of Munno Para in 1933, with some sections going to the Town of Gawler, and others going to the District Council of Salisbury, the rest were merged with the Munno Para East Council.

The building that stands today was originally built to be a chapel in 1855, however it was bought in 1861 to become the District Council of Munno Para West’s head office, whilst the District Council of Munno Para’s East office was in Murray Street Gawler – you may recognise it as the building currently next door to Elders.

Since publishing this video, I have been informed that this small building was the home of a family of ten during the 1950/60s. It has also been used as a computer store (information supplied by Robby Cummins), a sex toy store, and a second-hand store.
 In March 2019, Creative Outdoors ended there lease at the location. It now sits empty awaiting its next use.

Researched and written by Allen Tiller ©2019

Buckerfield’s Mill Inn

Buckerfield’s Mill Inn

The earliest records of the Mill Inn on the corner of Adelaide Road and Seventh Street Gawler South are from 1858, with the hotel license being registered to Mr H.W. Buckerfield in 1859. Buckerfield’s Mill Inn, as it became known, was a very popular drinking venue in the town, and also known for having 1st class accommodation. Buckerfield added stockyards to his substantial property in 1864.
 Buckerfields Mill Inn was known in Gawler as the home of sporting events. It sponsored many local horse races, sprinting races at Goose Island, and Rifle Shooting competitions.
Buckerfield sold the hotel to Mr C Woltmann in 1866, and from then on it changed hands another 24 times until 1920 when its liquor license was finally withdrawn.
In 1882, 48-year-old Charles Daniels, left the Mill Inn to walk across the Mill Bridge, only to be struck down by the 10:30 pm horse-drawn tram from the Gawler Railway Station. Daniels injuries were substantial after being crushed by the tram’s wheels, and he died not long after the accident.
In 1904, while under the license of Edward Maher, local life assurance agent, Percy Webb committed suicide in the hotels’ stables. In 1907, William Thomas was charged with causing a disturbance at the hotel for getting very drunk and not being able to pay his bill. For using indecent language against the arresting officer, he received 14 days in her Majesty’s Adelaide Gaol! Two other patrons, Mr and Mrs Yeomen were fined for obstructing police.
 Also, in 1970, 19-year-old William Goldney, who was riding his bike across the Mill Bridge, was clipped by a horse and trap. Goldney was taken to the Mill Inn where he died from his injuries two hours later.
In 1920 the hotel closed its doors for the final time. A large auction was held to sell the hotels goods, which attracted a large crowd.
From 1923 the former Mill Inn became the home of Mrs Broadstock, and during the 1960s, it became a deli. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, it became a Vincentian Centre, part of the St Vincent DePaul Society
Most recently Hyde and Partners have renovated the building and neighbouring house and created their Medical Centre.

 Correction: In the video, I refer to W.H. Buckerfield as being the first owner of the hotel when in fact it was H.W. Buckerfield that owned it.
 William Henry Buckerfield owned the Angaston Hotel, and his son Henry William Buckerfield owned the Mill Inn, Gawler.
Researched and written by Allen Tiller ©2019

Barossa Elephant Walk

Barossa Elephant Walk

1933, world travelling Wirth Brothers Circus had just finished shows in Adelaide and Gawler, and July 7th scheduled shows for Angaston in the Barossa Valley.

During the Gawler show of the circus, spectators commented on how the elephants didn’t seem to wander far from the circus troop, and how, if they did, they could cause significant damage to a small town. These statements may have foretold future events!

The following week, while Wirth’s Circus was in Angaston, one of the elephants decided he would go for a walk through the town. The lone elephant found himself in the garden of Mr Hentschke. It knocked over Mr Hentschke’s fences, then pulled up some of his roses. The elephant, not content with his destruction, then pulled a much-prized plum tree from the ground.
The elephant stomped its way through Hentschke’s prized garden, and once it had finished its rampage, took one of Hentschke’s wicker chairs from the front veranda and obliterated it, throwing it, in tiny pieces, across the front yard.
After its outing, the elephant returned to the circus.

One has to wonder if the same elephant was the cause of destruction in nearby Tanunda, where a number of grapevines were pulled from the ground. This elephant was shooed away by workers and returned to its circus!

Researched and written by Allen Tiller © 2019

1933 ‘ELEPHANT WANDERS OFF’, Leader (Angaston, SA: 1918 – 1954), 20 July, p. 2. , viewed 25 Mar 2019,
1933 ‘Wirth Bros. Ltd. Circus’, Leader (Angaston, SA: 1918 – 1954), 13 July, p. 1. , viewed 25 Mar 2019,
1933 ‘1-ELEPHANT POWER.’, Bunyip (Gawler, SA: 1863 – 1954), 28 July, p. 4. , viewed 25 Mar 2019,