Monthly Archives: September 2020

The Truth Behind the Infamous “Schneider’s Alley”

The Truth Behind the Infamous “Schneider’s Alley”

 

Clifton Manor

Not far from Waterfall Gully sits Schneider’s Alley, a well-known local urban legend about an evil doctor that is alleged to have murdered people and put their bodies into a freezer. Within the urban legend is the story of a blue ghost seen in the area that scares away visitors…but how much of this story is true?

 Schneider’s Alley is actually a combination of several true stories, mixed together with mythology, misinterpreted eye witness accounts and misinformed whispers that turned into Adelaide’s greatest urban legend.
  The “Alley” itself doesn’t exist, instead, a small alleyway called Andrews Walk, which was once the main entrance of the residence of Clifton Manor has been appropriated as the haunted walkway as well as the large park behind it.

The good doctor in question, Dr Michael Schneider, was in fact not a GP, nor an experimental doctor. He was, in fact, an optometrist, an “eye doctor”. Dr Schneider was very well-loved in the wider Adelaide community for his charity work and for his animal and plant sanctuary, of which he would open for public usage. Local Adelaidean’s could enjoy the splendour of his estate at open days and events, his sanctuary featured native animals and birds, as well as a vast variety of plants, flowers and foliage.

The park, that was since Dr Schneiders land, behind Clifton Manor

Dr Schneider was a good man, a man who served for his country, the Empire and King George in World War One, and returned a hero. His name and legacy are now stained by the local urban legend that has grown out of hand off the back of curious thrill-seekers and social media chat rooms.

Dr Michael Schneider acquired Clifton Manor in 1934. He lived in the house with his wife from this point on until his death in the 1970’s. Dr Schneider established a native wildlife and bird sanctuary on the 40 acres of land he owned behind Clifton Manor, which included a Koala enclosure. After enlisting in the Australian Medical Corps in World War 2, Dr Schneider closed the sanctuary and released the koalas back into the wild. His remaining animals were donated to the Adelaide Zoo.

There is no record of murders, rapes or anything sinister ever happening on the grounds of Clifton Manor. It is reported Dr Schneider died at his home in the 1970s. The house and land were then bought by T&G Mutual Life Society and subdivided into the current format of streets, parks and housing found today. I have spoken to former neighbours of the good doctor, and they cannot believe his name could become so tainted in modern Adelaide.

 I have investigated the site and surrounds myself on numerous occasions and could not find any evidence of a haunting (this, of course, does not mean it isn’t haunted). I tried every tactic I could think of and got nothing, not even one simple EVP…If there is any kind of ghostly goings-on here, it does not want to be found nor seen.

So where does the story originate from? Well, in my opinion, which is formed from countless hours of research, interviews and investigations locally, is that this story is a bastardisation and union of two other events that happened very nearby, twisted into an urban legend that spread through Adelaide like a wildfire. There was a notable death in the area, only two streets from the allegedly haunted site, where a man had been found, cut into pieces and stuffed into a chest freezer, this was during the early 1990’s, which is just enough time for the story to grow into what it is now.

Combine that with the 100-year-old story of the haunting of Waterfall Gully, where the ghost of Constable Tregoweth is allegedly seen as a “blue glowing” man, which is almost the exact description of the ghost reported by many witnesses in the Schneider’s Alley area. There is also something else I would like to point about this story, the majority of the reports (but not all) come from people who were out to “scare themselves”, most were drinking, drunk or stoned, going into a location (some illegally) trying to scare themselves or the people they were with. This leads to all kinds of stories, variations on the truth, and people witnessing things that were actually staged scaring meant for other groups of people, you can see where this is going right?

 People wanting a thrill or a scare is an age-old thing, and what better way than to go somewhere allegedly haunted, I have done it myself, but I cannot stress enough that having respect for the location, the people that live around it and for other people who may be present, as well as the alleged ghosts, is paramount.

   Close to Schneider Alley, and the actual crown of the original Doctor Schneider’s estate is Clifton Manor, a large, castle-like structure that sits nearby the park and walkway that attracts all the attention – this is a private residence, so please, don’t go bothering its inhabitants looking to investigate, you will probably receive a hostile “go away!” or some other choice words.

Clifton Manor was built in 1850 by C.D. Sismey after acquiring the estate from Harry Osbourne. The house was added to by Nathenial Cox in 1872.  The manor was passed on to a nephew, Mr Harloe Knox in 1926. Harloe Knox subdivided the large estate and sold off approximately 50 acres of land.
  The manor then was sold (with approx. 40 acres of land) to Mr Hermen Hoeper – who in 1934 sold it, Dr Schneider. Dr Schneider then established a wildlife sanctuary on the surrounding 40 acres (of which most is now a park). The original driveway and gates of Clifton Manor are still standing and now mark the entrance to Andrews Walk on Hallet Rd, Stoneyfell – Clifton Manors entrance being moved to Waratah Way.
Dr and Mrs Schneider lived in the large house together and had two housemaids who also lived in the house and a gardener. The gardener lived in a small stone cottage out on the grounds, near Dr Schneider’s zoo. Dr Schneider passed away in the early 1970s.

 Schneider’s Alley in my opinion is an over-hyped union of other local stories, It may indeed by haunted, but there was no experimental laboratory or deaths at the hands of Dr Michael Schneider, so you can count out that being the cause of the alleged haunting…however, this is an urban legend that just will not die, and surfaces from time to time in the local media. I implore the local media to investigate the case further and clear the name of the doctor and hopefully dispel some of the rumours and myths so that he may rest in peace and the people that live around this much-visited site may also get some peace and quiet.

 

 

Allen Tiller ALIAtech, DipFamHist is Australia’s most recognised paranormal investigator,
eminent paranormal historian, and star of the international smash hit television show “Haunting: Australia”.
Allen is also the founder of Eidolon Paranormal, South Australian Paranormal and the author
of book and blog, “The Haunts of Adelaide: History, Mystery and the Paranormal”.
Allen was awarded the 2017 “Emerging South Australian Historian of The Year Award” as presented by The History Council of South Australia. Employed as “Historian in Residence”
in 2016/2017 with the Adelaide City Council Libraries and employed by the City of Port
Adelaide Enfield Council to write the popular, “Ghosts of the Port Self-Guided Walking Tour”

You can find Allen online at:
http://www.AllenTiller.com.au
http://www.EidolonParanormal.com.au
http://www.twitter.com/Allen_Tiller
http://www.facebook.com/AllenHauntingAustralia
https://www.facebook.com/

First published in MEGAScene Issue 17 2019

© Allen Tiller

The Blue Ghost of Waterfall Gully

The Blue Ghost of Waterfall Gully

 

  Fifteen minutes south-east of Adelaide sits a little chalet built-in 1912, that was once a kiosk and is now a wedding venue. Waterfall Gully was once a somewhat unattractive gully, but that changed in 1912 when F.W. Young and Mr V.H. Ryan chose the area to be the first to receive beautification, as a potential tourist destination, under the States newly formed the “National Pleasure Resorts Board”.
 Local stone was used to construct the kiosk and surrounding buildings, walkways and lake at the bottom of the waterfall.
 Waterfall Gully soon became the place to visit during the 1920s. A little oasis to escape the summer heat, just a short ride by horse and cart, or later car, just outside of Adelaide.

 

 In December 1926, South Australia was engaged in another of its notorious heat waves. A bushfire spread through the Adelaide Hills and made its way into the ravines of Waterfall Gully. In those days, SAPOL wasn’t just police officers, they also acted as the states fire and rescue service, as well as its ambulance service.

 

 One police constable, taking on the fire-fighting duties on the day was Thomas Alfred Tregoweth.

 Tregoweth had served in World War One with the 48th Battalion, 3rdReinforcement in Hannover, Germany. As a 19-year-old, he spent 1918 as a P.O.W. before returning to Australia in 1919. When he returned to South Australia, he took up a position in the family business as a shopkeeper at Norwood working for the family business.
 Tregoweth soon met his future wife, and settled down with her, together they had a son they named William.
 

On the day of the fire, Tregoweth valiantly fought the raging inferno from the cliff tops around Waterfall Gully, but as he fought, the wind changed, and the fire turned, cutting off his escape route.  The fire was ferociously hot and began to lick at his skin, soon the flames scorched him, and the air became too thick with smoke for Tregoweth to breath.  To survive, he made the decision to jump from the cliff into the valley below. The fall didn’t kill him, but his horrific injuries from the fire would end his life just four days later. He was 29 years old.

 Since 1930, people have witnessed paranormal phenomena at the base of Waterfall Gully and in the scenically located kiosk. So often had spirits been sighted, that it became a tourist attraction worthy of signage, which was once displayed at the entry of the walking trails. The signage detailed eye witness accounts of the “Blue Ghost of Waterfall Gully”, but today those signs are long removed.

 One former owner of the kiosk reported that a ‘blue spirit’ was often seen inside the building, and was responsible for moving objects, likes plates, knives and forks. A ‘blue man’ had also been witnessed along a walking trail leading up to the waterfalls by a young woman and her boyfriend.

 The young couple had visited Waterfall Gully late at night, and while walking the path, the young lady had twisted her ankle. From out of nowhere a “glowing blue man” had appeared, looking somewhat concerned for the young ladies’ welfare. The young couple was startled by the strange man’s appearance, and ignoring her injury, made a hasty retreat to their car to escape the luminescent blue man!
 The never looked back to see if he followed, but sped back along the winding Waterfall Gully Road toward Adelaide.

 

Where the ghost jogger and cyclist are seen on Waterfall Gully Road 

  Is it a coincidence that Constable Tregoweth’s uniform of the day was blue? Is it coincidental that many psychics state that protective male energies are blue, and that this “blue man” seems to be very protective?

 The alleged ghost of Constable Tregoweth is not the only evidence of paranormal or spiritual activity at Waterfall Gully.  A phantom cyclist is also alleged to be seen cycling along the road from the area of Macallan Avenue toward the waterfalls. It is thought he could be the spirit of a cyclist who was hit by a car whilst cycling along the road, perhaps clipped by a car on one of the many visual blind spots along Waterfall Gully Road.
 Along with the cyclist, another spirit often alleged to be witnessed along this stretch of haunted road, is the spirit of a phantom jogger. Nothing is known about this spirit’s past, but a mist-like apparition in the shape of a person jogging has been seen by some locals on foggy mornings as the sun rises, heading south towards the waterfalls…perhaps there is something more to the waterfall, something unseen by the living, that attracts local spirits too it?

 

Allen Tiller ALIAtech, DipFamHist is Australia’s most recognised paranormal investigator,
eminent paranormal historian, and star of the international smash hit television show “Haunting: Australia”.
Allen is also the founder of Eidolon Paranormal, South Australian Paranormal and the author
of book and blog, “The Haunts of Adelaide: History, Mystery and the Paranormal”.
Allen was awarded the  2017 “Emerging South Australian Historian of The Year Award” as presented by The History Council of South Australia. Employed as “Historian in Residence”
in 2016/2017 with the Adelaide City Council Libraries and employed by the City of Port
Adelaide Enfield Council to write the popular, “Ghosts of the Port Self-Guided Walking Tour”

You can find Allen online at:
http://www.AllenTiller.com.au
http://www.EidolonParanormal.com.au
http://www.twitter.com/Allen_Tiller
http://www.facebook.com/AllenHauntingAustralia
https://www.facebook.com/

First published in MEGAScene Issue 15 2018

© Allen Tiller

The Haunts of Adelaide: History, Mystery and the Paranormal: REVISED EDITION

The Haunts of Adelaide: History, Mystery and the Paranormal
REVISED EDITION

The Haunts of Adelaide: Revised Edition, (BOOK + KINDLE) is now live at Amazon.com.au​ in traditional book form!!!
The Haunts of Adelaide: History, Mystery and the Paranormal is researched and written by award-winning historian, Allen Tiller.
This second edition of The Haunts of Adelaide has been completely rewritten with extra historical facts, footnoting, an index, more photos, and most importantly, more ghost stories!
Join Allen Tiller, one of Australia’s leading paranormal historian’s, as he documents some of Adelaide’s most haunted locations and the history behind the buildings, the people, the urban legends and the ghosts that haunt Adelaide and its suburbs, in this completely revised and rewritten edition.
Inside you will discover the ghosts that dwelled at Graham’s Castle, Younghusband Mansion, The Adelaide Arcade, and Waterfall Gully. Find out the truth behind Schneider’s Alley and the read about the tiger of the Union Hotel!

Get spooked with 30 stories from the other side: The Haunts of Adelaide: History, Mystery, and the Paranormal: REVISED EDITION

The Haunting of the British Hotel, Port Adelaide

The Haunting of the British Hotel, Port Adelaide

Designed by architect, W. Beattie, The British Hotel opened in March 1847 as a single-story
hotel consisting of 20 rooms, including a bar, taproom, kitchen, three parlous and ten bedrooms.

Its first manager (and possibly builder) was Captain James Wakeling, who had previously owned the Port Tavern, which had been destroyed by a fire that wiped out large sections of the Port in January 1847.
Behind the hotel once stood a two-story building used at the stables for the hotel, in which lived the hotel’s Ostler, a person who looked after the horses in the stables or the hotel owners and guests. Captain James Wakeling worked previously for a South Australian company as Captain onboard the ships Sarah and Elizabeth and was an early pioneer. It is said he was very strict in how he ran his hotels and was very punctual in closing the hotel’s doors at 10pm nightly. This led to one incident, where a large Irish Shipmaster, played a trick on the old Captain and changed the clock hands on Wakeling’s clocks, so the pub stayed open an extra hour, until 11pm!

The hotel was sold in 1849 to William Mart. Only a few years later, in 1853, Captain Wakeling passed away at the age of 65 in Rundle Street, Adelaide after contracting influenza. As Captain Wakeling was much respected, in his honour, all vessels in the Port flew the flags at half-mast the day following his death. Wakeling was buried in the West Terrace Cemetery, Adelaide.

John Wakeling and Mary Ferrers managed the hotel between 1859 until 1863, when it then fell into the ownership of Henry Ayers, who in 1876 added the second story.
Ayers, then Premier of South Australia, sold the hotel not long after the improvements he made to James Ralph Russell, who had worked in the hotel as its publican since 1863. Russell, in 1878, added a veranda and balcony.
In 1907 the hotel changed its name to McGraths British Hotel to reflect its new licensee, John McGrath and family. McGrath ran the hotel until his death in 1932, when it was then taken over by his two daughters Elizabeth and Esther. Esther would take sole licences responsibility in 1935 after South Australian laws prohibiting single women from owning or running hotels was amended.

The Russell family, who had owned the hotel since 1863, decided in 1937 the time was right to sell. The hotel then fell under the ownership of the South Australian Brewing Company but was still operated under the license of Esther McGrath, who stayed on until 1952.
The hotel had many more licensee’s over the years, but eventually closed for a few years, until being revamped and reopened in 2007.

Over the years there have been many deaths inside the hotel, including in 1905, the death of a hotel worker, Ethel Hammond, aged 39, who passed away in an upstairs bedroom where she lived.
Former publican John McGrath died in the hotel in 1922, and in 1954, Alexander Thompson died in one of the upstairs bedrooms.
It has long been alleged that the hotel is haunted, with paranormal activity experienced across all levels. One spirit alleged to have been seen in the basement area is that of Sir Henry Ayers, five times South Australian Premier and served in Parliament for an unbroken 37 years. Although he lived in, and is said to haunt, Ayers house on North Terrace in Adelaide, it would seem his spirit has been seen here, in the basement on occasion over the years after his death in 1897.

In a 2015 interview, the then owner described poltergeist type activity happening in the basement. It was stated that:
“In the cool room there are stacks of two-litre milks toward the back of the shelves, not on
the edge … One morning, we came out and there’s one just thrown in the middle of the
floor. How in the hell, that moved …”


It is not known who the mischievous poltergeist-like spirit might be, and no one is 100% certain why Sir Henry Ayers haunts the hotel, or even if the alleged ghost is actually him, or just someone who might appear like him (or just a case of mistaken identity from an intoxicated witness). Either way, the hotel, like most of the hotels in Port Adelaide, is considered haunted!

References:

Our Port, (2015), The British Hotel, Government of South Australia, retrieved from http://ourport. com.au/content/uploads/2016/04/DiscoveringPort-Adelaide-The-hidden-gems-of-the Portrevealed.pdf


James Hunter, History SA, ‘British Hotel (Port Adelaide)’, SA History Hub, History Trust of South Australia, retrieved from http://sahistoryhub.com. au/places/british-hotel-port-adelaide.

The British Hotel, (2018), History, retrieved from https://thebritish.com.au/about-us

1853 ‘LAW AND CRIMINAL COURTS.’, South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA: 1839- 1900), 26 May, p.3, viewed 09 Oct 2018, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article38463754


1905 ‘SUDDEN DEATH.’, Evening Journal,  29 June, p.1, viewed 09 Oct 2018, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article208008634


1905 ‘Facks and Roomers.’, The Areas’ Express (Booyoolee, SA: 1877-1948), 30 June, p.3, viewed
09 Oct 2018, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article224371446

S. R. Parr, ‘Ayers, Sir Henry (1821–1897)’, Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre
of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/ayers-sirhenry-2914/text4193, published first in hardcopy 1969, accessed online 10 October 2018.

1922 ‘Family Notices’, The Register (Adelaide, SA: 1901 – 1929), 8 March, p.2, viewed 14 Oct 2018, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63582157

1954 ‘Family Notices’, News (Adelaide, SA: 1923 – 1954), 12 July, p.24, viewed 14 Oct 2018,

http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article134753904

First published in MEGAscene issue 13 2018

Allen Tiller (ALIAtech, DipFamHist) is Australia’s most recognised paranormal investigator,
eminent paranormal historian, and star of the international smash hit television show “Haunting: Australia”.
Allen is also the founder of Eidolon Paranormal, South Australian Paranormal and the author
of book and blog, “The Haunts of Adelaide: History, Mystery and the Paranormal”.
He is the winner of the 2017 “Emerging South Australian Historian of The Year Award” as presented by The History Council of South Australia. Employed as “Historian in Residence” in 2016/2017 with the Adelaide City Council Libraries and employed by the City of Port Adelaide Enfield Council to write the popular, “Ghosts of the Port Self-Guided Walking Tour”


You can find Allen online at:
http://www.AllenTiller.com.au
http://www.EidolonParanormal.com.au
http://www.twitter.com/Allen_Tiller
http://www.facebook.com/AllenHauntingAustralia
https://www.facebook.com/

A Haunting at Ayers House

A Haunting at Ayers House

Figure <!–[if supportFields]> SEQ Figure \* ARABIC <![endif]–>1<!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–>: Ayers House on North Terrace, Adelaide – Photo © 2014 Allen Tiller

Built in 1846 for William Paxton, a Chemist who worked out of Hindley Street, Austral House, as it was known then, was a much smaller residence than the grand house that stands on North Terrace today.

 The original property was bought by Robert Thomber in 1845, who sold it to Paxton. Paxton originally leased the property to Ayers from 1855, then sold it to him in 1871.
 Henry Ayers started making big changes to the property in 1857 with the addition of rooms at the rear of the house. In 1859 he built the ballroom on the eastern side, and in 1871 he added the dining room on the western side, which gave the house a sense of symmetry. In 1874, six bedrooms were added at the back in a new two-story section.

 Ayers’ spared no expense, rooms featured hand stencilled wall and ceiling decorations. The walls were constructed with local bluestone, and it was one of the first properties in Adelaide to feature gaslighting. Crystal chandeliers hung from the ceilings, much of which is still present today.
Hand-painted ceilings in the ballroom and dining room were beautifully painted by an artist named “Williams”, who had to lay on his back, on a mattress supported by ladders, for three days to achieve the look.
 In the dining room, Sir
Ayers had his family crest painted of three doves and an olive branch above the fireplace.
 The ballroom featured cedar flooring, with folding cedar doors that allowed extra space to be opened up for guests, which in Henry Ayers time, was a regular occurrence, as he enjoyed being the centre of social life from the upper echelon of Adelaide society.

 Sir Ayers’ daughter, Mrs Lucy Bagot gave an interview describing the property when she was a child in “The Mail” in 1928:

 ‘The property originally extended to Tavistock Street on the west, Rundle Street on the south, and on the east to what is now the site of the East-End Market. Where the row of two-story- houses now stands   next to the Botanic Hotel were two Indian bungalows, one of which was occupied by Rev. John Gardner, minister of Chalmers Church and father of the late Mr. Gavin Gardner, and the other by Mr Wentworth Cavanagh— afterward Cavanagh-Mainwaring, father of Dr. Cavenagh-Mainwaring and Mrs. Arthur Cudmore, of Adelaide. ‘On the western side Dr. W. Moore, father of Mr. H. P. Moore, purchased the block on the corner of Tavistock Street and built the house there which is now called Frome House. When my father died in 1897 the house was empty for 18 years with the exception of a housekeeper, maid, and boy, who looked after it. Then in six months, it was let four times.’

In 1914 it was bought by Henry Woodcock and following Mr Woodcock, by a syndicate who built an open-air garden and dancing Palais. They named the previously un-named house “Austral Gardens” and set the property up as a multi-use business, including the RSL who used it as their headquarters until they moved to Angas Street in 1923.

 The property was purchased by the Government in 1926 and used to accommodate nurses from the Royal Adelaide Hospital across the road until 1969.
 The Dunstan Government approved restoration work to the grand old mansion in 1972, which saw some structural damage repaired.
 Around this period the National Trust of South Australia used the house as their headquarters and began public tours through the building.

Today the house is known as “Ayers House” in recognition of Sir Henry Ayers, Minister and President of the Legislative Council, and Premier of South Australia a record 5 times!

It is local legend that Sir Henry Ayers returns to haunt his former abode. A story related to me a long time ago from a then-current volunteer involved seeing the spirit of an older gentleman walking through the house.
The description fitted Ayer’s description, and what is known of his look from portraits, almost perfectly.
 The possibility that Sir Ayers would return to his home isn’t completely “out there”, it’s actually a common haunting occurrence for old mansions and homes that deceased owners return to the places they loved most, so why not Sir Henry Ayers, returning to his much beloved home, and the place he died?

 Since the writing of my first book “The Haunts of Adelaide: History, Mystery and the Paranormal”, I have since heard that the spirit of Henry’s much-beloved wife, Anne, has been sighted by staff in the grand old mansion as well.

Another spirit is said to be a small child, but as of yet, she has not been identified. Perhaps the spookiest encounter in Ayers house belongs to a staff worker who was working late one evening when all six phones in the house began to ring simultaneously as the lights went on and off repeatedly at the same time!

 

Please use the following when referencing the above information for your research or publication.

© Allen Tiller 2016 – “Historian in Residence” – Adelaide City Council: “History Hub” – “Haunted Buildings in Adelaide” – This work is produced in collaboration with Adelaide City Libraries

 

References:

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/printArticlePdf/48173745/3?print=n

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/48271429?searchTerm=austral%20gardens%20history&searchLimits=l-state=South+Australia|||l-category=Article

http://www.adelaideheritage.net.au/all-site-profiles/ayers-house/

http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/ayers-sir-henry-2914

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Ayers

Books:

Henry Ayers: The Man Who Became a Rock – By Jason Shute

The Haunts of Adelaide: History, Mystery and the Paranormal – Allen Tiller

Ghosts and Hauntings of South Australia – Gordon de L Marshall

 

Allen Tiller is Australia’s most recognised paranormal investigator, eminent paranormal historian, and star of the international smash hit television show “Haunting: Australia”.
Allen is also the founder of Eidolon Paranormal, South Australian Paranormal and the author of book and blog, “The Haunts of Adelaide: History, Mystery and the Paranormal”.
Allen is the winner of the 2017 “Emerging South Australian Historian of The Year Award” as presented by The History Council of South Australia.

Allen has also been employed as “Historian in Residence” in 2016/2017 with the Adelaide City Council Libraries and employed by the City of Port Adelaide Enfield Council to write the popular, “Ghosts of the Port Self-Guided Walking Tour”

 

First published in MEGAscene issue 12

 © Allen Tiller

A Haunting at the Royal Arms Hotel – Port Adelaide

A Haunting at the Royal Arms Hotel – Port Adelaide

The Royal Arms Hotel, on the corner of St Vincent Street, Todd Street and Timpson Place were established in 1878.

In his book Hotels and publicans in South Australia, authorBob Hoad writes: ‘These modern premises are built on top of an earlier inn which was at the original street level. This earlier inn (of ten rooms) was connected by tunnel to the wharves.’

The Royal Arms Hotel is built upon the remains of a much smaller hotel, thought to have been built around 1851. Much of that former hotel still sits below the Royal Arms today and is used as cellars. The “cellars” would have once been at street level until the raising of the Port to stop flooding.

 There have long been rumours that this hotel was part of the “crimping” practices that saw drunk men knocked out with a “Mickey Finn” and forced through a tunnel which is rumoured to go through to the Dockside Tavern basement, then out to the Port River.

A “Mickey Finn” (or, ‘slip them mickey’ as we know it today,) is the act of dropping a drug into a beer or other drink and giving it a victim. Most often the barman or publican would receive a cut of the Captains payment or be in on the crimping from the start.
 The drugged man would be ushered to a “quieter” place, and then, either knocked out or fall into a drug-induced coma. The crimping gang would take the sleeping man out through a secret passage down to the water and use a longboat to take the future sailor to the waiting ship at Outer Harbour.
 These poor souls would be forced to work at sea on a ship, or swim back to land, and as most men in the late 1800’s could not swim, the choice was obvious.

 To back up these claims, during a refurbishment of the hotel, a room was found that contained a steal barred room, much like a prison cell. This “cell” in the basement, hidden behind an old fireplace and uncovered during a renovation was believed to be a holding cell for drugged men, and once enough were collected, they were run through the tunnels out to the river.

On Friday the 23rd of September 1898 the Commodore of the Adelaide Steamship company, Captain T.W. Lockyer passed away, at the age of 62, in one of the upstairs boarding rooms of the hotel. Captain Lockyer was known as a kind and generous man, and some say, it could be his spirit haunting upstairs in the hotel.
the spirit is described as a plump gentlemanly figure, often in what appears to be white clothes with a coloured stripe on the legs. A mutton chop beard, and a fat red face.
Captain Thomas William Lockyer is buried at the Cheltenham Cemetery.

There are also unsubstantiated claims that a Cypriot Sailor, named Marcus Tzimopoulos haunts the cellar of the Royal Arms hotel awaiting his revenge on assailants that cut his throat. It is claimed by a local psychic that this throat cutting murder happened sometime around 1879, but I can find no record of such an event happening.
 

The Royal Arms Hotel may not be known as the most haunted location in Port Adelaide, but it has not, as of yet, given up its ghosts. As far as I am aware, no professional paranormal investigation has been conducted inside this prominent historical location, not have any former staff come forward with their own paranormal stories.
 I would love to hear from former staff, patrons and the people who live upstairs, of their personal ghostly goings-on in the hotel.

Also, if you are interested in learning more about haunted locations in the Port, please go to the Port Adelaide Visitor Information Centre and pick a free copy of my book “Ghosts of the Port – Self Guided Walking Tour”.

 

Thanks for reading!

Allen Tiller

 

Allen Tiller is Australia’s most recognised paranormal investigator, eminent paranormal historian, and star of the international smash hit television show “Haunting: Australia”.
Allen is also the founder of Eidolon Paranormal, South Australian Paranormal and the author of book and blog, “The Haunts of Adelaide: History, Mystery and the Paranormal”.
Allen is the winner of the 2017 “Emerging South Australian Historian of The Year Award” as presented by The History Council of South Australia.

Allen has also been employed as “Historian in Residence” in 2016/2017 with the Adelaide City Council Libraries and employed by the City of Port Adelaide Enfield Council to write the popular, “Ghosts of the Port Self-Guided Walking Tour”

 

First published in MEGAscene issue 11

 © Allen Tiller