The Adelaide Ghosts and Ghouls and Walking Tour
Back in 2016, I was invited by the Adelaide City Libraries to undertake a world fist
history study into ghosts and hauntings in the council area of the City of Adelaide. Titled “Haunted Buildings in Adelaide”, the project encompassed inviting members of the public to come into the City Library and North Adelaide Library to express their own personal encounters with ghosts in the City of Adelaide.
I then took those stories and investigated them, as well as a number of already well known Adelaide ghost stories, and investigated their history. In the first year, we had over 90 people attend, and at least 40 of those stories ended up being added to the libraries catalogue under the heading “The Allen Tiller Collection: Haunted Buildings in Adelaide”.
In 2017 I returned to the library to turn those stories, and some new ones into 5 self-guided walking tours through the City of Adelaide.
At the end of history month this year, we launched one of those tours, titled the “Ghosts and Ghouls and Self-Guided Walking Tour”. The difference between this tour, and other tours, is the City Library invited a professional sound recordist, Mr Anthony Frith, to record me speaking the tour stories.
The tour is a downloadable, free self-guided walking tour which you can find via this link:
The tour starts at the City Library, so I thought I’d share with you all the starting story of the tour: A Ghost in the Library Harris Scarfe’s city store sat on this site previous to the current Rundle Place building.
The Harris Scarfe’s building was constructed in 1917 and, in an unfortunate accident, a concrete worker fell into the foundations as they were poured. He was sucked down into the mix, suffocating, and crushing him at the same time. It was deemed too difficult and risky to save the worker, and after the concrete had set, too expensive and labour intensive to remove his body – so he was left in the foundations.
In 2012, McMahon Services was engaged to demolish the previous building and construct the new one you see today. As part of their plan, they decided to recycle as much of the original building materials as possible.
The old steel, glass and concrete were stored, crushed or melted, and reused in the construction of the present building. Including the concrete in which the worker had died.
So the remains of that worker, that was previously in the foundations, can possibly be found across the entire building today, and perhaps, that explains one of the hauntings associated with the building … but perhaps, more interesting, and relative to the city library is another more modern death.
In the 1970s, Harris Scarfe’s had a sports section on level three, and within that section was a department selling guns. In 1975, a man entered the store, went to the gun counter and asked to look at a gun. He loaded it with his own bullets, then in front of staff and customers, put the barrel
against his head, and shot himself dead.
The store was on level three, the same level that the City Library now sits on. Is it a coincidence that a black shadowy figure is sometimes reported whisking along the hallways towards the elevators today, in the general vicinity that a black shadowy figure was seen whisking along aisles when Harris Scarfe’s stood here previously?
Lifts are also said to be haunted in Rundle Place, just as they were reported haunted in the old Harris Scarfe’s building. Are the ghosts that haunted the former building, lingering in the new building?
In an interview in the Advertiser in 2011, a former employee of Harris Scarfe’s named Rod stated the following:
“I’ve been here at two o’clock in the morning, by myself, and the goods lift would start-up and just go by themselves,” “You’d see them drop to the second flor, you’d hear the door open, you’d hear footsteps and then the lift comes back down to the basement and you’re thinking ‘well, I know I’m the only one here’.”
You can find the City Library at Level 3, Rundle Place, Rundle Mall (Enter via Francis
St – off Rundle Mall or via Da Costa Arcade) The Adelaide Ghosts and Ghouls Walking
Tour, a different way of seeing Adelaide!
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 was awarded 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 13 2018
© Allen Tiller