Monthly Archives: June 2021

Lost Churches of South Australia: New Maughan Church

 Lost Churches of South Australia:
New Maughan Church
New Maughan Church 2012

After the demolition of the former Methodist New Connexion Church in 1963, a new church was built on the same site.
  In 1965, to much fanfare, the New Maughan Church was opened. It included a neo-gothic revival style church designed by Brown and Davies, the new Radio City headquarters of 5KA, 5AU and 5RM.
[1] The Salvation Army band played at the opening with three choirs and two thousand worshippers present. A procession also features the South Australian Governor, 30 clergymen of different denominations, including Catholic and Protestant, all dressed in the finest robes. The festivities were broadcast live on 5KA.[2]

 The neo-gothic church was distinctive for its folded copper plate roof that formed a 24-sided “crown” atop a steel-framed octagonal form. It also had a redbrick tower at the corner of the site. The building had been deemed one of South Australia’s most nationally significant examples of 20th-century design by the Australian Institute of Architects, South Australian Chapter.[3]
  The City of Adelaide Heritage Survey in 2009 stated of the building, “a notable and prominent example of contemporary Gothic architecture which is rare in South Australia and unique in the city centre.”[4] 

  Despite this, in 2016, provisional heritage protection on the neo-gothic New Maughan Church was revoked by the Labor Government. This allowed the historic church and former Radio City buildings to be demolished. 

In their place a new twenty-story edifice was constructed, named ‘Uniting Communities’. The new building features apartment buildings for people with a disability, a retirement village and space for conferences and worship. It opened in 2019.

To view stunning photos of the church during its demolition, please visit Autopsy of Adelaide here:

Researched and written by Allen Tiller ©2020

[1] Donovan & Associates, City of Adelaide Heritage Survey: 2008–2009 Volume One, (2009), pp.31-2.

[2] Transmission, vol 1, no 13, (July 1962), p. 1.

[3] Rick Goodman, Wreckers tear down historic Maughan Church in Adelaide CBD, The Advertiser, (14 August 2016),

[4] Josh Harris, Vertical retirement village to be South Australia’s greenest building, ArchitectureAU, (15 February 2018),

Lost Churches of South Australia; Methodist New Connexion Church


Lost Churches of South Australia;
Methodist New Connexion Church.

Methodist New Connexion Church
1915: SLSA:[B 4340]

In June 1864, the Adelaide Express newspaper reported that Reverend Maughan’s New Connexion Church was nearing completion.[1] The Methodist New Connexion Church was officially opened on 19 December 1864.
It was situated on the corner of Franklin and Pitt Streets.

The South Australian Weekly Chronicle published a description of the newly completed Church:

The church, which was erected from the designs and under the superintendence of Mr. James Macgeorge, is a building which, in its exterior aspect may almost be said to represent a new era in ecclesiastical architecture in Adelaide.

The church, which was erected from the designs and under the superintendence of Mr. James Macgeorge, is a building which, in its exterior aspect, may almost be said to represent a new era in ecclesiastical architecture in Adelaide.

  Hitherto church buildings, if of the ordinary rubble and brick, have been stuccoed in resemblance of stone, or at all events the brick has been used in such a way as to show that no effect or prominence was intended to be given to it as brickwork.
  In the new structure in Franklin-street, however, quite a different idea has been followed. The materials – brick and stone – are not only used without any disguise, but are disposed in a manner highly ornamental, both as to form and color, the recessed and fretted doorways displaying many beautiful combinations of ornamental brick exemplifying the former, and suggesting: the almost endless variety which may be obtained in this style of structural ornamentation; and in point of color the brick finishing’s throughout, relieved against the neutral tints of the walls, give a pleasing and satisfactory chromatic effect. 

 The spire is carried up entirely in brick, the mortar used being of a blue color, and bands of firebrick are introduced, which enliven its appearance, and harmonize with the cut stone windows of the front. The principal front is towards Franklin-street, with an entrance tower and spire in the centre, 20 feet square at the ground, and rising to a height of more than 100 feet. The tower doorway is beautifully executed in brick, with columns at the sides (to be finished with carved stone capitals), and in the upper part of the tower there Is a circular window, filled with stone tracery of elegant design; and above the tower, at the base of the spire there are four pinnacles, one at each angle, and between each pair of pinnacles a traceried window for lighting the spire, and the spire itself is terminated by a copingstone, surmounted by a gilt finial and vane, forming an appropriate and beautiful termination to the whole.
 The front of each side of the tower shows a tall stone-traceried window, set in brick, arch, and jambe, and resting upon a brick string. The main building is 84 feet by 46 feet internal dimensions. The walls are of substantial thickness, varying from 3 feet, and nowhere less than 2 feet through. Each side of the building is divided into six bays or compartments by bodily projecting buttresses, the ornamental parts of which, as well as of the walls and windows between, are carried out in ornamental brick.

 The compartment next the front on each side is finished transpet like, with a tall gable and stone traceriel window, the steep pitch of which relieves the flatness of the main roof, and, together with the ornamental ridging and crosses on the gables, gives a pleasing variety to the sky outline, and the uniformity of slating is agreeably broken by the introduction of bands and patterns of ornamental slates. The same decorative construction has been applied to the rear of the building, the vestries having three two-light windows in the back elevation, and the wall is surmounted by an open brick parapet, and the roof, which is steep, finishing with a very ornamental ridging; and when seen from the rear the tout ensemble is as pleasing as that presented from any other point of observation. 

Entering the building we commence again at the tower entrance, which is 12 feet square inside and 20 feet high, having a cornice around the ceiling, and a floor of ornamental design in marble and tiles. We pass from the tower through an archway to a lobby, seven feet wide, ceiled, and divided by a screen wall from the rest of the church. At the extremes right and left there will be staircases to the gallery, which will ultimately be added. Folding doors open from the lobby to the church. The interior roof is divided into six compartments similar to the exterior by means of stained oak principals resting upon projecting hammer beams, and wall-posts resting upon enriched corbels between each pair of windows. A beautiful, enriched cornice rails the entire length of each side, corresponding in style with the projecting hammer-beams, and the ceiling is further subdivided into 38 panels by moulded purlines running transversely \’to the principals. 

The ceiling forms two inclined planes meeting in the centre ridge, from whence two gasaliers of double circles depend, and in the centre is placed a ventilating apparatus, which may be regulated at pleasure. The front and side windows are fitted with stained glass of varied and beautiful patterns, and the windows are finished with mouldings and enriched labels. The further or pulpit end of the church has a large centre arch and niche, with a circular traceried window, filled with coloured glass. On either side of the centre arch there is a smaller arch, the group of three, with their mouldings and pillared jambs, occupying the whole of this end of the church. In each side arch a door of very beautiful design communicates with the vestries. The platform and communion rail are of octagonal form, and occupy the recess of the centre arch, and project into the body of the church. They are executed in cedar, with carved newels, and traceried panels of beautiful design form the communion rail and arched and pillared front to the platform, surmounted by handsome fretwork; and an elegant lectern is in the place of a desk. 

The seats are particularly convenient and comfortable, attaining a just medium as to height, slope of back, &c., and the ends of novel design, having nothing to obstruct the view. In the side aisles the seats are inclined towards the platform, and at the end next the entrance there is a seat for the choir, and from the platform the floor rises slightly to the entrance-doors. The accommodation, exclusive of the gallery, is for 550 persons, allowing 20 inches to each. The church, when the end gallery is completed, will seat *00 persons at the same scale, without reckoning free seats. 

At the rear of the building there is a class-room 27 x 17, and minister\’s vestry, 17 x 11, both lighted with gas, and between the two is arranged belief and cold and hot water pipes, together with the requisite heating apparatus. Contrary to the usual plan, the work was not let in one contract but was subdivided into several contracts. Of the manner in which the work is carried out. there is no need to speak.

The work speaks for itself; and the result, in a pecuniary sense, must be highly satisfactory to the Trustees of the church, for the aggregate cost of the building- thus subdivided is some hundreds of pounds less than the Architect\’s estimate. Nor will the extras exceed the limit assigned by him when the work was let, namely, S per cent, upon the contract sum, £3,472. The structure reflects credit upon all concerned; upon the Trustees for their selection; upon the Architect for the elegant building- he has evolved from the materials at his disposal, and at a minimum of cost; and upon the contractors for the skill and attention they have bestowed upon the work. Ventilation is well provided for by means of openings in the windows at the eaves on both sides, and in the centre of the ceiling by four large tubes fitted with valves. Acoustically the building is perfect; it is easy to speak in, and there is not the slightest resonance or echo, and the lowest tones of the speaker are perfectly audible at the extreme end of the building. Probably the inclined form of ceiling- conduces greatly to this result, while it shows the adaptability of gothic architecture to yield this the most important qualification of an auditorium.\’

Prior to the completion of the Albert Tower spire on the Adelaide Town Hall, the spire of the Methodist Church was the highest point in the City of Adelaide between 1864 and November 1865.[2]

In 1888, the Methodist New Connexion Church merged with the Bible Christian Church. In 1900, the church became the Methodist Central Mission.[3]

In 1954, after an earthquake, it was feared the spire of the church would collapse. In high winds, bricks had begun to fall into the office area of 5KA and the Methodist Mission below. Pitt Street was cordoned off, and demolition crews were called in to remove the spire. This was the beginning of the end for the old church.[4]

The Church was demolished in 1863, with the New Maughan Church and Radio City building opening in 1865.

Written and researched by Allen Tiller © 2020

[1] \’HEADS OF INTELLIGENCE.\’, The Adelaide Express (25 June 1864), p. 2.

[2] \’COMPLETION OF THE ALBERT TOWER.\’, South Australian Register, (30 November 1865), p. 3.

[3] Maughan Church, Adelaide 1896 [PRG 631/2/474], State Library of South Australia, [Photograph], (10 May 2005), Maughan Church, Franklin St, Adelaide [B 4340], State Library of South Australia, [Photograph], (6 June 2005),

[4] \’CITY SCARE OVER SPIRE\’, News, (8 March 1954), p. 1.

A Haunting at the Supreme Court of South Australia


A Haunting at the 

Supreme Court of South Australia

Why would someone haunt the Supreme Court of South Australia? That is a question one could ask about any building, but a pertinent question after it came to light in January 2019, that the Adelaide Supreme Court was receiving changes to a proposed internal renovation due to a ghost!

The Adelaide Supreme Court was designed by Colonial Architect, R.G. Thomas. The building was constructed using Tea Tree Gully sandstone in 1869. The building was first used as the Local Court and Insolvency Court, then from 1873, it became solely the Supreme Court.[1]

 The building is part of a group of significant law buildings facing Victoria Square that also includes the Sir Samuel Way Court, the Magistrates Court, and the original Police Courts.[2]

 The Supreme Court of Adelaide has been home to some very notable South Australian’s including Sir Samuel Way, Sir Mellis Napier, Sir James Boucat, Sir Herbert Mayo, and Dame Roma Mitchell just to name a few. Another Judge, and the suspected ghost haunting the Adelaide Supreme Court, is Sir George John Robert Murray (1863-1942).
 Judge Murray was born at Magill, the son of Scottish pastoralists. He was educated at J.L. Youngs’s Adelaide Educational Institution, and attended the Royal High School, Edinburgh, Scotland.
[3] He returned to South Australia and attended St. Peter’s College, then the University of Adelaide. He obtained a scholarship for his outstanding marks, which allowed him to attend law school at Trinity College, Cambridge, UK.[4]

 Murray had a distinguished career, now only as a lawyer and Judge. He was appointed a Judge of the Supreme Court of South Australia in 1912. He also served as Chancellor for the University of Adelaide six times between 1916 and 1942. In 1916 he became the Chief Justice of South Australia. Murray also administered the government of South Australia, as the states Lieutenant Governor on numerous occasions in the absence of a Governor. In 1917, Murray was honoured with Knight Commander (KCMG), The Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George.[5]

Murray was seen by many as an austere and serious man. He never married, and instead lived with his unmarried sister, Margaret at the family estate, Murray Park at Magill (now the administrative building of University of South Australia, Magill Campus).[6]

Sir Murray died on 18 February 1942 following an operation for appendicitis. He was buried alongside his sister at St Georges Church of England Cemetery, Woodforde (near Magill).

 It was alleged in numerous newspaper reports, that during the renovations of the Adelaide Supreme Court in 2018-19 that a psychic-medium, brought in by construction company Hansen Yuncken, identified Sir George Murray as a resident ghost in the building.
 Construction workers had reported strange goings-on in the old building. Chairs had moved through the worksite of their own volition. Fire extinguishers, placed in areas of high risk, would be found in entirely different sections of the worksite far from where workers had placed the. I personally had contact from security guards who told me they had seen the spectre of a man walk through the building, his presence was solid enough that when he walked past motion-activated doors, they would open.
 Some staff became ‘spooked’ by the ghost, so the psychic was called on to investigate. It is claimed the psychic ran her hand over the proposed plans of the building and “felt a presence”. She spoke psychically to the spirit and later identified him via a portrait of Sir Murray. She stated that Sir Murray objected to the proposed seating rearrangement of where the Judges sat in courtroom 11.

A spokesperson for Hansen Yuncken stated:

\’Apparently she spoke to what she called the \’spirit\’, which was a Supreme Court Judge, Sir George Murray, who was a little bit annoyed that the layout of his courtroom had changed so he has been causing a little bit of mayhem.\’
The spokesperson went on to say; \’There might be a little bit of a design change to keep the judge happy. There may well be some things to accommodate his, shall we say, temper.\’

 Sir George Murray was the States Supreme Justice for 16 years and served at the courtrooms from 1912 until his death in 1942. Perhaps, it is justified that his presence is felt in the courts…


Researched and written by Allen Tiller © 2020

(Written for the publication; Haunted Adelaide)

[1]Adelaide Heritage, Supreme Court, National Trust of South Australia, (2019),

[2] Ibid.

[3]‘Death of Sir George Murray’, The Advertiser, (19 February 1942), p. 4.

[4]Alex C. Castles, \’Murray, Sir George John Robert (1863–1942)\’, Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, ANU, (1986),

[5]Peter Duckers, British Orders and Decorations, (Oxford 2009), pp. 26–27.

[7] Brittany Chain, $31 million Supreme Court renovations halted after medium declares the spirit of a dead judge is haunting the building – as plans are rearranged to ‘appease the ghost’, Daily Mail Australia, (20 Jan 2019),

A Haunting at the Railway Hotel Peterborough


A Haunting at the Railway Hotel Peterborough

The Railway Hotel is located at 221 Main Street Peterborough, South Australia. It is the third hotel built in the town, opening on 24 December 1891.[1]The first publican was W. Britten.[2]


Railway Hotel 2017 – Source: Bahnfrend CC:

   Sister Beth Ashley was a much-respected nurse. She had worked at the Royal Adelaide Hospital and at St Margaret’s Rehabilitation Hospital at Semaphore. It was while at St. Margaret’s that Ashely met an orderly named William Hyson. Hyson had come to South Australia from Tamworth, New South Wales. Ashley and Hyson had started dating, but after a short while, Ashley called off their relationship.[3]

 Ashley had become a nursing sister at the Peterborough Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital in South Australia’s mid-north. On March 21, 1949, Ashely received a phone call from Hyson telling her he was coming to Peterborough to see her. Ashley became upset and told him not to come or she would tell the police he was harassing her.

 The following day, March 22, at about 11:25am, Violet Revell, a housemaid at the Railway Hotel, heard two gunshots about 30 seconds apart. Revell reported to her boss, publican Sydney Coombe at about 11:50pm that a woman in an upstairs room was calling out for help. Coombe investigated room 5, and called out to the woman to open the door. She said, “I can’t open the door. I am shot.’ Coombe asked if anyone was with her, to which the woman replied, “Bill.”
Coombe called out for Bill to open the door, which the woman replied, “He can’t”.
Coombe phoned the police.

Mounted Constable E.H. Thom was first on the scene. He opened the door expecting to see evidence of a struggle, but there was none. Sister Ashley, lying on the bed, opened her eyes, and said to Thom, “I was here only two or three minutes when Bill shot me!”.

 Dr A.M. Myers was called. He found Hyson and Ashley both alive and had them rushed to the hospital. Hyson had taken a .22 pistol and shot Ashley, then turned the gun on himself. Hyson died of the self-inflicted wound at 2:15pm that day.[4]
 Ashley was still conscious when the doctor found her. She had a small wound in front of her right ear. Dr Myers decided to operate when condition improved, however, her bleeding was not under control, and she died at 5:40pm.[5]

The coroner, Mr J.S. Bennett ruled at an inquest into the deaths, that it was a murder-suicide by shooting.


   It is alleged, ever since this terrible tragedy, that the Railway Hotel is haunted. Witness’ claim that sometimes a ghostly silhouette of a person is seen in the upper windows of the hotel. Some people claim that they can feel a person sitting on them. Oddly, this happens in room 3, not room 5 where nurse Ashley was shot.[6]

Another ghost reported haunting this hotel is a child who plays in the kitchen.

It is said of the ghost in room 3, that some truckies have rented the room, and have left to sleep in the truck rather than wake up to the ghostly figure sharing the bed with them!

Researched and written by Allen Tiller © 2020

[1] ‘About the Railway’, Railway Hotel Motel Peterborough, (2020),

[2] Hoad, J. L., Hotels and publicans in South Australia 1836-1984, (Adelaide, 1984), p. 490.

[3] \’COUPLE DIE IN HOTEL\’, The West Australian, (23 March 1949), p. 6.,

[4] Nurse Died After Call For Aid, Brisbane Telegraph, (April 9, 1949), p. 8,

[5] \’Murder And Suicide Finding At Peterborough Inquest\’, Chronicle, (14 April 1949), p. 8. ,

[6] Marshall, Gordon de L & Shar, Richard, Ghosts and hauntings of South Australia, (Jannali, N.S.W., 2012), p. 251.


Erica Rita Ina Chaplin A.M.U.A., L.A.B.


Erica Rita Ina Chaplin A.M.U.A., L.A.B.

Erica Rita Ina Chaplin was born in Rose Park on 9 November 1898. Her parents were Frederick William Chaplain and Olive Page Chaplain (nee Churchett).[1]

 At seven years old Chaplin was identified as a proficient violin player. The Mail stated of her talents; “At that early period it was noticed that, without the presence of any of those objectionable elements of precocity which generally lead to nowhere, this little girl was gifted beyond the ordinary with musical temperament and natural aptitude.”[2]

At four years old, Erica appeared on stage with comedian and singer, Howard Vernon. Vernon was recognised worldwide for his performances of Gilbert and Sullivan musicals.[3]Her parents pushed Erica into learning piano, but she was drawn to the violin. In 1907, at the age of nine she entered a competition in Ballarat for children under twelve and won two gold medals.[4]

In 1911, Erica passed the advanced grading of the Associated Board. She won five scholarships and then won the distinction of being chosen for the English Elder Scholarship. The scholarship offered three years training at the Royal College of Music, London.[5]

However, Chaplin began to fall ill, and could not take advantage of the scholarship in London. She retired from public performance as her illness overcome her. In 1922, Erica Chaplin died of Tuberculosis at the age of 23, at her parents’ house at Victoria Avenue, Rose Park.[6]

 Miss Chaplin’s funeral was held at the Mortuary Chapel of the North Road Cemetery, overseen by Canon Jose on 31 October 1922.[7]

Researched and written by Allen Tiller © 2020

[1] Chaplin Family Records, (2013),

[2] \’MISS ERICA CHAPLIN\’, The Mail, (18 March 1916), p. 14.,

[3] Joan Maslen, \’Vernon, Howard (1848–1921)\’, Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,

[4] \’Obituary.\’, Chronicle, (4 November 1922), p. 16.,

[5] \’MISS ERICA CHAPLIN\’S CONCERTS.\’, The Register, (31 July 1920), p. 9.,

[6] \’Obituary.\’, Chronicle, (4 November 1922), p. 16.,

[7] \’Family Notices\’, The Journal, (30 October 1922), p. 1.,