Tag Archives: Cross Keys Tavern

An Alleged Haunting at the Cross Keys Tavern – Gepps Cross

An Alleged Haunting at the Cross Keys Tavern – Gepps Cross


SLSA: 1936 – B 31821
The Cross Keys Tavern was established in 1849 on the corner of Diagonal and Port Wakefield Roads. It was built to serve a large local Irish community that had built a community close by; the remnants of which are barely visible today.
Daniel Brady was the original builder. Brady was the seventh son of Daniel Brady of County Cavan, Ireland, who arrived in Australia in 1840, and took up farmlands near Snowtown.
 Daniel Brady Junior was educated at Seven Hills St Aloysius College, and was one of the very first settlers in Cavan, South Australia.
In 1873, Joseph Broadstock, who was once the owner of 1857 built, The Governor MacDonnell Hotel in Salisbury, at the end of John Street, bought the Cross Keys Tavern but didn’t last a year at the site before he sold it.
 The Cross Keys has been marred with controversy over the years. In 1850, Catherine Conarty was drinking wine at the bar when another local, Rose Reid entered swearing and accusing Conarty’s son of stealing a pole-yoke (a wooden or metal beam used to allow two animals to pull the same load).
 Conarty’s reply to Reid was that it was men’s business, and to let them sort it out.
Reid didn’t let up with her verbal assault, so Conarty threw her drink in Reid’s face, grabbed a metal quart pot, and started smashing Reid around the head with it, eventually taking her to the floor and knocking her out.
Catherine Conarty was fined £3, in the local courts with the Judge stating: “The fine is a lenient one. The quart pot might have caused death.”

 Another scandal erupted at the Cross Keys Hotel in 1923 when publican John Mulcahy was shot in the forehead.
  Mrs Mulcahy explained in her witness statement to police, that she had been in her room cleaning on the second floor when she heard a gunshot. She ran to her husbands’ room where she found him lying on the bed, covered in blood, and a revolver on the floor.
  Further depositions revealed the shot had been fired at 2 o’clock. A woman’s scream was heard almost immediately, then Mrs Mulcahy had run downstairs to get the help of the barman.
  While Mrs. Mulcahy bathed her husband’s wound, Mr Dadliffe, accompanied by Mr Klein, a commercial traveller, who happened to be on the premises, went in the latter’s car to the Gepp’s Cross Police Station, and told Constable Sessle what had occurred. He notified police headquarters, who sent Detective Dayman and Constable Bristowe to investigate.
 Dr Swift was summoned, and the wounded man, after receiving attention, was taken to the Adelaide Hospital.
  Mr Mulcahy had been shot in the forehead, the bullet passed just above the bridge of his nose, and penetrated down under his right eye, lodging near his ear. The bullet was later removed successfully in the Adelaide Hospital.
 Mrs Violet Jane Mulcahy was later found not guilty by a jury of her peers.

On the 12th of August 1915, Mary Rowe was found her dead in her bedroom, upstairs in the Cross Keys Tavern.

A woman is alleged to have killed herself in the front room above the bar but as of yet, this information remains unsubstantiated.

 A former manager of the hotel has told me they would often see the spirit of a woman, “dressed in white”, breeze down a hallway through the hotel towards the lounge room where she would swing the doors open, then vanish from sight.
Another ghost is thought to be a man who was shot in the head, he is seen upstairs from time to time. Could this man be Mr Mulcahy, returned in the afterlife to one of the most emotional times in his life? A point in time where he almost died?
Have you had a paranormal experience at the Cross Keys Tavern in Gepps Cross? Let us know via our facebook page

Researched and written by Allen Tiller © 2019

1923 ‘ATTEMPT TO MURDER.’, Recorder (Port Pirie, SA : 1919 – 1954), 19 July, p. 1. , viewed 05 Mar 2019, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article96039094

1923 ‘CROSS KEYS HOTEL SENSATION.’, The Express (Adelaide, SA: 1922 – 1923), 30 May, p. 1. (5 O’C EDITION), viewed 05 Mar 2019, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article210979006

1923 ‘SHOOTING MYSTERY’, Daily Herald (Adelaide, SA : 1910 – 1924), 26 May, p. 4. , viewed 05 Mar 2019, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article106695521