Tag Archives: kapunda

Shades of Black – Book

Shades of Black

A collection of poetry, prose and short stories written by award-winning historian and paranormal investigator Allen Tiller over three decades. This collection includes many previously unpublished original works written by Allen in his early twenties.

Buy Shades of Black here:

Red Triangle Day – WWI

Red Triangle Day

In an effort to raise money for Australian soldiers overseas during World War One, the Y.M.C.A (Young Men’s Christian Association) began the Red Triangle campaign in 1917.
The campaign spanned all of Australia and rolled out through South Australia over many months.

In Adelaide, the Adelaide Citizens Committee became involved in the fund-raising effort and through the dedication of 700 female volunteers, raised over two and half thousand pounds in one day on May 24th, 1917.
This was achieved by closing off sections of Rundle Street and Gawler Place and holding a market. A procession of troops, bands and decorated cars also added to the atmosphere of the day.

As the State began to embrace the Red Triangle Day appeal, it was decided that its official “day” would be August 31st across the State.

A gala day was held in Mount Barker in August 1917, which became an all-night fund-raising event held at The Mount Barker Town Hall.

Kapunda celebrated Red Triangle Day on September 1st, 1917. The Kapunda celebration featured a button unique to their celebration, which is extremely rare and collectable today.

Peterborough (then known as Petersburg) celebrated in September 1917, proudly supported by the Burra Ladies Band. This was the first time a “Lady’s Band” had ever played a concert in Peterborough. This led to large crowds gathering in the Town Hall later in the day to hear the ladies sing, while local ladies sold pins and flowers to raise money for the Y.M.C.A.

Stansbury, on the Yorke Peninsula, celebrated Red Triangle day with a fete on August 31st, 1917.

Through the cooperation of the State War Council, The Minister of Education and the Children’s Patriotic Fund a fund-raising competition in South Australian schools raised money for the Y.M.C.A. Red Triangle Day appeal. The reward for the winning school was a large banner proclaiming their effort and the honour of knowing they were supporting the Australian war effort overseas.

The Red Triangle appeal carried over into 1918, with Unley, in June 1918, being canvassed with a door to door sale of a unique Red Triangle pin created for the day. A small gathering of locals also attended a small musical show at the Unley City Hall headquarters. 

In May 1919, Red Triangle Day continued in Port Pirie with a football match between the Smelter Imperials and the Y.M.C.A.

The August 1917 appeal in Australia raised £159,037 28 (that’s around $14,198,000 in today’s money).

Researched and written by Allen Tiller © 2018

References

1917 ‘RED TRIANGLE DAY’, The Mount Barker Courier and Onkaparinga and Gumeracha Advertiser (SA: 1880 – 1954), 3 August, p. 2. , viewed 30 Dec 2018, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article147702293
Advertiser (Adelaide, SA: 1889 – 1931), Saturday 21 July 1917, page 8
1917 ‘Y.M.C.A. WAR WORK’, Daily Herald (Adelaide, SA: 1910 – 1924), 1 August, p. 8. , viewed 30 Dec 2018, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article124859553
1917 ‘RED TRIANGLE DAY’, Daily Herald (Adelaide, SA: 1910 – 1924), 2 August, p. 3. , viewed 30 Dec 2018, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article124859820
1917 ‘THE COUNTRY.’, The Register (Adelaide, SA: 1901 – 1929), 4 August, p. 5. , viewed 30 Dec 2018, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article60466404
1917 ‘RED TRIANGLE DAY APPEAL’, Chronicle (Adelaide, SA: 1895 – 1954), 4 August, p. 34. , viewed 30 Dec 2018, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article87607153
1917 ‘Advertising’, The Mail (Adelaide, SA: 1912 – 1954), 4 August, p. 3. , viewed 30 Dec 2018, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64042545
1918 ‘ONLEY RED TRIANGLE DAY.’, Daily Herald (Adelaide, SA: 1910 – 1924), 8 June, p. 4. , viewed 30 Dec 2018, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article124550031
1919 ‘RED TRIANGLE DAY.’, Recorder (Port Pirie, SA: 1919 – 1954), 28 May, p. 2. , viewed 30 Dec 2018, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article95415489
1917 ‘RED TRIANGLE DAY.’, Petersburg Times (SA: 1887 – 1919), 5 October, p. 3. , viewed 30 Dec 2018, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article109504664

Ghosts of the Barossa: The North Kapunda Hotel

North Kapunda Hotel

The North Kapunda Hotel was built in 1848 by the North Kapunda Mining Company. ‘The Northern Arms Hotel’ as it was then called, was a small single-story hotel situated on Franklin Street Kapunda, the first publican was a man named John Bickford.

 

James Crase: 1879 – Photo SLSA: B76601

In the early 1850’s the hotel was sold to a local butcher, James Crase. Mr Crase was a wealthy local man with big dreams for the town of Kapunda. He also had big plans for his newly purchased hotel. His first step in changing the hotel was a rebranding from the Northern Arms Hotel to The Garland Ox Hotel.

 In 1865, Crase invested heavily in his hotel, expanding the basement area, and building the second story of the hotel, which also linked the previously built miners quarters at the rear (now referred to as the “Hallway From Hell”, but once known as the Bachelors Hall).
  The new hotel featured the most expensive kitchen in Australia at the time, located in the basement, which now also had living quarters and a rainwater tank. Upstairs now contained a living area for the Crase family, a new meeting room known as The Commercial Room, and hotel and display rooms for travelling salesmen. Crase also built a new two-story building at the rear of the hotel that could house banquet dinners and roller skating, as well as a small bowling alley.
 Mr Crase sold the hotel in the early 1880’s, but not after dealing with much controversy, with members of his staff caught selling alcohol outside of hours, prostitution, and gambling in his establishment.
 Later owners were also caught doing similar things, and in 1923, under the ownership of Mr Pearce, the hotel lost its liquor licence for a year. To survive, the downstairs and rear accommodation served as a brothel.
Basement North Kapunda Hotel 2009:
Photo by WISPA  Paranormal

 The Hotel has seen numerous deaths in its 165 plus years of service, including scissor grinder Martin Jansen who choked to death in the ground floor Parlour.
 Henry Binney Hawke, a very well respected man in Kapunda, who died in the billiard room of the hotel after suffering a heart attack.
 Joseph Caddy, a local music teacher and a politician who died of natural causes in an upstairs bedroom.
 In 1912 Mr Henry Fairclough, publican of the hotel for 14 years became very ill, and by November of that year had been confined to his bed as his condition worsened. On Monday 17 November 1912, Henry Fairclough lost his battle with illness and passed away in the upstairs bedroom he shared with his wife.
 Dennis Horgan, was publican of the hotel from 1913 until 1919, then again in 1925. Horgan died from a heart attack in the hotel in December 1925 in an upstairs room he shared with his wife.
 Other deaths reported include that of servants, at least two young prostitutes, a travelling salesman, and at least 3 young children.

 The North Kapunda Hotel was featured in the 2000 Documentary “Kapunda: Most Haunted Town in the Western World”, in episode 7 of Haunting: Australia, and in 2015 gained international attention when tourism website Travel MSN listed it as the 8th most haunted bar or pub in the world!
The hotel has numerous ghost stories, too many to cover here – so here are a few of my own personal experiences from investigating and visiting the hotel from 2009 until now.
Ghostly fingers across a guests face in 2015
(date in photo is incorrect)

I had many ghostly experiences in the hotel after tours and on private investigations, but the most memorable for me happened one night after a tour. As the last guests were leaving. Karen and I were doing our “after-tour” walkthrough, to lock up the hotel and make sure no-one had been locked inside. As I went to close the tour room door, I turned and saw a young girl, I would estimate around 7 years old, standing in the hallway looking at me.

 She didn’t appear “ghostly”, she looked like a real little girl, except her clothing was very old, much like a pinafore, similar in style to the clothing actress Shirley Temple would’ve worn near the beginning of her movie career. My first instinct was that someone’s child from downstairs had somehow gotten upstairs.
 The girl suddenly turned and ran towards room 1, a room we have now dubbed “The Nursery Room”. I quickly followed, knowing she was trapped as I had just locked from the outside the only other exit door to the rooms she was running toward. I made my way down the hallway, into the Nursery Room, the Dressing room and back into the Drawing room, to find no-one in there at all. I checked the windows, locked from the inside, I checked under the bed, nothing.
  This ghostly young girl did not glow, she was not misty, nor did she have any of the other attributes we associate with spirits or ghosts. She looked as real as my wife who was waiting for me at the top of the stairs in case the girl came back that way – it was an unusual encounter, but not the last time I would encounter this little girl.
 The Nursery Room proved to have other spirits. One spirit manifested and was witnessed by a young man, who during the evening, had thought it would be funny to jump out and scare other tour guests,

An apparition of a boy in the basement. Some claim pariedolia,
but later photos show the boy in a different position.

little did he know, the spirits were about to do the same to him.

 As he came into the Nursery Room the back way through the Drawing Room, he stepped through the threshold of the Nursery Room door and witnessed a partially manifested spirit of a woman standing behind the door. This young man had been sceptical all night, but this incident changed his whole perspective.
 It was also in this room a man was groped by a ghost on the backside, which also happened to another gentleman in the Hallway to Hell, one of the flirtatious prostitute spirits perhaps?
The Commercial Room on the first floor also proved to have several spirits, although these ones are passive, and at least one seems to be a residual haunting and not an intelligent haunting. It was in this room the tours originally started, and on one tour, a guest pulled me aside to let me know a man had been standing next to me the whole time I had been speaking. She described him as wearing a suit, about the same height as me, very thin, and amused and puzzled as to why I was standing in the hotel talking about ghosts.
 It was in this same room on another night, a young woman witnessed the spirit of a man, standing in the far corner facing the wall, looking rather morose and staring at an old tapestry that has hung on the wall for over a century.
 Another spirit was that of a man who has been witnessed standing in front of a window looking out into the Main Street below, transfixed by what he was looking at. In his right hand, he was continuously opening and closing a pocket watch chained to his inner pocket.
 On a tour, a young lady who went into the Commercial Room and witnessed this apparition, but it wasn’t until she entered the front bar and saw the mural of Sir Sidney Kidman it dawned on her who she had just seen!
(Video by Paranormal Spectrum – used with permission)

During the filming of Haunting: Australia, paranormal guru Gaurav Tiwari and I set up several ghost hunting devices given to us by Jason Dickson of Apparition Technologies. We placed REM Pods (a device that emits an electromagnetic field from an aerial, that if a spirit comes close to, will set off a warning alarm and coloured lights) as well as voice recorders, EM Pumps (a device that emits a very strong electromagnetic field thought to attract spirits) and Vibration Detectors in the downstairs hallway basement, a large side room that was once bedrooms, originally for the cooks, but eventually used by prostitutes.

 Whilst standing in the basement, a room once used to store dead bodies, kegs of rum and kegs of beer, we began to ask if there was anyone present who wished to communicate with us. It didn’t take long to get an answer. I was standing where I could see into the downstairs hallway to watch if the lights on any of the devices were turning on, all of the sudden, I saw a young girl, no more than 7 years old, walk into the dimly lit hallway, and into the doorway of the room Gaurav and I were standing in!
  Without hesitating (or thinking) I chased after her to find out who she was. She ran into the hallway and turned left into the arched hallway that led to the former basement bedrooms, an old decrepit room with damaged floors and no ventilation. Gaurav was following quickly behind. There was nowhere for the girl to escape too, but she was not to be found in the room.
 Whilst standing in the room, we noticed a small window that looks into a smaller room, which in turn has a doorway back into the hallway. Gaurav noticed some movement, so we ventured back into the hallway. At this point, the cameraman’s batteries failed so he radioed back to central control to get a go-fer to bring down a fresh battery for him.
As he did this, Gaurav who had turned to look back into the bedrooms noticed a large shadow jump across a doorway, which startled him enough to drop a few swear words! We re-entered the room, whilst Mick, our cameraman waited in the hallway, just as we entered the bedroom, Mick heard our REM pods going off and thinking it was the runner with the battery turned to say thanks, only to notice no-one there!

In the next few minutes, things really picked up. Gaurav and I raced into the hallway to see all our REM Pods and Vibration meters lit to full, every light in the basement, including our torches and camera lights suddenly drained completely and we were left in total pitch black. At the same time, Mick got a call over his headset to get the hell upstairs as the producers thought Ray may have had a heart attack in the Hallway to Hell.

 The three of us, in pitch black, found our way out of the basement hallway, and onto the stairs that lead back up to the ground floor hallway, only to find the metal bar doors locked. Just as we got to the top we saw Field Producer Lucy Connors and a camera crew walking backwards. Ian and Rayleen passed us supporting Ray and were heading into the beer garden. I tried the metal-bar door again, and suddenly it unblocked, and we were free of the basement!
 We followed them outside not knowing exactly what had happened.
 Ray was very pale and did not look good, he was crying and slouched over. Ian performed an exorcism on him. Ray was vomiting and pale and looked very unwell, but not long after Ian started his exorcism, Ray suddenly looked a lot better, got up, and left the beer garden to go back into the break area and away from the hotel.
 As Ray left, Rayleen was very suddenly and very vocally saying the Lord’s Prayer at break need speed, as she was overcome with whatever had just left Ray. Gaurav performed a cleansing ritual on her, and soon she too left to go into the break room and recover, with Ian following closely behind to make sure they were both OK.
 This left Gaurav, Robb and me standing in the beer garden wondering what had just happened. Without hesitation, Robb told Gaurav and I to go upstairs and find out what was going on.
Considering neither of us are psychics, it probably wasn’t the smartest move, but we’re paranormal investigators, right? Fearless to the end and go where Angels fear to tread. To lighten the very heavy feeling the hotel now had upstairs, Gaurav and I began to crack jokes about just how tough and manly we are. We then entered The Hallway to Hell, which felt very different from how it did earlier in the night, much more foreboding, but much more “alive”.
 It took only a few seconds for things to start to happen, within minutes of being in the hallway I witnessed a full-bodied apparition of a woman dressed in a period dress that I could only describe as from the “Victorian” era. The Dress was black and lacy, the woman was very white in the face, red full lips, but had a very sad look to her demeanour. She walked backwards into room 11, and I released a number of swear words in disbelief of what I was seeing with my own eyes!! (the edit on television was a few seconds, in reality, my swearing probably went for a few minutes).
In the next half-an-hour, Gaurav and I experienced 3 gunshot sounds, they were clear and very, very loud. The first, in room 11, was right after seeing the mysterious woman disappear into the room, it

came from the air in the centre of the room and echoed throughout the room. I suggested later during our reveal filming at the Old Kapunda Courthouse, that the noise may not have been a gunshot at all but could have been the sound of what psychics and mediums call a “portal” snapping closed as the spirit returned to her own realm.

 We heard the next shot only a few minutes later in room 12, which is the room in which Ray was partially possessed and fell to the floor. At the time we didn’t realise his voice recorder was still in the room recording. Later we would find out Ray had captured an EVP of someone saying, “hates blue eyes”, it also contained the gunshot sound we heard in the room.
 As we re-entered the hallway, I heard footsteps, so we turned to look in the direction they came from, as we did so, a stone was thrown at us. Next, we entered room 13, where we thought the footsteps had gone, only to hear another, and the loudest of the gunshot noises for the evening.
 This is also around the time Gaurav took a photo that he claimed later, looked like a shadow person standing on the stairs leading out of the hallway. In the reveal, I declare that I cannot see what he was talking about, and I honestly could not at the time see anything resembling a person in his photo, but a few months later, after filming, I would see for myself a shadow person in the Hallway to Hell right where Gaurav had claimed to capture his photo.
 As a side note, the Haunting Australia episode featuring The North Kapunda Hotel rated first place on Foxtel as the most viewed show the night it was broadcast, beating “The Walking Dead” and other popular shows – so on behalf of all of the cast – thank you to each and every person who watched the episode and supported the show.
Another very important thing that happened whilst filming Haunting: Australia which was never aired, occurred to my wife Karen and to “psychic bad-boy” Ian Lawman. Ian was in the basement under the front bar when psychically he picked up on a poker game being played.
  He described the gentleman running the game and even got his name and a few attributes associated with him. My wife worked in the hotel in 2009, and knew the name of the person as a former publican, but didn’t know anything about him. So, Karen made a phone call to her former boss who ran the hotel in 2009 and asked her if she knew anything about this man, who was named “Charlie”. As it happened, she did know him, and confirmed everything Ian said, even down to his description, his dog and the poker games!
Karen was subsequently interviewed as a witness for the show, in a portion that would have confirmed Ian’s psychic abilities, that was for reasons unknown to the cast, entirely cut from the episode, which was a great loss for the viewers as it would have proved that Ian does actually have psychic ability (even if he is a scaredy cat and runs from some of the ghosts!)
I may at some point reveal more about ghostly goings on in the North Kapunda Hotel, perhaps in a book.

Researched and written by Allen Tiller © 2019

MEGAscene

MEGAscene

I’ve written articles for several magazines over the years, but the longest continual series of articles I have written is in South Australia publication, MEGAscene, published on ISSUE by Rising Sun Media.
 MEGAscene first published in September 2015 and is a predominately music based photographic magazine, but also covers other events, and for a little twist, has included an article written by me about a haunting, ghost or other paranormal topic, each issue.
 I thought it might be a good idea to post links to the SA Paranormal articles I have written for MEGAscene, here on this blog, as most you wont find anywhere else online.
So here they are!:
Issue 1:SA Paranormal – An introduction to Allen Tiller, and paranormal stories in South Australia. (Sept 2015)
https://issuu.com/risingstarmedia/docs/megascene_issue_1_final/34
Issue 2:Kapunda – an introduction to Australia’s most haunted town. (Oct 2015)
https://issuu.com/risingstarmedia/docs/megascene_issue_2/38
Issue 3:The Old Adelaide Gaol – South Australia’s most haunted location (Nov 2015)
https://issuu.com/risingstarmedia/docs/megascene_issue_3/54
Issue 4:Martindale Hall – Clare – A historic haunted mansion in the Clare Valley (Jan 2016)
https://issuu.com/risingstarmedia/docs/megascene_issue_4/32
Issue 5:Highercombe Hotel – Tea Tree Gully Heritage Museum (Mar 2016)
https://issuu.com/risingstarmedia/docs/megascene_issue_5/54
Issue 6:The National Railway Museum – Port Adelaide (April 2016)
https://issuu.com/risingstarmedia/docs/megascene_issue_6/54
Issue 7:Cornucopia Hotel – Wallaroo (June 2016)
https://issuu.com/risingstarmedia/docs/megascene_issue_7
Issue 8:“The Haunted Boy” Paintings (sometimes known as the “Haunting Boy”) (Sept 2016)
https://issuu.com/risingstarmedia/docs/megascene_issue_8/32
Issue 9:The Cornwall Hotel – Moonta (May2017)
https://issuu.com/risingstarmedia/docs/megascene_issue_9/46
Issue 10:The Old Mount Gambier Gaol (Aug. 2017)
https://issuu.com/risingstarmedia/docs/megascene_issue_10/44
Issue 11:The Royal Arms Hotel – Port Adelaide (March 2018)
https://issuu.com/risingstarmedia/docs/megascene_issue_11/56
Issue 12: Ayers House – North Terrace Adelaide (July 2018)
https://issuu.com/risingstarmedia/docs/megascene_issue_12/54
Issue 13: Adelaide Ghosts & Ghouls Walking Tour (Sept 2018)
https://issuu.com/risingstarmedia/docs/issue_13_of_megascene/32
Issue 14:The British Hotel – Port Adelaide (yet to be released at the time of writing this blog)


You can also find MEGAscene on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/megasceneoz/
Happy reading!

The Australian Fat Boy


The Australian Fat Boy

 In 1861 the rear ballroom of the North Kapunda Hotel became the show room of a curiosity which in that era, was a novelty, but by today’s standards is nothing out of the ordinary.

A young man named William Abernethy was “on display” in Kapunda, touring Australia, after a successful tour of the United Kingdom, promoted by his Father James Abernethy.

The North Kapunda Hotel

 Young Master Abernethy was billed overseas as “The Australian Marvel” or sometimes as “The Giant Youth”but more often, in an environment that had no “politically correct” argument, he was billed as “The Australian Fat Boy”.

  William was born in Brisbane and at 9 years old he had reached proportions not normally seen in the mid 1800’s. At nine years of age William measured 1.5M (4′ 10′) tall, he measured 40.6cms (16”) around the arm, 124.5cms (49”) around the waist, 86.4cms (34” ) around the thigh and 53cms (20.5” ) around the knee.

He was described in one newspaper as having “all the appearance of being in good health, and manages to walk and move about without the least difficulty.”

 By the time William had reached 15 years old, not long after his “levee” in Kapunda, he had reached a whopping 125Kg’s (25 stone).

Only a few years later he would retire from the public sideshow business. William lost most of his weight as he got older and eventually lived an obscure life away from the public eye, passing away in the early 1900’s

The Australian Fat Boy


The Australian Fat Boy

 In 1861 the rear ballroom of the North Kapunda Hotel became the show room of a curiosity which in that era, was a novelty, but by today’s standards is nothing out of the ordinary.

A young man named William Abernethy was “on display” in Kapunda, touring Australia, after a successful tour of the United Kingdom, promoted by his Father James Abernethy.

The North Kapunda Hotel

 Young Master Abernethy was billed overseas as “The Australian Marvel” or sometimes as “The Giant Youth”but more often, in an environment that had no “politically correct” argument, he was billed as “The Australian Fat Boy”.

  William was born in Brisbane and at 9 years old he had reached proportions not normally seen in the mid 1800’s. At nine years of age William measured 1.5M (4′ 10′) tall, he measured 40.6cms (16”) around the arm, 124.5cms (49”) around the waist, 86.4cms (34” ) around the thigh and 53cms (20.5” ) around the knee.

He was described in one newspaper as having “all the appearance of being in good health, and manages to walk and move about without the least difficulty.”

 By the time William had reached 15 years old, not long after his “levee” in Kapunda, he had reached a whopping 125Kg’s (25 stone).

Only a few years later he would retire from the public sideshow business. William lost most of his weight as he got older and eventually lived an obscure life away from the public eye, passing away in the early 1900’s

Kapunda’s First International Celebrity – Mickey Pynn


The Australian Tom Thumb – Mickey Pynn

 In 1870, traveling circus and sideshows were one of the main forms of entertainment for the citizens of the world, including those who lived in rural South Australia.

 We in South Australia would often gather together to watch the entertaining magic shows of Mr Vertelli, or a passing circus, but every so often we would be gifted with the presence of a international act, such as “General Tom Thumb” (real name: Charles Sherwood Stratton ) from the USA, who had just come from successful live shows in England.

 General Tom Thumb had achieved international stardom as a side show act for P.T. Barnum, Circus Pioneer throughout the US and Europe, and came to Australia to perform, including Kapunda.

 It was his exclusive trip and side show act in Kapunda that brought Kapunda local lad, Mickey Pynn to the forefront, and made him Kapunda’s first international celebrity.

Mickey Pynn lived with his family just south of Kapunda, where the hill rises near the Greenock road turn off the House still stands

Mickey Pynn – SLSA: B57230

today)

 A family member, or perhaps a family friend seeing an opportunity to make some money from Mickey’s condition, held an “exhibition” of Mickey in The Miners Arms Hotel, owned by William Tremaine (My own Great-Great Grandfather).

 The exhibition caught the attention of General Tom thumb who asked to meet young Mickey and was astounded that he was almost a full two inches shorter than him.

 This led to Mickey being hired by the company that the U.S. Tom thumb had established (a very lucrative company, that would eventually bail out P.T. Barnum when financial strife almost collapsed his circus empire). Mickey would soon be travelling the world as a Circus midget and sometimes side show act under various names including “The Afghan Dwarf” and “The Australian Tom Thumb”, but this did not stop him from performing here in South Australia, nor in Kapunda.

In fact, “The Australian Tom Thumb” performed on occasion with his good friend John Morcom, better known as Magician “Vertelli”

 In an early career show that starred Mickey and Vertelli in The North Kapunda Hotel, it was written by a newspaper correspondent in the Kapunda Herald and Northern Intelligencer (March 3rd 1871) the following:

“The diminutive Tom Thumb is a pleasing simple little fellow, whose greatest feat is to scratch his head like a bear with his toes his knees being kept straight during this interesting operation. He is said to be 17 years of age, not deformed, rather of a serious turn of mind, and has a look of great gravity previous to turning a somersault. If the Signor could induce a beard and whisker to grow, be would be a decided hit, and might put.”the General” into the shade—being some inches shorter.”

 It is written elsewhere that Mickey’s life contained many ups and downs over the years, but it would seem he often struggled with his inner demons, and took to drink, as attested in the following two stories in Sydney newspaper “The Evening News” in 1906, the stories being published only months apart:

Evening News: Sydney: Monday 3 September 1906

DWARF IN COURT.

‘What has he been, doing?’ asked Mr. Smithers, S.M., at the Central Police Courtthis moraine. The magistrate’s query had reference to Michael Pynn, 53, described on the sheet as anacrobatic dwarf. The offence against him was that of being drunk and disorderly on Saturday evening in George-street. ‘He was running after women, and catchinghold of them’ said the sergeant, looking severely at the little man in the dock. ‘He has been locked up^ since Saturday.’”He was here on Saturday morning for being drunk,’ said a policeman.

Solicitor: He should be let off with half the usual fine your Worship

 ‘ The dwarf, who stood a little over 3ft high, was fined 5s.”

Evening News – Sydney Wednesday 31 October 1906

A SMALL OFFENDER.

“The name of Michael Pynn was called at the Central Police Court this morning, and a man of 57 . years, but of diminutive stature, answered the call. He was so little that his head did not reach to within 2ft of the top of the dock rail.

 Pynn looked between the rail at the magistrate, and in a loud tone pleaded guilty to acharge of being drunk in Castlereagh street.

‘He has been coming here frequently, lately, saw police prosecutor Davis. ‘He goes about the street, and ‘shapes’ up -to men 6ft high, twice his own height. A short sojourn in gaol would do him good, and keep him from giving way entirely to drink.’  Pynn, it was ascertained, sometimes gives the police trouble, and on Tuesday it needed the united forces of Constables Lambert and Hardiman to convey, him to the lock-up. A fine of 20s, or 14 days, was imposed.”

 In his later years, Mickey retired to Sydney where he saw out his last days, firstly in Lidcombe in a men’s home, where it was reported his “appetite is vigorous, though rheumatism affected his walk”.

 Soon he moved to a different home in Liverpool, one with immaculate gardens, and better conditions for this once sought after entertainer. Attendants of the Men’s Home spoke well of Mickey saying “He was always ready to do what little hecould about the place, and amuse the other inmates with his “double jointed” tricks”

 Kapunda’s first international celebrity, Mickey “The Australian Tom Thumb” Pynn passed away on the 22 of June 1929 in Sydney NSW.

Kapunda’s First International Celebrity – Mickey Pynn


The Australian Tom Thumb – Mickey Pynn

 In 1870, traveling circus and sideshows were one of the main forms of entertainment for the citizens of the world, including those who lived in rural South Australia.

 We in South Australia would often gather together to watch the entertaining magic shows of Mr Vertelli, or a passing circus, but every so often we would be gifted with the presence of a international act, such as “General Tom Thumb” (real name: Charles Sherwood Stratton ) from the USA, who had just come from successful live shows in England.

 General Tom Thumb had achieved international stardom as a side show act for P.T. Barnum, Circus Pioneer throughout the US and Europe, and came to Australia to perform, including Kapunda.

 It was his exclusive trip and side show act in Kapunda that brought Kapunda local lad, Mickey Pynn to the forefront, and made him Kapunda’s first international celebrity.

Mickey Pynn lived with his family just south of Kapunda, where the hill rises near the Greenock road turn off the House still stands

Mickey Pynn – SLSA: B57230

today)

 A family member, or perhaps a family friend seeing an opportunity to make some money from Mickey’s condition, held an “exhibition” of Mickey in The Miners Arms Hotel, owned by William Tremaine (My own Great-Great Grandfather).

 The exhibition caught the attention of General Tom thumb who asked to meet young Mickey and was astounded that he was almost a full two inches shorter than him.

 This led to Mickey being hired by the company that the U.S. Tom thumb had established (a very lucrative company, that would eventually bail out P.T. Barnum when financial strife almost collapsed his circus empire). Mickey would soon be travelling the world as a Circus midget and sometimes side show act under various names including “The Afghan Dwarf” and “The Australian Tom Thumb”, but this did not stop him from performing here in South Australia, nor in Kapunda.

In fact, “The Australian Tom Thumb” performed on occasion with his good friend John Morcom, better known as Magician “Vertelli”

 In an early career show that starred Mickey and Vertelli in The North Kapunda Hotel, it was written by a newspaper correspondent in the Kapunda Herald and Northern Intelligencer (March 3rd 1871) the following:

“The diminutive Tom Thumb is a pleasing simple little fellow, whose greatest feat is to scratch his head like a bear with his toes his knees being kept straight during this interesting operation. He is said to be 17 years of age, not deformed, rather of a serious turn of mind, and has a look of great gravity previous to turning a somersault. If the Signor could induce a beard and whisker to grow, be would be a decided hit, and might put.”the General” into the shade—being some inches shorter.”

 It is written elsewhere that Mickey’s life contained many ups and downs over the years, but it would seem he often struggled with his inner demons, and took to drink, as attested in the following two stories in Sydney newspaper “The Evening News” in 1906, the stories being published only months apart:

Evening News: Sydney: Monday 3 September 1906

DWARF IN COURT.

‘What has he been, doing?’ asked Mr. Smithers, S.M., at the Central Police Courtthis moraine. The magistrate’s query had reference to Michael Pynn, 53, described on the sheet as anacrobatic dwarf. The offence against him was that of being drunk and disorderly on Saturday evening in George-street. ‘He was running after women, and catchinghold of them’ said the sergeant, looking severely at the little man in the dock. ‘He has been locked up^ since Saturday.’”He was here on Saturday morning for being drunk,’ said a policeman.

Solicitor: He should be let off with half the usual fine your Worship

 ‘ The dwarf, who stood a little over 3ft high, was fined 5s.”

Evening News – Sydney Wednesday 31 October 1906

A SMALL OFFENDER.

“The name of Michael Pynn was called at the Central Police Court this morning, and a man of 57 . years, but of diminutive stature, answered the call. He was so little that his head did not reach to within 2ft of the top of the dock rail.

 Pynn looked between the rail at the magistrate, and in a loud tone pleaded guilty to acharge of being drunk in Castlereagh street.

‘He has been coming here frequently, lately, saw police prosecutor Davis. ‘He goes about the street, and ‘shapes’ up -to men 6ft high, twice his own height. A short sojourn in gaol would do him good, and keep him from giving way entirely to drink.’  Pynn, it was ascertained, sometimes gives the police trouble, and on Tuesday it needed the united forces of Constables Lambert and Hardiman to convey, him to the lock-up. A fine of 20s, or 14 days, was imposed.”

 In his later years, Mickey retired to Sydney where he saw out his last days, firstly in Lidcombe in a men’s home, where it was reported his “appetite is vigorous, though rheumatism affected his walk”.

 Soon he moved to a different home in Liverpool, one with immaculate gardens, and better conditions for this once sought after entertainer. Attendants of the Men’s Home spoke well of Mickey saying “He was always ready to do what little hecould about the place, and amuse the other inmates with his “double jointed” tricks”

 Kapunda’s first international celebrity, Mickey “The Australian Tom Thumb” Pynn passed away on the 22 of June 1929 in Sydney NSW.

Kapunda – “The Hallway To Hell”


Kapunda – “The Hallway To Hell”
 
Interior of the Hallway to Hell – photo by Karen Tiller
If you’ve heard the term “Hallway to Hell” then most likely, you’ve seen Haunting: Australia episode 7: The North Kapunda Hotel, an episode that almost didn’t happen. Originally the production company was looking towards Western Australia for two episode, but when I proposed South Australia, particularly the Adelaide Arcade and Kapunda, the most haunted town in Australia, they changed their minds and went with local knowledge and a hometown story.
 If you didn’t hear about the Hallway, through Haunting: Australia, then maybe you heard about due to the Ghost Crime Tour that Karen and I brought to Kapunda. The majority of ghost tour companies in this State were too scared to touch Kapunda after all the controversy with the Warwick Moss documentary that aired in 2001, and the unaired documentary that was filmed a few years later – let me tell you, the townsfolk still haven’t forgotten who was involved!
 
 Karen and I knew that there was a right way to introduce the town to having a ghost tour, so we set up a meeting between the owners of GCT and the  Light Council, and got the ball rolling. We then invited townsfolk to see what it was all about, we introduced donations to help repair the damaged cemeteries, and slowly, the Kapunda Ghost Crime Tour was not only accepted by the Kapunda Community, but local business began to see a knock on effect from tourism.
 During our time as tour guides, Karen and I entertained Government Ministers, tourists from England who had seen the TV show, visitors from Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, and right across Australia. We did our best to keep it factual, entertaining and spooky, and to promote the town that everyone forgets!

 No-one is quite sure what year this wing of the North Kapunda hotel was built, but it is estimated to be somewhere between 1848 and 1855. It may have been earlier than 1848 though and built as part of the workers accommodation around the town by the North Kapunda Mining Company. The same company built the original structure that became the North Kapunda Arms Hotel, that in 1865, Mr Crase would build his new hotel around, and reopen as the North Kapunda Hotel.
Behind the scenes photo of Haunting: Australia – photo Karen Tiller
 The downstairs section of the hallway in 1865 contained the first official office of the newly formed Kapunda Council, until they moved to bigger premises on the Clare Road. There were also two large, ornate rooms used by Jenkins and Coles bursars who dealt with the horse sales that were held at the rear of the hotel.
During the late 1880’s, the upstairs section of the hallway was known as “The Bachelor’s Hall”, the following is a poem penned about it by one of its inhabitants 
Bachelor’s Hall.
By H. C
. DODGE.
Hurrah ! hurrah for Bachelor’s Hall;
The Queen’s away and I’m monarch of all;
I don’t have to hang up my coat or my hat,
And when I get lonely I talk to the cat.
I come when I like, and I go when I choose.
The finest cigars help me scatter the blues;
 No bundles I carry and nothing I buy;
There’s no one to care about-only big “I”
 I revel in wildest confusion around;
There isn’t a thing in its place to be found;
 My books and newspapers, they litter the room
That’ hasn’t for weeks seen the sight of abroom.
There’s clothing or something on everychair;
My bed’s never made, but it’s little I care;
I sleep like a top, for there’s no one tocall
I take solid comfort in Bachelor’s Hall.
I’ve used all the dishes and now it’s myfate
To eat, when I’m home, on the back of aplate;
I’m learning to cook, but, alas. I confess
I choose to go hungry than, swallow themess.
But, Bachelor’s Hall with its comfort andquiet,
Is almost too spooky for regular diet;
No children live in it to welcome theirdad,
No supper is waiting, no wife-O, so glad.
No! Nothing but ghosts of the loved onesaway
Inhabit this tomb where alone I must stay,
Compelled to break silence by having achat
With my woeful companion, the strange acting cat.
O, gladly I’ll yield my crown sceptre andall
The Kingly delights of a Bachelor’s Hall
To the Queen of the Home when she comeswith her train
To wisely and lovingly over me reign.
First Published in The Kapunda Herald – Tuesday 7 August 1888, page 6
The Bachelor’s Hall saw its own scandal in the 1885 when three of its inhabitants found themselves facing the magistrate at the Kapunda Courthouse for disturbing the peace.
 Murray Thomson, Robert Anderton and James Shakes Jnr. Faced the magistrate on May 12th, with Thomson and Anderton represented by Mr Glynn, and Shakes represented by Mr Benham.
 The men had been charged because someone had been firing guns in Franklin Street at about 10 past three in the morning.
Exterior – Hallway To Hell – Kapunda – photo: Allen Tiller
 The evening of the event, many people had been in town to see the bellringers entertainment, and had then retired to the North Kapunda Hotel for a supper put on by Mr Crase, which included entertainment including sing-alongs and speeches. The bar itself was closed, but the party went on in the commercial room and on the balcony.
 More than 125 gun shots were heard in Franklin Street in about a 10 minute time frame. The police tried to frame the defendants as being the guilty parties, but witnesses declared they had seen Mr Thomson in a room upstairs, light a candle and look out the window in his night clothes at the ongoing disturbance below.
 Mr Shakes wasn’t even within the town boundaries when the incident happened, so the case fell apart, instead, the Magistrate went after Mr Crase, under the guise of the act happening outside his hotel, he would be responsible for the people there. Mr Benham quickly shot down this argument as Mr Crase was entertaining upstairs privately, and may not have known who these people were, nor had they been inside his hotel drinking.
 The case was eventually thrown out of court.
Interior – Hallway to Hell – Kapunda – photo: Karen Tiller
 Interestingly though, the story that circulated through the town was slightly different to the story that surfaced in court. It would seem a number of young men had been drinking in the hotels, and had gone to the bellringers event. After the event they began walking the town trying to entertain themselves. 
 About 15 of these young men were heard in Main Street, and were asked to move on by William Thomas when they congregated in front of his bookshop, it was within the next hour the gun shots occurred in Franklin Street, which may have come about because these young men were refused entry in the North Kapunda Hotel.

Kapunda – “The Hallway To Hell”


Kapunda – “The Hallway To Hell”
 
Interior of the Hallway to Hell – photo by Karen Tiller
If you’ve heard the term “Hallway to Hell” then most likely, you’ve seen Haunting: Australia episode 7: The North Kapunda Hotel, an episode that almost didn’t happen. Originally the production company was looking towards Western Australia for two episode, but when I proposed South Australia, particularly the Adelaide Arcade and Kapunda, the most haunted town in Australia, they changed their minds and went with local knowledge and a hometown story.
 If you didn’t hear about the Hallway, through Haunting: Australia, then maybe you heard about due to the Ghost Crime Tour that Karen and I brought to Kapunda. The majority of ghost tour companies in this State were too scared to touch Kapunda after all the controversy with the Warwick Moss documentary that aired in 2001, and the unaired documentary that was filmed a few years later – let me tell you, the townsfolk still haven’t forgotten who was involved!
 
 Karen and I knew that there was a right way to introduce the town to having a ghost tour, so we set up a meeting between the owners of GCT and the  Light Council, and got the ball rolling. We then invited townsfolk to see what it was all about, we introduced donations to help repair the damaged cemeteries, and slowly, the Kapunda Ghost Crime Tour was not only accepted by the Kapunda Community, but local business began to see a knock on effect from tourism.
 During our time as tour guides, Karen and I entertained Government Ministers, tourists from England who had seen the TV show, visitors from Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, and right across Australia. We did our best to keep it factual, entertaining and spooky, and to promote the town that everyone forgets!

 No-one is quite sure what year this wing of the North Kapunda hotel was built, but it is estimated to be somewhere between 1848 and 1855. It may have been earlier than 1848 though and built as part of the workers accommodation around the town by the North Kapunda Mining Company. The same company built the original structure that became the North Kapunda Arms Hotel, that in 1865, Mr Crase would build his new hotel around, and reopen as the North Kapunda Hotel.
Behind the scenes photo of Haunting: Australia – photo Karen Tiller
 The downstairs section of the hallway in 1865 contained the first official office of the newly formed Kapunda Council, until they moved to bigger premises on the Clare Road. There were also two large, ornate rooms used by Jenkins and Coles bursars who dealt with the horse sales that were held at the rear of the hotel.
During the late 1880’s, the upstairs section of the hallway was known as “The Bachelor’s Hall”, the following is a poem penned about it by one of its inhabitants 
Bachelor’s Hall.
By H. C. DODGE.
Hurrah ! hurrah for Bachelor’s Hall;
The Queen’s away and I’m monarch of all;
I don’t have to hang up my coat or my hat,
And when I get lonely I talk to the cat.
I come when I like, and I go when I choose.
The finest cigars help me scatter the blues;
 No bundles I carry and nothing I buy;
There’s no one to care about-only big “I”
 I revel in wildest confusion around;
There isn’t a thing in its place to be found;
 My books and newspapers, they litter the room
That’ hasn’t for weeks seen the sight of abroom.
There’s clothing or something on everychair;
My bed’s never made, but it’s little I care;
I sleep like a top, for there’s no one tocall
I take solid comfort in Bachelor’s Hall.
I’ve used all the dishes and now it’s myfate
To eat, when I’m home, on the back of aplate;
I’m learning to cook, but, alas. I confess
I choose to go hungry than, swallow themess.
But, Bachelor’s Hall with its comfort andquiet,
Is almost too spooky for regular diet;
No children live in it to welcome theirdad,
No supper is waiting, no wife-O, so glad.
No! Nothing but ghosts of the loved onesaway
Inhabit this tomb where alone I must stay,
Compelled to break silence by having achat
With my woeful companion, the strange acting cat.
O, gladly I’ll yield my crown sceptre andall
The Kingly delights of a Bachelor’s Hall
To the Queen of the Home when she comeswith her train
To wisely and lovingly over me reign.
First Published in The Kapunda Herald – Tuesday 7 August 1888, page 6
The Bachelor’s Hall saw its own scandal in the 1885 when three of its inhabitants found themselves facing the magistrate at the Kapunda Courthouse for disturbing the peace.
 Murray Thomson, Robert Anderton and James Shakes Jnr. Faced the magistrate on May 12th, with Thomson and Anderton represented by Mr Glynn, and Shakes represented by Mr Benham.
 The men had been charged because someone had been firing guns in Franklin Street at about 10 past three in the morning.
Exterior – Hallway To Hell – Kapunda – photo: Allen Tiller
 The evening of the event, many people had been in town to see the bellringers entertainment, and had then retired to the North Kapunda Hotel for a supper put on by Mr Crase, which included entertainment including sing-alongs and speeches. The bar itself was closed, but the party went on in the commercial room and on the balcony.
 More than 125 gun shots were heard in Franklin Street in about a 10 minute time frame. The police tried to frame the defendants as being the guilty parties, but witnesses declared they had seen Mr Thomson in a room upstairs, light a candle and look out the window in his night clothes at the ongoing disturbance below.
 Mr Shakes wasn’t even within the town boundaries when the incident happened, so the case fell apart, instead, the Magistrate went after Mr Crase, under the guise of the act happening outside his hotel, he would be responsible for the people there. Mr Benham quickly shot down this argument as Mr Crase was entertaining upstairs privately, and may not have known who these people were, nor had they been inside his hotel drinking.
 The case was eventually thrown out of court.
Interior – Hallway to Hell – Kapunda – photo: Karen Tiller
 Interestingly though, the story that circulated through the town was slightly different to the story that surfaced in court. It would seem a number of young men had been drinking in the hotels, and had gone to the bellringers event. After the event they began walking the town trying to entertain themselves. 
 About 15 of these young men were heard in Main Street, and were asked to move on by William Thomas when they congregated in front of his bookshop, it was within the next hour the gun shots occurred in Franklin Street, which may have come about because these young men were refused entry in the North Kapunda Hotel.