SPOOKY SPOTS: Most haunted places in Heritage City

MARYBOROUGH is known for its haunted homes and eerie experiences.

So, where are the most haunted places in the Heritage City?

Here we take you through the history of one of Queensland's oldest settlements - and the ghosts that haunt her to this day.

Criterion Hotel. Wharf Street. Images around Maryborough in Queensland. Pics Tim Marsden
Criterion Hotel. Wharf Street. Images around Maryborough in Queensland. Pics Tim Marsden

The Criterion Hotel

It's no wonder psychics and ghosthunters have visited this haunted hotel, hoping to connect with spirits from the other side.

People who have worked at the hotel have many spooky stories from after hours, when revellers have gone home, the music is turned off and the place is quiet.

The odd noises reported include the sound of children playing and footsteps running up and down the hallways.

Owner and resident DJ, Brendan Heit shared his spooky experiences with the Chronicle.

One night Brendan heard an unnerving noise that sounded like someone trying to open the locked door - even though he was the only person in the building.

The sounds made him nervous at first, but now he's used to them.

Mary Heritage (Carmel Murdoch) in front of Maryborough City Hall with Open House banners.
Mary Heritage (Carmel Murdoch) in front of Maryborough City Hall with Open House banners.

Maryborough City Hall

Maryborough's Carmel Murdoch isn't spooked by much.

But she admits she's felt something on the stairwell at Maryborough City Hall that made the hair stand up on the back of her neck.

Ms Murdoch led the city's ghost tours for years and she used to describe herself as a sceptic.

She's felt and seen enough now to make her a believer.

Most troubling is the ghost on the stairs, believed to be a woman who was the matron at the police barracks.

The woman had a reputation for being a bit of a demon, Carmel said.

A woman mentioned feeling as though someone had run past her on the stairs one day and Carmel said she often felt there was someone there as well.

She often walks backwards down the stairs so she doesn't have to turn her back to the ghostly presence.

Staff have heard footsteps in the empty building and Ms Murdoch has seen pictures wobble on the walls.

Horse-drawn hearses once stopped to unload coffins in the historic mortuary chapel at the Maryborough cemetery.
Horse-drawn hearses once stopped to unload coffins in the historic mortuary chapel at the Maryborough cemetery.

Maryborough Cemetery

Maryborough Cemetery is a hot spot for paranormal activity.

People have described seeing a woman in white walking past the headstone of Maryborough doctor David O'Connell, who died in 1887.

The woman is believed to be his wife Ethel, who became the matron of the Maryborough Hospital after his death.

Ethel adopted a little orphan boy after the death of her husband, but he too was destined to have his life cut short, dying of gastric fever.

Ethel died soon after.

For years afterwards, staff and patients would say they had seen a woman in white holding the hand of a little boy, popping her head in to check everything was OK - just as Ethel would do when she was alive.

Maryborough's Custom House Hotel.
Maryborough's Custom House Hotel.

Custom House Hotel

Back in Wharf St, there's plenty of ghosts to go around.

Former Chronicle editor Nancy Bates tells the tale of a Japanese student who was staying at the Custom House Hotel.

One evening, two young girls came into his room and started playing.

When he asked them to leave, they disappeared through the wall.

He refused to stay in the room after that.

A staff member also had a frightening experience at the hotel while working late one night.

They had just wiped down the bar when they returned to find child-sized handprints in the area they had cleaned.

Maryborough's historic Engineers Arms Hotel.
Maryborough's historic Engineers Arms Hotel.

Engineers Arms

During a ghost tour of the hotel, a man came downstairs and told the tour operator, Ms Murdoch, he was having trouble breathing.

He said he had walked into a room upstairs and had gone completely cold.

Then he felt like someone had him in a bear hug.

Ghostly Tours and Tales of the Port of Maryborough. Ghost sightings were re-told by the flickering light of candles and warm glow of kerosene lantern at Rosehill homestead. travel tourism qld
Ghostly Tours and Tales of the Port of Maryborough. Ghost sightings were re-told by the flickering light of candles and warm glow of kerosene lantern at Rosehill homestead. travel tourism qld

Rosehill Homestead

Part of Maryborough's ghost tour for many years, the Tinana heritage home saw its share of loss over the years.

Its former owner, Trisha Moulds, said she had never seen a ghost at the property, but others had mentioned seeing things.

The house was built in 1859 and the Eaton family moved in.

A year later they celebrated the double wedding of two of their daughters at the property.

Also in 1860, Governor George Bowen, the first Governor of Queensland, attended a ball held in his honour.

Tragically one of their daughters would later die at the house, having given birth to twins hours earlier.

"I feel she might be one of the ones still hanging around," Mrs Moulds said.

Baddow house – Martin Simons at the original front entrance of Baddow house.
Baddow house – Martin Simons at the original front entrance of Baddow house.

Baddow House

Now owned by Fraser Coast Tourism and Events general manager Martin Simons, Baddow House has a reputation for being haunted.

The grand old home was part of the city's ghost tours for years and is still regularly shown at open home and garden events.

Maryborough's Baddow House was built in the 1880s by Edgar Aldridge, a prominent settler in our district.

Edgar arrived in the village of Wide Bay, as Maryborough was then known, in 1848, built himself a small bark hut and promptly made his fortune.

By the early 1880s, he was affluent enough to build his "dream home" - a sprawling, two-storey, Georgian-style, English country house with grand rooms, soaring ceilings, an abundance of cedar joinery and six magnificent fireplaces.

Mr Aldridge passed away in 1888 but the home remained in the family until the bank foreclosed on the property in 1912.

Esse Aldridge, the daughter of the Aldridge heir, was said to be so devastated at leaving the house that she wiped her tears on the walls, and her presence is said to haunt the building's great cedar staircase.

From slamming doors, to people refusing to enter, it definitely has a spooky past.

Patrick Mackenzie welcomes one and all to Mavis Bank, the 20 room home built in 1874 which will be open for viewing on Open House Day. Photo: Robyne Cuerel / Fraser Coast Chronicle
Patrick Mackenzie welcomes one and all to Mavis Bank, the 20 room home built in 1874 which will be open for viewing on Open House Day. Photo: Robyne Cuerel / Fraser Coast Chronicle

Mavis Bank

The Maryborough home has been the scene of terrible loss, giving the house its unique reputation as one of the most haunted places in Maryborough.

One of its occupants drowned in Ululah Lagoon while walking home from a pub and another was shot in the arm, had the limb amputated then died of shock.

According to Ms Murdoch, a woman on the ghost tour had experienced terrible arm pain while inside the house but once outside, she quickly recovered.

Ms Murdoch also described phones sometimes being unable to take photos while in the house.