Historic: Lismore
The glowing memorial cross at North Lismore during the 1980's. Photo The Northern Star Archives
Historic: Lismore The glowing memorial cross at North Lismore during the 1980's. Photo The Northern Star Archives The Northern Star Archives

8 most haunted places on the Northern Rivers

HAUNTED houses can be fun on Halloween, but what about real haunted places?

Check out some of the places on the Northern Rivers with the best spooky stories.

1. Fenwick House, Shaws Bay, Ballina

It's a majestic and mysterious old building, and one which has certainly kept Ballina residents talking over the years.

It was built by Captain Thomas Fenwick in 1886.

Like any old house, it has its fair share of ghost stories - though none of them proven.

Apparently you can sometimes smell a woman's perfume wafting from room to room, while others have reported "shadows" flitting across the upstairs hallway, and others have reported strange noises accompanied by things inexplicably moving around, alarms going off for no reason and doors opening without anyone there.

Another rumour is that there was a tunnel from the basement of the house through to the other side of Missingham Bridge, which Captain Fenwick used to sneak supplies to the house.

 

Fenwick House at Shaws Bay in Ballina. Photo Cathy Adams / The Northern Star
Fenwick House at Shaws Bay in Ballina. Photo Cathy Adams / The Northern Star Cathy Adams

 

Fenwick House at Shaws Bay in Ballina. Photo Cathy Adams / The Northern Star
Fenwick House at Shaws Bay in Ballina. Photo Cathy Adams / The Northern Star Cathy Adams

2. Shaws Bay Hotel, East Ballina

While 'The Shawsy' isn't believed to be outright haunted, a strange occurrence a few years ago had people talking of ghosts.

In 2015, footage was posted by staff at the establishment which shows a strange shape captured on CCTV at the hotel which many believed might've been the ghost of "Little Sarah".

Little Sarah was the daughter of Captain Thomas Fenwick, who built the historic and notoriously spooky Fenwick House next door to the Shaws Bay Hotel in east Ballina.

Sarah Fenwick was seven months old when she died in the manor in 1887.

Records have not revealed how the baby girl died, who is buried at the Ballina Pioneer Cemetery.

Following her death, one of Captain Fenwick's steamships was named in her honour in 1893, but was wrecked off Richmond River Heads in March, 1900.

 

The Shaws Bay Hotel ghost.
Photo Contributed Facebook
The Shaws Bay Hotel ghost. Photo Contributed Facebook Contributed

3. Ballina Manor

This historical building is old enough to have plenty of tales - it was built in the early 1900s.

A tripadvisor Australia review from 2012 reads: "Yes, the building has lots of history and old world charm but strangely we did not feel at ease the moment we walked in. We love staying and stayed in many heritage hotels but never felt like this before. The interiors are rather dark and oppressive and later in the evening we felt a strange presence in the room. Later we found that it was built on a former church site and is haunted."

 

Ballina Manor's restaurant BMR on Norton is the premier in Ballina for all functions.
Ballina Manor's restaurant BMR on Norton is the premier in Ballina for all functions.

4. Casino Courthouse

In 2015 staff and renovation workers told how they thought a paranormal presence, dubbed John, was responsible for "strange happenings" at the Walker St building constructed in 1882.

The Northern Star reported then acting registrar Mike Cleaver said in his 10 years of working at the Walker St building, things would go missing or were moved from time-to-time, but the "funny things" had escalated since the renovations at the time.

John's paranormal interactions "freaked out" some people, Mr Cleaver said, reporting lights flickering or turning on, to doors locking by themselves, and workers' tools going missing.

Ghost Hunters of Australia founder Rick Burden had been investigating paranormal reports for more than 16 years at the time The Northern Star contacted him and was intrigued by the haunting.

Mr Burden said he has been shown John's face - who didn't "know he (was) dead" - and thought he had died in the building.

"Sounds like a lot of cool things happen there," Mr Burden said.

"He is also very frustrated as no one is communicating with him - 'everyone is ignoring me'."

Casino Local Court staff named the spirit after a former registrar who died in the building decades beforehand.

But later that year in August 2015, a Casino builder came forward and said he believed the ghost haunting the town's historic court house may be that of his great, great grandfather, former Magistrate Henry Garrard.

 

Casino courthouse has been the scene of many ghostly happenings for many years according to acting registrar Mike Cleaver.
Photo Rodney Stevens / The Northern Star
Casino courthouse has been the scene of many ghostly happenings for many years according to acting registrar Mike Cleaver. Photo Rodney Stevens / The Northern Star Rodney Stevens

5. Old Lions Park, Lismore

Legend tells on a windless night people would see the old swings in Lions Park moving on their own, before hearing the screams of a child.

There are a few versions of this online - telling of either a young boy or girl dying after slipping off the swing which swung back and killed the child when it hit her in the head.

The child's ghost is reported to have stayed in the park since then.

Travel blogger Andy Thorpe of Travelling Type said he had found an old entrance to the park.

"I heard twice the faint but very audible call of a small child, uttering a sound like 'mama'," he wrote.

"I'm not sure if it was an earthly child, but no children were about."

There have been pictures over time from the park depicting unclear 'ghostly' shadows, and others have said they've seen the swing move alone and heard screams, cries and whistling.

 

A still shot taken from an iPhone inside the old Lions Park in Lismore late at night
A still shot taken from an iPhone inside the old Lions Park in Lismore late at night Contributed

6. Tulloona House, Goonellabah

It has been a home, a church, and a bed and breakfast in its many incarnations since 1895, and there have always been rumours it was haunted.

Owners in 2011 Sue and Michael Dakin previously told The Northern Star when they moved in "there was definitely some sort of entity haunting the place".

At the time, Sue said: "It gave off a terrible smell. In one of the fireplaces, I saw this really evil-looking face. It didn't go away 'til Michael took to it with a chisel."

"I'm a sceptic," Michael added, "but the smell was so strong it made your blood run cold and your imagination run wild."

Residents have reported "haunting noises and screams" when staying there overnight.

 

restorer Sue Dakin has put Tulloona House on the market after doing extensive restorations to restore the heritage listed Lismore icon. Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star
restorer Sue Dakin has put Tulloona House on the market after doing extensive restorations to restore the heritage listed Lismore icon. Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star Marc Stapelberg

7. Byron Bay Lighthouse

This iconic lighthouse has some stories to tell.

One of those is of 'Scottish Gus', who was locked up to look after the Byron Bay Lighthouse - and his ghost still haunts the building to this day.

 

SOLD Feature - Byron Bay Lighthouse as viewed from Wategoes.
SOLD Feature - Byron Bay Lighthouse as viewed from Wategoes. Marc Stapelberg

8. Glowing Cross, North Lismore Cemetery

Unexplained Australia (online) tells: "In 1907 a young railway worker died on the job going above and beyond the call of duty trying to stop a runaway train with his bare hands he was flung to ground critically injured.

"His family erected a stone cross monument made of Balmoral Granite in the local Lismore cemetery.

"Prophetically according to its inscription eleven years later the Cross began to glow."

The gravestone of William Steenson reportedly began to glow around 1918, and while residents were familiar with the phenomenon it reached a much wider audience in 1978 with The Northern Star's article.

It became known as the "Ghost on the Hill" and reports say children would dare one another to go to the gravestone but many were scared stiff by the ordeal.

Others have said to have seen "spirits walking around" in the graveyard.



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