October continues to decompose, entering its final festering week, dragging with it the fetid corpse of Halloween. In this, the penultimate of his sinister series detailing the devilish haunts of Australia, the East Coast Car Rentals Writing Wraith ambles and shambles his way along the crooked path to cursed Victoria. Having given himself nightmares after his scary sojourns to awful Adelaide, shocking Sydney and bone-chilling Brisbane, the Writing Wraith rises again to take you on a terrible tour to monstrous Melbourne. Australia's sickening Second City is one of the oldest in the country, so it naturally plays host to a number of old, crumbling buildings, ancient pathways and that staple of prime ghost real estate, the abandoned jail. Locate your hire car, grip your weakening torch once again and feel your way through the haunted halls of Melbourne…
Old Melbourne Gaol
It's become something of a theme to feature old prisons with a chequered, nasty history in the Writing Wraith's guide to supernatural Australia, and he'd like to say that Melbourne is different, but it'd be sacrilege to leave out Old Melbourne Gaol. Like Adelaide, Sydney and Brisbane before it, the Old Melbourne Gaol revels in a grim, foreboding atmosphere with a dark past, but this time, one offers something a little different – a celebrity ghost. That's right, famous outlaw and perhaps the best known Australian of all time, Ned Kelly, was hanged at the Gaol in 1880, so be sure to bring your autograph book if you're lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the ghostly gunman.
Constructed to house some of Australia's deadliest criminals, Old Melbourne Gaol cuts a sombre silhouette out in the Melbourne suburbs. Counting 132 official executions throughout its operation (plus many other deaths brought on by the terrible conditions and guard/inmate brutality) the building is allegedly home to a gallery of wandering souls, including that of Elizabeth Scott, the first woman to be hanged in Victoria. Keeping the ghosts company are disembodied voices, an apparently frequent occurrence, so brush up on your conversation skills.
Ned Kelly's death mask, cast just moments after the rope drew tight, is displayed at the Gaol museum. You can take a ghost tour when night falls over the Old Melbourne Gaol – remember to bring a pen, as we're sure old Ned would be only too happy to give you a squiggle (if he could hold a pen, that is).
As one of Melbourne's biggest tourist attractions, Victoria Market is vibrant with life during the day, as crowds of people pack the stalls in the search of the best deal or freshest fish. At night, though, the market becomes deserted, and an eerie sense of another world descends with the darkness. Melbourne is an old city, and Victoria Market was built over the first cemetery to reach capacity there – a staggering 9,000 of the deceased lie in eternal rest underneath the concrete. The founder of Melbourne, the brilliantly named John Batman, is among them, allegedly still leading scores of his former people from beyond the grave when the light gets low.
Accessible throughout the day and night, Victoria Market is one of the largest open air markets in the Southern Hemisphere, covering a huge area, with masses of vendors selling anything and everything that you can think of. Just remember those lying underfoot when you're buying your pound of bacon…
The Princess Theatre, a fantastically ornate building and perhaps the most beautiful in Melbourne, is said to be haunted by an amicable ghost named Federici, an opera tenor who died whilst performing in a production of 'Faust.' On the opening night of any new play, a seat in the dress circle is left empty for him, and it is said signify good luck if the singer's wandering soul is seen before a performance.
The Princess Theatre is well worth a visit, regardless of spooks or spectres. Over 150 years old and one of the most spectacular examples of the architecture of the time, it's an iconic venue and one which should feature highly on your list of sights to see as you take in Melbourne in one of East Coast Car Rentals hire vehicles.