Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Michael Magee – Adelaide's First Execution




Michael Magee – Adelaide's First Execution


May 2nd 1838 – The town of Adelaide was a buzz.
 In the park lands, just below the junction of Mills and Strangeways terrace, Adelaide’s first makeshift gallows, and old tree, was silently standing, waiting for a convict, to publicly lose his life for his crimes.

Michael Magee was an Irish born immigrant aged 25 years old when he was found guilty of his crime of willingly attempting to kill a man. That man was Mr Samuel Smart, the colony Sheriff.

Mr Smart had been sitting in his office on March 22nd 1838, busily writing reports, when two men, Magee, and another fellow named Morgan, burst through the door. Magee levelled a gun at Mr Smarts head, and without flinching fired. Magee, however, was not a good shot, and the bullet only nicked his ear and seared a line across his cheek.

Before Mr Smart had praised the Lord for his luck, his reflexes kicked in, and he stood and grabbed Magee's still hot gun from his hands, the men had a scuffle, and the two villains escaped – but not for long.
The alarm was raised, and Magee and Morgan were dually captured, tried, convicted and sentenced, in almost record time.
Morgan was sentenced to “Transportation for Life” and Magee to capitol execution.

There was much fuss in Adelaide at the sentence of Magee, no-one had been executed in the colony up until this point, and there was no State appointed “ Jack Ketch”(a name used during the period for the masked executioner)

The job of executioner was advertised for 5 pounds, and no-one came forward, it soon blew out to 20 pounds, and still no-one came forward. It was at this point that the State charter was checked and it was pointed out that the Colony Sheriff, if no other persons could be appointed, would have to carry out the ghastly deed. In this particular case, the Sheriff carrying out such a task on the person who had assailed him, would have been unseemly.

On the morning of the execution a large crowd had gathered at the aforementioned location, everyone was uncertain of who would be executing Magee.
A horse and cart was soon seen coming towards the tree, on the back a coffin, and sitting on top, Magee and a man dressed in an executioner mask, which barely hid his identity.
Magee, remained staunch throughout the reading of his crime, and his public display of his own death.
The event was huge an era before movies, television and the internet, and most of Adelaide, including women and children had come to watch, but no-one could foresee what was about to unfold before their very eyes.
Magee, standing before the throngs of people, confessed his guilt to the amassed audience, but vehemently denied being an escaped convict, an accusation levelled against him at trial.
He stood on the card, hands tied together and a cap placed over his head. The executioner came forward and passed Magee's head through the hemp rope noose, which had been hung from the old tree.
The executioner whipped the horses to drive forward, hence leaving the convicted criminal hanging to his death – but things got drastically out of hand, the know which was supposed be under Magees ear, had somehow slipped under his chin. Magees flailed wildly in the air, in his desperate attempts to save himself, his hands broke free of the rope that bound them, and he grabbed the noose rope and pulled himself up to release the strain on his neck, all the while screaming for mercy.
The Hangman, returned and grabbed the flailing legs of Magee, using his own weight to pull the hanging man down and tightening the noose, breaking Magee's neck in the process...

Magee suffered greatly during his execution, and became the talk of the colony, for many many years afterwards people pointed out to visitors to Adelaide, the tree upon which Magee had been hung, and told the horrific story of his demise...


A hand drawn picture of the hanging:
http://www.samemory.sa.gov.au/site/page.cfm?c=3224&mode=singleImage


© 2007 - 2014 Allen Tiller

All content on “Eidolon Paranormal & The Haunts of Adelaide” sites, blog and corresponding media pages (eg Facebook, twitter etc) is copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study, research, criticism or review, as permitted under the Copyright Act, no part may be reproduced by any means or process without the written permission of the author. © 2012, 2013, 2014

All photos remain the property of their respective copyright owners and are displayed here for the purpose of education, research and review under the copyright act "fair usage" clause.

Some photo's used here on this site are sourced from The Sate Library of South Australia, and The National Library of Australia and http://www.gawler.nowandthen.net.au - all photos are out of copyright and have no usage restrictions implied.

Saturday, 19 April 2014

AN EVENING WITH SOUTH AUSTRALIA’S VERY OWN INTERNATIONALLY RENOWNED PARANORMAL INVESTIGATOR ALLEN TILLER

AN EVENING WITH SOUTH AUSTRALIA’S VERY
OWN INTERNATIONALLY RENOWNED
PARANORMAL INVESTIGATOR | ALLEN TILLER

Allen Tiller is Australia’s leading Paranormal Investigator. Recently featured on Foxtels hit TV show “
Haunting:Australia” which showcased some of Australia’s most haunted locations to a worldwide audience.

Allen is also the founder and CEO of 
Eidolon Paranormal, the parent company of SA Paranormal and The Haunts of Adelaide which was recently included in Pandora the web archive of the National Library of Australia.

Allen is appearing to a private audience to discuss his years of paranormal experience, reveal the most haunted locations that he has personally investigated around South Australia and give some exclusive behind the scenes information about the amazing locations that they investigated while filming Haunting Australia.





Proudly Presented by
Ghost Crime Tours

http://www.ghost-crime-tours.com.au/ 






Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Accidental Death or “Spontaneous Human Combustion”




Accidental Death
 or
 “Spontaneous Human Combustion”



In July 1883, in the town of Gawler, about an hours drive north of Adelaide, on a somewhat wet Saturday morning, a young man living at one of the oldest parts of Gawler, Church Hill (which is so called because a number of Churches stand upon this hill that is situated near the Coles complex, and also contains the Old Courthouse and current Police station.) noticed smoke billowing for his elderly neighbour, Mrs Nicholls, cottage across the street.
Mrs Nicholls lived alone in her little cottage, and had been seen the night before about 11 pm by another neighbour with whom she was friends.
The fire alarm was raised this early Saturday morn, but before the firemen could come to put the blaze out, the young man and other neighbours kicked the front door down to try and rescue Mrs Nicholls.
They were horrified with what they saw in front of them. Mrs Nichols had been burnt to death.
A report from the Kapunda Herald newspaper at the time stated this “ all that remained of the poor woman was one foot and her head, charred like a mallee stump, the rest of the body being completely burnt to ashes”.


An inquest into her untimely death was held, which came to the conclusion that it was an “accidental” death, but the mystery of why her house hadn’t burnt down around her was not solved, and to this day remains just that, a mystery.
Of course in her era Spontaneous Human Combustion wasn't a theory put forward for the death, but her case does indeed fit some of the known conditions that are usually associated with the phenomena, such as those listed below
  1. they are usually elderly females;
    An example of S.H.C.
  2. the body has not burned spontaneously, but some lighted substance has come into contact with it;
  3. the hands and feet usually escape;
  4. the fire has caused very little damage to combustible things in contact with the body;
  5. the combustion of the body has left a residue of greasy and fetid ashes, very offensive in odour.
Could Mrs Nicholls have been Gawlers first case of Spontaneous Human Combustion, or was her death caused from something else?
No-one will ever really know, as it is now far too late to conduct a proper investigation into the death, but the circumstances would lead sway me to believe it is possible.




© 2007 - 2014 Allen Tiller
www.eidolonparanormal.net


All content on “Eidolon Paranormal & The Haunts of Adelaide” sites, blog and corresponding media pages (eg Facebook, twitter etc) is copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study, research, criticism or review, as permitted under the Copyright Act, no part may be reproduced by any means or process without the written permission of the author. © 2012, 2013, 2014

All photos remain the property of their respective copyright owners and are displayed here for the purpose of education, research and review under the copyright act "fair usage" clause.

Some photo's used here on this site are sourced from The Sate Library of South Australia, and The National Library of Australia and http://www.gawler.nowandthen.net.au - all photos are out of copyright and have no usage restrictions implied.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Sleeps Hill - Belair Train Tunnels

Sleeps Hill - Belair Train Tunnels


Sleeps Hill tunnels (also known as Eden Hills Tunnel) have long been a rumoured haunted location in Adelaide. The original tunnels were built in the 1880's and, from 1909 on the Sleeps Hill line were used to serve the Sleep Hill quarries, the main location for ballast stone for the South Australian Railways.




In 1916 the line became the second main line through to Belair until the new tunnels opened to Eden hills, when this happened the station sidings were removed to the southern side of the tunnels, later the station was removed as Lynton station became the main platform on the line, and the tunnels were abandoned.



Singleton Argus  , Saturday 4 February 1928, page 1
During World War Two the abandoned tunnels were used to store precious items from Adelaide's Art Gallery and Museums plus Government paperwork in case Adelaide suffered an air strike from the Germans or Japanese.
After this, various enterprises capitalised on the tunnels for mushroom farms, with various levels of success.
The tunnels have long been rumoured to be haunted, which is most probably due to an horrific accident that occurred on February 2 1928.



Six men lost their lives, and three men were injured when a landslide hit the tunnel as men were working on it.

The men killed:
Mr Charles Wilkinson
Mr William Kilmartin
Mr Robert Cafferty
Mr Paul Patt
Mr Charles Smith
                                 Mr Garrett Costello


The men injured in the incident also included two rescue workers, the injured workers were Mr John Whittenbury, Mr Arthur Newcombe, Mr Ambrose Gledhill, and rescue workers, Mr Gallaghan and Mr J McCarthy.

If the incident had occurred any later the tragedy could have indeed been much worse as the heavily-laden express train to Melbourne was able to be rerouted as news of the accident hit Adelaide Railway control, any later and the train would have crashed into the site, unable to stop.
There is every possibility that one, or all , of these men now haunt the disused train tunnel, which has become the home of urban explorers and graffiti artists.




© 2014 Allen Tiller
www.eidolonparanormal.net


All content on “Eidolon Paranormal & The Haunts of Adelaide” sites, blog and corresponding media pages (eg Facebook, twitter etc) is copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study, research, criticism or review, as permitted under the Copyright Act, no part may be reproduced by any means or process without the written permission of the author. © 2012, 2013, 2014

All photos remain the property of their respective copyright owners and are displayed here for the purpose of education, research and review under the copyright act "fair usage" clause.

Some photo's used here on this site are sourced from The Sate Library of South Australia, and The National Library of Australia and http://www.gawler.nowandthen.net.au - all photos are out of copyright and have no usage restrictions implied.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

'ALL FOOLS' DAY'

For something a little different this week, I am have transcribed a newspaper article just as it appeared in the Adelaide Advertiser in 1950 – No jokes, no fooling around, this is legit.



ADELAIDE, SATURDAY, APRIL 1. 1950.
'ALL FOOLS' DAY'
The first day of April has long been known as 'All Fools' Day.' It was a time when practical jokes were
often enacted at the cost of credulous and unsuspecting persons. They were sent on vain errands, disturbed by false alarms) and lured to imaginary appointments. These practical jokes were almost always childish* and sometimes cruel. There is a perverse strain in human nature which finds satisfaction in seeing other people in ridiculous and humiliating situations. The satisfaction is all the greater if the victims be individuals who, by reason of their age and dignity, are normally in a position of superiority. The downfall of a portly and pompous-old gentleman excites a mirth not aroused when asimilar experience happens to a small boy. Perhaps it is good that the mere vanities of place and power should be periodically exposed to ridicule. A lively sense of humour is a great asset to any person or any people. If the Germans had possessed it, they would surely have never permitted the rise of Hitler!
Laughter is often the best answer to the pretensions of an inflated egotism. Sometimes, However, laughter may have a less commendable significance. St. Jude's epistle criticises those who' rail at dignities.' This exactly describes what may be described as the 'low-brow' attitude to life. People unable to appreciate the beauties of nature, art and literature,the achievements of science and the high concerns of philosophy and religion, are often disposed to mock at what is above and beyond them. They compensate for their own inferiority by 'de-bunking' the values in which they are themselves deficient. They measure the scope of reality by the poor yard-stick of their capacity for understanding. If they cannot gain equality with their 'betters' by raising themselves up, they seek to do it by pulling the others down. Any sort of greatness is an offence to mediocrity. This, it is to be feared, is the psychological explanation of much of the false 'egalitarianism' so prevalent today, not least in Australia. People are hindered from being and doing their best for fear of the ridicule of those who are meanly contented to dwell on lower levels of character and achievement While it maybe good to laugh at fools, it is altogether bad to laugh with them. 'The laughter of fools is as the crackling of thorns under a pot.'

This is well illustrated by recalling the origin of the 'All Fools' Day' observances. In the Middle Ages the season of Passion-ride was marked by the performance of open-air dramas or Tnirade plays in which the Saviour's sufferings were depicted for the benefit of those whose illiteracy prevented them from reading the Gospel narratives. Christ was led to Annas, then from Annas to Caiaphas, then from Caiaphas to Pilate, then from Pilate to Herod and back again. ' At every stage of this dolorous pilgrimage, His kingly claims were heartlessly parodied. It seems that ill-conditioned persons profanely reproduced this mock cry, but did so at the expense of friends and neighbours . Such doings were first popular in France, where, the victims were called 'poissons d'Avril' or 'April-fish.' Later these celebrations spread to other countries until they became general throughout Christendom. It is indeed curious that behaviour of this kind should have had a religious origin, but so it was. The fact that 'All Fools' Day' is not much noticed in Australia may well be a matter for congratulation. The good humour which sees the funny side of things and lightens life's burden with seemly jests was nevermore needed, but the ill humour which draws amusement from the exploitation of stupid credulity is at bottom anti-social and therefore to be avoided by all who want to leave the world a little better than they found it.


© 2014 Allen Tiller
www.eidolonparanormal.net


All content on “Eidolon Paranormal & The Haunts of Adelaide” sites, blog and corresponding media pages (eg Facebook, twitter etc) is copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study, research, criticism or review, as permitted under the Copyright Act, no part may be reproduced by any means or process without the written permission of the author. © 2012, 2013, 2014

All photos remain the property of their respective copyright owners and are displayed here for the purpose of education, research and review under the copyright act "fair usage" clause.


Some photo's used here on this site are sourced from The Sate Library of South Australia, and The National Library of Australia and http://www.gawler.nowandthen.net.au - all photos are out of copyright and have no usage restrictions implied.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Wonnaminta – Crafers

Wonnaminta – Crafers

Built by Arthur Hardy after being forced to sell his home, Mount Lofty House, this dwelling close to the Adelaide hills town of Crafers has been lived in by many of Adelaide's richest families.
Known as “Number Seven” by the Hardy family, the name Wonnaminta, two Aboriginal words, Wonna “boomerang” and Minta meaning “water” combined together, was first placed on the house by the Kennedy family, a wealthy pastoralist family who also had a station with the same name in outback NSW.
The Kennedy's Robert and Mary, first moved from Collingwood, Goulbourn to a Station near Tibooburra in far North-West New South Wales, where they took over Wonnaminta Station from squatters.
The family went with a grand stock of horse and carts, and did very well of the land, so well they began to build a grand manse.
(above) Monumental Headstone (1895).
 (Image courtesy of Prue Grieve)

The name Kennedy became synonymous with hospitality in the region as Mary Kennedy tended to any folk injured that came to her, and also organised race meetings and days out for the local community. Mary was also held in high regard by the local Aboriginals, with whom she also spent time and educated as best she could.
The heat in the area soon became a bother for Mary, and the family bought a house in Mount Lofty, near Adelaide, South Australia. The Kennedy's renamed the house “Wonnaminta”, the same as the station, and resided in Adelaide at their summer house quite often.
Although Mary loved the NSW Station, she also loved the Crafers house very much and unfortunately things took a bad turn when, in 1894 a plague of rabbits descended upon the farm and led the family into large debts, that would eventually lead them to loose the Station and the Adelaide summer house.
In 1895, after living in exile in Melbourne, Robert died and Mary was left a widow with very little money, but a wealthy extended family who invited her to functions and dinners weekly. Mary died on the 12th of December 1915 at The Terrace in Armadale, NSW.
Her presence has been seen and felt at both the NSW Station and the house at Crafers near Adelaide.
She has been seen straightening quilts, smoothing pillows and sitting patiently along the sick as they lay in bed. At her Adelaide residence she has also been seen sitting on the verandah in a rocking chair looking over the gardens.
She is sometimes seen wearing a black frock with a tight waistband, and shiny beads, at other times a grey gown, but she always has her hair parted and drawn back.
Mrs Kennedy still ministers to the sick in both houses and sightings of her continue...

The Australian Women's Weekly (1933 - 1982) Wednesday 14 August 1974 page 36

© 2014 Allen Tiller
www.eidolonparanormal.net


All content on “Eidolon Paranormal & The Haunts of Adelaide” sites, blog and corresponding media pages (eg Facebook, twitter etc) is copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study, research, criticism or review, as permitted under the Copyright Act, no part may be reproduced by any means or process without the written permission of the author. © 2012, 2013, 2014

All photos remain the property of their respective copyright owners and are displayed here for the purpose of education, research and review under the copyright act "fair usage" clause.


Some photo's used here on this site are sourced from The Sate Library of South Australia, and The National Library of Australia and http://www.gawler.nowandthen.net.au - all photos are out of copyright and have no usage restrictions implied.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Woodhouse Activity Centre

Woodhouse Activity Centre



Located in the Adelaide Hills, Woodhouse Activity Centre has been owned by the Scouting association since the 1950's and used for all kinds of scouting, and public activities, including weddings.
The house is situated on a 54 acre estate located in the Piccadilly Valley, it once covered 1000 acres of the rolling Adelaide Hills. Mount Lofty Gold Course and Arbury Park, nearby, were once park of the illustrious estate.
The house was described rather well in advertisement in the South Australian Register in October 1888 (Thursday October 1888 page 8) which stated that the house comprises a dining room, drawing room, Library, Morning room, Seven bedrooms, A servants
bedroom, Schoolroom, kitchen, Scullery, Storerooms pantry, large cellars and larder and out rooms consisting of laundries bathrooms and W.C. - the entire house is built of white freestone.

The house that is referred to now as “Old House” has long been rumoured a haunted location. The house and estate were first established around 1848, which makes the house one of the oldest surviving opulent homes outside of the Adelaide City boundary.
The house has seem some very important Adelaide people in its residence, and seen some controversy in its surrounding estate back in the late 1800's, the controversy was to do with land dealings and mining by an owner, a former Advocate General and Acting governor in South Australia, Mr George Milner Stephen.
Stephen came to Adelaide in 1838, aged 25 and took up the positions of Advocate General and Crown solicitor, not long later he also was Acting governor in the interim of Governor Hindmarsh returning to England and Governor Gawler's arrival in Adelaide.
Stephen suffered damage to his reputation after a messy legal case over land dealings in the Adelaide Hills, he never really regained his former confidence, nor the trust of Adelaide's elite.
Another famous owner of the house and estate was Sir Richard Hanson. Hanson was the fourth Premier of South Australia and also served in the Supreme Court of South Australia as Chief Judge.
Hanson was also a member of the Freemasons, and founded the South Australian “Lodge of Friendship” of which he later became it's Master.
Hanson also passed an act legalising marriage with a deceased wife’s sister, the first act of its kind in the English Empire, it was however refused by the royal family and not passed into law.
Sir Hanson is responsible for many additions to the estate buildings and for extensively renovating the site. Sir Richard Hanson died of a heart attack in the garden of the estate, not far from “old House” on the 4th of March 1876 (as reported in the South Australian Register on March 6th of that year.)
One of the legends surrounding the house is that if you count the outside windows of the building, there appear to more windows visible than from inside, this led to a rumour that there was a secret room somewhere in the house, this of course led to more rumours and urban legends about a “ghost room” in the house that only appears at certain times.

There are also countless stories of child apparitions, often heard crying, this could be due to the location being a scout owned function location for over 50 years, as we all know, young children camping like a good ghost story, or perhaps this is residual energy from frighten children, but as of yet, I have not come across any records of children dying at the location that could account for such sightings.


One other story that is seen on the internet involves a murder-suicide related apparition sighted in an upstairs bedroom and a story written in the houses guest book that relates the murder suicide. This of course cannot be verified as ever happening at the Woodhouse estate as no newspapers have anything similar linked to the place or anywhere nearby, it remains, at this stage, another of the locations urban legends, perhaps told at scout camp fires over a hot chocolate and marshmallows.


© 2014 Allen Tiller
www.eidolonparanormal.net


All content on “Eidolon Paranormal & The Haunts of Adelaide” sites, blog and corresponding media pages (eg Facebook, twitter etc) is copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study, research, criticism or review, as permitted under the Copyright Act, no part may be reproduced by any means or process without the written permission of the author. © 2012, 2013, 2014

All photos remain the property of their respective copyright owners and are displayed here for the purpose of education, research and review under the copyright act "fair usage" clause.


Some photo's used here on this site are sourced from The Sate Library of South Australia, and The National Library of Australia and http://www.gawler.nowandthen.net.au - all photos are out of copyright and have no usage restrictions implied.