Ghosts of the South Coast
The Legend of Ben Bounty
Tantanoola, a little town not too far away from Mount Gambier was the host to a cave ghost in 1890. The Ghost was spotted by travellers on a few occasions and reported to local police, who in their duties never came across the restless spirit.
The ghost was seen in the same vicinity on the Mount Gambier to Millicent road on a number of occasions by different travelling parties.
It never once hurt anybody, or tried to communicate, but it did scare a number of young men who were riding their horses between the towns and spotted it in the moonlight, staring at them, from the entrance of the cave.
Not far away on the outskirts of Tantanoola comes the story of our next local ghost.
During the 1870's, a local man, known as Ben Bounty was prospecting, trying to make his fortune, looking for the legendary “gold reef” that was supposed to lay in the caves and cliffs and surrounding hills.
He visited the local quarry one day and noticed a Chinese man a sailor, who had obviously, by his dress and demeanour, been smuggled ashore near Cape Banks.
It was well known that Chinese nationals were flocking to Australia for the gold rush in Victoria, but the Vics had put a toll on the Chinese coming into their State from sea, the easiest way around was to come into Port MacDonnell or Robes ports and then walk across the border, hence avoiding the toll. Obviously, some of the shady characters couldn't risk the customs houses, and would be smuggled ashore and hidden away until the could join a travelling party and blend in.
Bounty was never seen alive again.
A while later, the story got around about the old prospector and the Chinaman, from the very mouth of the murderer, who seemed quite pleased with what he had done.
One evening, a few young man, who had heard the rumour of Bounty's death, went to the quarry to investigate for themselves, at exactly 8 o'clock in the evening, they witnessed a white-clothed figure leaning against the wall inside the quarry. They stood and watched, one boy got brave and went a little closer to investigate.
When he was just a few yards from the man in white, the man moved just a little, and in the moonlight, the young lad could see the knife in his chest, reflect the moon!
The boys ran from the quarry terrified, and from there, the legend of Ben Bounty's ghost grew into a local ghost story told around camp fires to scare young children...