Tuesday, 28 June 2016

The Southern Hemisphere’s First Crematorium.

The Southern Hemisphere’s First Crematorium.

Photo note: Crematorium, Adelaide, South Australia. , 1919.Image retrieved through Trove from State Library of New South Wales, digital order number d1_13488,  from http://trove.nla.gov.au/work/36913995
 Adelaide can lay claim to many things, but perhaps one of the least known claims is that of being the home of the first crematorium ever built in the southern hemisphere.
 Located at West Terrace Cemetery, the crematorium was built a decade after the Cremation Bill was passed in Adelaide Parliament, making South Australia the first State in Australia to legalise the procedure.
 The crematorium was designed by architect A. Barham Black and built by Isley and Co. and featured a Chapel measuring 9.75 metres by 5.6 metres, a subterranean furnace room measuring 7 metres by 5.5 metres and single cremation chamber and a chimney in the design of an Italianate bell-tower. The furnace was heated by the use of gas coke and mallee firewood, but in the early days, reaching peak heats that would disintegrate the entire body and bones was hard to achieve.
The Crematorium used dead animals, such as sheep, to practice upon to make sure they got their temperature high enough, and their procedures right.
The first human cremation in the newly built crematorium happened in May 1903, upon the remains of Bishin Singh, a local Sikh businessman on Hindley Street.
 Being the first Sikh to die in South Australia, debate erupted in regards to the fact, that a Sikh, who follows the laws of Brahmanism, may not get his spiritual and funeral rites met to his families, and to his own satisfaction.

 A funeral pyre would not be accepted, so the crematorium, even though it didn’t technically meet the funeral rites of the Sikh, was chosen as a substitute. To get around the fact that Mr Singh would not be upon a funeral pyre of wood, as his tradition demands, his remains were placed in a wooden coffin shell.
Adelaide Crematorium c.1919, West Terrace Cemetery - photo: History SA
 The cremation attracted the local media and curious onlookers, with one woman stating she had come to “see him burnt”. An estimated 200 people gathered at the chapel.
 The body was taken into the furnace room by 6 of Mr Singh’s family and countrymen, and placed atop a grate, that had a long chain attached, that would soon pull his remains in to the cremation chamber.
After a number of prayers, the coffin, draped in white, was slowly pulled in towards the chamber.
  As the body ignited, some dignitaries and 16 of the Sikh’s were allowed to watch the remains of Mr Sigh burn in the chamber through an aperture in the furnace door.

 It took over an hour for Mr Singh’s remains to be totally consumed by the flames, not before the witnesses saw his fleshless skeleton laying in the flames.
 In its early days the crematorium saw barely any use, but soon it became popular, and before its closing in 1959, after 56 years of operation, it was used to cremate the remains of 4762 people.
 The building was demolished in 1969, however, in recent times, work had begun by archaeologists to try and recover and preserve what remains of the foundations of the building operate in 1959 and was demolished in 1969.
During the crematorium's 56 years of operation, 4762 cremations took place.

In 2005, Justin McCarthy of Austral Archaeology began an archaeological excavation of the site. It was established that during the deconstruction of the original building, the furnace, which was a basement like structure, was intact, and had only been back-filled with rubble.

Inside the furnace relics were found, including bricks, mallee wood, linoleum, building debris, scraps of metal and a damper for the chimney. The bricks were marked with the original manufacturers stamp, allowing the year of production to be identified.
The artifacts are now held by the West Terrace Cemetery Authority.


Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Port Adelaide Torpedo Station

Port Adelaide Torpedo Station
photo: flinders.edu.au

The City of Adelaide’s coastline has long been protected by fortifications such as Fort Largs and Fort Glanville, and back in the 1880s even had its own ship “The Protector”, which protected incoming passenger and cargo ships from seaborne enemies.
 The ship was commissioned, in part, because of pirates and pressgangs working from Kangaroo Island and Port Adelaide, but also because of the ever-present threat of war from Prussia, which in those days, was paranoia that hung over the colony from the other side of the world.

 Another form of protection for the colony, one you may never have heard of before, was the torpedo station situated at the north arm of the Port River, which operated from 1877 until it closed in 1916.
 This outpost had a number of buildings and a jetty that extended into the Port River. It was connected to other defence sites by a telegraph line.
 In 1905, an English built torpedo boat was commissioned to the small base, a 12 ton, 63-foot vessel that only saw service for less than a decade, when it was decommissioned and scrapped.
6" naval gun, originally mounted at Torpedo Mine Station 1885-1916 on Port River
History SA
Up until 1961, the residents of Port Adelaide had thought the Torpedo station to be a myth that was until a 6-inch naval gun was found by the Port Adelaide Council buried deep in the mud.
 The gun was taken to the Birkenhead Naval Reserve, where it lay until 1994 when it was moved to the Council Depot in Tracy Street.
 In 1996, the now semi-restored gun was moved to Birkenhead, and was situated on Cruickshank’s Corner. In 2012 the gun was moved into the custodianship of the Port Adelaide Historical Society, which moved the gun into the Port Adelaide Maritime Museum, where it still resides today.

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Bronte Lloyd’s 1988 UFO Encounter – Spalding, South Australia

Bronte Lloyd’s 1988 UFO Encounter
 – Spalding, South Australia

 Spalding, a “blink and you miss it” town near the Clare Valley in South Australia, is known more for its sheep runs than it’s UFO sightings, but in 1987-1988 that dramatically changed when local farmer, Bronte Lloyd reported a UFO sighting and abduction encounter.
 In May 1987, whilst out seeding a paddock, Mr Lloyd and his son-in-law witnessed a group of UFO’s hovering over the farm. His son-in-law chose not to hang around and investigate the phenomena, but left Mr Lloyd to finish the job, and then investigate the strange lights by himself.
 The next morning Mr Lloyd awoke early before sunrise, the following is his description of events, as told to a journalist from the Sunday Mail in 1988. (Mr Lloyd underwent hypnosis to ‘relive’ the experience)

 “I was lying in bed. It was as though Time and space were suddenly suspended: I was suddenly aware of pitch blackness, total blackness, and freezing cold. I couldn’t move, and thought I was having a heart attack. Then I felt myself floating upwards, and felt something being pushed against either side of my cheeks. I battled against whatever it was that was pinning me down, and tried to reach for the light switch, and to brush away the pressure against my cheeks. I knew ‘something’ was close to me, and that it was moving backwards and forwards just out of my reach.”

  When Mr Lloyd awoke a little later in the morning, he did not remember the experience of the night before. It wasn’t until he was shaving that he noticed three sore marks on his cheek, and four more on his nose.
 (It would come out during further hypnosis that the small wounds were from hard plastic tubes that had been forced underneath his skin.)

A month later, in June, Mr Lloyd and his son had been out seeding a field, night was approaching when a bright red light flew over their heads, and then hovered over some trees about 30 meters from the house, then flew away.
 Mr Lloyd’s son returned to his own home, whilst he himself went back to the farm house for dinner. While sitting there, his dogs suddenly went berserk, jumping about and barking, then cowering and howling. He looked out the window to see what the problem was and noticed there was something on the ground at a nearby grove of trees.
Under the nearby trees he saw an object, that at first, he took to be a car, but on further investigation, realised it was an object unlike any he had seen before.
 The object, which he described as being “3.6 meters across and 2 meters high with a circular body and square base”, appeared to be sitting on support legs. The object had portholes at regular intervals around it, and three large “head-lights” at what he considered the front of the object.

  Rather than try his luck entering the object, he retreated to the safety of his house and phoned his family, who were visiting a nearby farm, and told them not to return home that night.
 Mr Lloyd hung up the phone after speaking with his wife, and slouched in his chair, trying to make sense of recent events when he suddenly heard “footsteps”, which he describes as “Short, close together, and sounded like someone was walking in or on plastic.”
  Lights suddenly came on in the house, and Mr Lloyd opened the hallway door to see what was going on, he witnessed two small “men-like” creatures racing about at blurring speed. The next thing he remembers is waking the next day when his wife woke him up.

 The police were called and upon inspecting the property, found a very large depression in the ground amongst the trees, 30 meters from the house. Unexplained footprints were also found near the tree line where the object had been witnessed.
 Samples were taken from Mr Lloyd by Biochemist Tom Coote, who discovered electrolyte anomalies in Mr Lloyd’s samples. Mr Lloyd’s facial wounds never healed properly, and when one would seem to recede, another would grow larger. Unfortunately Mr Lloyd passed away only a few years later, before any definitive answers from his bio-testing and hypnosis regression could be found.
For more on this story please visit the websites below (WARNING: the websites below information does conflict in some places)

A Paranormal File. An Australian Investigators Case Book - John Pinkney

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Kapunda – “The Hallway To Hell”

Kapunda – “The Hallway To Hell”

Interior of the Hallway to Hell - photo by Karen Tiller
If you’ve heard the term “Hallway to Hell” then most likely, you’ve seen Haunting: Australia episode 7: The North Kapunda Hotel, an episode that almost didn’t happen. Originally the production company was looking towards Western Australia for two episode, but when I proposed South Australia, particularly the Adelaide Arcade and Kapunda, the most haunted town in Australia, they changed their minds and went with local knowledge and a hometown story.
 If you didn’t hear about the Hallway, through Haunting: Australia, then maybe you heard about due to the Ghost Crime Tour that Karen and I brought to Kapunda. The majority of ghost tour companies in this State were too scared to touch Kapunda after all the controversy with the Warwick Moss documentary that aired in 2001, and the unaired documentary that was filmed a few years later – let me tell you, the townsfolk still haven’t forgotten who was involved!
 Karen and I knew that there was a right way to introduce the town to having a ghost tour, so we set up a meeting between the owners of GCT and the  Light Council, and got the ball rolling. We then invited townsfolk to see what it was all about, we introduced donations to help repair the damaged cemeteries, and slowly, the Kapunda Ghost Crime Tour was not only accepted by the Kapunda Community, but local business began to see a knock on effect from tourism.
 During our time as tour guides, Karen and I entertained Government Ministers, tourists from England who had seen the TV show, visitors from Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, and right across Australia. We did our best to keep it factual, entertaining and spooky, and to promote the town that everyone forgets!

 No-one is quite sure what year this wing of the North Kapunda hotel was built, but it is estimated to be somewhere between 1848 and 1855. It may have been earlier than 1848 though and built as part of the workers accommodation around the town by the North Kapunda Mining Company. The same company built the original structure that became the North Kapunda Arms Hotel, that in 1865, Mr Crase would build his new hotel around, and reopen as the North Kapunda Hotel.
Behind the scenes photo of Haunting: Australia - photo Karen Tiller
 The downstairs section of the hallway in 1865 contained the first official office of the newly formed Kapunda Council, until they moved to bigger premises on the Clare Road. There were also two large, ornate rooms used by Jenkins and Coles bursars who dealt with the horse sales that were held at the rear of the hotel.
During the late 1880’s, the upstairs section of the hallway was known as “The Bachelor’s Hall”, the following is a poem penned about it by one of its inhabitants 

Bachelor's Hall.
Hurrah ! hurrah for Bachelor's Hall;
The Queen's away and I'm monarch of all;
I don't have to hang up my coat or my hat,
And when I get lonely I talk to the cat.
I come when I like, and I go when I choose.
The finest cigars help me scatter the blues;
 No bundles I carry and nothing I buy;
There's no one to care about-only big “I”
 I revel in wildest confusion around;
There isn't a thing in its place to be found;
 My books and newspapers, they litter the room
That' hasn't for weeks seen the sight of a broom.
There's clothing or something on every chair;
My bed's never made, but it's little I care;
I sleep like a top, for there's no one to call
I take solid comfort in Bachelor's Hall.
I've used all the dishes and now it's my fate
To eat, when I'm home, on the back of a plate;
I'm learning to cook, but, alas. I confess
I choose to go hungry than, swallow the mess.
But, Bachelor's Hall with its comfort and quiet,
Is almost too spooky for regular diet;
No children live in it to welcome their dad,
No supper is waiting, no wife-O, so glad.
No! Nothing but ghosts of the loved ones away
Inhabit this tomb where alone I must stay,
Compelled to break silence by having a chat
With my woeful companion, the strange acting cat.
O, gladly I'll yield my crown sceptre and all
The Kingly delights of a Bachelor's Hall
To the Queen of the Home when she comes with her train
To wisely and lovingly over me reign.
First Published in The Kapunda Herald - Tuesday 7 August 1888, page 6

The Bachelor’s Hall saw its own scandal in the 1885 when three of its inhabitants found themselves facing the magistrate at the Kapunda Courthouse for disturbing the peace.
 Murray Thomson, Robert Anderton and James Shakes Jnr. Faced the magistrate on May 12th, with Thomson and Anderton represented by Mr Glynn, and Shakes represented by Mr Benham.
 The men had been charged because someone had been firing guns in Franklin Street at about 10 past three in the morning.
Exterior - Hallway To Hell - Kapunda - photo: Allen Tiller
 The evening of the event, many people had been in town to see the bellringers entertainment, and had then retired to the North Kapunda Hotel for a supper put on by Mr Crase, which included entertainment including sing-alongs and speeches. The bar itself was closed, but the party went on in the commercial room and on the balcony.
 More than 125 gun shots were heard in Franklin Street in about a 10 minute time frame. The police tried to frame the defendants as being the guilty parties, but witnesses declared they had seen Mr Thomson in a room upstairs, light a candle and look out the window in his night clothes at the ongoing disturbance below.
 Mr Shakes wasn’t even within the town boundaries when the incident happened, so the case fell apart, instead, the Magistrate went after Mr Crase, under the guise of the act happening outside his hotel, he would be responsible for the people there. Mr Benham quickly shot down this argument as Mr Crase was entertaining upstairs privately, and may not have known who these people were, nor had they been inside his hotel drinking.
 The case was eventually thrown out of court.
Interior - Hallway to Hell - Kapunda - photo: Karen Tiller
 Interestingly though, the story that circulated through the town was slightly different to the story that surfaced in court. It would seem a number of young men had been drinking in the hotels, and had gone to the bellringers event. After the event they began walking the town trying to entertain themselves. 
 About 15 of these young men were heard in Main Street, and were asked to move on by William Thomas when they congregated in front of his bookshop, it was within the next hour the gun shots occurred in Franklin Street, which may have come about because these young men were refused entry in the North Kapunda Hotel.