Tuesday, 21 March 2023

A Haunting at the Mount Remarkable Hotel - Part VII - Conclusion + Ghost Stories.

A Haunting at the Mount Remarkable Hotel
- Part VII -
Conclusion + Ghost Stories.

At the end of my first post in A Haunting at the Mount Remarkable Hotel, I mentioned that there were several recorded deaths at the hotel. Each week I have supplied research on those deaths. Starting with watchmaker Dugald Wilson who fell into the basement, dying in the hotel that evening. Then Margaret ‘Maggie’ Salmon who suicided by poison in 1866. The next death was another suicide, that of August Fix who shot himself in an outlying building in 1908. In 1915 George Moran, son of the original owner, Thomas Moran died suddenly from a cerebral haemorrhage, and in 1931, the death of Irene Wight, followed by her husband Harry Castle Wight in 1932, who died ‘suddenly’.

So how do these deaths fit in with the local ghost stories?

The Mount Remarkable Hotel is alleged to be haunted by three (or more) ghosts. The first is a young woman who it believed may have drowned in the cellar. The second is thought to be the spirit woman and the third is a male who presents himself as a shadow person.
Owners have reported hearing people running through the unused upstairs section of the hotel. Poltergeist-like activity is also reported, with witnesses claiming to watch a bar stool topple over of its own volition, and cups from the pokies room being found on the floor in the morning during the opening of the room, which wasn’t there the night before.

I can find no corroborative evidence for death by drowning in the cellar. One would expect that such an event would require an inquest and that the inquest would be published in a newspaper. The second alleged spirit, without a description of what she looks like, could literally be anyone, but one could assume that the female spirit may be Maggie Salmon or Irene Wight.
The third alleged spirit that appears as a shadow person could literally be anyone, but again, one can make an assumption that the spirit may be Dugald Wilson, George Moran or Harry Wight. Without a proper description and a proper paranormal investigation done by professionals, it is hard to identify or conclude who any spirit is in any location.

Other alleged ghostly activity at the Mount Remarkable Hotel is poltergeist activity. With claims that cups appear in places they shouldn't be on opening the hotel. Often, things like cups left in a room are related to memory or misinterpretation. A person closing a hotel may think everything is away, having a brief look before locking up, then return the next day and be surprised when something is where it should not be, having missed it the night prior. However, there is always the possibility of a spirit moving things – there has been prior evidence of this in South Australia at the North Kapunda Hotel, The Port Admiral Hotel (Port Adelaide), and The British Hotel (North Adelaide).

Although I have linked ghosts to known deaths and made assumptions, this is unreliable and should not be regarded as evidence of the named people being ghosts in this location. If there are spirits haunting this hotel, they remain unidentified, and could literally be anyone who has passed through the building, or simply urban legends...

Researched and written by Allen Tiller © 2023

Tuesday, 14 March 2023

A Haunting at the Mount Remarkable Hotel – Part VI – Sudden Death.

 A Haunting at the Mount Remarkable Hotel 

– Part VI – 

Sudden Death.

Harold Wight served during World War One in Egypt, where he contracted Malaria. At the time of his embankment, he and Irene were living at 162 Jetty Road, Glenelg.[1]Harold Castle Wight and Irene Pearson Wight (nee Taylor) had one child Nina Marie Castle Wight.

Prior to owning the Mount Remarkable Hotel, Harry and Irene owned the Aurora Hotel at Hindmarsh Square, Adelaide. Harry was prosecuted in court for illegally supplying liquor on Christmas day and fined 10 pounds and 1-pound costs.[2]

Only a few years later the Wights were in trouble again for the illegal supply of liquor, however, this time they were found innocent.

Harry Castle Wight (48), on complaint, charged with a breach of the Licensing Acts, 1917 to 1927, section 183, at Mount Remarkable Hotel, Melrose; complaint dismissed. Tried at Melrose on 22/1/29. Evidence obtained by M.C. Jones.[3]

Wight bought the Mount Remarkable Hotel from Clarence Fuller in 1928. In 1929, Wight tried to sell the Mount Remarkable Hotel and its furniture and fittings.[4]

Irene died at the Mount Remarkable hotel on 25 august 1932, aged 43 years. Harry died on 29 March 1932 at the Mount Remarkable Hotel, aged 46 years.[5]They were both buried at Saint Jude’s Cemetery in Brighton, South Australia.[6]

After the deaths of the Wights, the hotel was sold to Herbert Ey.[7]

Next Week: A Haunting at the Mount Remarkable Hotel - Part VII - Conclusion + Ghost Stories.

Researched and written by Allen Tiller © 2023.

[1] ‘WIGHT Harry Castle: Service Number - 15400: Place of Birth - Adelaide SA: Place of Enlistment - Adelaide SA: Next of Kin - (Wife) WIGHT Irene,’ National Archives of Australia, https://discoveringanzacs.naa.gov.au/browse/records/418631.
[2] 'ILLEGAL SUPPLY OF LIQUOR.', The Advertiser, (26 January 1926), p. 7.
[3] ‘Harry Castle Wight’, South Australia, Australia, Police Gazettes, 1862-1947, AU5103-1929 SA Police Gazette, (1929).
[4] 'Advertising', The Advertiser, (18 December 1929), p. 9.
[5] 'Advertising', The Advertiser, (30 March 1932), p. 4.
[6] 'Family Notices', News, (26 August 1931), p. 12.
[7] J.L. (Bob) Hoad, Hotels and Publicans in South Australia, (1986), p. 390.

Tuesday, 7 March 2023

A Haunting at the Mount Remarkable Hotel – Part V – Like Father, Like Son.

 A Haunting at the Mount Remarkable Hotel 

– Part V – 

Like Father, Like Son.

George Moran was the only son of Thomas Moran and Alice Moran (nee Neagle), the original builders and publicans of the Mount Remarkable hotel. George was the publican of the Mount Remarkable Hotel between 1904 and 1915.

George Moran was educated at Sevenhill College near Clare. He served in the Mounted Police like his father before him. He earned the position of Inspector of Police in what is now the Northern Territory. He also served in Queensland and lived for a while in the Western Australian goldfields.
When he returned to South Australia, he took over the management of his father’s farm. After several bad seasons, George left the farm and took over as publican of his father’s former hotel, ‘Moran’s Hotel’ (The Mount Remarkable Hotel).
George engrained himself in his community. He served on the Port Germein District Council, supported the Frome Jockey Club, and supplied the local football team with its grounds.[1]

Despite being in good health, at the age of 59, while in his room at Moran’s Hotel, George suffered a cerebral haemorrhage that killed him. His wife Cicely and his eight daughters survived George.[2]George Moran was buried at Melrose Cemetery, Row 12, Plot 81.

His family entered an obituary in the Express and Telegraph newspaper,

MORAN.-On the 12th of May, at Moran's Hotel, Melrose, suddenly, of cerebral haemorrhage, George William, beloved husband of Cicely M. Moran, 59 years.  R.I.P. [3]

After his death, Cicely and her daughters ran the hotel until 1920.[4]

Next Week: A Haunting at the Mount Remarkable Hotel – Part VI – Sudden Death.

Researched and written by Allen Tiller © 2023

[1] 'OBITUARIES.', Observer, (29 May 1915), p. 45.
[2] 'PERSONAL', Daily Herald, (14 May 1915), p. 4.
[3] 'Family Notices', The Express and Telegraph, (18 May 1915), p. 1.
[4] J.L. (Bob) Hoad, Hotels and Publicans in South Australia, (1986), p. 389.

Photo: The Wenmouth Collection: Melrose [B 64310/290], State Library of South Australia, (1969), https://collections.slsa.sa.gov.au/resource/B+64310/290.

Tuesday, 28 February 2023

A Haunting at the Mount Remarkable Hotel – Part IV - Station Hand Suicide.

 A Haunting at the Mount Remarkable Hotel 

– Part IV - 

Station Hand Suicide.


On 12 November 1908, Martin Jacobson was doing his rounds as an ostler at about 6am for Moran’s Hotel, Melrose, when he came across August Fix. Fix was an elderly local resident who worked for the Willowie Pastoral Company. Fix was in an outside room of the hotel that Jacobson had neglected to lock. Fix was very drunk, but not disturbing anyone, so Jacobson let him be and got on with his job.
Later that evening, at 8am, Jacobson returned to check on Fix. He found the man dead. Fix had shot himself through the right temple with a small-bore rifle.

Mounted Constable Siggins deposed during the inquest that he had been summoned to the hotel at 9:20am. Siggins examined the crime scene and waited for Coroner Lewis George to arrive.[1]

Dr Hann gave medical evidence that there was,

a small bullet wound in the right temple. Edges of the wound were scorched. The course of the bullet seemed to travel through the base of the brain. There was no wound of exit, but bleeding from the left cut and from the nose and mouth. In his opinion, a cartridge of the size produced would be sufficient to make the wound and to cause death. It was quite possible for the deceased to have fired the rifle according to the direction of the wound.[2]

Mr H. M Mair, manager of the Mount Remarkable Station deposed that Fix had not worked since October 31st. He had taken to drinking heavily and had a wife living in Nuriootpa, to whom Fix had sent a telegram the morning of his suicide. In another report, it is stated Fix’s wife lived in Angaston.[3]

After a short retirement the jury found:

We are unanimously of opinion that the deceased met his death by a bullet wound in the head, fired, from a rifle by his own hand while in a fit of temporary insanity.[4]

Next week: A Haunting at the Mount Remarkable Hotel – Part V – Like Father, Like Son.

Researched and written by Allen Tiller © 2023

[1] 'SUICIDE AT MELROSE.', The Advertiser, (16 November 1908), p. 6.
[2] 'THE COUNTRY.', The Register, (16 November 1908), p. 6.
[3] 'SUPPOSED SUICIDE.', The Express and Telegraph, (13 November 1908), p. 4.
[4] Ibid.

Tuesday, 21 February 2023

A Haunting at the Mount Remarkable Hotel – Part III - Death by Strychnine.

A Haunting at the Mount Remarkable Hotel 

– Part III - 

Death by Strychnine.

In 1886 Margaret ‘Maggie’ Salmon was in the employ of publican Edwin Worden of the Mount Remarkable Hotel.[1]Maggie had worked at the hotel for about 14 weeks but had recently given notice to Worden that she intended to leave. On Saturday the 4th of September, Worden had discussed with Salmon the neglect of her duties but did not sense any feelings of ill will towards himself from Salmon. Nor did he sense any melancholy from the young woman.

Monday 6 September 1886 Mr Worden saw Maggie in the morning, and she seemed not her usual self. He was told later that evening, that Maggie had admitted to taking strychnine and was laying sick in bed. Maggie died just a few hours later.

An inquest was held the following day where Mrs Worden stated she did not see the girl at dinner and enquired where she might be. She found Salmon lying on her bed, not willing to work. Salmon stated nothing was wrong.
Mary Croft, another employee of the hotel stated during the inquest that she had seen Salmon by the kitchen mantle. As she passed Salmon, the girl ran to the table, then weeping, ran to her room. She questioned Salmon in her room, where Salmon admitted to taking the strychnine. Salmon then asked to see her brother and priest.[2]

Another witness, Jane Leewee stated that on the Saturday prior to Salmon's death, she had remarked that she would like to be buried in Leewee’s backyard.[3]

The jury concluded that ‘the deceased died from strychnine administered by her own hands, and there is no evidence to show that she had any reason for so administering it.'[4]


A year before, Margaret Salmon, an employee at the Huntsman Hotel in North Adelaide was charged with stealing from the premises of her employer. She was found guilty and sentenced to two months imprisonment with hard labour, despite protesting her innocence. Perhaps this is the same Maggie Salmon, and perhaps this is, in part, why she moved as far north as Melrose. Perhaps, her past was threatening to catch up with her, but before it could, she ended her life.[5]

Next week: A Haunting at the Mount Remarkable Hotel – Part IV - Station Hand Suicide.

Researched and written by Allen Tiller © 2023

[1] J.L. (Bob) Hoad, Hotels and Publicans in South Australia, (1986), p. 389.
[2] 'CORONERS' INQUESTS.', Adelaide Observer, (11 September 1886), p. 34.
[3] 'CORONER'S INQUEST.', South Australian Register, (9 September 1886), p. 7.
[4] 'STRANGE DEATH AT MELROSE.', South Australian Weekly Chronicle, (11 September 1886), p. 10.
[5] 'LAW AND CRIMINAL COURTS.', South Australian Register, (24 October 1885), p. 3.

Tuesday, 14 February 2023

A Haunting at the Mount Remarkable Hotel – Part II - The Death of a Watchmaker.

 A Haunting at the Mount Remarkable Hotel –

 Part II  

- The Death of a Watchmaker.

In 1877, Dugald Wilson, a local watchmaker was walking along Stuart Street when he went under the veranda of the hotel. It was a dark night, and the hotel's lamp was lit, but Wilson did not see the trap door to the cellar was open, and fell through the hole, smashing his head on the ground below. Mr Peck had gone down to the cellar at about 6pm and heard the man fall. He rushed to help him, just as witnesses to the event, James Hart and Peter Toner came down the ladder to help lift Wilson out.
They carried the senseless man into the hotel. Wilson was very drunk and belligerent, telling the men to leave him be. He died that evening. The following day during the inquest into his death, it was reported to Mr F.J. Whitby J.P. and a jury of 13, that Wilson had been in town for a fortnight, and that entire time had been drunk.

The jury concluded that Dugald Wilson came to his death on 15 August 1877, ‘through a shock to his nervous system, caused by a fall down the cellar of Moran’s Hotel, Melrose.’[1]

Dugald Wilson was 65 years old at the time of his death.[2]

Next week: A Haunting at the Mount Remarkable Hotel – Part III - Death by Strychnine.

Researched and written by Allen Tiller © 2023

[1] 'CORONER'S INQUEST.', The Express and Telegraph, (31 August 1877), p. 2.

[2] ‘Dugald Wilson’, South Australia-Deaths 1842-1915, Australia, Death Index, 1787-1985, Vol. 82, (1877), p. 298.
Photo: G'day Pubs - https://www.gdaypubs.com.au/SA/melrose.html

Tuesday, 7 February 2023

A Haunting at the Mount Remarkable Hotel - Part 1.

 A Haunting at the Mount Remarkable Hotel - Part 1.


The Mount Remarkable Hotel can be found on Stuart Street in Melrose, South Australia. According to historian Bob Hoad; the original hotel was constructed in 1857 and was known as the Mount Remarkable Hotel until 1872. It was then known as Moran’s Hotel between 1873 and 1920 when it reverted to the Mount Remarkable Hotel.[1]

Melrose promotes itself as the oldest town in Flinders Ranges. Prior to European settlement, the area was home to the Doora people. By 1880, the Doora had been all but wiped out by Europeans. The first European to the area was explorer Edward John Eyre who named Mount Remarkable in 1840.

Copper was discovered in the area with mining operations commencing in 1846 and closing in 1851. The mines produced no lodes worthy of continued mining. Despite this, the mines were opened again in 1916 -1917.

 The Mount Remarkable Hotel was completed in 1857, making it the second oldest in the town after the North Star Hotel (completed in 1854.) The hotel was opened by Thomas Moran after he retired from the Mounted Police.[2]

Thomas William Moran was born in Dorrington Westmeath England in 1816. He joined the 11th Devonshire Regiment in Athlone Barracks. He served in Kent before his detachment was sent to Tasmania, then Adelaide, then Sydney. He quit the military in New South Wales, where he stayed for a short while before relocating to Adelaide to work as a reporter. He became friends with Captain Bagot of the Kapunda Mines, who had him admitted to the Mounted Police Force. He served at Port Lincoln, Port Augusta, on the Yorke Peninsula in the capacity of Corporal under Inspector Tolmer. Both Tolmer and Moran were involved in quelling ‘black uprisings’ in country districts.
 Moran retired from the Mounted Police at Mount Remarkable building a hotel. He also took up farmland in the area erecting one of the district's first woolsheds. After retiring from hotel life, he purchased a farm in Wongyarra, where he lived until his death in 1904.[3]


It is alleged that the Mount Remarkable hotel is haunted by numerous ghosts, and possibly a poltergeist. There are several recorded deaths at the hotel that could be utilised as possible evidence for the alleged hauntings. In the same instance, some of the alleged hauntings, have no correlating historical evidence, which could perhaps be used to reclassify the haunting as an urban legend. I will be presenting some of the historical documentation over the coming weeks. Then the ghost stories at the end of the series.

Next Week: A Haunting at the Mount Remarkable Hotel – Part II - The Death of a Watchmaker.

Researched and written by Allen Tiller © 2023

[1] J.L. (Bob) Hoad, Hotels and Publicans in South Australia, (1986), p. 389.

[2] Melrose, Sydney Morning Herald, (2004), https://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/melrose-20040208-gdkqk3.html.; 'A NORTHERN IDENTITY.', The Laura Standard, (21 May 1915), p. 3.

[3] 'A CHEQUERED CAREER.', The Laura Standard, (19 August 1904), p. 3.

Photo: The Wenmouth Collection: Melrose [B 64310/290], State Library of South Australia, (1969), https://collections.slsa.sa.gov.au/resource/B+64310/290.