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: 1860 - 1954), Wednesday 24 July 1929, page 13
in the Derwent the early days of is probably most
Tasmania the one that extensively Is the old, dilapidaknown ted two storied building about six New miles from Norfolk, on the main Hobart It was Road. built In the very early days on the «Ige or an extensive which adjoins the River swamp, Derit Is ever went, and under observation because of its lonely situation. But what it truly makes appeal is the weird supposition that for some it strange reason is haunted.
queer looking old to be haunted is nat clearly known. was Thero not even a murder committed is there «8 far as known, and a haunted bouse without some attachment to a gruesome discov-
tido to points further upstream. Some Mr. years ago Frank Rathbone, owner tho present of the old house, atto reclaim tempted but the marsh, after considerable work had been done it was abandoned. Until a few years ago the was house occupied by a family now district, living in the Now Norfolk but even during the time they lived there full of the place was passers-by knew ghosts, and not would have changed for the places with family anything. has Gradually, since the house boen unoccupied, it has been allowed to fall into if at a state of disrepair, and timo any there has been a reason to believe that Is anything there unusual about the building, it Is now, It has when been considered and useless, everything movable taken away. are There eleven or so rooms altogether, and two funny looking staircases, one which leads to [the second story, and another leading to the attics below the roof. The floors in of the average some are size rooms now showing distinct signs of decay, and in others the ceilings have half tumbled down.
Exactly how dwelling became
confident a that it is place which harbours the existence of all the weirdest specimens imaginable-tho words "The Haunted aro House" chalked of the outer one up on walls for one thing-and surely that is enough to satisfy any nowImaginative person adays. It is known and referred to by hurrying motorists as the haunted house, and year after yeal* as It becomes mor.e noticeably worn with the strange age beliefs concerning It continue to grow. Tho house munt now over a bo well hundred old, for It was ycart, built, In the first place, as a country residence for Lieutenant-Governor George Arthur, who assumed office in 1S24. It is doubtful whether this energetic man, who was the first to take charge of Van Diemen's Land after it had been separated from the control of New South Wales, stayed at the houso on many occasions, for his work kept him particularly busy, and he travelled extensively of to all parts the Stato. Most noteworthy of the work of Governor Arthur was the establishment of the model prison at Port Arthur, and the abolition of the convict settlement at Macquarie Harbour. Ho established a Legislative the Council, first consisting of seven and' members, opened the first Supremo Court. The administration of justice «.is improved, and the Island w.is divided Into police district», each a under paid magistrate. He and organised personally supervised the black drive, in 1830, which a proved failure, and cost the country £30,000, and took.a prominent part in the supof pression bushranging. During the years 1825-20 more than a hundred desperate bandits were hanged.
It is said that Governor Arthur was particularly struck with tho fine outlook his from country soon homestead, and after it was built the whole of the marsh land along the River Derwent was cultivated. For many years past this has been impossible to the swampy owing nature of the ground, and the only suggestion that can be given for the land is that since developing into a swamp the causeway has been placed at Bridgeit has water not allowed sufficient flow of the tido to points further upstream. Some Mr. years ago Frank
Is, ery everyone
To visit the old house during the day tight is rather uninteresting, but knowof the ing something suppositions surIts history, and rounding paying a visit at night. Is certainly an experience, at for two least It proved so who persons "walked in to the bee a ghosts" short it As time a ago. happened rather suitable for night was chosen Inthe It was spection. raining, and a biting was wind across blowing the marsh This towards the house. was thought to be an appropriate occasion, and lighting a piece of candle on the front vei-an dah they entered through the main door.
step inside seemed to set the in revolt. The wind roared, and a door banging at the rear helped to create a weird Impression. Regardless of any danger the two walked steadily forward first until tlie was staircase reached. The hand-rail was as loose could be, but they found their way to the second Door. Nothing was happening, nor had anything like a ghost been oncountered, and in. fact the whole expedition was becoming somewhat uninteresting. But, of course, suitthe most able haunts for ghosts would naturally bo in the attics, and tlie two made their the narrow way up steps which led to the uppermost A» soon as story. they reached the top the candle went out and left them In darkness. Several attempts to light tho candió failed, and the posiwhole
It would be a the descent across
somewhat dlfllouli matter of the stairs
to too dangerous flimsy floor the which might glvo way at any moment. Match otter was match on struck, and It was each occasion promptly extinthe guished by wind, blew which through the broken window. wore They not afraid-what was to be alarmthere ed about anyway-but the position was just unfortunate, it and each minute was becoming less enviable. two The were talking In low tones, suggesting numerous ways by which they might get safely down the stairs, when suddenly thero was a roar from the hrart of the hou?e. empty "Who's there, and what do you want?" The voice was quite ordinary, yet It
dtwkness, rfsk walking
National Library of Australia
The voice was quite ordinary, yet It re-echoed through rooms the vacant like a. and the two cannon, standing In darkness on of the third landing top grasped at other and each if struck as stood dumb. What could they say, for, after all, they had no right In the house at all. neod "You not think you can frighten on me," went the elderly voice from beneath. this, one At of tho two replied in reassuring tones that they were the at house for an inspection, and, if purely possible, to see some of the ghosts. "Ghosts?" said the voice from below. "You don't mean to say la this place haunted?" it is," "I understand tho was reply "Well, if that Is so, you can get down the stairs the I'll be best wav you can, off. I have camped here for nearly a and I week, to think not have known. Why, you might be a ghost yourself for all I know."
what about the glaring eyes and noise?" one of his impatient listIt abked. find out what "Did you
is the "After
joke," I ran
I miks, to get cleai of the sinioundlngs feel to began and considerably sobei I came it eventually to the conclusion was a its half grown head calf with oue of the window tlnough a it was Of courte his filend assuted him Bu did you for back go your
Even sthe hearty burst of laughter the from upper story did not deter the old man from his intention, und by the time the two found their way to the lower floor he was to be seen nowhere Now. that the old dwelling has outlived its usefulness, and has been left to its inevitable fate, it is often a resting-place for wayfarers who happen to pass along the road on the way to New Norfolk and other parts of the Derwent Valley, and each swaggie who seeks the shelter of the building for a night has some sort of story to relate on the following morning. Some of the tales arc, of course, quite out of all reason, and would do credit to a first-class novelist, but, on the other hand, there is reason to believe the story of some of the happenings and experiences of these sheUer seekers. A TRUE GHOST TALE.
One apparently true tale told at New Norfolk a short time is ago probably worth repeating. An elderly swaggls had been on a trip to the city for a few days, and, having most of spent his money, decided to walk home. Proceeding along the road, he could not resist visiting one of the hotels, and, as the walk made him somewhat thirsty, he indulged rather too freely. With his last few shillings he purchased a bottle of rum, and his then continued merry towards way New ,Norfolk. By nightfall he had only walked as far as the haunted house, and, falling to líe Heve In the existence of ghosts, and the like, decided to spend the night there. In the evening the rum bottle was emptied, and soon was the old man fast asleep In one of the back rooms. Some time towards earlv morning ho was awakened by a Btartling noise, and for the first time ho realised was there something In the supposition that the house was haunted. sat and He up, ahnoBt Immediately there was another outburst. It was quite close to him he knew, for he was certain he could hear the thing panting as if to spring at him any moment. At last he discovered his matches, and striking one, he saw a huge pair of eyes glaring from near one of the windows. Another glance, together with the effects of the rum, the assured old man that thero wero He everywhere. eyes let out a wild yell, and In a moment he was out of the wretched place and running for his life. "But what about the glaring eyes and wierd noise?" one of his list-
all tight' «aid the old until it \uu> be daylight j ou know that thing might not have all a been calf at the tales th it ire Such are told of the one time Governors residence as but simple as thej ma\ the hou«? appeal «Ill continue to bo fiom the haunted point of view of the geneial public as it cune How long as It témoins to bo haunted does not really matter but one was piobably Urn. reason given by an old i evident of who New has Norfolk lived In the district a lifetime It up peal s that In the earlv davs the house was foi sevtial unoccupied and yeais It contained as numerous attractive fit such llngn cedar as and mantelpieces othei inicies of value it was often vis ited bv thiev es In order to make their ta.sk of lemovlng the articles feomevvhat It Is «aid cisler that the pirtv who. mention paid most to the took house along with them colouied lanterns mid It wleid sounding whistles while thev In the house vveie thev suspected being noticed by passers the by ItMits would be swung the acioss and windows the whistles blown In this people way gained the Impiosslon the house tint was haunted mil it his lern lined until the piesent daj
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