When you’re visiting a historical place, there’s no better way to capture the ambience than to join a good old-fashioned ghost tour. And a ghost tour of Queensland’s Maryborough is a scary way to learn about one of Australia’s early ports.
Maryborough ghost tales
I did it several years ago and of all the things I saw in Maryborough, the ghost tour is the one activity that has stuck in my mind.
When thinking back, I recall the sun being swallowed by the inky darkness and the long shadows playing tricks on my eyes as we wandered through the graveyard.
The fun thing about Maryborough’s ghost tour are the characters you’ll meet – an Undertaker wearing top hat and tails along with a band of assistants wearing 19th-century garb (think bonnets, cloaks, shawls and lacy blouses).
It makes wandering past gravestones all the more atmospheric.
Of course, there are the stories. Like the one about the kids who died from the plague (not all of the stories are happy) and the tale about the publican who murdered his family. Actually, some are downright gruesome.
In the background, a cast of extras create a rich atmosphere. There’s plenty of hysterics, sobbing and crying. It’s a fun and amusing (and not very scary) way of learning about Maryborough.
It was Queensland’s main immigration port (for European migrants) during the late 1800’s.
The Wharf Street precinct is particularly atmospheric at night, especially when you’re listening to stories about the waterfront.
Wharf Street has beautifully restored heritage buildings which house museums.
Customs House has an informative audio-visual display of Maryborough’s history while the Bond Store Museum has displays of goods that once passed through Maryborough’s port.
Another of Maryborough’s historic gems is the Brennan & Geraghty Store Museum, which is a unique museum store that opened in 1871 and operated as a local store until 1972.
During the day, Maryborough is a lot more cheerful. Kids will love the replica of Maryborough’s first locomotive train, the Mary Ann, which once hauled timber from Tin Can Bay to Cooloola Creek.
Maryborough is also where PI Travers (the author of Mary Poppins) grew up.
Christina Pfeiffer was a guest of Tourism and Events Queensland
The Ghostly Tours and Tales of Maryborough tour runs on Saturdays ($75 per person).
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