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Former Blanchetown ghost haunt an arresting opportunity for buyers


1-5 The Parade, Blanchetown is one of South Australia’s oldest police stations and was once haunted by 20 ghosts.

Resurrecting a decaying building is hard work for the best of us. But imagine trying to do so while having to combat 20 ghosts.

That’s exactly what happened when Andy Thomas bought one of the state’s oldest police stations some 25 years ago.

Not only was the 160-year old building at 1-5 The Parade, Blanchetown close to ruins, it was also haunted by two dozen ghouls.

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1-5 The Parade, Blanchetown

The old Police Station building is set on top of one of Blanchetown’s several hills. It is built from stone with a corrugated iron roof and wide veranda. [On back of photograph] ‘Police Station, Blanchetown / 1932 / Reproduced in the Chronicle for July 28, 1932’. Source: State Library of South Australia.

“As soon as you walked in, you knew the place was haunted,” he said.

“I was told there were 20 ghosts there, but that they were harmless. Spirits that hadn’t moved on.

“So with the help of a paranormal expert, I had them all removed and now, as far as I know, the place is ghost free, but you never fully know.”

Mr Thomas, who is selling the former haunt through Elders Real Estate Barossa, said the property had now been successfully converted into a treasured family home and would be auctioned on Friday, November 22, at 5pm.

The 1859-built home, which served as the town’s first police station and jailhouse for 75 years, is set on a 3482sqm block and overlooks the Murray River.

Old Jailhouse

Copy picture of the old prisoner exercise yard when the family bought the property. PIC: TAIT SCHMAAL.

Old Jailhouse

Thomas Delaney represented the law in Blanchetwon until replaced by John Shanks in 1889. Shanks remained at his post until 1897.

It comprises two bedrooms, a formal study, an open-plan lounge, dining and kitchen area, and a separate family room.

A covered outdoor entertaining area gives access to a separate guest wing and a double carport.

“I happened to be on holiday in the Riverlands when I came across the property and it was in such a mess, that it was never State Heritage listed,” Mr Thomas said.

“But I had a vision for it, so I set out to renovate the place over quite a few years.

1-5 The Parade, Blanchetown

1-5 The Parade, Blanchetown

“What was once the exercise yard is now a courtyard overlooking the river and the original cell has been converted into an office. And where the bathroom is, that’s where the old courtroom used to be.

“The ceiling, underneath the iron, still has the original red gum, which is actually a good insulation.

“So I’ve really made an effort to keep the old style as original as possible and it’s been a good home. But things happen and you’ve eventually got to move on.”

Five of Adelaide’s most haunted properties

The Port Dock Brewery

When it comes to supernatural activity, the Port Dock Brewery glows red hot, having had a tumultuous past. After being forcibly closed in 1909, the building was used as a boarding house and then a brothel in the 1920s before falling into disrepair. To this day, it is believed to be the most haunted hotel in Port Adelaide, with the ghost of an old madam, regularly seen in its cellar. Several people have also reported sensing another being and hearing music.

Port Dock Brewery Hotel, Port Adelaide 03 Dec 1987.

Port Dock Brewery Hotel, Port Adelaide 03 Dec 1987.

Halfway Hotel

After a few brews at this Beverley watering hole you are bound to start seeing a few weird sights. But locals say “Ol’ George” is far more than just an apparition. He’s a ghoulish jokester. Legend has it that the ghost turned all of the kegs upsidedown in the cellar one night more than 30 years ago. George, who was said to be a local patron until the 1930s, had skills as an interior designer. He would often rearrange the furniture inside the hotel, on Port Rd.

BEHIND THE BAR - Halfway Hotel

The Halfway Hotel in 2018. (AAP Image/Roy Vandervegt)

Michael Perry Reserve – Stonyfell

If you head to the Michael Perry Reserve at Stonyfell in the eastern suburbs, you might meet the ghost of Clifton Manor owner Dr Michael Schneider. Or teenagers trying to be terrified.

The ghost apparently enjoys late-night walks on the reserve, also known as Schneider’s Alley, which used to be part of the manor’s grounds. Urban myths have Dr Schneider as a child killer, although the “myth” part of this is worth highlighting.

A rumoured ghost in Michael Perry Reserve is creating a 
 headache for nearby residents because hordes of 
 Teenagers are flocking there to try and spot the spook. 
 Burnside Council is investigating options to deter 
 them. Councillors Graham Bills and Michael 
 Capogreco in the reserve.

A rumoured ghost in Michael Perry Reserve is creating a headache for nearby residents because hordes of teenagers are flocking there to try and spot the spook. Graham Bills and Michael Capogreco in the reserve.

Adelaide Arcade

Adelaide Arcade, which was built in 1885, had electric lighting before any other retail centre in Australia – what sounded innovative at the time, ended in utter horror. The ghost of the Arcade’s caretaker, Francis Cluney, is said to wander upstairs. Cluney was trying to fix a broken light when he tragically fell into the generator and died. It’s also believed that psychic Joan Lesley along with five other ghosts, including Brigette Kennedy Byron, whom killed herself after murdering her three-year-old son, also reside there.

Exterior image of the Adelaide Arcade.

Port Adelaide Enfield Council Chamber

One spectre in Adelaide’s west is believed to be rattling the chains of office – that being the ghost of former mayor Joseph Murrell Lambert. Mr Lambert was waiting for a council meeting to begin in 1934 when he died suddenly in the chamber. His spirits thought to still be keeping a close eye on proceedings.

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