A gloomy tale of unjust murder while the trees gently rustled above, set the tone for Friday night’s walking ghost tour in Traralgon; the first of what I’m sure will be many for ghost whisperer Tegan Dawson who runs Haunted Hills Tours. After the brief but humours formalities, the group of 27 attendees began their journey into Traralgon’s rich history by our friendly spirit guide. There were 19 stories told throughout the night talking us all to a variety of locations around the rural city. One notable site was that of the Star Hotel (Cafe Stellina), which is widely known for being Traralgon’s oldest building. As I walked past the lively establishment I felt for a moment that I had stepped back in time due to it’s striking architecture, reminiscent of a bygone era. Many of the ghosts in Tegan’s stories, such as the one supposedly inhabiting the former hotel, were regarded as more of a lingering presence as opposed to something more unsettling. The common theme of the night was how film and popular culture portray ghosts and spirits as having a general malevolent nature, especially children, whereas in local reports, most spirits were either friendly or playful. One of which was told outside the eerie remains of an old kindergarten, which I had no idea even existed. While other stories recounted the hearing of laughter, the running up of stairs and other seemingly innocent activity.
On the opposite end of the spectrum many of the stories mention the troublesome occurrences by more active forces. Those of which disturb inhabitants of a certain location by the switching on and off of lights and appliances to the moving of furniture along with the locking and unlocking of doors and cabinets. Our journey then proceeded to what was my favourite part of the tour; a stroll through the alleyways connecting Seymour Street with Hotham. The unflattering rear exteriors of the various stores and restaurants in addition to the lack of adequate lighting made for somewhat unnerving experience, reminding me of a classic scene in ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street’.
As someone who knew next to nothing about’s Traralgon history, I was thoroughly intrigued by what Tegan had to offer. It was an overall fascinating and atmospheric night, an experience I would highly recommend to others with a flair for local myth and legend.
For more details and additional tour dates, visit Haunted Hills Tours on Facebook or the official web site www.hauntedhillstours.com