Australia’s Haunted Gold Coast!

This region may be a young settlement compared to other places around the world, but it turns out we have our fair share of ghost tales!

Do you believe in ghosts? Have you had a ghost encounter or experienced something you can’t explain?
Whether you are a believer or not, there is no doubt that ghost stories fascinate us.
And one man who knows them all is Richard Davis.
Richard is a local author, having recently written the book ‘Great Australian Ghost Stories’.
Ten years ago he also published the ‘Ghost Guide to Australia’.
Richard says he has always had an interest in Australian history and folk law.
“And I discovered that ghost stories provide a special insight into our history. I claim that you can learn more about the living than the dead from ghost stories, so I’ve always had this fascination and I’ve collected them and written them up for years,” he says.

However he is not necessarily a believer himself.
“The jury is still out on that one for me but what I do believe in passionately is the sincerity of all those people who’ve shared their stories with me over the years – just ordinary Australians who believe they’ve had some kind of an experience that they can only explain by using the word ‘ghost’… and the extraordinary thing is that often other people see it at the same time, or different people see the same thing at a different time – so there’s this whole body of interesting information about ghosts that seriously one just cannot ignore.”
Richard has travelled the country collecting these accounts, and says here on the Gold Coast we have “quite a nice little heritage of ghost stories.”

Some of his favorites are as follows…

The ghost of Ned Harper, Cascade Gardens:

Ned Harper led a very successful life on the Gold Coast in the middle of the 19th century, logging cedar trees.
He lived with the local indigenous people and was well known for building a ferry across the Nerang River.
When he died his body was buried in Cascade gardens, where the grave still remains.
Richard says over the years people have claimed to have seen an old man exercising and walking around the garden beds in the late afternoon.

“One might mistake him for a modern person except that he’s wearing 19th century clothes,” Richard says.
“And it’s said that in the late afternoon sun he doesn’t cast a shadow.”

Desi Quinlan:

Both past and present members of a Palm Beach surf club claim that things happen in the club house at night, and believe these to be the actions of a past member of the club, Desi Quinlan.
“He was a great member of the club in his time – a very loyal and devoted and appreciated member of the club who just kinda hangs around and keeps looking after the place,” Richard says.
Desi was taken by a shark in 1950 and ever since then strange things have happened in the building.
These strange happenings include reports of shadows, cutlery being moved, pictures on the wall being straightened, and equipment neatly put away.
“And when the questions are asked about who did it, everybody looks blank and says ‘well it wasn’t me’ so the assumption is that it’s the ghost of Desi, who is obviously still very fond of his old surf club and determined to look after it.”

Jimboomba Anglican Church:

Within the church cemetery are the graves of four women, all of whom died on December 14, 1913.
“There was a mother, her two daughters, and a friend. And the story goes that one of them fell into a dam and the others tried to save her but in a matter of minutes all four women were dead,” Richard says.
It is the ghost of the mother that Richard says has been seen over the years.
“She is said to be walking around her grave pointing one bony finger towards the church tower.”
Again, she is usually spotted in the late afternoon, and casts no shadow.

Ghost lights:

It’s not just ghostly human figures that have been sighted in the Gold Coast region.
Richard says a ‘ghost light’ is said to have been seen near what is now O’Reilly’s guest house.
The story goes that Rose (Bernard O’Reilly’s sister) and a young man were taking a group of horses through a gorge close to where the guesthouse is now when “they were followed by a ball of orange shining light, about twice the size of a football.”

“Now Rose was a pretty spunky lady and she simply turned around and faced the thing and faced it down so it apparently turned around and went back into the bush. But it took her companion months to get over the fright of seeing this light.”
Bernard OReilly also documented that after this incident anytime horses were taken through that same gorge, they would always buck, whinny, and resist moving forward when they got to the spot that the light had appeared.

These are just some of the Gold Coast’s many ghost stories, and ones which Richard has himself investigated.
Other rumours that circulate the coast are of the ghost of a distressed war veteran in a house in Springbrook, a murdered homeless man haunting an old train tunnel, and spooky happenings in Mount Tamborine’s Bungunya Manor, at the site of an old mental asylum in Tallebudgera, and in and amongst the glitter strip of Surfers Paradise.


About Andrew

Co-founder & lead investigator of Paranormal Encounters. I've experienced the paranormal all my life, having encountered ghosts, angels and demons. I live in a haunted house and when not exploring and researching the unknown, I enjoy single malt Scotch whisky & potato chips (though not necessarily at the same time).