Is this Victoria’s ultimate ghost town?
Love ghost hunting? Here’s why you need to visit Walhalla, the valley of the ghosts.
There’s something real nasty up there,” whispers the bloke in the Akubra. “Red eyes, there’s a pair of red eyes up there, you can see them at the front of the house.”
It’s Ken of Traralgon’s second time on the Walhalla Heritage and Development League’s Saturday-night ghost tour and for a minute I suspect he’s a plant, but no, Ken’s enthusiasm sits him genuinely at the ‘open to suggestion’ end of the sceptics scale, and it’s proving contagious.
t’s deeply dark and still in this tucked-away valley at the edge of the Victorian alps, and we have only lantern light and the spookily breathless (thanks to a cold) voice of tour leader Sally to guide our way. She tells us this is a “very active” area, and that poking ghostly little fingers into the knees of ripped jeans is a favourite trick of the restless child spirits that haunt the former school site in front of us. I’m not into distressed denim but the skin at my ankles feels awfully exposed. (More: RACV members can freak out with exclusive deals on a range of spooky tours.)
Whatever your position on the supernatural, Sally’s craftily told ghost tales are a helluva way to illustrate history.
We hear about the well-dressed gentleman who fades away like television static, the cemetery’s cursed grave, and ghostly nurse Emily who tucks in the sheets around B ’n’ B guests, interwoven with historical facts of jaw-dropping gold finds (more than Ballarat and Bendigo combined), cheek-by-jowl living conditions and the arsenic and mercury-fouled creek that, along with silicosis and typhoid brought early death (and a busy after-life) to so many.