Ghosts of Boggo Road Gaol -“BOGGO” – Episode #4
Former prison officers and prisoners believed that Boggo Road Gaol was haunted; there are ghost stories dating back to the 1930s. Many people died within the walls of the prison during its long history. Many old officers and prisoners claimed that the prison had a few ghosts. Working in such an ancient place lent itself to stories.
That the Gaol was haunted was something that rarely was mentioned outside its walls when it was in operation, as officers largely kept their experiences to themselves. Usually when they talked about such things their mates would laugh it off or even ridicule them. Prison prankster Ron Darby, a veteran officer, loved nothing more than to play jokes on new officers by running a sheet up a wall on the backtrack as it was called, or, on foggy nights, ride a bike with a sheet over his head along this same section to rattle them.
As well as the jokes, the ghost of “Ernie” – Ernest Austin – the last man hanged at Boggo Road and in the state of Queensland in 1913, was said to torment new prisoners at the Gaol. This story was passed down through the cellblock sweepers and seems to have been told right through the 1980s, making it one Australia’s longest told prison ghost tales.
Brisbane Ghost Tours has conducted historic ghost tours of Boggo Road Gaol since 1998. Over 20 years visitors coming on a tour of No.2 Division – the only remaining section of Brisbane Prison – swear they have had experiences. Some say they have been touched, grabbed or even spoken to by spirits. Many claim to have seen a female figure on the upper floors of the cellblocks – leading to speculation as to who it might be. Ellen Thomson was the only women executed in Queensland; she paid the ultimate penalty on the gallows in the oldest part of Brisbane Prison – old No.1 Division – which was torn down in the 1970s. Another possibility is the ghost is of a former staff member – the Matron of the Women’s Prison (the original use of No.2 Division) or a female warder. Perhaps the most unusual haunting is a three-legged ghost cat – Tripod – who visitors claim has rubbed himself on their legs or been heard meowing.
Listen to Episode #4 of ‘Boggo’ – the official podcast for Boggo Road Gaol.
In this episode, Gaol Director Jack Sim, author of “The Ghosts of Boggo Road Gaol”, and founder of Brisbane Ghost Tours, and Ghost Tour guide Sam, talk about the origins of the ghosts, and explores the history behind them, and whether visitors to the historic gaol today continue to have experiences.
Visit www.brisbaneghosttours.com.au to book the Boggo Road Gaol Ghosts & Gallows Tour.
Visit www.boggoroadgaol.com to book history tours and events.