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The Maryborough Ghost

Posted 29/03/2019 in History
A ghost from The Illustrated Police News, similar to the "Maryborough Ghost" as described in 1871.


A ghostly figure terrorised the town of Maryborough, Victoria in 1871, appearing near Princes Park, Blackman's Lead and the reservoir. The figure was dressed in ghastly white and reportedly stood for hours transfixed in one spot, hastily receding when approached.

The sensation was reported in several newspapers across Victoria and even the police were called in to try to solve the mystery. 

Despite the initial fear and excitement, people soon began to make light of the situation. The ghostly encounters were used for a political joke in the Melbourne Punch, and it wasn't long before boys in Maryborough began dressing up saplings at the reservoir as ghosts to frighten passers-by. 

The following collection of brief newspaper articles describe the ghostly happenings at Maryborough in 1871.

Friday 27th Jan, 1871

The have a ghost sensation up at Maryborough. "A tall figure in white" glides about in the orthodox way. " A blackfellow, who," says the Advertiser, "had evidently been very much agitated about something of the kind, appeared before the Maryborough Police Court on Monday morning, and complained of the conduct of the ghost, but his worship (Mr. Joyce) said ho could do nothing for him, and advised him to catch it. In his narration of the ghost's vagaries, the poor blackfellow was so overcome with fear as to turn quite pale, and on finding the Court could afford him no protection, he seemed disappointed and lost in despair."

Source: The Argus, 27th Jan 1871


Saturday 28th January, 1871

AN UP COUNTRY GHOST 

Maryborough has a sensation in the shape of a ghost. The story runs that a tall figure in white has of late made its appearance near Gidding's, in the vicinity of Princes' Park. It is habited in the dress of a female, and stands for hours immovable, and transfixed to one spot. Next it was seen about Blackman's Lead, and lastly it has - or something very like it - turned up near the reservoir. It has severely frightened numerous individuals, and almost performed the miracle of changing the Ethiop's skin. The police have been after it, but have not succeeded in catching it yet. A blackfellow, who had evidently been very much agitated about something of the kind, appeared before the Maryborough Police Court on Monday morning, and complained of the conduct of the ghost, but his Worship (Mr Joyce) said he could do nothing for him, and advised him to catch it. 
- Maryborough Advertiser.

Source: The Kyneton Observer, 28th Jan 1871


Monday 30th January, 1871

The good people of Maryborough are just now in a great state of perturbation about a ghost. A something in the shape of a human being apparently of the female sex and dressed in "ghastly" white has appeared to several persons, sometimes at Prince's Park and at other at Blackman's Lead; but no one has yet been able to get near it, the figure receding so speedily on being approached as to puzzle not only the civilian onlooker, but also the police, whose aid, it seems, has been called in requisition to solve the mystery.

Source: Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser, 30th Jan 1871


Thursday 2nd February, 1871

The Maryborough Ghost - There has been a good deal of excitement about a ghost alleged to have been seen at Maryborough latey, to the great alarm of the inhabitants. From inquiries made recently it has been discovered that it is only the ghost of Mr. M'Kean's chance of re-election.

Source: Melbourne Punch, 2nd Feb 1871


Saturday 4th February, 1871

At the Court of General Sessions, held at Ballarat on Thursday last, as many as five informations were exhibited against men for the first-named class of offence, while we are sorry to hear of repeated complaints against boys nearer home. At Maryborough, for instance, the stupid notion of a "ghost at the reservoir" has merged into the dressing up of saplings in white, to excite the fears of the timid, and, in one instance, causing a gentleman to be violently thrown from his horse during the past week. 

Source: Avoca Mail, 4th Feb 1871


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