This historic area of Sydney once had a seedy reputation. Narrow laneways and dark passages twisted and turned between cramped living quarters. It was a smelly place where gangs, sailors and prostitutes hung out and crime was a regular occurrence. The tour will take us up and down stairs and through dark winding passages. We’ll hear macabre true crime stories and learn about the poltergeists and ghosts that roam the area.
We carefully climb a set of wet stairs. Walking in single file through a small doorway, we step into a narrow, carpeted passage. Should we even be here? It feels like I’m walking into someone’s home. The passage ends in a small dark courtyard lined with sandstone walls wet from the rain and glistening in the dark.
I’ve lived in Sydney for many years, but have never set foot in this part of The Rocks. Even if there aren’t any ghosts, discovering these hidden corners make the tour worthwhile.
The dark wet night creates the perfect setting as our guide describes a particularly gruesome murder. Standing in a cobblestoned laneway, I grimace at the gory description of a body being dismembered and the unsuccessful attempts to dispose of it.
After the revelers have gone home and quiet descends on The Rocks, council rangers have heard the sound of footsteps running down the lane. The ghost of the murderer running from the police, perhaps. Tonight though, music blaring from a nearby pub will surely keep any ghost away.
In the dim light, we negotiate another dark passageway and uneven stairs to the remains of an 1870s terrace house. Rangers have heard a heartbroken woman sobbing here. When they investigate, there’s no one there. Who’d be a ranger?
We hear more ghost stories. There’s the woman who plays the piano in what is known as the most haunted pub in Sydney. We’re told that a guest on an earlier tour refused to enter a particular building. He worked as a tradesman there. Our guide quotes him as saying “We always said the place was f–king haunted”. When he and his mates arrived for work each morning, they found their tools had been moved around. The ghost of Amelia may have been responsible. Described as a curious and kind ghost, she has been known to follow single women home. As a single woman walking back to my hotel alone, I catch myself looking back over my shoulder. Is it my mind playing tricks on me or is Amelia following me?
NEED TO KNOW
- The Rocks Ghost Tours operate Thursday to Sunday.
- Meet at Cadman’s Cottage for a prompt 7.45 pm start.
- The tours run from 90 minutes to two hours and cost $45.
This article originally appeared on Escape and do not necessarily represent the views of australiaexploring.com