Ghost Walks season gets underway

Published on Friday 6 October, 2017

Ghost Walks

Under the light of a full moon, the City of Gosnells’ Ghost Walks provide the perfect opportunity to explore the Orange Grove hills while listening to haunting tales about pioneer timber mill workers, whose spirits are said to roam the hills.

At the first Ghost Walks for the 2017/18 season, on Friday 3 November, groups will take a 5.5km guided walk along a bush track from Victoria Dam to the Bickley Reservoir.

Along the way, friendly ghost performers will share colourful tales of the many characters who lived in the district from the 1860s, including workers from the Mason and Bird Timber Mill Company, who built a thriving community in the area.

Orange Grove resident and City of Gosnells Local History Library Assistant Margaret Lefevre was instrumental in establishing the Mason and Bird Heritage Trail in 1988, and several of her family members have joined her in various roles on the Ghost Walks, which have operated for over 20 years.

“I couldn’t tell you the exact date, but one night there was a moonlight hike in the hills as part of a summer program of events, and along the way I was telling stories about the people who once worked at the Mason and Bird Mill,” Mrs Lefevre said.

“One of the hikers said it was a pity we couldn’t have seen some ghosts along the way.”

From these humble beginnings, the Ghost Walks have grown to be one of the most popular events on the City’s calendar each year.

Each tour night, four groups of approximately 25 people take a short bus ride from Hardinge Road picnic area to the starting point at Victoria Dam car park, spaced at 15 minute intervals, with the first group departing at 7pm.

As each group prepares to depart, Mrs Lefevre reads aloud a poem written by one of the Mason and Bird Timber Mill workers more than 150 years ago.

Several members of Mrs Lefevre’s family have also become involved, including her daughter, Rose McGarraghy, who has been a pioneer character and tour leader since the first Ghost Walks in the 1990s. Mrs Lefevre’s two grandsons previously handled sound effects for the walks and her two granddaughters had ghostly roles.

“Ghost Walks can be enjoyed by the whole family, and they are an entertaining way to learn about local history and pioneer characters in a beautiful setting,” she said.

“The views of the Perth City lights from Victoria Dam are spectacular.”

On return from the leisurely walk, participants enjoy a delicious supper, have the chance to talk to the storyteller guides and earn a ‘Ticket of Leave’.

Tours take around three hours and are suitable for moderately fit individuals, family groups (children six years and over) and social groups. Bookings are essential, and family and group discounts are available.

The City will host other Ghost Walks on Fridays 1 December, 2 February and 2 March. More information is available at the link below or by calling 9397 3000.