80 Kilometres south-west of Sydney lies a small town.
Picton, or as it was originally known, Stonequarry was founded in 1821 and is home to the infamous Redbank Range railway tunnel.
A tunnel packed with tragedy and history, one that continually haunts the town to this day.
Once a storage room for mustard gas and ammunition during the Second World War, the tunnel has a tragic past. Far before its use as a storage facility, it claimed the lives of many Picton residents.
One such resident Emily Bollard is believed to haunt the tunnels to this day after her tragic death in 1916.
Emily left home late one night. Wandering around town, she headed towards the tunnel. Upon entering the mouth of the tunnel she was struck by a train and killed, whether her death was a planned suicide or a tragic accident is still a mystery, but since that night so many years ago Emily has “appeared” to many residents deep within the stone walls of the tunnel. Residents and visitors report a flowing figure of a woman with no face. Ghostly children, strange lights and sudden drops in temperature have also been reported in the tunnel. John Vincent, tour operator and resident of Picton explains:
One of the most frightening places is the tunnel. It's a very depressing place.
Image: Picton Tunnel, Wikimedia Commons.
The tunnel is not the only haunted site in Picton. The old maternity hospital supposedly hides the shadowy figure of a cranky old matron, and the ghostly sounds of crying babies are still heard within the halls of the historic building. Some have even reported waking up to invisible hands choking them in the middle of the night.
The Wollondilly Shire Council is reportedly haunted by three separates ghosts- a small boy, a man dressed in a hat and suit and the sounds of a small girl.
Across town, the Imperial Hotel plays unplugged Jukeboxes and a presence follows around the staff at night and the Stonequarry Creek where many have drowned is haunted by the sounds of splashing and swimming in the water.
Ghost tours used to run regularly but were forced to shut down by the local council.
Whether you believe in the paranormal or not, the town has a tragic and rich history, one worth preserving.
Header: Picton Tunnel, pre-1880, New South Wales State Archives.