Let us tell the story of the Haunted House.The Daily News (Perth, WA :1882 – 1950); 9 February 1914; Page 8; A Haunted House
Located behind the Brisbane Hotel and running diagonally from Beaufort Street to Bulwer Street, Padbury Street was a quiet street unknown to many people in Perth. In February 1914, that was all to change.
Along the short street were many two-story houses, lived in by various residents. Two of the houses were empty and available for lease. Of those two, one (number 66) had only recently become vacant. The reason the family gave for leaving: they believed it was haunted.
It was averred that the occupiers had for some time past been hearing weird sounds in various parts of the building, for which they could not account.The Daily News (Perth, WA :1882 – 1950); 9 February 1914; Page 8; A Haunted House
The day after the family left, a little boy who lived in the neighbourhood was playing outside when he heard strange sounds coming from within the house. Frightened, he went home and relayed the story to his parents. They reacted the way most parents react: they were sceptical and told him not to be silly. The boy, however, wasn’t alone. Soon, other people began hearing things.
The most common sound heard by the public was of something dropping inside the house. Children began to huddle outside it, looking and wondering what was causing the noise. Their fear was heightened by the knowledge that no one appeared to be living there.
On 4 February 1914, one of the young men in the area decided to investigate for himself. Accompanied by two other men, he boldly entered the house. At the foot of the stairs, he turned back. A large pebble had fallen out of thin air and landed on his head, leaving him with a “lump . . . as visible demonstration of the truth of his story.“
The sounds continued, and a resident of the house next door made a report to the police. A constable arrived to investigate. Along with the resident, they entered the house. They closed all the windows and doors, and blocked all possible exits. Patiently, they waited.
A dull thud coming from above fired up their senses. Unsure of what they were hearing, they waited a little longer. Thud! The sound again. Both men raced up the stairs to the room where the sound originated. There was nothing inside; only a few stones on the floor.
The windows were closed, the opening of the grate shut, and the walls intact. A searching inquiry was made. The manhole and cavity beyond it were thoroughly explored, and every nook and corner looked into.The Daily News (Perth, WA :1882 – 1950); 9 February 1914; Page 8; A Haunted House
Finding nothing, they remained in the room, puzzled. Much to their surprise, they heard the sound again. It came from the room below them. Back downstairs, they went, searching the entire house without success.
People talked, and as they did so, hundreds gathered each night. Residents of Padbury Street, those who lived nearby, and Perth people fascinated by the story crowded outside the haunted house. Most waited earnestly, hoping to hear the sounds. Others grew impatient and resorted to vandalism.
Larrikins threw stones at the windows and fanlights, shattering the glass at the front of the building. One person, intent on creating a scare, resorted to throwing tins on the roof. With all the noise and commotion, sleep for the neighbours was fleeting.
Endeavouring to catch the ‘ghost,’ police and residents held stakeouts and waited for hours within the house. They heard the noises, sometimes preceded by “disquieting rumblings” however, no one saw anything. The only signs of the strange goings-on were the small piles of stones left behind in various rooms.
The noises were, of course, assumed to be the work of a practical joker. However, while two policemen thought they saw someone make “a hurried exit,” many acknowledged that the ghost and the source of the sounds haunting the Padbury Street house remained a mystery.
- 1914 ‘A HAUNTED HOUSE’, The Daily News (Perth, WA : 1882 – 1950), 9 February, p. 8. (THIRD EDITION), viewed 27 Oct 2020, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article79962382
- 1914 ‘THE ‘HAUNTED’ HOUSE’, The Daily News (Perth, WA : 1882 – 1950), 10 February, p. 10. (THIRD EDITION), viewed 27 Oct 2020, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article79961815