Presented by Ghost Crime Tours
Reviewed 19 February 2015
Port Adelaide is the State’s main shipping port and as one of Adelaide’s oldest suburbs, built over swamp lands and mud flats, it is rife for a night of fireside tales of ghosts, prostitution and drunken murders.
The region was aptly nicknamed Port Misery by author T Horton James in the 1800s, so there was high expectation that the Port’s Ghost Crime Tour would be a memorable and deeply disturbing event. Certainly, our effervescent tour guide, Vicki, has many stories to impart, backed by well-researched history into the region. As she quickly points out however, not everything strange in the Port is paranormal!
The tour begins in the Port Dock Brewery Hotel, built in 1855 and home to three known ghosts. Ghost hunting equipment is introduced immediately to our team of ghostbusters: an Electromagnetic Field Metre (EMF) to measure unexplainable electromagnetic readings, EVPs (Electronic Voice Phenomenon) and a “Ghost Box” which scans radio waves so quickly that only a spectral voice can be heard clearly.
Vicki encourages photographs to capture things that may not be seen by the naked eye as the curious gathering migrates down into the underground cellars of the pub amidst stories of playful spirits. The lights go out and the EMF begins to signal activity…
For the next two and a half hours, the streets and buildings of Port Adelaide become moments in history – bar fights with hatchets, street beatings and suicides, murder victims who didn’t receive justice, prostitutes who died in the night, and residual hauntings of sudden deaths that replay each night at the same time. Some ghosts have names, like Jasper at the former police station or Hamish at The Lighthouse pub, while others remain a mystery with only speculation to explain their anger. Some spirits aren’t even human.
Lipson Street’s architecture serves as a symbol of the multicultural diversity of our early migrants and the violent deaths caused by the railways and dangerous dock conditions. History comes to vivid life thanks to Vicki’s animated storytelling and humour. Not all of it is ghoulish, but it’s always fascinating. We visit the Port’s first ‘dead house’ built in 1866, and gasp at the knowledge that a Mayor posed for his official portrait long after he was dead.
Lovers of history will relish this tour, as will anyone keen to know more about supernatural phenomenon in the region. It’s educational fun with an edge, regardless of whether you believe in a spirit world or not.
Ghost Crime Tours of the CBD and Port Adelaide are being conducted frequently during the Fringe, then regularly throughout the year with a third tour in Kapunda. Wear sensible walking shoes and dress for the weather.
Reviewed by Rod Lewis
Rating out of 5: 3
Venue: Meet at Port Dock Brewery Hotel front entrance, 10 Todd Street, Port Adelaide
Season: 13 February – 14 March 2015
Duration: 2.5 hours approx
Bookings: Book through FringeTix online or at a FringeTix box office (booking fees apply)