10 creepy Australian and NZ urban legends

Hidden bunkers and secret morgues, anyone?

1 month Discovery Channel

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While the histories of New Zealand and Australia are, by now, well documented, there remains a shadow history that continues to fascinate conspiracy theories and fans of a tall tale: those unexplained, eerie occurrences throughout history that keep being told through whispers, and with raised eyebrows. If you believe, you’ll love these ten tales, and if not, maybe you’ll be convinced – or at the least, amused.

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Hieroglyphs in Gosford

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The weirdest urban legend on NSW’s Central Coast either throws into doubt the history of those who settled Australia, or points towards extra-terrestrial interference. Either way, it’s a blast. The legend is centred around a series of roughly 300 weird hieroglyphics found on a sandstone wall in Kariong during the ’70s. Armchair sleuths claim these were the markings of Egyptians who were led off-course thousands of years ago, and washed up on the Australian East Coast. Professionals believe otherwise, dismissing them as a mere hoax. Then there are those who feel these are the markings of visiting aliens…

Bankstown’s Hidden Bunkers

Image | Wikipedia

Bankstown was a central hub in NSW during World War 2; indeed a number of the houses still standing in that area started as fronts: fake homes used to dupe the casual observer into thinking this was a simple farming area, but which actually served as above-ground entry points into secret underground bunkers, where training and covert ops took place. All but one of these bunkers has since been discovered and made public, but it’s the final puzzle piece that has proven so tantalising to those on the search. Researchers claim to have uncovered the bunker during the ’80s, under a block of flats, through a steel-door which was welded shut, telling tales of an opulent “Indiana Jones temple” with tunnels, and a secret HQ.

The three witches of Auckland Domain

Auckland Domain is the oldest park in the city: a lush 200 acre reserve first established in 1880. With its long past comes some dark rumours, including the most persistent, that of the three witches. Legend goes that shortly after the park was reserved for public use, a trio of local witches were tried and hung by members of the public. Feeling hard done by (which is understandable in publicly-lead executions) the witches have haunted the park ever since, targeting lone travellers because that’s what witches do. Visitors report unworldly cackling and hissing after dark, often in the area near the statue of the Three Muses, and there are many who will not venture into the park after the sun sets.

The prehistoric beast of the Hawkesbury

The Hawkesbury River is said to be home to a loch-ness style, prehistoric monster, who has been the subject of numerous sightings, yet managed to somehow survive for millions of years, despite the entire area being over-fished in recent times, and dredged a number of times in regards to unrelated (or are they?) searches for bodies. The rumours are buoyed by old artwork by the Darug people of the region, who regularly depicted a fierce-looking sea creature that looks strikingly similar to eye-witness reports from recent days. Maybe it’s merely the power of suggestion, or maybe something sinister does lurk below…

The secret lake under James St. Station

Image | Huffington Post

It’s true that there is a labyrinth of disused tunnels and access areas underneath most of Sydney; any old, evolving city has plenty of these passageways to tell of. Lake St. James, however, is something else. Located underneath James St. Station, the lake is said to be riddled with mutated eels from past waste dumpage, and used as a secret training ground for the military. Of course, those in the known are said to be sworn to secrecy, but people tell hushed tales of month-long training operations in the belly of the station, all conducted in pitch black darkness, with a mess of secret tunnels leading from the lake back up to a secret above ground military shelter nearby.

The lone panther

Image | YouTube

The Blue Mountains is a dense, beautiful area; often visitors from nearby Sydney are shocked at how untamed the region is, which makes sightings of several large cats in the area quite feasible. These rumours have been floating around since the 1900s, but the most persistent is that of the Blue Mountains Panther – a large creature which prowls around the bush, breaking into properties at will and slaying local pets. There have been over 1,000 sightings in the past two years, and the media often jumps onto grainy, unspecific photos as proof of this creature. Truthfully, there are probably a number of large jungle cats in the area, but the legend of one lone panther is too good to ignore.

It’s fun to stay at the…

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The YMCA Camp Adair is a hundred-acre wonderland just south of Auckland that, by all accounts, hasn’t changed an awful lot since being founded in 1913. It is a rite of passage for Auckland school-children to enjoy camps there, and given this — and the fact the camp’s old School House is also a popular location for functions and other charity events — it’s not surprising that the tale of a mass murder in the grounds has caught wind, despite there being no historical records to back this up. Still, the story goes that a disgruntled headmaster with a fierce red beard murdered a number of school children in the old School House one day, prior to the YMCA taking over the land in the ’30s. He passed away before justice could be served, and still stalks the halls, looking for further young victims. Of course, the fact this tale is often told around campfires doesn’t diminish it one bit, right?

Sydney Harbour Bridge Bodies

Image | Wiki Commons

The official death toll for the construction of the Sydney Harbour Bridge stands at 16, but those in the known have claimed that the actual tally stands at 19, after a horrendous accident which saw three workers fall into the massive pylons, and become trapped in there. The workers were the type who travelled from town to town taking odd construction jobs, and as such, their deaths were not discovered for close to a month. By this time, construction had carried on to the point where body retrieval was impossible, and so the three workers lay entombed in Australia’s most iconic, and busy, bridge.

Westall’s UFO

Australia’s most infamous UFO ‘sighting’ took place in a small Victorian town of Westall in 1966, when dozens of students and teachers from the two schools in the town claimed to have watched three UFO-shaped metallic hubs sail across the skies. They landed in a nearby field before taking off again, leaving three distinct flat markings. The military and media alike swarmed in, and stories in men in black suits silencing children, warning them against talking, make this tale all the more plausible. Being the late ’60s, this was most likely military craft testing, but the cover up, lack of official explanation, and mass reported sightings add a creepy edge.

The Crown Morgue

Those who enter the Crown Casino in Melbourne are well aware of the risk inherent in gambling, but most of them never dream of how high the stakes may actually be. This is according to a persistent urban legend which purports that the owners hide the amount of suicide-related fatalities that happen on their premises by dragging the bodies down to a hidden morgue in the basement of the casino. There are specialty staff equipped to deal with this murky situation; the story goes that they transport the bodies down to the morgue, and then use a series of secret underground tunnels to move them off the premises, presumably dumping them elsewhere to be discovered.

Posted by Nathan Jolly | Unless specified, images from Shutterstock