Ghostly sightings

Thought to be one of the most haunted places in Australia, Adelaide Gaol is said to be regularly visited by some of the inmates and prison officers who once wandered its halls.

Frederick Carr

Frederick 'Fred' Carr was hanged at Adelaide Gaol on 12 November 1929 for the murder of his wife, Maude. He protested his innocence, even up until the final moments before his death.

Carr is said to have exclaimed, while in the condemned cell, 'the law requires my body, but it cannot have my soul, as I am innocent."

Fred is said to appear regularly near the stairs leading to the upstairs cells of the New Building. He is reported as a happy spirit, always neatly dressed in dark clothes and taking a polite interest in visitors wandering through his former 'home'.

Governor William Baker Ashton

William Baker Ashton was the first Governor of the Adelaide Gaol and despite being a reasonably fair man, he was accused of wrong-doing. The ensuing scandal is said to have hastened his demise.

William was a very large man and when he died (in office) in 1854, his body could not be manipulated down his apartment's steep, narrow staircase. Instead, he was unceremoniously lowered out of the front window to the undertakers waiting below.

Three months after his death, William was exonerated. Too little, too late to pacify a disturbed spirit. On warm, still nights with a hint of thunder in the air, his footsteps are said to be heard (through walls of solid stone) as he struggles to move furniture in an empty room.

Ben Ellis - the hangman

Ben Ellis was the Adelaide Gaol hangman for 10 years, from the mid-1860s to the mid-1870s. He lived at Adelaide Gaol in a small apartment below what became the female dormitory.

Ben took pride in his work and approached each task with complete professionalism and never questioned the right or wrong of his profession until 30 December 1873, when he was required to hang a female prisoner, Elizabeth Woolcock. She was to be the first and only woman executed in South Australia. This event changed the way Ben viewed his profession forever.

Ben's restless spirit is said to appear often throughout Adelaide Gaol.