Dead Man's Pass
The Ghosts of Gawler: Part Two
The Para-pass, as it was known in 1837, has long been a notoriously haunted location in Gawler, South Australia (about 40mins north of Adelaide).
I grew up nearby in Gawler South, and spent a lot of my time as a child playing in the reserve around Dead Man's Pass, collecting tadpoles, sailing boats through the streams, and discovering caves and other hidden secrets throughout the area. I was also intrigued about the endless ghost stories I heard over the years from other friends who used to play there as kid.
The area was first used as a crossing point for Bullock dray teams, carting goods from northen outposts like Kapunda, it was a good place to camp also, refill water supplies and have a break under the shady trees. Colonel William Light passed through the area, as did many other famous explorers.
The crossing got its name after an exploration party returning from the Barossa ranges came across an exhausted traveller, whom they offered respite too. Once stopped at the crossing they checked on their new companion who had fallen asleep in the back of their dray, only to find him dead.
Having no tools with which to dig a grave, they placed his body upright in a hollow tree and covered it as best they could with sticks and branches.
Not long after, another travelling party happened across the gruesome site, and, after taking samples of the gentleman’s clothing, encased him with clay in the tree.
|A Sign at Dead Mans Pass - Photo by Allen Tiller|
Before European settlement, Dead Man's Pass and the Gawler region were the home to the Kuarna Peoples, Australian Aboriginals who used the area for hunting food, shelter and water. There are numerous caves hidden throughout the location, some containing Aboriginal paintings.
The area has seen much death, in 1927 there was a swinging walk bridge installed across the river, a Mr J Bald, a local man, leaned over the side of the rope bridge, and nearly severed his head when he slipped.
In 1901, Patrick Condon, a Gawler Corporation employee had a fatal accident where his night cart flipped when it fell down an embankment, and landed on him, killing him.
Also in 1901, a young boy, who was also crippled, was found dead in a billabong. Anton Johann Linke's clothing were found on the banks by another young lad, who went to search for him, only to find Anton floating in the water, dead.
Do any of these people now haunt the location? That we cannot say, however a number of other ghost stories have surfaced over the years.
If one cares to visit the “Ghost village” website, one can read the story of a young man who was riding his bicycle along the footpath of the actual ford crossing, the footpath is rather high compared to the road and runs very close to trees. The young fella, who was going too fast, kept hearing a voice in his head say “go right!”
The young bloke listened, went right and crashed his bike, He opened his eyes to see a man and women looking down at him, they spoke to him and disappeared before his very eyes ( read the entire story here: http://www.ghostvillage.com/encounters/2006/10022006.shtml ).
Another more recent story involves seeing a woman, in period clothing standing near the back of the Ambulance station. This is a personal experience story that may appear later in another publication on this blog, if the witness is prepared to offer it.
|Allen with other S.A. teams in Dead Man Pass|
Dead Man's Pass remains a mysterious place, but not one to wander in to at night alone, due to dangers with the living more so than the dead!
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