When the Swan River Colony – what is now Perth – was first founded in the 1829 it was free colony; unlike the eastern penal colonies. However, by the 1840’s, the lure of cheap labour led to an agreement to shipments of British convicts.
In 1850 the first convict ship arrived from Britain but the boat sent to announce the convict ship was coming was blown off course so there was nothing ready for the new prisoners. They were left on the ship while the colony found a solution.
The current site was picked, and construction began on the prison in 1851. The convicts were trained in limestone masonry and built the prison themselves. In late 1851 the Royal Engineers came to the colony and oversaw the construction until 1855 when the Crimean War called them away.
The prison was completed in 1859 but prisoners had been living in the first completed cell block since 1855.
In 1886 ownership of the prison was transferred to the Colonial Government. Up until then the British Government owned the prison but the Colonials had to pay for the upkeep. All prisoners in the Perth Goal were transferred to the prison and a separate female prison was built on site.
As the 20th century began new reforms in the treatment of prisoners also began including knocking down the walls between two cells making them one.
In 1970 a new women’s prison was opened and all female prisoners were moved there.
Despite continued attempts at prison reform – most of which seem to have been token at best – in 1988 there was a prison riot due to the conditions the prisoners were living under.
On November 30, 1991 the prison was closed.
The hospital has since been turned into a tourist attraction with numerous tours available – including a lantern lit after dark tour - and a youth hostel has opened in the former woman’s prison.
44 people were executed in the prison; all for the crime of murder and all by hanging.
One of the rules of the hostel is to notify a staff member should you encounter a ghost.
The stories of paranormal activity date back to when the prison was open with convicts saying dead prisoners were coming in their cells and one cleaner having the terrifying experience of running into a prisoner who he knew had passed away only the day before (the experience was so overwhelming he passed out).
Another guard saw a black figure in the guard post with him. He refused to go back in that guard post and requested a transfer.
John Gavin was hung in 1844 for crime he most likely didn’t commit. John was only 15 years old when he was convicted of killing the baby of the family he was working for; the mother was later diagnosed with post partum depression and probably killed her own child and blamed John.
John is said to haunt what is now called the Shipwreck Galleries making banging noises on the walls and who people out of the corner of their eyes there.
Martha Rendell was the only woman executed at the prison. She was convicted of murdering her new husband’s son – it is also thought she murdered both his daughters as well but that couldn’t be proven – and sentenced to death by hanging 1909.
Martha’s ghostly face is often seen looking out of the window of the chapel. Photographs have even been taken of her.
In the rooms where the hangings took place people have taken pictures of their friends on the gallows; photos that when seen have had their friend’s heads missing.
Other reported activity: apparitions; shadow figures; time slips; objects moving on their own including flying across the room; unexplained streaks of light and other light anomalies; unexplained smells; disembodied voices and other unexplained noises including loud bangs, screams and whispers; touches, tugs and pulls by unseen entities; phantom footsteps; empathic sensations of anger, hatred and a feeling of being trapped; electrical disturbances; cameras and phone not working properly and photos turning out mysteriously altered and feelings of not being alone, being watched and not being wanted.
By <a href="//commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=User:Geanaux&action=edit&redlink=1" class="new" title="User:Geanaux (page does not exist)">Geanaux</a> - <span class="int-own-work" lang="en">Own work</span>, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link
This institution was built to relieve overcrowding at the more famous (infamous?) Freemantle Lunatic Asylum in the final years of the 19th century. Originally, it was to have been built at the Whitby Falls site but the State was only willing to allocate small amounts of money to the project.
Barely enough for the needed maintenance for the existing infrastructure but certainly not enough to begin construction of a new large asylum.
In 1901 the Whitby Falls site was officially declared unsuitable and the search for another site began. In 1903 an area of 394.5 acres (159.6 hectares) of government land in Claremont was chosen. The new facility was named the Claremont Hospital for the Insane.
Patients were transferred here from Freemantle between 1904 to 1909 although the closing of the asylum is not the complete truth. A Home for Women was opened in the Freemantle Asylum building where many female patients were housed until the 1930’s when their wards were finally complete.
The female and male wards were divided into 4 categories with each being further and further from the administration centre: 1) Quiet and Chronic, 2) Sick and Infirm, 3) Epileptics and 4) Violent and Noisy.
In 1933 the institution was renamed the Claremont Mental Hospital. In 1939 a large new ward was built but it was immediately occupied by the military with the onset of World War II. After the war in 1945 it was used for treating combat soldiers with psychiatric issues. It was then used as a day hospital and finally a ward again in 1967.
By the mid-1960’s the facility’s population was 1,700 and it was dealing with all the documented issues of overcrowding as well as the treatments considered inhumane today for the treating of the mentally ill. However, with the invention of anti-psychotic and other drugs patients began to be released from the hospital.
In 1972 Claremont Hospital closed and separated into 2 completely separate hospitals: 1) Graylands Hospital – which is still operational – that treated acute psychiatric patients and 2) Swanbourne Hospital that treated psychogeriatric patients and adults with developmental disabilities.
Seaborne suffered from both overcrowding and under-staffing within 2 years of it’s opening. Treatment of patients suffered accordingly. In 1977 the hospital was called “an afront to the dignity of man” by the Perth Daily News.
Patients were transferred out of the hospital beginning in the first half of the 1980’s to numerous other institutions. Large amounts of the hospital grounds were sold off – some was converted into residential properties and a large piece became John XXIII College – with only the administration block, main dining hall and the first male and female wards remaining.
The site and building were abandoned in 1986.
In 2012 Aegis Aged Care and completely renovated the site into a luxury home for the elderly. Aegis Montgomery House was opened in 2018 with units available for sale.
Reported activity dates back to when the hospital was still operational and during the time it was abandoned. Since Aegis took over ownership there have been no reports; granted that’s pretty much to be expected.
Reported Activity Includes: apparitions of both former patients and staff including ones that have interacted with the living; shadow figures; ghosts have been seen watching from the upper windows; loud bangs, screams and other unexplained noises; disembodied voices and whispers; phantom footsteps; unexplained sounds of crying and laughing; electrical disturbances; touches, tugs and pulls by unseen entities; objects moving on their own; cold and warm spots; time slips; unexplained breezes; time slips; light anomalies and feelings of being watched, not being wanted and not being alone.
2 Brook Street
Status: Former Hospital; Former Hostel; Private Residence
By <a href="//commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=User:Iwelam&action=edit&redlink=1" class="new" title="User:Iwelam (page does not exist)">Michal Lewi</a> - <span class="int-own-work" lang="en">Own work</span>, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link
This hospital was built to replace the former hospital which had been part of the original York Convict Hiring Depot – founded in 1852 – and for men only. If you were a female working or prospecting on what was then the edge of the frontier and got hurt or sick you were going all the way to Perth (100 kms – 62 miles minimum with no cars and no airplanes).
The main hospital building was built in 1896 and is the most recognizable structure. The old morgue (late 19th century), the old nurse’s quarters (1925), the old maternity ward (1941) and the old laundry (1942) are still on the property.
It was originally run by a matron with only a 1 nurse, a cook, an orderly and a wards maid. When surgery was needed it was done on the kitchen table. It was a prime example of frontier medicine.
In 1963 the hospital ceased operations and the location taken over by the Civil Defense Headquarters and then sold to the United Department of Christian Education. In 1976 the Australian National Trust took over ownership was restored the building before leasing it to the National Youth Fitness Council who turned it into a Youth Hostel.
The Hostel ceased operations in 1995 and the site became a private residence. There are unsubstantiated rumours that the current owners – who bought the site in 2004 - are turning it into a bed & breakfast.
This location is considered to be one of the most haunted in Australia.
The ghosts here are definitely not friendly.
Please respect that this is now a private residence – not open to the public at any time – and they don’t want people camping out on their lawn and creeping around on their property after dark.
Reports of the paranormal activity date back to the 1920’s. The matron working then said staff were terrified of the upper floors and the nurses would do their rounds in pairs even when the wards were full of patients.
It is said that the local wildlife avoids the buildings on site.
The phantom sounds of moaning coming from inside the walls has been reported as well as objects moving on their own.
During the years it was open as a hostel people were viciously attacked by unseen presences; in some cases these attacks resulted in hospital visits.
Apparitions have been seen multiple times in the house; apparitions that are known for walking through walls. Doors have been reporting slamming shut and have actually hit people trying to go through door ways.
Rooms and sometimes large parts of the building have filled with the scent of decomposition. People have also reported the feeling of skin being penetrated by hundreds of needles.
A room on the main floor called the Dying Room has a habit locking and unlocking itself at will.