Shakespeare once pondered: would a rose be a sweet if named anything else? Would ghost tours be as scary without a name like Haunted Hills preceding tours? It’s a gift from our area that is well documented in Gippsland’s history, that gave us the Haunted Hills. Whether it’s coal or something paranormal, spiritual or otherwise, it’s definitely stocked with stories.
The article was written by a correspondent for The Argus (Melbourne) in 1947: you can read the full story here, or by clicking on the image below.
Today in our busy, noisy world, thousands of people fly by the Haunted Hills, never hearing the disconcerting sound nor the unnerving sight of “ghosts of dead gums”. That is unless you drove through the Latrobe Valley after the 2014 bushfires that started in Herne’s Oak (the home of the Haunted Hills). The Princes Highway was an eerie sight with burnt bark on trees that in the middle of summer had no leaves, it changed the landscape. Reviving fears of the day that flames threatened Morwell and then went into the Morwell Open Cut. It was a ghastly reminder of nature’s power and propensity for destruction, some of the trees today aren’t recovered fully.
Even though the Haunted Hills were renamed in 1939, Gippslanders never let go of the legend of the Haunted Hills, the name has been preserved for over 150 years. The first account I can find is an article from the Gippsland Times that recounted a Journey from Melbourne to Sale referred was in 1872, that they “rounded the haunted hill”.
These days the haunted hills are a different place to the thickly wooded hills covered in native hops. 1931 is the first recounting of the legend of the Haunted Hills. The legend that had run rife, as drovers taking cattle through to Melbourne had a predictable place they’d experience trouble on their route – the western slope of the Haunted Hills. The cattle would walk up the Eastern slope with no concerns, however, at the precipice of the Haunted Hills, the cattle would become agitated, stampeding off, many a cow was lost at this point in the journey to Melbourne.
The experiences of people who do take time to wander or as they’re driving by with eyes wide open, they hear phantom brumby’s galloping, some people have seen a man standing by the side of the road, an eerie noise through the trees, the groaning noise under the ground and in places find their mobile reception is non-existent.
The sounds are dismissed as the coal, however, coal seams travel all the way through Gippsland – in all terrains. I’d love to speak to a geologist about the makeup of the Haunted Hills.
You can stay in the Haunted Hills at Brigadoon Cottages if you dare, and experience it for yourself.
If you’ve had any experiences on or around the Haunted Hills, I’d love to hear your story. If you want to share you can in the comments below or the contact box.
A resident who lived in the Haunted Hills, recounted on one day they heard the sound of brumbies galloping, yet none were to be seen, it was a really odd experience.
The haunted hills feature in the following tours: