We were lucky enough to borrow a video camera off my brother which he obtained from school. The reason for borrowing the camera was that I am still to own my own, however, I do hope to purchase one within the next few months.
We filmed both Saturday and Sunday during the day, just to get more of a feel for the site and we came up with some interesting results.
We started with general exterior filming of the original Willow Court Building then moved onto Ward C. Through one of the broken door windows, we were able to zoom in on a notice board that appeared to still have photographs of buildings attached, although we could not determine what the buildings were, or even if they were buildings from the site.
A Section Of The Willow Court Building - Note The Painted Figure On The Left
The next building we filmed we were unable to determine what it was, but it is situated between Ward C and The Administration Building. We walked around until we came to a built in veranda section. We had visited this building a few days earlier when we were getting general photographs, but never thought to check the doors on that day. On Saturday, we checked the doors and found that they were unlocked. We ventured into our first building and I could feel a ball of excitement in my stomach. The first room was quite wide and about two and a half times as long. Near the door was an old hospital bed with metal springs. After further examination on the building, I came to the conclusion that this room could have been where patients slept, beds all lined up along the walls like a hospital ward.
This particular room had three doors - the entrance, a door on the left had side leading to a communal bathroom, and a door at the very end leading into what seemed like a dinning area. I ventured into the bathroom. There were three toilets, two baths, two showers and a line of basins. Only the toilets had actual doors, the baths and showers had rails for curtains, possibly for easy access of the nursing staff. There was a door to the left leading into a laundry area, with another exterior door leading back to the closed in veranda section. After general filming of these sections, I moved towards a door with a glass window in the right hand side of the room. Dave (my partner) was still in the first room and had not followed me into the bathroom. As I started filming though the glass window of the door, when both Dave and I heard a crashing sound coming from further in the building. Unfortunately, my microphone was not working for the majority of the day. However, when reviewing the film of the moment, we caught a glimpse of something strange through the window. It appeared to be the figure of a male standing side on and as I started to pan the camera across, the figured looked as if it started to move to face me. At the time of filming, I did not see anything and for the entire time of filming, I was standing front on, ruling out my own reflection. After a few seconds of regular filming, I switched the camera to night shot, and the figure disappeared. It could be a possibility that what I saw was indeed a trick of the light that was coming though another window, however, I don't think it could explain the colouring of the figure - what looked like brown hair, Caucasian face colouring and dark clothing. I need to review the section of film again when I am able to get access to the camera. Hopefully latter this week, I will be able to upload the footage to disk and take some screen shots and take a closer look. Once I do, I will post pictures to see what you think.
I continued back into the first room and went into what I believed may have been a dinning area, as there was a kitchen with a servery. The dinning room was strewn with broken chairs and old wooden cupboards, and evidence that possums had been in the building could be seen. I walked into the kitchen. Most of the cupboards appeared to have locks on them, maybe to stop patients from stealing the food. The ground was what seemed to be an old pill bottle. While filming it, we heard another bang. At the time, Dave was in the dinning room and the sound appeared to come from the first room - possibly the doors. Dave was freaked out, however, we went on. To the left of the dinning room was another door, leading to a corridor with several doors leading off. On the left had side were doors leading to sun room areas. On the right was a medicine room - still with labels on the cupboards - and several rooms that looked like holding cells. The room sizes of these were quite small and the doors in some cases had metal panels on the bottom with small windows up the top. In one room was an old bath where it was possible to have the patient sitting upright. The bath appeared to have had peddles like a modern day hospital beds, to raise and adjust the bath tub. Where the patient would sit was a large grove - quite possibly as a run off for any bowel actions. The other cells where empty or had broken chairs.
At the end of the corridor was another section that looked to be a living area. The ceilings were lower in this section, meaning that quite possibly this section was added at a latter date. On the right was a door that led to outside and on the right where a few single toilets.
There were no other incidents in this building and we started to make our way out.
The next building we filmed was a small, white weather board cottage, hidden from the road by overgrown bushes. I have heard several stories about this particular cottage, and none of them pleasant - TO SKIP TO STORIES LATER IN THIS POST, PLEASE CLICKS HERE.
This place really had a strange feel to it. The entire place was surrounded by a wire fence with barbwire on the top, and all doors and windows had been boarded up, with only one possible entrance that would still require the door to be jimmied open.
From there, we went around to the back of Ward C by jumping over a boom gate. One of the most interesting design features of Ward C were walls made from hollow concrete blocks, placed approximately one meter away from the original external walls. At either end were large, steel bar gates. This appeared to be an added security feature to prevent patients who had broken and climbed though windows escaping. Continuing around the back, we saw what would be the only way to one day access the building, buy cutting trough wire fencing that had been placed over large, broken windows. Further around were two high walled, outside exercise areas. Large, heavy steel bared gates prevented access. In one of these yards, a flock of sheep munched happily away at the over grown grass.
We finished of the day by doing a small amount of exterior filming of the Administration Building.
We returned on Sunday to try and re-shoot most of what we filmed the first day, as we didn't have sound for the majority of filming, however, we also had the company of Dave's sister and her best friend.
After a small amount of exterior filming of The Willow Court Building and Ward C once again, we ventured back into the eventful building we had filmed the previous day. I was first to enter the building, the others followed, and we closed the door. I went back into the bathroom once again while the other started to explore the dinning room. We had not been in there five minutes, when we heard a load crash of the doors in the first room. We slowly ventured out, and the door was still closed. We couldn't see anyone else around the building. My first impression was it could have been a slight breeze. Freaked out, Dave's sister opened the doors and went out side. Still with the camera on, I went to close the doors. In the play back, you can see my reflection in the glass of the door with Dave behind me. Yet there was another "object" that could be seen, not in the reflection of the door it's self, but through the glass of another door beyond. We ruled out the possibility of it being the reflection on Dave's sister's friend, as when the camera pans across, you can see her reflection off further to the right had side.
The rest of the filming went without incident. Upon exiting the building, we decided to do a test with the doors, by seeing how hard you would have to slam them in order to have achieved the volume of sound we heard. The hinges were quite stiff and took quite a bit of force to slam them. When reviewing the film, we looked to see if the "object" was still there - and it was. We were quite confident that what we could see was actually an object or a wall marking in the laundry area and not something "paranormal". However, it didn't explain the banging of the door. As a control, I filmed the breeze in a near by tree and saw that there was no way, given the hinging of the doors, that a breeze of that strength could have slammed the doors as hard as they could - if at all.
From there, we tried to gain access to the Administration Building Via a bar section at the back where the windows had been smashed. The first day we had gone to the complex, Dave and I heard something inside crashing as we walked passed. We were able to get inside the bar section, but the door in there was bolted shut.
Our next building was the Nurses Cottage. We were able to access the right wing by jumping through a broken window. In its day, the interior would have been beautiful with pressed metal panneled ceilings and arched entrances. While there were no strange happenings, one thing that caught our attention were painted figures on the floor in one room - which in it's self had been painted to resemble a sports court of some description. The reason they caught our attention is that on one of the boarded windows of the previous building we gained entrance to, the same figure had been painted.
Unable to go much further due to other internal doors being locked, we moved around to the back court yard. We found one window with a loose board over it that one day we hope to use to access the rest of the building.
After, we went across to the other side of the complex to a series of wards, built in the 1930's. We found a window we could climb though, and found our selves in a communal bathroom. Drawn on the mirrors, once again were the same figures we had seen in the Nurses Cottage and the first building. Apart from numerous communal bathrooms with raised bath tubs and holding cells, the rest of the building felt like an old school house with rooms that looked like open class rooms. The cells, though, were the strangest and were quite disturbing. The rooms were small with heavy doors and huge window shutters that let in little light. One story I heard was that many of the patients would hide behind walls with scissors, waiting for staff members to walk by so they may slit their throats. As punishment, they were thrown naked into a freeze bath and from that, into one of the cells - still wet and naked.
It was in this building my tape ran out, however we continued to explore. The last room I walked into make me week at the knees.
There are still several wards in this section that we are still yet to explore.
That concluded our second day of filming.
I am hoping to get the film from the SLR developed and posted tomorrow. while I took many digital camera images, for some reason, the setting kept playing up and many of the photos were out of focus. However, here one of a billboard showing the proposed development plans.
Over the past few weeks I have heard several stories in relation to the Royal Derwent Site. Here are a few.
The small, white weather board cottage seems to have quite a few stories related to it. Two people - a man and a woman - apparently hung themselves inside many years ago. There has been rumors of a "man hating ghost" that throws men around the room. Related to this story is another, told to me by neslepaks —
, via the following comments left to a promotional post in hobart_people —
.on the ghost legends do you know about the cleaner who went into that old wooden building [surrounded by chicken wire now] and was found an hour later unconscious with blood all over the walls and said he had been thrown around by something he couldn't see?
oh ok, he's shown himself to a friend and i [both female], we were opposite the door [the old one with all the smashed glass and everything, an arched shape], i have a photo of his face and possibly another one, which i thought could have been bollocks until i went back and looked again.
i've always had an urge to go in there, even though i don't really like the idea of being knocked unconscious from being thrown around. the last time i was there i had a wave of sadness hit me as i walked away from that building, like it wanted me to stay, another friend [a male] had the the same thing happen, and he thought of going in there and sitting down for a while when he had that feeling. we nearly died on the highway that night too, haha. he also touched the side of the building and felt something that felt like a pulse, a female friend tried to see if she could feel it but couldn't. that could have been because when my male friend was touching the building i could see the spirit looking out the window sometimes and when my female friend touched it i couldn't or it could have something to do with the dislike of men.
before i'd heard about this spirit i'd wondered about why the house was surrounded by chicken wire when no other buildings were. i've heard it was just an adminstration type building in the 70s [or around then] when a friend's father worked there and there wasn't anything dodgy happening there. but it is the building mostly made of wood, as opposed to all the others i have seen that are mostly made of stone. - Permission to use comments was given.
Other stories involve gross neglect of patients, including rape claims. A search of the local libraries newspaper articles in the TALIS system, came up with 351 matches - many of the head lines suggesting malpractice and investigation requests. I hope to spend a day in the Tasmanian State Library this week to be able to read these articles.
I also came across two websites of interest - http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/other/IndigLRes/rciadic/individual/brm_mwr/20.html
- and I quote from this site:
Although Mark had a number of convictions over the years, he had never done anything serious enough to be sent to prison. His last and most serious conviction was on 18 August 1981 for stealing; we do not know the circumstances but he received a sentence of four months imprisonment, which was suspended on condition that he commit no offences of dishonesty for a period of 18 months. Previously he had been before courts on six occasions for traffic offences, three of them involving charges of driving under the influence of alcohol. He had one conviction for drinking in a hotel out of hours and on three occasions he was before courts on offences relating to cannabis. On 12 May 1977 a sentence of two months for possessing and using cannabis was suspended on condition that he remained at the Royal Derwent Hospital for two months or until discharged by a medical practitioner.
To be institutionalized for possession and use of cannabis these days would seem crazy in it's self and for me, brings up the question that if this gentleman was not of indigenous decent, would he still have be institutionalized?
The second site - http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/stories/s197842.htm
- provides a transcript of an interview with a former patient, Carla Paul, done by ABC's 7.30 Report in 2000. To read, please click the above link.
Carla Paul went on to write a book, 'From Darkness to Light', which I am going to try and source.
I have been able to find a source in which to purchase another book that has been written on the history of the Royal Derwent in 1981, called "Troubled Asylum. The history of The Royal Derwent Hospital"
, written by R. W. Gowlland. I hope to purchase this within the next few weeks.
I am going to try and fix the scan of the newspaper from the pervious entry, however, the size will make it too hard to read the actual text.
I will post photos from the SLR hopefully tomorrow, and when I can transfer the film to disk, I will post some screen shots of our "strange figure".