Log in

No account? Create an account
The Royal Derwent / Willow Court Project
09 April 2008 @ 11:44 pm
As many of you may have gathered, I am no longer using this journal. I have had quite a few of you find me on Myspace, and I would like to say thanks for that. If any of you would like to keep reading not only about The Royal Derwent, but other paranormal topics, then please come and have a look at my new online blog. I will post the link below. Please subscribe via my RSS feed, or by email. Thank you to all who have read this blog.

CLICK HERE to go to Shadow Journey Blog

CLICK HERE to go to my Feed URL
The Royal Derwent / Willow Court Project
23 January 2007 @ 09:35 pm
Just a short update so I can post a few recent photos and another video clip. The photos bellow have been taken on an Olympus M Digital 600, 6.0 Megapixel digital camera. The images have not been altered in any way except resizing.

Orb outside of Ward 4

Close up of orb. Notice the motion blur at the bottom, suggesting that it is moving upwards.

Figure walking? Nurses Quarters (?) on the same side of the river. (Not the Nurses Cottage from the Willow Court side.) The photo was taken by holding the camera through a broken window. We didn't see of here anything at the time.

Close up of figure. Head, torso and both arms can be seen. I can not come up with explanation at all for this photo and I would definitely say that it is our best capture yet!

The video clip bellow is from our first lot of video footage. I have posted a link to it before, but thanks to Youtube, I can share it a lot easier. Pay attention to the first three seconds of film as the camera moves to look through the window, before the night-shot mode is turned on. As the camera pans across the window, you can see what looks like a figure tuning to face the camera, yet it disappears once the night-shot comes on. You can also see my shadow clearly – notice the size of it in comparison to the other figure.

If you have a Youtube account, feel free to subscribe to my videos (I also video blog – badly) and I will subscribe back - http://youtube.com/profile?user=xlindsaywx
Current Mood: accomplished
The Royal Derwent / Willow Court Project
15 January 2007 @ 11:18 pm
I am going to come right out and say it - the past year has been absolute shit for me on all levels and it has taken a long time for me to start getting back on me feet. It would have been too easy for me to walk away from this project, but I don't want to. I want to start it back up again and work at it even harder than before.

All the personal stuff aside, I have made a few trips to The Royal Derwent in the past few weeks and once again we have had a few interesting experiences, including actually hearing with our own ears something growling at us from Ward 4 after taking a photograph. While nothing came up on film, we did go back on the weekend and placed a tape recorder on the window sill and left it while we explored other areas. When we played the tape back, it sounds as if there is an argument going on between a female and an aggressive, dominate male. It sounds like there are several female screams through out the tape, and there are countless repetitive banging noises. I am trying to find an audio program so I can listen to it properly. I will try to post clips once I have them.

I was also able to have a brief walk through Ward 2 and managed to film a few minutes on my mobile phone. While there is no ghost activity caught on film, it does give you an idea of what the wards are like now. If you have Youtube, feel free to subscribe to my videos, but I am warning you now that I do a pretty bad video blog as well :) - http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=xlindsaywx

I also have a photo that was taken a few weeks ago I have been meaning to post, so I will do so in the next few days.
The Royal Derwent / Willow Court Project
19 July 2006 @ 12:54 am
My appologies in being so over due in updating. It was actually my eight month old son who passed away, and my partner and I have been finding it difficult. Even though the project has been delayed, I made a commitment to myself when I started it, that I would complete it to the best of my ability. So, the show will go on.

While I have not visited the Royal Derwent for a some time, there has been a few changes. On our last visit, we went past Ward 7 – one of the wards which we has previously examined. It appears interior renovations have started and a security system has been installed. In other news, investors have pulled out on the redevelopment of the Willow Court area. All construction has been stopped, hopefully buying us more time to film.

As for filming, I hope to start ASAP. I have already pened out a basic shooting plan and am ready to go – apart from the camera bit. So now I have the task of raising some funds so we can officially get off the ground. Each week I will be auctioning some of the items we have collected from the Royal Derwent on eBay to help with production costs. I also have copies of the “Face” ghost photo, along with hand made Tarot reads, Tarot readings and Reiki healings. Please support the project and visit our auctions, or even pass the link onto a friend.

This weeks item is a Bible – New Testament, found in Ward 9. Just click the link below to visit the auction.

Click HERE To Visit Auction - Bible From Ward 9
Current Mood: accomplished
The Royal Derwent / Willow Court Project
12 March 2006 @ 10:44 am
My apologies to all for a long over due update. Unfortunately, there was a death very close to us in the family and it has taken a while to kinda get back on out feet.

We have made a visit to the Royal Derwent since, and while I can not remember the dates, a few notable things occurred. In one ward, we could hear faint whistling. We tired to record it, only to hear what seems to be a cat like sound on the play back. We didn’t hear anything at the time that could have explained it.

In another ward, we could hear someone – or something crying.

We were able to have a look at part of Ward C – once used for the criminally insane. It was quite a weird experience. One room had been almost completely filled with old milk cartons. Several others filled with bicycles and bicycles wheels. Upon getting the photographs back from the day, there was one taken in Ward C that I could not remember taking that appeared to have a shadowy figure in it.

Shadowy Figure or trick of the light? What do you think?

I will post more photos from the previous trip latter.

I will be going back to The Royal Derwent today, taking a few black and white shots. Official filming is also scheduled to start mid April.

In other news, we now have regular eBay auctions with all proceeds going towards the project.

I am also working on a brand new website, Haunted Tasmania, dedicated to all things paranormal and metaphysical within Tasmania.

To coincide with the new website, I have also independently published Haunted Tasmania – The Magazine. Haunted Tasmania will be available every two months. To get your own copy of the first issue at a special price, please be sure to visit our eBay auctions at http://search.ebay.com/_W0QQfgtpZ1QQfrppZ25QQsassZroyalderwent
The Royal Derwent / Willow Court Project
26 January 2006 @ 12:28 pm
The below account is from a member of the Hobart Cave Clan. The Cave Clan is an Australian Wide group dedicated to exploring the underbelly of our society. Drains, underground tunnels, abandoned buildings - they explore them all. For more information on the Cave Clan, please visit their site, http://www.caveclan.org

At the Nurses/Ladies cottage (The big L shaped one with the fountains out the front) we were in the garden and heard a loud bang, like a slamming door or someone jumping from a bench . Next visit though i found a loose window in that building, that may have made the noise

then in a ward known as glenora house, I had walked off ahead of the group into the building, leaving the others behind with a single failing torch. I happily wandered around whistling a tune with my head torch beaming brightly around. eventually the others got in, and i walked off to another room. a minute later they yell out to me "was that you whistling" and I said "a few minutes ago before you were in" and they said no just now. i started to creep back towards them and then BANG the sound of a door slam! Ronin yelled "lets get the fuck out of this house NOW" so they ran and I stayed to explore more. I wanted to hear the whistle. I did a lap of the building and came back to the central office/nurses viewing room where they were standing, I was looking at cupboards labeled "Patient records" and "Enema equipment" and then i heard a whistle. This building was a great distance from any houses. but there it was, a whistle. i told myself it was a bird and kept going. my video camera was rolling at the time but you can barely hear the whistle over the whine of the tape drive. I have run the audio through noise filters and isolated the whistle some what, and along with it, the sounds of voices almost like a tv or radio............

Outside another ward, one surrounded by a 3meter wall dug into the yard, a bit like a zoo, we spotted a figure through the window on the other side of the building, where we had just driven, and not seen anyone. we walked around that side of the building and n-oone was there. soon after, we heard a baby laugh and then the sound of children playing, again, nowhere near houses or any kids, certainly not near enough for sound to carry that far....

Have been back twice since this day and not had any strange experiences, though driving the car around the wards in the area where we heard the children, i must say as i drove past those buildings, i suddenly had a strange sick feeling overcome my whole body, which was very odd. it went when we left.....

The Royal Derwent / Willow Court Project
25 January 2006 @ 12:15 am

Appologies to all for taking so long to update.  It has been sometime since my last visit to the Royal Derwent due to a very busy Christmas and New Years.  But not to stress - the project is still very much alive - with the official filming shcedualed to start around mid March.

I have been working on a few other things such as getting a new website up and running dedicated to all things paranormal within Tasmania, Australia.  I am also working on an independent magazien to go hand in hand with it, and that is where I could do with some help.

If you are from Tasmania, Australia and have your own spooky story you would like to be published, please leave a breif outline either to this post, or leave a post in my new community, hauntedtasmania .  I will get back to you from there.

I will also be holding a stall at an up and coming phychic expo to be held in March.  I hope to launch the magazien there as well as sell hand made tarot decks, mini spells and more.  I'll keep you posted.

I also have a few random EVP's unrelated to The Royal Derwent Project that I hope to post in my new community in the nest few days, so even if you are not from Tasmania, feel free to join - hauntedtasmania .

Don't forget our website http://www.royalderwent.biz - please have a look, click the link so we can become number one in the Paranormal Site Top 100, sign our guest book, or even support the project by buying some gear.

Next visit to the Royal Derwent should be eith in the next few days, or mid Febuary, so keep an eye out.

The Royal Derwent / Willow Court Project
03 December 2005 @ 11:21 pm
Sorry about these photos taking some time, but I anted to also post the EVP from my last lot of trips and had to transfer it to my computer.

More photos will be added to the website in the next few days, so please keep an eye out at http://www.royalderwent.biz

Looking Into Lobby Of Ward E - November 17th, 2005Collapse )

Side Windows Of Ward D - November 17th, 2005Collapse )

Ward 9 - Shows Wheelchair And Surroundings From Collapse )

Ward 9 - Other Side Of Glass Partition - November 17th, 2005Collapse )

Rubbish Outside Ward 10 - November 17th, 2005Collapse )

Soup Pots From Kitchen - November 17th, 2005Collapse )

Inside Ward 9 - Cell, Once Padded? - November 20th, 2005Collapse )

Inside Ward 9 - Corridor - Strange Dust? - November 20th, 2005Collapse )

Inside Ward 9 - Strange Dust Close Up - November 20th, 2005Collapse )

EVP - Ward 9 - Ticking, Banging In Background and Strange Noise - Saying "Eleven?" - CLICK TO LISTEN

The above EPV was recorded while I was outside of Ward 9, holding the recorder through a broken window into the ward. It is the same window and room I captured the "Face" photo from October 16th, 2005. After my first question, a banging noise can be heard as well as something that sounds like a clock ticking. I do not wear a watch, nor was anyone else, and there are no clocks inside.

There is nothing after the second question, but after the third, another bang can be heard, possibly ticking again, and a strange noise that can not be explained. I can positively say that it was nothing man made by myself or my companions.

It doesn't seem to sound like formed words, but after listening to it several times, I think it sounds like "Eleven". Please let me know what you think.

The clip has been filtered to cut out some of the background "fuzz", and two sections have been amplified - after the first and second question. The last sound has been slowed by 20% without any changes to frequency to be able to hear the sound a little clearer. No other modifications have been made.

** Please Note EVP may take some time to download.
The Royal Derwent / Willow Court Project
21 November 2005 @ 11:50 am
Another two trips to the Royal Derwent with some interesting results.Collapse )

Just on a final note, to help raise fund for the project, I am selling copies of the “Face” photo on eBay. If you are interested, please click the following link - http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=5638286287&rd=1&sspagename=STRK%3AMESE%3AIT&rd=1
The Royal Derwent / Willow Court Project
22 October 2005 @ 11:44 pm
These are the photos from last weekend. Please click on the LJ cut to view and read bout them. There is one in particular that is incredibly interesting.

Ward 10 - Chair / Bed - 16th of OctoberCollapse )

Ward 10 - Ward Bedrooms - 16th of OctoberCollapse )

Ward 10 - Security Grill Over Window and Security Roof - 16th of OctoberCollapse )

Ward 7 - Front of Building, Security Roof - 16th of OctoberCollapse )

Ward 7 - Security Fence - 16th of OctoberCollapse )

Ward 7 - Bathroom - 17th of OctoberCollapse )

Ward 5 - 16th of OctoberCollapse )

Un Known Ward - Wheel Chair, FACE IN WINDOW - 16th of OctoberCollapse )

Un Known Ward - FACE IN WINDOW, CLOSE UP - 16th of OctoberCollapse )

I will be adding all of the photos from these days plus more to the website, http://www.royalderwent.biz

Also, if you would like a copy of the photo as a poster, please visit our store at Cafe Press, by clicking HERE
The Royal Derwent / Willow Court Project
**NOTE: I first of all I would like to apologise to those who prefer long entries behind LJ Cut. While I have kept all images behind LJ Cut, I personally feel that cutting the text is impersonal.**

While reading through an independently released book/paper, ROYAL DERWENT HOSPITAL, PAST TO PRESENT 1936 – 1978 by Lawrence Edward Cullun, I discovered that the Royal Derwent Hospital actually spanned across the Lachlan River to form two sites – The Willow Court section (WEST) and the East Hospital. These hand drawn maps are taken from the publication, showing the layout for each of the sites as they looked in 1978.

West, or the Willow Court SectionCollapse )

East SectionCollapse )

Both last Sunday and Monday, we spent the time exploring and doing general filming of the east section of the hospital. Construction of this section started in 1957 with Wards 1 and 2.

After the confusion the first time we filmed with the external microphone, the first thing on our list was a sound check that passed with flying colours.

Our first building we looked at contained Ward 12, Admissions, X-Rays, Sterilizing and Pharmacy. You could see some of the ward bedrooms as well as an old billiard table inside. We were unable to film or photograph much of this building due to sun glare.

Walking around the back through shin high grass, we came to Ward 1 – currently being developed into an “educational establishment.” CLICK HERE TO VIEW COPY OF DEVELOPMENT APPLICATIONCollapse )

We were lucky enough to find that the builders had left one of the doors un-locked and were able to go inside. Almost everything had been striped back and painted. One section had the footings for new work benches. It was quite strange being inside what used to be an abandoned building with such a history and to see it looking as if it were a new building. There was no aura – no feeling to the place. Just the smell of paint and the slight humorous disgust in the way the builders had just left their rubbish everywhere.

As we were looking through the last few room, I heard and saw something flash in front of me. I walked into the room and found a small bird trapped inside. I picked it up and after another escape, we were able to take it outside. There it sat with us at a table as we just stroked its feathers. It was some time before it flew away.

Back into the grass, we half circled another building. According to the map, it is one of the newer buildings that did not appear on it. As we looked through one of the windows, we saw another trapped animal – a cat. Although we did see it latter in the afternoon so it must have escaped.

As we made our way around the back of this building, another one caught our attention – Ward 10. It appeared as if it had been a high security ward, with metal grills over some of the windows and large, fibre glass corrugated sheeting, built at an angle around the front guttering to stop people from climbing onto the roof. But the strangest thing was the front of the building and its grounds, as they sloped down into the earth to meet with a 2 – 3 meter high, imbedded security wall. After further explorations of the grounds, we found another building identical to this – Ward 7, but I’ll get to that one latter.

The pitted security wall at this ward had been used as a small rubbish dumping grounds and from what we could see, most of the rubbish appeared to be old furniture from the ward. We were unable to see a clear, safe path down for the time being, but I hope to be able to sift through some of the stuff at a later date in the hopes of finding something interesting.

As we walked around one side of the building, we could feel the hairs on the back of our necks standing on end. We found outside a window a metal restraint of some sort. We don’t know if it was for patients or from a building structure, but I am quite certain it was from the latter. I will post a photo next entry.

We didn’t enter the building as at the time, we were not certain which ward it was. We were lucky in finding out about Ward 1 due to the signage. What made us uncertain about entering any of the other wards that day until we knew which was which was the fact that we had found out the building of the apparent, “Man Hating Ghost” – Ward 5. The same ward mentioned in the Mercury article from my last post. After feeling so uneasy walking around this building, at the time we didn’t want to take any chances.

The more we walked around the buildings, the more we realised they were all identically based around two or three other buildings. Ward 10 and 7 – identical, and Wards 2, 3, 4, 5, 8 and 9 were the same.

While we weren’t able to get into any of these wards directly, we were able to view a small mid back section of each that consisted of three rooms plus a storage cupboard. The state of decay was depressing, but not as much as the graffiti and foulness left by people who had obviously used these places as some sort of a cheap drinking ground.

When we came to Ward 7 – the sister ward of 10, we noticed that we could indeed get in through a broken door, yet we decided to wait to triple check with the map. We did find outside an old laundry list - CLICK HERE TO VIEW COPY OF LAUNRY SORTING LISTCollapse )

We were able to find out the name of one other ward that day – Ward 4, as it was written on the door. By guess work at the time, we assumed the order was based clock wise from Ward 1 and we went to look at the exterior of Ward 5. Dave felt incredibly uneasy and kept his distance while I tried to film through the windows. The entire inside had been striped. We walked around to see if we could find any development proposals, but found none.

We moved onto our last building of the day – one of the wards that was not on the map. Looking through the window you could see they had renovated the inside – and it looked to be a place where they expected to have children staying. You could see bunk beds and not cots ready to be put together. At one stage we thought we could here footsteps inside one of the corridors – but we saw nothing through the window.

That was the end to our Sunday filming, however, when we watched the play back, the sound had cut out as of Ward 5. We checked the external microphone and it was still switched on. I tried a few sound experiments with the microphone jack, but even when it was half our, the camera still switched to its internal microphone. I also tested the on/off switch of the external mic which was stiff enough to switch as it was. I have no idea what caused the sound to go.

We returned to the same side of the hospital on Monday afternoon and entered Ward 7. We crawled through the hole in the door and walked down the main hallway, into the main living area. Off here were staff offices and a large kitchen. In the kitchen we found a section of an old camera, possibly something medical. I will post pictures of it next post. We Also found a copy of the kitchen duties list. CLICK HERE TO VIEW COPY OF APPOINTMENT CARDCollapse )

The living areas still had many old reclining chairs scattered around and the floor was not only strewn with rubbish, but envelopes with red texta scribble on them. We thought nothing of them at the time. Amongst the papers on the floor, we found an old Discharge / Appointment card and an old Medication sheet, covered with writing. CLICK HERE TO VIEW COPY OF APPOINTMENT CARDCollapse )

To the right and left of the living areas were two wings containing the ward bedrooms. They were small with one window, cell like doors and enough room to fir a bed and a chair. Just by going on the colours of each wing – cream in one end, pink the other – we were able to determined where the men and women stayed. In the men’s rooms, they had a single cork notice board on the wall, while the women had poster board pictures with cats and other animals.

We didn’t find too much in the men’s section. The bathroom areas in each end looked like locker rooms and the plants had started to grow through the broken glass. In the women section, we found a page out of a diary, dated at the top, 9/12/87, with only one other thing written on it. CLICK HERE TO VIEW COPY OF DIARY PAGECollapse )

While nothing strange happened either while we were filming or watching the playback, you did get a feeling that child-like people had once been there. It was neither sad nor happy – just strange.

We decided to wait until it started to get dark so we could do a drive through film on night shot. Being a clear sky and a full moon, I didn’t want to miss the opportunity.

We drove through the East section first. As we approached Ward 5, one of the street lights dimmed. As it was still not completely dark, I decided to get out of the car to try and get some still shots of Ward 5. Dave stayed in the car and I said I would stay where he could see me. I had to keep walking closer to the building in order for the flash to pre-fire and light balance the camera. I was about 2 meters away and it still wouldn’t balance and the shutter would just stick. Dave then yelled something out to me – and the camera fired, without me moving any closer and having had so much trouble. When I got back tot the car, Dave said he thought he saw something moving inside, but couldn’t be sure because of the flash. We are getting the film developed tomorrow.

We finished the night by doing a drive through film and a few last photos of the Willow Court section.

Later on, we were able to sit and try to read what was written on the Medication Records sheet. It was then we realised we should have grabbed some of the envelopes. What we had found was an example of the occupational therapy sessions they used to hold in the Ward. (Information on Occupational Therapy sourced from: Evaluation of the Ward 7 Patients’ Group – November, 2000, Valerie Williams, RDH Mental Health Advocate - this article can be found at http://www.advocacytasmania.com.au/Evaluation.pdf)


I will write a transcript up in my next post.

I now have the website up and running, however there are still a few sections I am yet to update. All photos – including one not included in the journal – will be available (still some more to add plus new ones on the way!) can be seen, along with some short movie clips – including the strange figure. If you have any suggestions as to what it is or caused it, please let me know. You can find our web site by clicking http://www.royalderwent.biz
The Royal Derwent / Willow Court Project
23 September 2005 @ 10:05 pm
Sorry to those who would have preferred my last entry behind LJ cut - I didn't realise it was going to appear so long. I will try to keep at least the majority of pictures behind LJ cut - such as today.

Willow Court Building - 14th Of SeptemberCollapse )

Back Of Willow Court Building - 17th Of SeptemberCollapse )

Administration Building - 14th Of SeptemberCollapse )

Ladies Cottage - 14th Of SeptemberCollapse )

Part Of Ward C - 17th Of SeptemberCollapse )

Airing Yard, Ward C - 14th Of SeptemberCollapse )

Window, Ward C, Explained Abnormality - 17th Of SeptemberCollapse )

Bed, Sick Ward, Photograph One - 17th Of SeptemberCollapse )

Bed, Sick Ward, Photograph Two, TWO ABNORMALITIES - 14th Of SeptemberCollapse )

Close Up, Abnormality One - 14th Of SeptemberCollapse )

Close Up, Abnormality Two - 14th Of SeptemberCollapse )

I have also since found out that the first unknown building we went into used to be the sick ward. It was the first ward to use Electro Convulsive Therapy, Malaria Treatment and Insulin Therapy (source, Royal Derwent Hospital - Past To Present, 1936 - 1978, Lawrence Edward Cullen - Year Published Not Included).

I have also included a copy of an interesting article from Tasmanian Newspaper, The Mercury, dated 7th of August, 1991.

News Paper Article, The Mercury - 7th Of August, 1991Collapse )
The Royal Derwent / Willow Court Project
19 September 2005 @ 09:23 pm
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.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com
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.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com
Ward Bed

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.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

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".
The Royal Derwent / Willow Court Project
14 September 2005 @ 11:13 pm
After having to put it off for a while, today we finally went down to the Royal Derwent Site, just to get a feel for the layout and to get some general photos. I am still hoping to go back within the next week to finish the film. I'll post pictures once I have them developed.

In general, the site didn't feel as sad as the time we drove through about a year ago. We started by walking around the original barracks - build in 1830-1831 to house invalids. It is also know as the Willow Court building because of a willow Tree Lady Franklin planted in the court yard. All the doors and windows have now been boarded up, and painted to appear like real doors and windows, with depictions of early settlers appearing to walk through to painted openings. The original exterior has been painted to look like sandstone block work. Whether the render is original or not was hard to tell. The below is a picture, photographed by Rosalyn Chapman. It is uncertain when the photo was taken, as the paving has now been taken up and a road has been built in the foreground. The windows and doors in the below picture do not appear to be the same as painted. The photo was sourced from http://www.newnorfolk.org/~willow_court/

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Built directly onto the side of the barracks is Ward C, or the actual mental hospital it's self. It housed not only the insane, but the criminally insane. One thing that stood out to me was the windows. Each window was made up of multiple windows - approximately 15cm by 15cm. To me, this seemed like a deliberate attempt to keep people inside the building. We were able to walk through one door to a small entrance. There was one door directly ahead, one to the left and a small room to the right, with another door. All the doors and been bolted up. We couldn't see any other visible means of getting in.

From the "urban legends" I have heard myself; this is the epicenter of the activity. Somewhere within Ward C are pits where many patients were left. One story I heard involved a group of men who had wondered in during the night. One man unfortunately fell into one of the pits. Unable to get him out, his friend went back to their home to get some rope. When they returned, their mate was paralyzed with fear after "seeing" things. What he saw, I do not know.

It has been proposed that the Barracks and Ward C will be one day turned into a museum.

The next building we examined was the Administration Building. As we were walking around, there was a section that appeared to be a bar/entertainment area. The windows were broken and as we walked closer to be able to look through them, we heard a sound like something falling heavily from further inside the building. We could not work out exactly what the sound was.

We continued to walk around the building. Outside the front was a billboard, advertising the proposed development.

As we walked around the side, we came across another entrance section to the building, with a stair case leading up to another bolted door. In this small courtyard section, there were another three doors that were unlocked, yet led no where. One contained an old hot water cylinder, another, and old wardrobe that we were unable to access. The third door was just an old storage area; however, we did find some old Newspapers, dating back to 1992. We salvaged the cover from one - dated Tuesday, April 7, 1992 - before the hospital was closed in the late 90's. It's actually kind of ironic how there is so much death on the front page. Click Here To View Newspaper * It does take a while for it to load properlyCollapse )

Still continuing around, we came across a built in veranda section, and walked through to be able to look through a broken window, into a room with an old, spring based bed.

The next building was the "Ladies Cottage". The majority of the building is encompassed with a detracting veranda. The font of the building has been graffited with "Do not enter or die." Looking through the windows, it appeared that renovations have started.

Next to that was the Nurses Cottage where I observed to cats playfully chasing each other. The front, while over grown, was amazing, with verandas on both levels. Around the side, most of the windows had been smashed in, making it easy for future access. Around the back was a gate leading into a courtyard with high brick fences, topped with cast iron spikes. To me, this particular design feature appeared be for the purpose of keeping people out rather than in.

Through one of the upstairs windows, you could see what appeared to be a mirror and something - quite possibly the top of a stair rail - covered in a white sheet. Many of the original light fittings and a few shades remained.

As it was getting dark, we decided to have dinner at The Nosh Pit - a new restaurant that also provides budget accommodation on the site. The original building was named Alcharinga.

I would like to thank the anonymous comments from my last post, and would like to share them -

"There is a book, called Troubled Asylum. It's badly written but so far as I know it's the only history of the RDH. Before Ward 7, which was the locked ward up until about 5 years ago when it all closed down, there was C-ward. C-ward basically dealt with the criminally insane. People have lots of stories and psych nurses love to talk. If you want to get the inside goss though, you're going to need to get ethical approval first and then go to mental health facilities like Tyenna (Milbrook Rise Complex), Mistral Place and the Royal Hobart Hospital, DPM. Put out a survey in the staff rooms of these places, e.g. did you work at the RDH? Do you have any stories to share? There's lots of the old staff still in the system.

Oh wait. One of my colleagues who worked at Willow Court told me when the patients were faking seizures (pseudoseizures) the nurses used to pull their pubic hair to determine whether it was a real seizure or not. Works like a charm, apparently.

I will be starting to promote this journal more so, especially as I start gathering more information. Please feel free to put a link in one of your journal entries - it would be much appreciated.
The Royal Derwent / Willow Court Project
26 August 2005 @ 01:19 am
Ok, the plan is to go up there on Saturday to get familiar with the buildings. I did ask my brother if he could borrow a video camera from the school, but he can't, so it looks like just the digital and the SLR. I hope to get the photos on the journal with in the next few weeks.

As far as research, I've mainly just been reading of the internet, and saving stack of links. I would really like to compile a brief history to post up here soon.

I did find one article on the "community history of New Norfolk" - PLEASE CLICK HERE TO VIEW - where it states in the last paragraph that one of the future plans for the site is to transform it into a tourist based venture to rival Port Arthur.

For those who are unfamiliar with Port Arthur, it is an old convict prison from Australian Colonial times. The Port Arthur site has many tales of horror, from the torture of convicts to the more recent events of the Port Arther massica. How ever, it is also it's Ghost Stories that has made it famous and it claims to have one of the most haunted houses in Australia - the Parsonage.

It just made me wonder on what context they meant with the tourist bit, so I have commented on the article, stating my interest in Willow Court, if if they knew any more information. More so, any stories or "urban legends".

I have also now decided to promote the journal as of today for a number of reasons, but mainly to see if there is anyone out there who has a story of any kind - in particuarly in regards to "odd events".

So please, if you have heard of anything - even if it is something a friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend told you.

Feel free to advertise this journal and leave any other comments and feed back along the way. I now have a banner which you are more than welcome to post in your journal, on your user page or in communities.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com
The Royal Derwent / Willow Court Project
23 August 2005 @ 12:31 pm
Hello to all that may be reading this. I don't know exactly how to start, so here it goes.

This is an on-line journal to document my research of The Royal Derwent Mental Institution - AKA Willow Court, situated in New Norfolk, Tasmania, Australia.

The aim of this research is to look into the history of Willow court and the urban myths of haunting. By the end of my journey, I hope to compile a documentary on the subject, as I am returning to school next year (fingers crossed!) to do a Vocational, Educational Training (VET) course in Television Production.

I have so far only driven through the Royal Derwent complex, yet it had already made an impact on me. As soon as you drive through those gates, it's like this cloud of sadness covers the place. You just feel so sad, empty and helpless.

Apart from that, I haven't got too much - this is just the start.

I will be adding some links, though, to a few sites I have found with general history and stuff.
Current Mood: accomplished