Cover image of the review
Altona Homestead from the east. Photo by Daniel Kotsimbos.

Altona Homestead

1 May 2024
1 May - 31 Dec 2024

I am sitting in a room. I am looking at an electromagnetic ghost-hunting device delicately placed beside a Baby Born doll garbed in a Victorian nightgown. It is close to midnight on a Saturday, and I am with a small investigative team of mostly middle-aged women whom I have only just met. Last week, I completed an online form and paid an eighty-one-dollar fee to participate in this paranormal investigation of what is reputed to be one of Victoria’s most haunted buildings, the Altona Homestead. But it is my first time inside the building after being struck by its modest bluestone construction when I sought shade under last year’s runner up Victorian Tree of the Year, an enormous Moreton Bay Fig in the adjacent Logan Reserve.

The Altona Homestead offers these extended paranormal investigations on the first Saturday of each month (and Devonshire tea on the first Sunday). During my Saturday-night investigation, I was given an old laminated A4 document listing the spirits said to frequent the house and the types of hauntings to expect. The document mentioned historical figures connected with the homestead, including its 1840s colonial instigators, Alfred and Sarah Langhorne; a 1900s solicitor and subsequent owner, William Crocker; and post-World War I occupant Lloyd Vaughn associated with the bathtub haunting. Other ghosts included Rose from the front bedroom and a young boy from the nursery cupboard. These presences highlight how the homestead engages with its history, whatever that history might entail. After all, history isn’t just a record of what has happened; it is also a curated presentation of the past that can sometimes return to haunt us.

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