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Broadway Kate Ghost Story

This story from Adelaide South Australia was sent to me by somebody who visited this website, liked it and sent this his own ghost story. He has very kindly allowed to put it in the website. In his own words.

         This story started in the back streets of Port Adelaide, Adelaide South Australia, well known for its colonial past and its history of ghost stories, however none of this ever worried me and I was never concerned about the things we can’t see. I joined an organization in Dale Street as a volunteer working to renovate one of the Port remaining Historical buildings. It was a large warehouse made of ships ballast stone walls, once used to store ship batteries, chemicals, and had a few functions as a water treatment plant and horse stables. The Port had several historical fires and this one survived a few with charred exposed beams and an iron roof with tall cathedral windows. We had cleaned up the building site and I was on my own during the day after everybody had left, I remained behind to paint the outside large windows down the side of the building. This building was adjacent to a number of unused building which are two-story once used as the telegraph station now all boarded up and completely sealed. I was up on the ladder painting when I saw an image out the corner of my eye, in my peripheral vision, towards the dead end of the alley outside the boarded-up building. I paused not to turn my head, just still, absorbing what I was seeing with a flush of instant hairs on end. What I was seeing indirectly was a women in a white flowing dress, she was making herself known, taking advantage of the quiet and isolating space which we shared, she was wearing a large floral hat holding an umbrella held in her hand. She presented herself to me as if she was not connected to the ground and her dress flowing from head to toe as if she was in water. The dressed looked like it was from the 1920 a formal worn dress by women in those days. I then quickly turned my head in that direction and in a flash of a light she disappeared into the unused building in which she was standing in front of. She went straight through the door and all I heard was a noise inside the building as if someone had trip over a box or falling down some stairs inside this building. I climbed down the ladder and went to investigate where she was seen and found doors and windows were nailed and screwed shut, all gates were locked and no one in and around the property, I check all possibilities with no sign, just me. This event sent chills up my spine and the hairs on my body were like needles for hours.

        This anomaly sat with me for months, so I investigated the deaths in the area and found out Port Adelaide was not called Port Misery for nothing. It had been raised as a city, from mud, madness and mayhem, a seaport of industry with each resident thirsty to live and survive. Life had become a cheap commodity as it forged its way into colonial history of Port Adelaide. Stories of sailors being killed, and the Port River broken down into sections as publicans were paid to retrieve cadaver’s each morning and store in the cellars of the hotels until enquiries. Other stories of the headless women roaming the levels of the old brothels and bodies littering the street after high tide flooded the cells of the Police Station. In modern times a building in the Port never being occupied, rented or sold to this day because they were so haunted that tradesman was too afraid to go back in during the day to gather their tools. I dug deeper on Broad Way Kate to find the most reasonable excuse to what I think I saw that day. Several stories popped up, of a woman called “Broadway Kate”, or Irene Dennis as her birth name. She moved from Melbourne as a young girl and arrived in Port Adelaide on a ship called the “SS Broadway” to joined the theatre scene, as popular entertainment at that time. She was well known not by her fame of theatre but a name on the streets and was well known by the law. I discovered an old news article, dated 26 May 1933, for a woman that was found dead on a floor of an old disused two story building formerly an old Chemist on North Parade Port Adelaide. Irene Dennis had been living with a Waterside Worker by the name of Theodore Austland who was interviewed on the matter and said to police he thought she was asleep.  He had come home from a shift and went upstairs to sleep, he saw Irene lying on a mattress and went to work the next day, once again returning to find her in the same position. Police say she was found half on and off the mattress and removed part of her kidney for analysis. Theodore Austland was also known by the police appearing in numerous police reports with theft and assault and told the police he was doubtful Dennis was her correct name.

        The place I saw this apparition was on the same spot where Kate Dennis was found dead, this building was no longer standing but she was in the exact location of where she was found. I was blown away by the information I had found, and I believe she haunts this area regularly and makes her self-known. I have felt her presence several times and even smelt a floral perfume I am not familiar with. I believe she has a story that needs to be told hence her presence, a young girl far from home and far from peace.

         I also later found out this building was used as a mortuary; an early crude morgue was next door attached to the outside of this building which was the very first in Adelaide, along with a clinical hospital across the road. The Morgue had a charcoal floor and used to stack bodies before burial with no refrigeration just large ice blocks. A few ghost tours pass through this area and tell the public of many stories of the past meanwhile, I knew when entering this building we were never alone with a strange presence and the hairs up on my neck. The resident dog normally always active, pauses still for a moment to look up at nothing with its gaze and focus on someone who maybe standing next to you or behind you.

Nigel

One Comment

  1. Hi, thanks so much for sharing our history! It took so long to find the details and so many discussions convincing the Council that that was the site of the original morgue. Good to know Kate will be remembered <3

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