(Image: Darkday; abandoned places in Australia)
There’s something strangely beautiful about the decaying and the derelict, abandoned places that exist at the point between man and nature, slowly being reclaimed as the memory of those who built them fades away. This article takes us Down Under, to some of the most captivating, foreboding and eerie abandoned places of Australia. From South Australia ghost towns and forgotten asylums to derelict places of industry, transport and recreation, the land Down Under is counts numerous hidden treasures among its abandonments.
St. John’s Orphanage, Goulburn, New South Wales
(Images: denisbin; abandoned St. John’s Boys Orphanage in Goulburn, NSW)
Between 1912 and 1978, more than 2,000 boys called the orphanage at Goulburn their home. Run by the Sisters of Mercy, the orphanage was filled with as many as 250 boys at a time, reaching well above it peak capacity during the war years. Many of those boys came from broken homes and remembered life at the orphanage as “tough but fair”, according to the website established to help former residents connect with each other.
Photos of the abandoned orphanage after its closure show decaying and crumbling balconies, peeling paint, treacherous staircases and broken windows. Like other abandoned places in Australia, the relics of its former purpose stand aimlessly inside, while torn curtains make a sad attempt to hold back the hot sun and graffiti-covered walls slowly crumble. In November 2015, fire did more damage than time and vandals, however, and the website posted photos of flames rising from the abandoned orphanage’s roof.
Abandoned Arts College, Brisbane, Queensland
(Images: Darkday; exploring the abandoned Arts College in Brisbane)
As far as we can tell, this abandoned art college lies in the Seven Hills suburb of Brisbane, Queensland. Like countless other abandoned places in Australia, the location appears to be at least partially-protected by the urban explorers that have documented the premises and possibly also by security guards, according to some reports. The artwork that decorates the crumbling walls is pays an unusual homage to the classes that were once held there, which likely taught their students more traditional practices.
Today, amazing murals decorate every available corner of the abandoned Brisbane building, including its now-derelict theatre, covering its distinctly modernist lines with all manner of vibrant colours. Unfortunately, vandalism if rife also.
Abandoned Textile Factory, Brisbane, Queensland
(Images: Darkday; exploring an abandoned textile factory in Brisbane)
According to those who photographed Brisbane’s abandoned textile factory, the striking industrial site has been closed since 1992. Snapped by Darkday, the factory is an incredible time capsule that seems to have closed its doors and remained all but untouched over the course more than two decades. Machines still stand bearing the cloth and fabric that they were manufacturing when shut down for the final time, racks upon racks of spindles still hold their spider-web covered threads, and dusty chairs remain where they were left when employees walked off the premises forever. Like many other abandoned places in Australia, this one seems frozen in time.
South Fremantle Power Station, Perth, Western Australia
The abandoned South Fremantle Power Station was built alongside other heavy industries that defined 20th century Perth. First opened in 1951, the plant was only in use for a relatively short 34 years before closing in 1985. Since then, the abandoned building has been transformed into a decaying, almost post-apocalyptic setting, its architecture, at one time magnificent, covered with layers upon layers of graffiti.
The old power station is a strange, almost surreal place, an imposing concrete jungle full of paint and pictures, looking all the more out of place when you’re given a glimpse of the beautiful countryside that lays beyond the broken windows. Falling ever further into decay, South Fremantle Power Station signifies the eerie beauty of many derelict places, slowly being reclaimed by nature at the same time as it’s being painted by the hand of man.
Derelict Red Hill Skate Park, Brisbane, Queensland
The former Red Hill Skate Park, at the corner of Musgrave Road and Enoggera Terrace in Brisbane, has clearly seen better days. Like many abandoned places in Australia and around the world, the historic structure, which is understood to date back to the 1920s, was ravaged by fire when flames ripped through the building in 2002. More than a decade later, there’s not much left of the roof and what remains of the crumbling walls have been blanketed by graffiti.
Roller skates and skateboards still lie where they were dropped amid weeds that are slowly cracking the concrete and reclaiming the abandoned skate park. Amid the vandalism, grime and serious decay, the ruins of the derelict building appear to be slowly collapsing. Recent plans to redevelop the historic venue as a bar and function centre were met with concern from local residents. It’s currently unclear what the future holds for Brisbane’s old Red Hill Skate Park.
Moyra’s House, Brisbane, Queensland
Another abandoned place in Queensland known to urban explorers is the mysterious decaying home known simply as Moyra’s House.
Empty for who-knows-how-long, the abandoned Australian home stands silent, filled with the treasures of a bygone era. From sheet music for compositions that date back decades and stamps that show a very young Queen Elizabeth to typewriters, reel-to-reel players and even goat breeding awards dating back to 1965, the otherwise-empty home is an exhibition of dirt and grime-covered artefacts from an everyday life long gone.
Farina, South Australia
Farina was originally named Government Gums when it was settled in 1878, with its original residents optimistically hoping the old proverb – the rain follows the plough – would hold true. At the time, it was thought that the rains would come if the land was worked, and hopeful settlers imagined themselves as the founders of a blossoming town.
At its height, Farina had around 600 residents and was a bustling railway hub. But when nearby silver and gold mines closed in 1927 and the railway was relocated, the town entered a slow deterioration. Abandoned in the 1980s, the Farina today is little more than ruins. Stone buildings stand without roofs and walls, though the town’s cemetery remains the site of several intriguing headstones. Inscribed in Arabic and facing Mecca, the stones are a reminder of a time before the railway arrived, when the South Australian ghost town’s only connection to the outside world were via Afghan camel trains.
Rozelle Tram Depot, Sydney, New South Wales
Throughout the 1930s, the bustling streets of Sydney were home to a multitude of trams and trolleys, shuttling passengers back and forth across the growing metropolis. Many of them were based at the Rozelle Tram Depot in Glebe until meeting an ignominious end when the shed was closed in 1958.
Dating back to 1904, Rozelle is the largest remaining tram depot in Sydney and for years housed the decaying shells of a number of abandoned trams, which were promptly covered in graffiti and left to rot away. They weren’t without their supporters, and at one time it was suggested the old trolleys might be restored as part of a heritage exhibit. That plan didn’t come to fruition, though, and the derelict Rozelle Tram Depot faced the same uncertain fate as the rusting, broken streetcars.
By 2010, there were plans to demolish the site to make room for medium density housing. The proposal fell through, and this slice of abandoned Australian transport history is now slated to reopen as a shopping centre in 2016.
Tarban Creek Lunatic Asylum, Sydney, NSW
The abandoned Tarban Creek Lunatic Asylum was known as the Gladesville Mental Hospital when it closed in 1997, and since then, the years have not been kind to the abandoned asylum. Built in part from bricks and stones cut by the inmates themselves, the asylum is rumoured to have at least 1,000 unclaimed bodies buried beneath it.
Like countless other institutions of its time, the Tarban Creek Lunatic Asylum has its share of horrific stories regarding the treatment of residents that were more inmates than patients. There were even a number of employee deaths, including one man who is understood to have been killed when his skull was fractured by a patient with a broom.
Photographs documenting the more recent history of the psychiatric hospital reveal weekly duty rosters from the early ’90s, curling and yellowing in the sun. Stairs and patios are crumbling to pieces, fountains are filled with stagnant, putrid water, and much of the abandoned asylum is blocked by fences marked with signs that warn of the danger within. As abandoned places in Australia go, this is one with a particularly chilling history.
Tooth & Co. Brewery, Sydney, New South Wales
(Images: Danijel James; the Maltings, abandoned brewery buildings in Sydney)
Many abandoned places in Australia still carry the aura of their former grandeur within their rotting, crumbling walls, and the derelict Mittagong Maltings buildings of the Tooth & Co. Brewery are a prime example.
Abandoned Australia reported that some areas had weathered their 30 years of abandonment with relative grace, while other buildings weren’t so fortunate. Piles of rubble and crumbling brickwork stand beneath elegant arches and windows that allow the powerful New South Wales sun to stream in and illuminate decades of graffiti and neglect. At least one out-building is little more than a pile of collapsing masonry, while rotting slats hang from wooden walls and ruined staircases crumble to the ground.