The Russell Hotel
The Rocks - New South Wales
The Russell is a bed & Breakfast located in "The Rocks" district of Sydney, NSW. It is close to the Opera House, Harbour Bridge, Circular Quay and other historic and iconic places in Sydney.
Located at 143a George Street, The Rocks
Ph: +61 2 9241 3543
Karen & Allen from Eidolon Paranormal were invited to Sydney to investigate the Russell Hotel by New Zealand based "Haunted Auckland" founder, Mark Wallbank, who was traveling to Australia to see his favorite band.
The three paranormal investigators met for the first time at the hotel, and proceeded to have a walk through this historic Sydney location. They then went for a walk to find some dinner, and on the way stopped through a few more historic locations, where they were allowed to walk around and take photos at their leisure. The Orient Hotel even gave a tour of the its haunted areas and a brief run down of paranormal activity that happens in the hotel.
Dinner was found at Circular Quay, and the three investigators then took in some of Sydney's iconic sites at night, before walking around the CBD looking at old and new buildings.
They then returned to the Russell Hotel to begin their investigation. Starting in the sitting room, Night vision and Full spectrum camera's (Thanks to Apparition Technologies) were turned on and some EVP sessions began, however noise from the street, and guests returning to their rooms through the old creaky hotel corridors and hallways contaminated a great deal of what was captured.
It was then exploration began, Room 8, the notoriously haunted room had a guest so remained off limits, but a small, quiet EVP session was conducted in the dead end hallway outside. Every hallway was then walked through and recorded.
After this EVP sessions were conducted in room 4 and room 5 before we wrapped up our night and headed of to bed.
Besides a few odd noises, that could be explained away as the building settling, vibrations from passing traffic, or indeed other guests in the Hotel, we didn't personally experience anything we could deem as ghostly or paranormal.
History of The Russell Hotel
1960 George Street Sydney - City of Sydney Archives
The site of the Russell Hotel has been things since The Rocks suburb was first settled when colonial Europeans first founded and settled Sydney.
In 1790 the site was used as a hospital " A Moveable Hospital for his Majesty's Distant Possession" founded in July of that year, which stood there until 1816 when a "Rum hospital" was erected in its place.
During the time the location was a hospital (and at least once whilst it was a Hotel) the area saw cases of bubonic plague, Smallpox outbreaks, crippling poverty which often saw newborn babies left in the street, dead or alive (http://thedirton.therocks.com/ ) - and a scarlet fever epidemic that saw the local government install better sewerage to help combat disease
Between the years of 1820 and 1835, Mr Samuel Terry built on the site of the former hospital, a number of shops and houses, the local council described the property as a house and shop built of stone with a shingled roof, 7 rooms across two floors and a kitchen in the rear.
In 1853, the site again changed usage and became known as the " The Patent Slip Inn" (for those wondering why the name was chosen, a "Patent Slip" is a type of dry dock where a ship can be pulled from the water on rails and repaired or cleaned) with one Robert Whitemore the licensee until 1858 when Mr John Gallagher took over, he in turn had the license until 1870
in 1887 the Patent Slip Inn was demolished to make way for Thomas Brennan's new hotel "The Port Jackson Hotel", a three story Hotel with 8 rooms made of brick and stone, with an annual income of $450 pounds.
A police officer was assaulted outside the Port Jackson Hotel, who would later die in hospital his name was Senior Constable Henry Murrow. Henry was assaulted by
Daniel Conway who would go to prison and serve six months for manslaughter in Darlinghurst Gaol.
Daniel Conway, photographed in 1897 at Darlinghurst Gaol for the
manslaughter of Constable Henry Murrow . (NSW State Records NRS 2138, photo 7218)
In 1900 the property changed hands again, bought by "Tooth & Co" with W Russell listed as the licensee. The new owners also purchased the properties behind the George street location, on Globe street and extended their hotel over 10 years from 1910 to 1920, refurbishing and remodeling all the properties as they did so.
The Russell Hotel lost some of its charisma over the years, and soon it was to become a boarding house.
In 1981 restorations work began on the Hotel, which not only covers the corner of George and Globe streets but also includes the 2nd and 3rd stories above "Rockhound" (street number 141), "The Sheepskin Shop" (street number 139) the "Fortune of War Hotel"
The Russell Hotel is now a Boutique Hotel offering a range of different priced accommodation with a continental breakfast. It sits on the very popular George Street very close to Circular Quay, The Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge. The Russell Hotel also features a wine bar on the first floor
Whilst we didn't experience anything we can report ourselves, that does not mean the Hotel isn't haunted. The Russell Hotel has long been listed on the top ten lists of Haunted Hotels around the world, usually coming in around 8th or 10th place. Room 8 is considered to be the "Most haunted" room in the building due to a number of guests over the years seeing an apparition of what looks to be an old sailor standing at the end of their bed staring at them.
We spoke to the cleaners briefly upon our arrival and they told us stories of cold spots, doors opening and closing, footsteps in hallways when no-one was present, and feelings of being watched.
Some say that some of the girls from when the Hotel was used as a Brothel, many years ago, still walk the halls as well.
We also have found at least one reference to a death in more recent times, could this staff member still be walking the halls of the Russell Hotel seeking vengeance, or perhaps peace, from a crime in the 1950's?
The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW 1842 - 1954), Tuesday 11 March 1952, page 4
The Canberra Times (ACT 1926 - 1995), Tuesday 11 March 1952, page 4
Fortune of War Hotel
Figure 9. The three-storey building on the left is the Fortune of War hotel. The single story building fronting George Street became the site of the ES&A Bank in 1881, and the vacant block next to it is the site of 127-9 George Street. The low, long roof behind is the former portable hospital. Bayliss Panorama- detail- taken from Garden Palace. National Library
Fortune of War Hotel - photo courtesy of Mark Wallbank
On our walk around Sydney we stopped into the Orient Hotel where Mark asked the bar staff about ghosts. We got told a few stories, and also a short tour! - More photos can be found in photo album pages.
Mark in the Upstairs office of the Orient Hotel
The Russell Hotel Investigation
Karen and Allen - photo courtesy of Mark Wallbank of Haunted Auckland
For more photos please visit our photo pages.
Many thanks to Mark Wallbank and Haunted Auckland for extending the hand of friendship to us.
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