Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Eidolon Investigation: The Bunyip Office - Gawler SA (2011)

Location: Gawler, South Australia
Location type: Office 
Location status: Business Hours

The Bunyip Newspaper is available on Wednesdays from local Newsagents in the Gawler Region
This investigation brought Allen back to his home town of Gawler - Allen was born, raised and schooled in Gawler, and often visited the Bunyip newsagent in his youth to buy books and magazines.
Allen's Father, Rodney, also worked on the building in the 1960's (he was a carpenter at the time)installing a new roof
 Allen and his Dad (Rodney) - 2007

"The Bunyip" began its existence in 1863 as a monthly pamphlet published in collaboration with  "The Humbug Society". Editor Dr George Nott and Printer, William Barnet teamed together to create what was to become South Australia's longest running family owned newspaper.
When the paper began it was a satirical look on life around Gawler, but later it was to become a weekly "orthodox" styled newspaper, with a strong community focus, expanding into further suburbs and country areas surrounding Gawler.
 The Bunyip Newspaper, in its early life, was situated in a shop near the Baptist Church in Murray Street Gawler, later it moved further along the street to be situated near the Prince Albert Hotel. After the original premises were destroyed by fire, the newspaper's office was relocated to its present location, in the Main Street of Gawler, in which it has remained since 1885

"The South Australian Register"
(newspaper article)
Thursday 27 February 1868
Gawler Town, February 26.
There is great excitement in Gawler this evening. The Bunyip Office is surrounded by a crowd of people, and the proprietor of the paper has been serenaded by the Gawler Brass Band. Mr. Barnet addressed the assemblage, thanking them for their sympathy, and expressing his intention of maintaining the independence of the Press.

Bunyip Editors
1863 – 2007

George Nott 1863 - 1869?
Benjamin Hoare 1869 - 1871
Edward Grundy 1871 – 1875
T. Godfrey 1875? - 1878?
George Loyau 1878 - 1879
L . Wilson ? - ?
Alfred Drakard ? - ?
Harry Congreve 1885 - 1890
E. H. Coombe 1890 – 1914
Robert Barnet 1914 - 1930s?
L. S. Duncan 1930s - Post World War Two
Ken Barnet 1940s - ?
Paul Vincent 1960s - ?
Ken Barnet ? - ?
John Barnet 1975 - 2003
Terry Williams 2003 - 2004
Heidi Helbig 2004 - ?

A photo of one of the old printing presses - our research suggests this press was sold in the early 1980's

A Brief Look At Some Of The Bunyip Editors

George Nott
Dr. Nott circa 1865

Dr Nott was noted as a man who was  ‘genial, versatile and public spirited’, by E.H. Coombes in his book "History of Gawler 1837 – 1908."
Dr Nott first came to Gawler in 1852 and worked as Editor to the Bunyip, he was also a talented artist, lecturer and public speaker. 
Dr Nott died on December 9th 1872, his body was interred in the Willaston cemetery. A monument and railings were erected by the Gawler townsfolk for this much loved member of Gawler society.

William Barnet

Mr Barnet was born in Scotland, where he studied his trade of printing before embarking on his journey to Australia. He arrived in Gawler in 1857 and quickly established The Bunyip printing business. He published the first "History Of Gawler" book, written by Dr Nott.
William was a community minded person who actively participated within town clubs and events. He was a member of the Gawler Rifles, The Lodge of Fidelity, an Assessor for the "South Ward" of the first Gawler Town Council, and also a member of the Masonic Lodge
Mr Barnett died suddenly on the 25th of February 1895,  after attending the funeral of his good friend, Mr Leonard Burton.  He was interred in the Willaston Cemetery.
His Third Son, Robert Henry Barnet, who began his apprenticeship at the newspaper in 1895, went on to manage the paper after his Fathers death, until his own untimely death at the age of 48 in 1917

E.H. Coombe
Ephraim Coombe was born in Gawler in 1858. He was educated in the town and worked in his Fathers store in Willaston. He worked at The South Australian Register (newspaper) as a local correspondent before taking a position with The Bunyip.
Mr Coombe was an active member of the Gawler community, involving himself with the Temperance movement ( A temperance movement is a social movement urging reduced use of alcoholic beverages) education and the Arts. He was also a very fine Chess player, and also represented South Australia in the Cricket (playing one game where he scored 10 runs)
Mr Coombe was involved in local politics, and in 1901 become an elected member in the Seat of The Barossa, which he held until 1910.
He left The Bunyip in 1914 to edit the publication of  the "Daily Herald", a Labor produced publication. He also was elected to the house of Assembly in 1915. Being politically outspoken, Mr Coombe found himself in trouble, and facing court after speaking out about the closure of German schools and conscription at the onset of World War 1.  Prosecuted under the War Precautions Act, Mr Coombe was fined 10 pounds, although this seems like an small amount to pay in this day and age, it was a grand sum in his day, but the main damage was to Mr Coombes reputation, something that in his day was very important. ( Mr Coombe did not oppose the war, three of his sons fought in it, he opposed the mistreating of human beings as fodder for the war machine)
Mr Coombe wrote the Gawler history Book "History of Gawler 1837 – 1908."
It has been considered that the weight of having his name slurred by his prosecution eventually led to his death on the 5th of April 1917 of a cerebral haemorrhage brought about by his considerable amount of worry on his prosecution.
A Memorial to E.H. Coombe located in Tanunda's Main Street

The Bunyip newspaper was sold to the "Taylor Group" of newspapers in 2003 by the Barnet family, ending the families long ownership of this local icon (September 1863 until April 2003).
Since the sale, The Bunyip  has seen many changes in formatting, design and presentation, including the adding of colour to its format. The Bunyip continues to be one of Gawlers most respected icons and sources of news and entertainment. The Bunyip contributes to a great many of the towns events with sponsorship and support and continues to be the best resource for local news and events.
Eidolon Paranormal considers it a great honour to be invited to investigate such a historic iconic building, and hopes that The Bunyip will go on for another 150 years

Our initial contact with The Bunyip office came from a post on The Bunyip's facebook wall featuring one of our Urban Legends episodes.
We were invited by Margaret, The Bunyips General Manager, to come in and investigate the office after a number of  unexplained paranormal events that were witnessed by staff.
The sound of footsteps have been clearly heard on the central stairwell, with staff waiting at the top to see who it is ascending to the second story, only to hear the footsteps approach and stop  right before the staff member, expecting a person to be before them, but with no-one to be seen.
 Shadow people have been seen in a rear office, as well as chairs being moved of their own accord,plus the sounds of someone sitting at a desk, but no-one present.
The Bunyip office isn't known as a place of tragedy, however, as mentioned by Vanessa and Margaret on the night of the investigation, many people come to the office to place memorial or death notices in the newspapers obituaries section. Could the energy from grieving relatives play a part in the haunting of the office?
We believe something "paranormal" is happening within the walls of The Bunyip office, but are as yet to determine what the source of the unusual activity is.

We started this investigation in the late afternoon with a walk through of the premises with Margaret and Vanessa, our location representatives,  who gave us a run down on where phenomena had occurred.
We then began to photo map the premises in normal and full spectrum photography, we do this so upon video review we can identify if anything in the building has been moved, by us, our clients, or other unseen forces...
After the photo mapping was completed we started an EMF sweep with our Mel Meters and Gauss Meters - we do this to establish where higher areas of EMF may be occurring in the building. High Electro Magnetic Fields can lead to feelings of paranoia, and even hallucinations.
For an EMF reading to be considered a potential indicator of paranormal activity it needs to be unexplained -meaning it didn’t come from wiring, nearby appliances, people (yes people have EMF’s as well), or another explainable reason. The investigator must also be very thorough in ruling out all other potential natural causes before considering labelling the EMF as paranormal.  
Allen conducting an EVP session over the "coin experiment"
Next we set up our coin experiment. A very basic "Old School Paranormal Investigation" technique. We ask any spirits that are present to move the coins on the sheet. We have drawn one centimetre marks on the experiment sheet to measure movement, and use old coins, generally Australian Pennies, as we feel older spirits would associate better with coins of their time period rather than our newer, smaller coins
 We make sure there is no possible causes for interference from wind or vibrations etc.  We leave a video camera recording the experiment while we do our investigation, and an audio recorder (for EVP) - we then review the video to see if the coins have been moved...then we try and debunk the movement, which is aided by another video camera that is set further behind filming the whole room... 

An EVP session was done near the coin experiment, we chose questions based on our research of the building and its former editors.
Here is small sample of some the questions asked:
Can we speak to Mr William Barnett?
Mr Barnett, are you still working here?
What was your rank amongst the Masonic Lodge?
Can I speak to Mr E.H. Coombe please?
Mr Coombe, are you still working here at the Bunyip office?
Was your death associated with the stress caused by the accusations against you of being prosecuted under the war precautions act for your views?

 We followed up our EVP session upstairs, where we had reactions to our questions, most notably after the word "death" was spoken by an investigator. Reactions included knocking sounds, EMF spikes on the EMF meters (The meter was near no EMF sources, we had established this earlier with our EMF sweep ) Also heard was a very loud banging noise downstairs that we can not attribute to any known source.
Karen in the basement being consumed by dust
We ventured into the basement last, the amount of dust from the dirt floors made doing much of anything in here very hard. We did manage to conduct a very short EVP session before we were overcome by the dust.

During our investigation we had an equipment failure with our Olympus hand-held cassette recorder, it refused to work, even with brand new batteries, upon trying the recorder again at home, with the same batteries and tape inside it, we have no problems with its recording or playing!!

Newspaper Articles Concerning "The Bunyip"

The South Australian Register
Monday 7 September 1863
(From our own correspondent)
Gawler, September 5
The first number of The Bunyip, or Gawler Humbug Society's Chronicle,' came out to-day. Of course there were plenty of eager purchasers, all in a hurry to see the new local organ. The first number promises well, and is full of racy unities and local hits, and also contains the rules of the Gawler Humbug Society. The paper is to be published monthly, and will probably have such a circulation us will induce the proprietors to continue it. There is a very humorous report of the Gawler Agricultural Society's last dinner, which is not only amusing but strictly correct. Indeed, from the style of the first number of 'The Bunyip, ' it will, if carried on in the some manner, undoubtedly prove a great success.

Wednesday 27 February 1895
Much the same features marked the obsequies of the late Mr. Barnet as have already been recorded concerning those of his friend Mr. Warren — an immense cort├Ęge, consisting of sixty-six vehicles, numbers of Free masons and Foresters on foot, hundreds of spectators, business suspended, and a general feeling of sadness. The remains were interred in the Willaston Cemetery, and the funeral procession left the late gentleman’s residence, Gawler East, at 4 o'clock. Prior to this the Foresters held a service at the house, Brother T. Gill, C.R.., of Court Bushman's Pride, reading the customary address in an impressive manner. About twenty-five members of Court Bushman's Pride, A.O.F., in regalia, led the procession. Then came the Rev. Walter Jones trap, followed by the doctor’s coach. These were succeeded by about thirty-five members of the Lodge of Fidelity, Freemasons, and a few visiting brothers, all arrayed in the picturesque regalia of the mystic craft. A pathetic reflection was that only the day before the departed brother engaged in a similar function, and carried the identical Bible then in the hands of Brother W. R. Lewis, and exhibiting a fidelity to his late friend and a reverence for his privileges as an old Mason, which in all probability brought on him the illness which terminated so tragically. Immediately after the Masons was the hearse, and then followed friends and representative men of the district in great number. Mr. K. E. Bright, J.P.. and Mrs. McKinlay, unable to attend 'themselves, sent their carriages. The assemblage at the cemetery was an enormous one, and many could not get near enough to hear the various services. The Rev. Walter Jones conducted the principal service, and then the burial addresses of the Freemasons and Foresters were read by Brother R. K. Thomson, W.M., and Brother T. Gill, C.R., respectively. A very large number of floral tributes wore placed on the coffin. Amongst these were beautiful wreaths from the Lodge of Fidelity, Freemasons, the employees of the Bunyip, and the Mayor of Gawler (Mr. E. Lucas, J.P.). Numerous expressions of sympathy were received from all parts of the colony 'during the day, including one from the Lieutenant Governor.

Friday 22 January 1875
Provincial Telegrams
[Per favour of the Proprietor of the Bunyip.] Gawler. January 21. Night
Mr. E. L. Grundy died this evening at 8 o'clock. Great regret is expressed in consequence, and a general gloom prevails over the town.
Monday 29 January 1900

GAWLER. January 28.
At about 3 o’Clock this afternoon the shop of Messrs. R Broadbent & Co., grocers, in Murray-street, was discovered by Councillor Rebbeck, who was sleeping in his balcony nearly opposite, to be on fire. It had already obtained a good hold. The alarm was given, and Foreman Morgan, with a reel and men, was on the spot, and had water playing within two minute:. The Messrs. Broadbent's shop was the centre of one of the finest blocks of buildings in Gawler. The 'Bunyip'' Office adjoins them on the north, and the premises of .Messrs. E. Lucas & Co., drapers, on, the south. The few people present when the brigade arrived considered that the block was doomed, but Foreman Morgan attacked the flames with three lines of hose — one on the ground floor, another on the upper floor, and the third at the back. The fire had already forced itself out of the back of the building, but so well did the firemen work that in less than three-quarters of an hour the flames were practically extinguished. An unused door_ between '.Messrs. Broadbent's and Lucas's was destroyed, and the flames had begun to get a hold on the' shop of the latter. Messrs. Lucas & Co.'s stock, although not damaged much by fire, was converted into salvage by heat and smoke. Messrs. Broadbent & Co's 'grocery stock on both floors was practically destroyed. The adjoining shop, which contained crockery, was uninjured. The roof was saved from falling in, but the woodwork was well alight. The building was owned by Mr. Joseph Willcox, of Adelaide, and was insured for £2,500 in the colonial Mutual for £1.000, and in the Liverpool, London, and Globe, Guardian, and Phoenix for £500 each. Messrs. Lucas &. Co.'s loss is covered by insurance policies- of £2,000 each in the Colonial Mutual and National of New Zealand. Messrs. Broadbent &. Co.'s stock is insured for £1200, but an estimate of the injury is beyond this sum. The total damage probably amounts to £3,000.Superintendent Booker drove to Gawler this afternoon, and was very pleased with the work performed by the brigade.

Allen, Vanessa and Margaret discussing the haunting.

 Eidolon Paranormal would like thank Margaret and Vanessa for making this investigation possible. We are very grateful, and honoured, to be the first paranormal team allowed to investigate "The Bunyip" office in Gawler.
Our thanks also for the incredible piece of Gawler, and "The Bunyip" history that you bestowed upon us in the gift of the book "The Bunyip; or Gawler Humbug Society's Chronicle", we very much appreciate your kind, and thoughtful, gesture - Allen and Karen



The Bunyip on Facebook

The Bunyip Website


Gawler Town Council Website: 


 Books and other publications

"The Bunyip; or Gawler Humbug Society's Chronicle"
 published by the Bunyip Press

 Gawler Sketchbook
Drawings by Maurice Perry
Text by Ian Auhl
published 1973

 "History of Gawler 1837 – 1908."
E.H. Coombes

  The Gawler handbook
George E. Loyau

When we recorded this EVP we also captured it on Video Camera - none of the Investigators nor hosts are speaking at the time this "voice" is heard. 

In this video we present an EVP that sounds like a dog, at the time this was recorded no dogs were in the vicinity of the building. Both investigators, and hosts heard two loud bangs but on replay of the audio we hear a dog bark...
© 2007 - 2014 Allen Tiller

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