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Saturday 5th August 10:30am-12noon

Maldon Neighbourhood Centre

Tales of the Passed: talks and a panel discussion about our past, specifically the history of the Goldfields region and its relationship with death - who has passed, how did they pass and what it means today: for 'the living'. Established authors, academics and philosophers share their insights, observations on what death and the past can teach.

Aradale: the Making of a Haunted Asylum

First built in 1867, the remarkable Gothic structure of the former Ararat Lunatic Asylum, colloquially known as Aradale, has overlooked the regional town of Ararat for over 150 years. Throughout its history it has seen remarkable transformations in the history of Australian psychiatry and western society’s treatment of the mentally ill, and it has participated in some of their darkest scandals. Today in popular press, the labyrinthine complex is commonly acclaimed as ‘Australia’s most haunted building’ and is home to a flourishing dark tourism industry boasting tens of thousands of visitors a year and contributing hundreds of thousands of dollars to the local economy. It is also a heavily contested heritage with community organizations, businesses, local government and the descendant of former staff and patients all vying for the right to control representation of the heritage site and its complicated legacy. Join Dr David Waldron as he explores these themes from his latest book Aradale: the Making of a Haunted Asylum.

Pat Hanley's Guns

Patrick Stokes will introduce us to the tale of 'Pat Hanley's Guns': mysterious explosive noises that baffled - and sometimes terrified - people around the Werona-Yandoit area in the early 1900s. This unsettling local mystery is part of Australia's forgotten history of unexplained sounds emanating from the country itself, and links the stories of three very different men: pugnacious farmer and Newstead councillor Pat Hanley (whose feud with the Werona teacher went all the way to the Premier and ended in a dramatic fistfight at the schoolhouse), Will Ferguson, who discovered Australia’s first dinosaur, and Stan Ebery, the Sandon farmer who became a national 'weather prophet.' 


Playing the Ghost


Johanna Craven discusses the relevance of her latest novel, 'Playing the Ghost' to life on the goldfields. Life is brutal on the goldfields of Castlemaine. With death around every corner, people are all too willing to believe in ghosts, and embrace the spiritualism movement finding its way across the seas. For Lucy Earnshaw and her husband Tom, their arrival in Australia is marred by unimaginable grief. In the wake of her loss, and a failing marriage, Lucy is drawn into a world of spiritualism and theatre – and into the path of dashing young playwright, Will Browning. Lucy’s new obsession leads her into the dark underbelly of the goldfields, a place where murder and thieving is rife, and no one can be trusted. And as she seeks happiness on the fringe of society, she finds herself entangled in a web of lies and corruption – one she may never escape from.

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