Tag Archives: ghost tours

Celebrating Halloween…

Halloween is an event that falls on the 31st of October, the name comes from combining the phrase “All Hallows Eve”, the night before All Saints (Hallows) Day.

That is the only thing that is absolutely certain about Halloween, because it has histories that have been written to challenge the pagan culture. With Colonisation when the Church conquered along with Britain they would Christianise the festivals and customs of the locals to bring the cultures closer together (another example is the ‘Day of the Dead’). Or alienate people they considered to far from the values they wanted, like witches.

The ancient Celts, on Samhain (Sow-en) asked for favour over their upcoming harvests. The celebration started at sunset on the 31st of October and goes through until 1st of November.   They celebrated by wearing meaningful costumes and dancing around a bonfire.

Some Christians say Halloween is the most Satanic festival of the year and believe those who celebrate it are worshiping the devil. This has inspired a whole range of horror themed Halloween ideas, which are a lot of fun to watch.

So how do you celebrate Halloween (The most retweets would seem to the most favoured method)?

In Australia Halloween is a relatively new widespread celebration. Some Australians may see it as a fun idea to dress up, eat lollies and have a party… Others might not get quite into the spirit of things, or refuse to celebrate as it’s not a part of our culture.

Do you love Halloween for the ability to pull out the pumpkin recipes and make soup, pumpkin pie, and stock the freezer with comfort food for the cooler days ahead.

Do you celebrate Samhain, the end of summer instead with dressing up and dancing around a campfire.

Do you want to attend a ghost tour? We’re running one on Halloween and the 30th of October. You could come along, if you’re in Yallourn North of Traralgon.


If you’re on Facebook share the way you celebrate:


Celebrate or not your way.

The first Yallourn North ghost tour and review!

The first Yallourn North Ghost Tour. These photos were kindly provided by Rodney Lloyd. Thanks so much they’re great!

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It was a worrying start to the first Yallourn North Ghost Tour, on Friday the 13th of February, as the weather bureau issued a severe weather warning for most of Victoria, however in our little neck of the woods, the storms went around us, we got some rain, a little lightning (a flash came at the best time, as I’d announced I’d tell the legend of the Haunted Hills) and we could sometimes hear thunder. I was watching the rain radar for most of the afternoon, not that I’m worried about the rain, I have umbrellas.

The umbrella’s got a work out on the very first tour. They’re now drying on an impromptu drying rack. I was also told by some Yallourn North residents, that they saw the parade of umbrella’s making their way around town. I’m glad we’re very visible.

So far, all the feedback I’ve received has been positive including the very first review posted the day after. You can read more about that here. The demographic of the first tour was mostly made up of Latrobe Valley residents, plus four from out of the Latrobe Valley, including 4 from outside the Valley and one of those people was from another country. First tour and we’ve gone international! A smaller group of ghost tour participants went on to the Rossmore Hotel afterwards.

The ghost whisperers’ chatty dress

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Thanks to the residents for letting us on their property and thanks to Lynton Gale for the photos.

In January, I ran a competition to decide the ghost whisperers’ costume. Originally, I was trying to go for dresses inspired by the 1910-1930 era which was the start of the Brown Coal Mine and Yallourn. I couldn’t really find any, and none of the choices were from this time period. It’s tough to find dresses from 1910-1930, that isn’t a flapper’s dress – its way to cold to wear that in winter!.  I made up a competition and put it out to the people, asking for comments of the communities to pick their favourite.

The costume competition winner was Catheryn Thompson whose comments inspired the dress to speak volumes.

“This dress is school marmish with blood red flowers – the sense of controlled horror & femme fatale, will suit the haunted hills”

These comments captured my imagination as I appreciate the film noir genre where the femme fatale character emerged. Film noir has a particular look, using shadows to change the everyday into something, shady. It’s the genre of most old school detective movies, as they investigate the shady side and disclosed side of life.  Anyhow, how does all that relate to the ghost tour setup delivers this film noir look, while it’s a walking tour not a film. The elements of a film noir are all there as walk commences in the twilight setting the atmosphere, casting shadows on the otherwise beautiful town of Yallourn North. The stories shared throughout the tour, take us back in time and to the things we don’t really talk about as the history. You know, things the like the four skeleton’s found in a stones throw from Yallourn, the unsolved murders and the spirits unable to rest lacking justice. The tour covers the sly grog trade as well, according to an article by ancestory.com on Australia day, we like having criminals in our histories. The tour also covers creatures that were in Yallourn, like the Gippsland Lion. That’s the main elements of the ghost tour. Ghost tours don’t usually have a genre but, I would say most are a combination of film noir, horror, thriller and suspense.

“The controlled horror” I most certainly hope the horror is controlled. There are elements in the stories that may horrify people.

The dress has an aspect of looking like school Marm. Well, that comes with other aspect to ghost tours, history. To explore the spirits past some understanding of their life helps, which will be provided to you on the tour.

A later addition to the costume was a red cape

Congratulations Catheryn

You can book your place on the next ghost tour below:

book now

A scary business proposition        

Note from Tegan: I really appreciate the help I received from Michelle through the Small Business Mentoring Service, and that it was so easily accessible thanks to Latrobe City Council, in conjunction with Business Victoria. I’m very thankful for all the assistance I’ve received. Whether encouragement, stories, historical assistance or on a personal level. Published with permission you can view the original here: http://www.sbms.org.au/haunted-hills-tours.html you can obtain a PDF version through this link as well.

Tegan Dawson’s business idea was literally scary … but that’s a good thing. And her dream of running Haunted Hills Tours is now a reality thanks partly to the Small Business Mentoring Service.

A keen story teller, Tegan continued her interest in amateur theatre and youth groups while working for eight years in community services with homeless people, the unemployed and those in trouble with the law.

After starting a Bachelor of Professional Writing and Public Relations, she decided she wanted to run a business combining her theatrical skills and fascination with the paranormal.

The result is Haunted Hills Tours, a walking ghost tour of Yallourn North, which was formerly known as the Old Brown Coal Mine, named after the historic mine. Tegan takes the 90-minute night tour of up to 30 people to a number of locations and uses her theatrical skills to reveal the town’s forgotten secrets, paranormal and macabre events.

“I think I’m offering the history we don’t tell,” she says. “I love ghost tours and we don’t have that many around here. I think it’s good for tourism and offers another form of entertainment for the locals.”

After writing a business plan, Tegan registered her business and investigated insurance. She also spoke to a number of people and looked at establishing general links within Yallourn North.

Haunted House Tours

Tegan knew she had a fascinating idea, but wanted to ensure she covered all bases. So she spoke to Latrobe City Council, which was really helpful and gave her a free session with SBMS.

“I felt I needed a mentor as I’ve never run a business like this,” she says. “I’ve sold Tupperware and Lorraine Lea, however those businesses are completely different.”

SBMS is a non-government, non-profit organisation of volunteer expert mentors who give their time and experience to help small business.  It is supported by Small Business Victoria, which refers clients to it.  Tegan was matched with mentor Michelle Anderson.

Michelle has worked in tourism, business management, marketing and sales and specialises in business account management, marketing and promotions, sales, staff training and development. She has a consistent record of exceeding personal and corporate objectives as well as excellent interpersonal, customer service and organisational skills.

Tegan saw Michelle over two months and had two phone and face to face sessions. Mentoring is continuing.

Michelle provided Tegan with an overview of the Victorian Tourism Industry, regional tourism associations and local tourism associations and the associated links, such as visitor information centre roles, local tourism association key roles and functions.

As well, Michelle helped Tegan with:

  • Advice about print media versus radio advertising
  • Marketing materials and what works, for example postcards versus flyers
  • Local networks, providing her with a number of local people to speak to about her new venture
  • Linking with other businesses, tour providers, accommodation providers, restaurants and retail stores.
  • Advice on the use of social media for business, website content and online bookings.

Michelle also suggested that Tegan put together a five-year plan that captured business growth in each year. The Action Plan would involve finalising business registration and a business plan, speaking with local tourism associations and preparing a marketing plan for the first 12 months.

Since Tegan saw Michelle, profitability has improved and she has a better knowledge of the tourism sector and how each level of the industry fits. “She is more aware of the importance of local contacts, networking and what she needs to achieve in her first year,” Michelle says.

“Tegan now has the knowledge to ensure she gets the best from her new business venture. She will save valuable time and money in regards to how to spend her marketing dollars.

“She has already achieved a story in the local paper which has given her valuable exposure to the local community and generated interest in her business.”

Haunted House Tours

Tegan said Michelle knew exactly what she needed. “She discussed how I progress with my business and which kinds of registrations I should look at,” Tegan says.

“I’m starting very locally although I haven’t restricted my website and I’ve had four hits from Canada. If people are planning a trip, I’d like them to think of Haunted Hills Tours as something they can do while in the Latrobe Valley.”

The business doesn’t have direct competition, but there is a ghost tour in nearby Walhalla and a Rosedale Haunted House. Haunted Hills Tours is unique as it uses location-based stories.

“There aren’t any tours covering the Yallourn North area, except for the Old Brown Coal Mine Museum and they focus more on the mainstream narrative for the area,” Tegan says.

Tegan says the mentoring helped her to forward plan better and make achievable goals. “I can also see when I’m achieving them,” he says.

As Haunted Hills Tours is a new business it is hard to quantify improvements, but Tegan says the mentoring has prepared her well for the challenges ahead. It also helped encourage her to “get out and talk to people” and secure the story in the local paper.

“Getting out and talking to people as well as the newspaper article by the Latrobe Valley Express has helped boost enquiries,” she says.

If she hadn’t found SBMS, Tegan says she would be “still without a clue about the tourism sector in Latrobe Valley, Gippsland, Victoria and Australia”. “I’d be making a lot more mistakes and working a lot harder to discover the information without this assistance,” she says.

Tegan Dawson
Haunted Hills Tours
Tel. 0473 945 639

Email: hauntedhillstours@gmail.com

Website: http://www.hauntedhillstours.com


Small Business Mentoring Service Inc
Suite 1, 12 Maroondah Hwy
Ringwood VIC 3134
Contact: David Gregory
Chief Executive Officer
Tel.  9879 4486    Fax.  9879 4486

Email: CEO@sbms.org.au

SBMS Mentor: Michelle Anderson                     The Small Business Mentoring Service (SBMS) Incorporated is a non-profit organisationIncorporated Association RegistrationNumber: A0032560Y

Things to do in Yallourn North and surrounds

Yallourn North offers things for you to do however you holiday.

Yallourn North is a historical town established in 1917 (as the Brown Coal Mine). It’s a quiet township with many parks and reserves.Walking around Yallourn North is lovely, and there are plaques to read and art to look at on Reserve St North Road, and Carmel Ave. It’s a hidden gem within the Latrobe Valley, and close to a lot of natural beauties, parks, lakes, and rivers.

Yallourn North has a recently expanded bus service, which now operates seven days a week. Located 20 minutes from Traralgon and under 10 minutes to Moe, it’s a lovely country town with easy access to city features  such as cinema, restaurants, shopping, wineries and much more.

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Yallourn North has an active community who put on a variety of events throughout the year. In 2014 the Yallourn North Winter Market had everyone a buzz, and the Twilight Christmas Market offered 70 stalls, and drew over 1000 people. Yallourn North got into the Christmas Spirit, bringing the community together, providing a variety of activities, ranging from outdoor cinema to trivia. You can find out more about them through this link. The Latrobe City Council also keeps an events calendar of the local area that you can check out, and the town’s local website affords one too.


Yallourn North is perfectly situated for an active holiday.

From fishing, walking, BMX riding track, skate boarding, cricket (to watch or play depending on the day), tennis, swimming, golf, bowls (barefoot or otherwise), and football. Yallourn North’s got it all.

Parks and Natural Reserves

Natural parks surround Yallourn North, like Moondarra Park and Tyers Park – these are parks that have places to fish, to explore, walks and watch wildlife. Tyers Park has the Tyers River and a gorgeous natural gorge. Moondarra State Park is home to 16 different types of orchids, and other native vegetation and fauna. There is a free camping ground and other affordable camp grounds, places to fish and other nature type activities. The Park is accessible via Moe-Erica Road.

Located within the township are four several parks and reserves, one on Corner of Rossmore Av and Kelso Rd, Reserve St, Anderson St, and the corner of Low and East Road colloquially known as Grader Park. They’re a great distance for doing a park-hop (the kids version of a bar crawl). All within nice walking distance each other. Each of them are a little different, and two parks have lots of space to play games on the grass.
Halls Bay is part of Lake Narracan and accessible from Yallourn North’s Fernlea Road. It’s the home of the Latrobe Valley Water Skiing club. There is a boat ramp, for club members, as well as dedicated swimming areas. It’s a beautiful spot for walking and picnicking.

Fishing in Yallourn North

The nearby fishing holes are Anderson Creek, Lake Narracan, Latrobe River, Tanjil River, Tyers River, and Blue Rock Dam. With all these fishing locations so close to the one town, Yallourn North could be a great fisherman’s destination. Most commonly found are Redfin, Trout, Carp, and Eels.

Things to do on Reserve Street, Yallourn North

Reserve St, Yallourn North, has a shopping district that has an op-shop, hairdresser, medical centre, and Polly’s fish and chip shop. All set next to the visitor information shelter within Lions Park that sports a covered play area, BBQ, and various sitting areas. Next to the park is the Yallourn North Bowls Club.

There is a Skate Park and BMX track at the corner of Third and Reserve St. The cricket pitch is opposite the shops, and next door to the Yallourn North Primary school. The Tennis courts and two historical churches are also on this road, which leads to North Road, where the Post Office, Foodworks, and Newsagent is conveniently located.

School Ave, Yallourn North

Behind the school is School Ave and the outdoor pool that is open during summer from 3 p.m.- 5 p.m. And on really hot days 12 p.m. – 7 p.m.



The Rossmore Hotel is usually open for the evening meal, some of the local sporting legends that adorn their walls. It’s got a lovely local vibe, with a traditional pub look. The Angler’s club also meets at the Rossmore Hotel. I bet they know how to get fish from the local creeks, rivers, dams and lakes.

Polly’s, Yallourn North’s local Fish and Chip shop, open during the day (except Sunday when it opens at 4:30 p.m.) near Lion’s park, with playground and BBQ.

Do you want more historical information?


The Old Brown Coal Mine Museum is open on the Weekends and most public holidays. You can check out there website here.

Want to know more about the power industry in the Latrobe Valley? There is a Power works tour that will take you and tell you all about it.

 For more information you can visit Yallourn North’s website – www.yallournnorth.vic.au

(If you have something to add or amend to this list please don’t hesitate to email hauntedhillstours@gmail.com)
If you want to read about the first Yallourn North Ghost Tour, you can here

The ghost whisperer

Tegan Dawson is the ghost whisperer and researcher.

She has been on lots of ghost tours and loved them all.

She is interested in ghost stories and stories that aren’t usually told and celebrated. The people who get forgotten in a barrage of process, and in tumultuous situations.
I want to hear stories about real people, I want to tell stories about real people. We leave a mark on the world, there are things that are still not yet completely explained even if you don’t believe it’s spiritual.

This year she is finishing her third year at uni, and starting Haunted Hills Tours.