Thursday, June 23, 2016

Tasmania’s Haunted Bridge

Richmond, Australia’s claim to fame is its old beautiful stone bridge in the center of town. This bridge is the oldest of its kind still in use today. It was built between 1823 and 1825.

Located in southern Tasmania, this bridge traverses the Coal River. It was initially needed to link military and convict traffic between the colony of Hobart Town and the penal settlement.

In 1837, the Richmond Bridge needed repairs. Convict labor from the nearby Port Arthur penal colony was used. These convicts endured unbearable conditions as this work was done.

Their overseer was another convict by the name of George Grover, who was placed in prison for the crime of stealing. Grover was known as a “flagellator” for he was tasked with flogging other convicts.

Grover relished his role as overseer and abused his power. He gained a reputation as being a cruel taskmaster. He whipped and beat men he perceived as not working hard enough.

His mistreatment eventually was avenged. On a March morning in 1837, four convicts found him on the bridge “drunk on the job.” They set upon him, beat him, and threw him off the bridge.

Later he was found barely alive on the rocks of the riverbank 30 feet below. He died of internal bleeding.
Richmond Bridge
Ever since his death in 1837, George Grover’s ghost has been seen. He is one of three ghosts seen on this bridge. He is observed pacing the length of the bridge as he did in life.

In more dramatic accounts of this haunting, it is stated witnesses have seen his ghost in the trees west of the bridge, watching people as they crossed the bridge. At other times people have said they could sense his anger, he obviously is upset he was murdered.

He is described as a dark silhouette without discernable facial features that sometimes stalks people as they cross the bridge.

Another ghost seen on the Richmond Bridge is a large, black or white spirit dog. This apparition is known as “Grover’s Dog.” This ghost is seen only after dark.

Lone females and children who have crossed the bridge at night claim they have seen this dog. Local lore states this ghost dog is friendly. Several females have said they were accompanied across the bridge by this dog only to have it disappear once they reached the other side.

Yet another male ghost seen on the bridge is another male convict. It is believed this man weary of the hard labor he was tasked with committed suicide by jumping off the bridge during Grover’s time.

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