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You may have seen it on your way to work, or felt the cold chill as you walked past to get to Redfern.
Make no mistake, Sydney's own Mortuary Station has a creepy history.
Looking more like a church than a train station, Mortuary station had one purpose- to carry Sydney’s dead to their graves.
Often over-looked by passers-by, the building, tucked away on Regent Street has large rustic gates and gothic looking arches. Opening in 1869, the bulding was designed for carrying coffins to Lidcombe in Western Sydney from Sydney city. According to Tony Eid operations director of Sydney Trains;
“Trains would arrive at the station, mourners could buy a ticket, there would be a small ceremony, the family would hop on, and the coffin traveled free.”
Image:Flickr, Mortuary Railway Station c.1865
by State Archives NSW
The carriages were made up of wooden seats for mourners and a wagon built to fit coffins. The station is one of 50 secret spaces around Sydney, other spaces include the secret rooms above the Queen Victoria Building (Read more about Queen Victoria Building's Secret Rooms here), Government House, and the Sydney Masonic Centre.
The building was designed by James Barnet and was made to look like a church to show respect for the dead. The death ride would take mourners through the suburbs of Sydney until ending up at an identical station in the middle of Lidcombe station. The train could fit around 30 corpses at a time.
Despite transporting so many dead folks in the 1800s, there have been no accounts of paranormal activity at the old station.
“The way it’s been designed it has an ambience that does feel quite cold, but nothing untoward has ever been reported.” Said Mr. Eid.
However, there have been reports of children’s voices on the very lower grounds of Central Station, which makes sense considering there is an old cemetery built around and underneath Central Station (Sydney siders next time you're commuting on the lower levels listen out for creepy child voices).
Image: Mortuary Station Redfern, Wikimedia Commons
The popularity of the car brought an end to Mortuary station. It remained open briefly for transport of animals and parcels and even became a pancake shop ‘Magic Mortuary’ at one point. But ultimately, it was shut down for good.
The building was heritage listed in the 1980s and was refurbished in 1985, restoring all its gothic charm, eerily reminiscent of an Emily Dickens Poem:
Because I could not stop for Death
He kindly stopped for me
The Carriage held but just Ourselves
-"Because I could not stop for Death" Emily Dickens.
At least it's not taking passengers anymore.
Header: Wikimedia Commons
This article first appeared on www.nationalgeographic.com.au
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