Sharing stories about the old museum in Brisbane

The girl on the stair

I grew up in Windsor in the 1960s. When I was about 9 or 10, it was not unusual for our mums to give us 2/- (20c) and tell us to go out for the day. There was nothing my friends and I liked more on a weekend than to catch the tram to the Centenary Pool, then follow it up with a visit to the Old Museum. There were usually 5 or 6 of us (no adults) and we would spend hours exploring the nooks and crannies of the old Gothic building in Gregory Terrace or playing on the Mephisto Tank that stood like a guardian at the main entrance. One day we decided to play a game of hide and seek on the first floor where all the insect cabinets were. I always found this the most interesting part of the Museum, because you could look down on the T Rex skeleton or Bert Hinkler’s Avian from above. Anyway, we were playing hide and seek when my friend said he spotted one of the girls in our group hiding on the stairs leading up to the next floor. However, when we called out to her, she took off up the stairs. To our surprise, when we turned around our friend was behind us and she said that she had spotted the other girl too. So we went to see where the girl on the stairs had gone, but when we got there we found that the stair led to a door that was firmly locked. I had not thought about that much in the past 50 years until recently when I was talking to Alannah Ruth, the present curator of the Old Museum Building, who told me an eerily familiar story about the Ghost of the young girl who lives on the stair!


  1. Kay

    I loved the old Museum too. However, I lived in the country so we only visited rarely on school excursions. I did have one “traumatic” experience during a school excursion when I was about 9 (1960ish). We were all in the toilets and, as one was vacated, I dashed in. When I went to leave, the door would not open. It was then that I found out it was one of those “spend a penny” loos and, as I had not paid, the door did not know I was in there and locked itself. Being a country kid I had never had to “spend a penny” before. I was trapped! I panicked and screamed for help. Luckily one of my classmates had a spare penny and let me out. I was so upset and the memory has stayed with me ever since – and I look twice at loo doors to make sure it has no tricks!

    • Ray Pini

      Great story for a great building of Brisbane

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