Meet the residents of Australia’s most haunted house in Junee

Hannah Sparks 20 July 2021 39
Silvia Heszterenyiova and Lawrence Ryan

Lawrence Ryan and his wife Silvia Heszterenyiova run the ghost tours at Monte Cristo Homestead. Photo: Supplied.

It’s hard to imagine anyone wanting to live in Australia’s most haunted house, but Monte Cristo Homestead in Junee hasn’t scared away the Ryan family.

Aged 90, owner and resident Olive Ryan has a lot of experience with the dead, yet her advice to visitors is to watch out for the living.

It was her late husband Reginald’s dream to own and restore the homestead built by Christopher Crawley in 1876.

He discovered the dilapidated property while living nearby in Wagga Wagga and spent eight years negotiating a purchase with Mr Crawley’s children.

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The young couple took up residence in 1963 for a sum of 1000 pounds but with no idea of its creepy history.

Their first supernatural encounter took place on a foggy evening while driving home from town with supplies.

“They were halfway up the dirt driveway and stopped their car because lights were beaming from every door and window of the house,” said Lawrence.

Olive Ryan

Olive Ryan has lived at Monte Cristo Homestead for 59 years. Photo: Supplied.

The freaky thing was the house had no electricity.

“Dad assumed squatters had moved in, but as they drove closer all the lights went out. People say it could have been their car lights reflecting off the windows, but there weren’t any glass panes in the windows or doors at the time,” said Lawrence.

Legend has it that the Crawley family were an odd bunch and several people met their fate at the property.

There was a maid who fell to her death from the upstairs balcony. It’s rumoured she was pregnant with Mr Crawley’s child and may have been pushed by his wife Elizabeth.

Then there’s the stable boy who burned to death in his bed and the intellectually disabled man Harold who was chained to the caretaker’s cottage for 40 years.

It’s also said that Mrs Crawley didn’t cope when Mr Crawley died in 1910. She rarely left the house again and still haunts the property today.

However, Olive and Reginald never shared any of these stories with Lawrence or his four older sisters.

“I think that would have been a form of child abuse,” said Lawrence with a laugh.

“I can’t say it was scary growing up in the homestead, it was just our home.

“My four sisters have seen Mrs Crawley on several occasions and my Dad and I have seen shadows and heard people walking past, but not to the point where we’ve been scared out of the house.

“I think the ghosts think there’ll be no one to look after the place if we take off.”

Reginald and Olive never imagined opening the homestead to the public but were caught in the enthusiasm for ghost tours in the 1990s.

“My family has been running ghost tours since 1993 and it just gets busier and busier because people are fascinated by the whole supernatural thing,” said Lawrence.

Lawrence gave up his career as a professional stuntman to take over the ghost tours when his father fell ill in 2014.

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He may not be the biggest believer or vouch for seeing Mrs Crawley but will dress in Victorian clothing to keep the former owner happy.

“Visitors think it’s for them, but it’s not. Mrs Crawley doesn’t like people dressing inappropriately when visiting her home,” said Lawrence.

Wear the wrong wardrobe and Mrs Crawley will appear… apparently.

Monte Cristo Homestead ghost tours are still running during COVID-19.

Visitors can take part in a self-guided tour between Friday to Monday, 10 am to 4 pm or stay over on Saturday’s.

The Ryan family takes great pleasure in placing bets on whether visitors will last the night.

“Visitors sleep above the original homestead – the most active part of the house,” said Lawrence.

“We’ve heard everything from people waking up to see Mrs Crawley standing at the end of their bed, to people being pinned to the bed and not being able to move.

“Every three to four weeks people don’t come back from the tour.”

Original Article published by Hannah Sparks on About Regional.

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39 Responses to Meet the residents of Australia’s most haunted house in Junee
Sarah Walmsley Sarah Walmsley 7:16 pm 24 Jul 21

Cindy Bradley not far away from Wagga...

Donna Christie Donna Christie 6:21 pm 24 Jul 21

Lynne Vidas Silvia runs the doll museum and she is lovely. I haven’t yet met her in person.

Craig Pope Craig Pope 3:07 pm 24 Jul 21

Been there and stayed twice

Lawrence knows his stuff great evening

Mark Ryan Mark Ryan 10:05 am 22 Jul 21

Scott Masters is this the place you featured one morning on the old show?

Melissa Gonzalez Ramirez Melissa Gonzalez Ramirez 11:30 pm 21 Jul 21

Did you live in Junee? Paul Smith

    Paul Smith Paul Smith 11:34 pm 21 Jul 21

    Yeah grew up there. Never been to that place but it's supposed to be pretty spooky 😱

Gabriel Spacca Gabriel Spacca 10:46 pm 21 Jul 21

They look pretty healthy for ghosts.

Rebecca Neish Rebecca Neish 10:44 pm 21 Jul 21

Nicole McNamara Denis McNamara friends of yours 🙃

    Denis McNamara Denis McNamara 6:56 am 22 Jul 21

    Rebecca Neish no do know of the family. I think the old guy ran a pub in town before he purchased monte cristo

Cheryl Belardo Cheryl Belardo 10:00 pm 21 Jul 21

Gary N Peggy Ryan - weren’t we talking about this on our way to Junee?

Gennelle Mills Gennelle Mills 8:02 pm 21 Jul 21

Would be great if they would do night tours for kids.

Melissa McCoy Melissa McCoy 7:22 pm 21 Jul 21

Ron Leapai Rebekah McCoy maybe we shouldn’t have driven up that dirt road 😱

Darran Russell Darran Russell 7:04 pm 21 Jul 21

Scary stuff

Jim Mills Jim Mills 7:01 pm 21 Jul 21

Loved it worth going

Cathy Read Whittard Cathy Read Whittard 6:57 pm 21 Jul 21

A group of us went a few years ago for a 30th, it was amazing! Kelly Tahlia

    Kelly Tahlia Kelly Tahlia 7:25 pm 21 Jul 21

    Cathy Read Whittard I’m so glad we did this, such a cool experience 👻 💀

Jason Todd Jason Todd 6:53 pm 21 Jul 21

beautiful looking house, id live there

Caren Bacardi-Bryce Caren Bacardi-Bryce 6:11 pm 21 Jul 21

Ohhhh Beverly Clark we did!!!!!!

    Beverly Clark Beverly Clark 6:38 pm 21 Jul 21

    Caren Bacardi-Bryce yea, been there done that. 👻

Sophie Hawkins Sophie Hawkins 5:51 pm 21 Jul 21

Angela Nguyen Charlotte Andersen-Solas anyone up for a tour?

    Angela Nguyen Angela Nguyen 5:53 pm 21 Jul 21

    Sophie Hawkins went there once but would defo go again!

Catherine Kennedy Catherine Kennedy 5:17 pm 21 Jul 21

I've visited Monte Cristo Homestead and chatted to Olive Ryan. As it's privately run, it's a shame Junee Council don't promote it in any of their tourism publications.

Noeline Mills Noeline Mills 4:38 pm 21 Jul 21

Kelly we have been took the girls they loved it

Kerry Summerell Kerry Summerell 4:15 pm 21 Jul 21

Shannon Bisa-Webb 😱 haven't read the article but we should definitely do it!!

    Erin Slade Erin Slade 5:12 pm 21 Jul 21

    Kerry Summerell James and I did it a few years back. It was good.

    Kerry Summerell Kerry Summerell 7:57 pm 21 Jul 21

    Erin Slade ooh I'd love to.. was it this one in particular you did?

    Erin Slade Erin Slade 8:02 pm 21 Jul 21

    Kerry Summerell yep the Monte Cristo in Junee.

Jessica Louise Findlay Jessica Louise Findlay 3:55 pm 21 Jul 21

Steven Ryan Cam Hansell wanna go ghost hunting? I've always wanted to go here

    Steven Ryan Steven Ryan 3:56 pm 21 Jul 21

    Jessica Louise Findlay yeah been keen on this place for a long time

    Cam Hansell Cam Hansell 11:16 am 22 Jul 21

    Steven Ryan Jessica Louise Findlay keen 👌OoOooOooo

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