“People don’t make it through the night": Inside NSW's haunted Monte Cristo Homestead.

Nestled in the quaint small town of Junee, NSW, there lies a grand, sprawling property with a past so dark it’s become a ghost-hunter’s playground and the breeding ground of stories from the unexplainable to the just plain bone-chilling.

Monte Cristo Homestead was where the Crawley family once lived – but what happened between its walls was well beyond an ordinary family home.

William Crawley, who built the home in 1885, was married to Elizabeth Crawley and the couple had seven children.

William died in the home in 1910 from heart failure and blood poisoning caused by a boil in his neck, while Elizabeth passed in 1933. According to numerous reports from visitors to the notorious haunted house, she never left.

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But that’s not the extent of the manor’s long and dark history. In total, eleven people have reportedly died on the property, and their spirits have never left.

There’s the story of a stable boy who died after having his mattress set on fire when he called in sick for work.


There was a pregnant maid who threw herself from the balcony where a bleach stain to remove the blood still remains. It has been speculated she was pregnant to her boss, William Crawley, and some people even suggest it was Mrs Crawley who pushed her.

In 1961, a caretaker was shot dead on the property by a boy from town who was inspired by the film Psycho.

And there was also a young boy who fell to his death down the stairs.

These spirits reportedly join Mrs Crawley in keeping the halls of the property occupied.

“We don’t have a week go by without someone having a reaction to the house by either fainting, asthma attacks, hearing things or seeing full body apparitions,” Lawrence Ryan, whose family own the house and operate ghost tours, told The Project in 2015.

The ever lingering spirit of Mrs Crawley doesn’t like visitors, according to Mr Ryan

“It’s nothing ever bad and they tend to leave us alone but they are not keen on visitors being there all the time.

“Everything from your dress, mannerisms or the way you talk can influence Mrs Crawley. She will either like you or not like you and she is the real maiden of the house.”

One of the most disturbing stories from behind the mansion’s front door involves Harold Steel, the son of a maid who died shortly after giving birth.

Harold developed a mental illness after a carriage accident in Junee and as a result of his uncontrollable aggressive behaviour, he was chained to the back of the cottage for more than 30 years.


“After all those years he got dreadlocked hair and used to howl in the night,” Mr Ryan said.

“Locals in Junee thought there was a monster chained up in the house and kids would go and search for it. Harold would growl and hiss at them like an animal.

“People still hear those sounds at night.”

Mr Ryan said those who opt to stay the night in the servant’s quarters following a candlelit ghost tour either get “the best sleep of their life or no sleep at all”.

“Some people don’t make it through the night and drive into town and stay there. They wake up seeing children or spirits of the servants,” he said.

Lawrence’s parents, Olive Ryan and her late husband Reg, purchased the property in 1963. One of their first experiences with the home was when the entire house was lit despite not having electricity.

“It always felt like someone was watching me,” Lawrence told The Project of growing up in the house.

“I’ve had a hand on my shoulder,” Olive Ryan added. “I’ve had my name called when I’ve been here by myself. It’s nothing to hear footsteps on the balcony and you go out and there’s no one there.”

For those who crave a similar experience, it’ll cost you $12 to visit Monte Cristo, with dinner tours costing $125. Sleepovers are $195 and include breakfast and dinner.