As the sun sets beneath an overcast sky, a crowd of about 30 gathers by the old cottage at the front of West Terrace Cemetery. With old gums looming over the paths there’s already an aura of gloom and mystery before our guide emerges in a long black cape, lantern in hand.
Over 140,000 souls rest in this ground – some 50,000 in unmarked graves. As we weave between the old headstones, many of them sunken with time, the atmosphere truly sets in.
At each stop, our narrator guides us through stories of murderers and mistresses, drunkards and dalliances. Actors in period costume wait on headstones or emerge from between the trees, and lights coordinate in blues, greens and reds to set the scene. With just the right mix of creepy and camp, it makes the hairs on your neck stand up as fast as it makes you laugh.
The West Terrace Cemetery offers a stunning backdrop from which to learn fascinating local history, from Colonel Light’s salacious love life, to the queer history of Premier Kingston’s illegitimate son. And, of course, one of the greatest unsolved mysteries in the world: our very own Somerton Man. For locals and visitors alike, this is an excellent way to discover some of Adelaide’s most intriguing stories.