Haunted Braidwood

royal mail hotel

The haunted hallways of Braidwood's Royal Mail Hotel have been well known to its patrons since 1890.

The grand hotel, once a staging point for coaches during the gold rush, is said to be filled with the ghosts of past publicans and guests.

Hotel manager Jacqueline Coy has seen grown men leave in the middle of the night because of an "encounter" with the supernatural.

"I've seen two men leave white with fear," she said.

"I think they had been stirred up quite a bit by a local they were sitting with at the bar - they left about midnight, absolutely terrified."

The pub's owners, Kevin and Dianne Bell, say room 14, in particular, features a lot of strange activity.

"One couple have said they woke up to find a woman, dressed in lace, and her male companion standing just meters away from where they slept, " Jacqueline said.

"Staff have also reported the sounds of a young boy crying for his mother outside the kitchen door, but when they open the door there is no one to be found."

Aside from its famous ghost sightings, the hotel had a brush with fame in 1969 when it played host to the cast and crew of the film Ned Kelly.

Mick Jagger starred and a number of scenes were shot in the hotel.

Today, the pub's walls are adorned with Ned Kelly paraphernalia to mark the occasion, and the main bar is named after the bush ranger.

Since its establishment in the colonial era the hotel has been well maintained, in keeping with its heritage.

The Bells are in the process of refurbishing a number of rooms.

By last Christmas the hotel had a restaurant and a bistro, a freshly painted beer garden and a bottle shop was opened.

Jacqueline said the moves were welcomed by the town of 1100.

"It's a good old pub but we're just giving it that little bit more, partly because it's what the town needs, and also because it's the type of place that needs maintaining because of its age," she said.

"The new restaurant will give locals another option for when they get together with friends or family for a nice dinner, and the bottle shop has given them a place to buy supplies other than the local grocer."

The hotel is the first choice for locals and also the preference of travelers, typically those on their way to the South Coast.

"It's really great when we have visitors come back time and time again," she said.

"I had some ladies recently asking how I was and how I'd been - they'd come in nine months earlier and were on their way to another holiday and had remembered me.

"That's why I love working here, that and catching up with the locals."

She welcomed all out-of-towners to stop in when next passing through Braidwood.

"We have the coldest beer in town, and the nicest too - all the locals are happy to talk to visitors, it's a homely place."