THE Eastern Station Hotel's ghostly aura is set to make it Australia's Most Haunted Pub.
The hotel is currently being restored to its original 1862 style, with added steampunk, or industrial-style, features to become Ballarat's latest tourist attraction.
New leasee Adam Wynne-Jenkins said the pub had several ghosts, including a two-year-old boy who drowned in a gold rush mining puddle and original owner Thomas Redshaw Hunt, who is usually preceded by a strong tobacco smell.
There are also English mother and daughter ghosts Maggie, 35, and Sarah, 12, who arrived in Ballarat by train straight off the boat, walked to the Eastern Station, went to their room and promptly died from yellow fever, along with an Irish man who was stabbed in the back in the hotel's kitchen in 1915 by a love rival.
The final two are indigenous caretakers.
"Mr Hunt has been particularly active lately but ghosts do become more active when you start doing renovations," Mr Wynne-Jenkins said.
"If you stay upstairs, there's lots of paranormal activity. We think this is Australia's most haunted hotel."
Manager Christine Crawshaw said she often went to serve a patron, only to discover it was Mr Hunt's ghost, and said she often found the kitchen's vibes particularly chilling due to the brutal murder of the former World War One soldier.
"Ghosts do become more active when you start doing renovations"
Mr Wynne-Jenkins said the Humffray Street hotel's renovations began a week ago.
"We're putting the old front back on and restoring the dining room, ballroom, parlour, kitchen and accommodation areas.
"Parts of Ballarat's early history are also being incorporated into the renovations, along with original Beechworth Jail doors, including the one belonging to Ned Kelly's cell and the other from the death row cell."
It is hoped the renovations will be completed within 18 months.
The hotel is currently open Wednesday to Sunday, 5pm to 11pm, but will be open seven days shortly.
Meals will also soon be available, along with the haunted accommodation.
Spirits at the pub
1. A two-year-old boy who haunts the Eastern Station Hotel is believed to be James Nunn, whose body was kept in the hotel's cellar after his death until his autopsy by coroner Dr Sutherland and his subsequent burial. The boy died on December 6, 1863, on the Black Hill Flat after accidentally falling into a waterhole.
James, the son of brickmaker Richard Nunn, had earlier been seen driving a flock of geese to the waterhole. His ghost is often seen running around the hotel wearing brown three-quarter length pants with socks, a brown vest and a brown pullover hat.
2. Thomas Redshaw Hunt was the original owner of the Eastern Station Hotel. He is regularly seen standing near the bar and in the cellar wearing a large, black top hat and is always accompanied by a strong smell of pipe tobacco.
A pint of beer has been left out on the bar's open fire mantelpiece for Mr Hunt, which is gradually going down.
3. Mother and daughter Maggie, 35, and Sarah, 12, arrived in Melbourne from England on a boat in the 1870s. They took a train to Ballarat, walked to the hotel, booked a room and promptly died from yellow fever they caught on their voyage.
They are mainly seen in the upstairs hallway and staircase, with Maggie wearing a red dress and Sarah a fawn one. Both have long beautiful hair.
4. An Irish ex-World War One soldier was killed in the hotel's kitchen in 1915. The kitchen hand was stabbed in the back by a fellow staff member and love rival. He is seen in the kitchen, the original ballroom and often walking through a wall where a door used to be. He wears moleskin pants and a pale grandpa shirt.
5. Two indigenous caretakers are also seen around the lower levels of the hotel. One is much older than the other and both have beards.