Built-in 1856 for Victoria's first Auditor-General: Mr. Charles Hotson Ebden, there is much mystery that surrounds Black Rock House. It is nestled in the bayside suburb of Black Rock in Melbourne Victoria. Throughout the years, I have been documenting experiences and research through my series Tales of Black Rock House. You can check out some of the articles I have written concerning the history and figures attached to the property here:
One of the famous figures who is associated with Black Rock House is Sir Peter MacCallum.
Image Source: https://www.petermac.org/
In 1931 Professor Peter MacCallum purchased Black Rock House in an attempt to restore it to its former glory as by this point, it was virtually in ruin and had been up for demolition on various occasions. He started to restore the property as his home. If the name sounds familiar to you, then you are not alone. Born in 1886 in Glasgow Scotland, his family immigrated to New Zealand. After studying medicine in England, he worked in General Practice for 6 months before being called up for service in the Royal Army Medical Corps. He won the Military Cross for his time served in World War 1 on the Western front. He was sent home after being gassed and began focusing his attention on pathology. He went on to win the seat of the chair of pathology at Melbourne University and supported the proposal for a new medical school leading to the Royal Melbourne Hospital being located closer to the university. Peter was dean of the Faculty of Medicine, chair of the Professorial Board, and a member of Council. He also chaired the Anti-Cancer Council of Victoria. He was knighted in 1953 for his contribution to health and education. His legacy is a world-leading cancer center where humanity, care, and research are valued equally. Sir Peter MacCallum believed that nothing but the best was good enough in cancer care - also known as Peter Mac.
Photo by Friends of Black Rock House
The library at Black Rock House is the newest room in the house. Unveiled earlier this year, this was a long time coming and something that was sadly delayed due to Covid. In a room that was once used for storage, it has been decorated as a library/study and is dedicated to Sir Peter MacCallum. MacCallum's grandson Hamish MacCallum has donated photos relating to BRH along with Sir Peter’s school books that were kept at his sister's home. Some of the books are embossed with the address of Black Rock House.
I once very briefly met Hamish when he was leaving Black Rock House after a committee meeting and was visiting the house along with his children. Of course he was very interested to hear some of the spooky stories associated with the house. In a way it was nice to have his blessing knowing that by holding paranormal events and donating money to the house, we were helping see through Sir Peter's vision to restore the house. It is only fitting that the library is in a way dedicated to Sir Peter, however it too has its own story to tell.
For the longest time, there was no access to this room, aside from using it for storage. Filled with mannequins, costumes, boxes of pamphlets and other items, it certainly wasn't much to look at, however, it just seemed to have a bit of a vibe. Maybe it had something to do with the fact the room was always closed off with stale air having nowhere to go or maybe it was just the mystery of what is behind the closed door. People always wanted to look at what was behind the door, and many people said they felt uneasy standing next to the door.
Of course, now it is beautifully decorated in what is not just a tribute to Sir Peter, but also to Charles Ebden whom the house was built for in the first place. With his portrait adorned above the heritage fireplace, Ebden is keeping watch over his home. Interestingly, it is near this fireplace that we have had some strange things happen in the very short time that the room has been open. Most notable, was what seemed to be responses on a Rem Pod. Now if you have used a Rem Pod and know how it works, you will also know that these things rarely go off, so when they do, I know I take notice (and also check for walkie talkies and mobile phones).
Watch this space because over the next 12 months, I hope to explore this room and some more history much further.
You can visit the library and Black Rock House on the first Sunday of each month at Black Rock House.
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