Ghosts of Richmond Bridge

Ghosts of Richmond Bridge
In the town of Richmond, located in the Coal River Valley of Tasmania (known as Van Diemen’s Land until 1856), Australia, stands the historic Richmond Stone Arch Bridge built in the years 1823 to 1825 by prison convicts under extremely harsh conditions.

The bridge is made of sandstone, with beautiful arches, and a glorious view of the Coal River and surrounding hills. In the dark, the sights on Richmond Bridge aren’t nearly so pleasant.

Many visitors to Tasmania are drawn to the bridge because of its status as the first large stone arch bridge of Australia with few alterations since its origin. The beauty of the bridge and neighboring countryside draws many artists and historians to the area.

Some of the visitors to the Richmond Stone Arch Bridge are there to try to catch a glimpse of George Grover, the bridge’s resident ghost, or possibly the big black and white ghost-dog.

In the year 1825, George Grover (sometimes called Simeon Groover) was sent to the penal settlement of Port Arthur in the area now known as Tasmania, for stealing.

In 1829, prison records show that Grover had completed his punishment term, yet remained at the prison in the role of convict overseer of the road crew working on the bridge. He was also responsible for punishment of the convicts in the form of floggings. He was said to be extremely vicious and cruel with the prisoners.

In early March of 1832, Grover died. An inquest shows that he had passed out on the bridge while drunk. The prisoners decided that this was the perfect opportunity to get rid of the wicked man. Grover was severely beaten, and then thrown off the bridge to the rocks thirty feet below.

Since 1832, George Grover’s spirit has been seen on the bridge, pacing back and forth as he did in life. Sometimes only a dark shadow is seen, with quick footsteps heard behind you. Legend has it that you should never look back or George will follow you home and haunt you for a while.

Another entity seen even more frequently is that of a big black and white dog, known as “Grover’s Dog.” I have not been able to ascertain why the dog is referred to by this name, as I have found no evidence that George Grover had an animal during his life. Also, the dog seems to be a benign creature, unlike the evil Grover.

This friendly creature is most often witnessed by women and children. Locals believe the dog is there to protect them, as it seems to favor materializing to them at night and walking along beside them as they cross. One female witness has been accompanied by the canine several times at night as she crosses the bridge. After crossing with her, the dog disappears. Perhaps the dog is protecting unsuspecting innocents from George Grover.

Belanger, Jeff. Encyclopedia of Haunted Places. Franklin, NJ: New page Books, 2009.

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