A Haunting Tale – The Residency

Jack and Francis Tree had lived in Coolgardie since 1970 and fifteen of those years had been in Warden Finnerty’s House in McKenzie Street, Coolgardie.  The six bedroom mansion was built by the Bunning Brothers soon after they arrived from Scotland in 1895 and before they established their hardware business which we all know of today.

The Residency - Coolgardie

The Residency – Coolgardie

The Wardens house, the Residency, which is now under the care of the National Trust, is now open to the public. It was to be the turn of the century (1900) home of Warden John Michael Finnerty, his wife Bertha and their three children. Eighty two years later, in 1977, Jack and Francis Tree moved in to restore the shell of the old house. Jack used to complain about something grabbing his ankles when he walked down the hallway. One day they decided to pull up the old floorboards (where Jack had the trouble) and found a perfectly mummified body of a cat. It was about three feet long and flat as a pancake.  It must have been there since the house was built said Jack, I threw the body into the garden and was never bothered again. The Trees have often felt a strange presence in the house and both have woken to human shapes at the end of their bed. In particular a grey haired woman holding a child by the hand. Francis has a story about Jack’s love of lying in the bath. One day Jack heard ‘Hurry up Jack’, so he got up only to find his wife in the garden who said hadn’t called him. They can only think that ‘Jack’ was also the name of the Finnerty’s son.

Ghostly Pic

There is one room in the house which would send shivers down some visitors. Sometimes, a person, usually a woman, will freeze outside the door and can’t enter. Mrs Tree said it was the room of the Finnerty’s two daughters who disliked each other intensely, a feeling which was to last all their lives. The bedroom must have been the scene of some dreadful fights.


One thing the Trees did agree on is that ‘The Residency’ is a very cold house, it has no feeling of warmth, as if it had been lived in. Jack said that it has an unhappy feeling about it and puts it down to the hard life the Finnerty’s would have had in Coolgardie’s early days.

Warden Finnerty

Warden Finnerty

Finnerty, as warden, had all the responsibilities of governing the busy mining town. He was also  appointed as a magistrate in 1900. After the death of his wife at the young age of 38 years of pneumonia in the Coolgardie Hospital, he resigned. He was to argue bitterly with his son Jack who then returned to England and was badly injured in WW1.

The Evening Star 17th Nov 1911

The Evening Star 17th Nov 1911




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My name is Moya Sharp, I live in Kalgoorlie Western Australia and have worked most of my adult life in the history/museum industry. I have been passionate about history for as long as I can remember and in particular the history of my adopted home the Eastern Goldfields of Western Australia. Through my website I am committed to providing as many records and photographs free to any one who is interested in the family and local history of the region.

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  1. Such an interesting story. Do you get many enquiries about houses because of ghost type experiences?

    • Hi Not really enquiries but I have been told of lots of peoples personal experiences around town. We have our very own ghost in our house. It is of a five year old girl called Betsy Wade, I have even met her mother (real life mother) that is. (:

  2. Meghan Kent says:

    What an interesting story! A few stories of the house I have not heard before. How sad for the sisters to dislike each other.

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