The family farm is situated in the lower south east region of South Australia, a large homestead on 2,000 acres (normal). The main homestead is just over 100 years old. The ruins of the old Joyce church is on the far NW boundary of our property and can be seen in the far distance from the tennis court. The home has high ceilings, 6 bedrooms, all with a fireplace and a long hall down the centre.
When I was a child we slept in what we called "the girls room," a large room with 3 single beds on the wall facing the fireplace. Later this room was made into a guest room with a queen size bed. The window overlooks a wide veranda and the tennis court. Being the country, "dark" was really dark, "dead dark." You cannot see your hand in front of your face. Lighting was on the old generator for the property and out buildings. We were one of the last areas to have mains power. So looking over to the shearers quarters the lights looked yellow and the generator shed was situated in a paddock. There were often power "outs."
As a child I was always nervous of the corner in the girls room. High between the fireplace and the window, I would often see what I thought to be lights out across by the ruin of the Joyce Church. When I mentioned this to my parents, they would say it was lightning or the men folk out shooting at night.
Until one night I turned over in bed to see a bright white light up in the corner of the room. Inside with me. It turned suddenly cold, so cold in fact that the window frosted up on the inside. I could see it under the lace curtain. It was Autumm and we had not used the fires for the season. The light filled the room of great sadness and yet, in a unexplainable way, calm. I was in the middle bed and stayed still with my eyes fixed on the position. The light moved quickly toward the wall above my bed and then across me to my right through the window towards Joyce Church. The light was so white I knew it was not from the generator.
I never told my parents and having brothers that delighted in teasing me would only give them cause. Over the years I made it my task not to be alone in the room again in the dark.
Last year I was home after having buried both parents, taking a look at the old homestead with cousins. We went into the girls room with family friends who were staying in that room. I sat on the end of the now big bed admired the new decor and then with ease, we started talking. Yes they, along with other members of our family over the years, had seen what they called the child thought to be the spirit of a little girl from the next property back in the mid 1800's. She had been killed in a milking machine accident and her spirit came into the nearest home for safety. They said there were reports of the little girl standing on the foot end of the big bed and hearing quiet crying. It is also said "little girl laughter" could be heard from the room when passing in the afternoon. The room turned very cold as we were talking. It was mid-summer, about 2300hrs and after a heat wave. My cousin even gave the little girl's name (not to mention for her privacy) and yes, it does fit in with death records from the Joyce Parish Church at the time.
We feel this child is at peace, perhaps witnessing happy times as our family grew up. Our family went through dark times post WW11, particularly in the house at night. It was even suggested "the child" might still be there so many years after her tragic death in order to watch over our children. We leave the girls room door open into the top hall so she knows the family is home for her not to be frightened. We do not often speak of her but we feel very comfortable with her in our old family home.