Hidden Canberra


The Chills and Thrills of Rose Cottage Inn, Queanbeyan, A.C.T

Posted by hiddencanberra on May 26, 2009 at 11:59 PM

Rose Cottage Inn is located 14km from the epicentre of the city of Canberra. It comprises of two pise constructed buildings with interior and exterior walls both rendered and painted. The triangular shaped block also comprises of a modern house, two dams, shearing shed and yards, shearers' quarters, nursery and hay shed. The larger cottage has pise` framed walls in timber with concrete floors, lined board ceilings, painted corrugated iron roof, a 6 foot wide open veranda with timbered posts. The cottage has three rooms which features a central one where two doors open and one at each end. There is a double brick chimney shared by the central and north-western rooms although the fireplaces are separate. The smaller cottage is to the north of the larger cottage and separated by a courtyard. The walls are pise`, cement rendered, rough-cast and painted. The roof has no eaves and is an iron clad hip roof. The sapling roof and collar ties support roof battens spaced for shingles. The other cottage near the hayshed is modern and features vertical boarding and a corrugated metal roof. The cottages are well preserved and operated as tavern. The largest attraction was supposed to be the historic structures and rustic charm of a by-gone era but a more exciting reason for the public to visit Rose Cottage Inn has surfaced.


    Before I give you the details into the reasons why this place is now a hot spot, I will give you some background into the actual cottages to set the mood. In 1876 and 1877, Richard James Harris bought portions of the block and built the cottages from pise`. Pise` or "Pise de Terre" was a method of constructing buildings out of rammed earth and was basically a mud hut. It was introduced into the Tuggeranong area in 1874 by South American Eusebio Ponsey.

    Richard went on to manage Tidbinbilla Station for the Cunningham’s and a Mr Edlington occupied the cottage for awhile. Later when the Commonwealth resumed the land on where the cottages stood, they leased the house back to Richard Harris Junior who lived there until he died in 1945. Rose Cottage allegedly got the name from an early occupant, a Miss Rose who was the local school teacher.


    Richard Harris senior was born in 1830 in London England and married in 1860 at Dubbo to a headstrong Irish woman called Margaret Murphy. Margaret was born in County Cork, Ireland in 1840.  Richard Harris senior died at Rose Cottage on the 23 March 1904 (Death registration #2884/1904). Margaret died the 26 October 1918 (Death registration #15593/1918)  at the cottage also. They had at least seven children - Belinda Elizabeth Harris born 1862 (Birth registration #7261/1862) at Dubbo, NSW. Belinda died in 1894 (Death registration #2472/1894) as Belinda Elizabeth Flanaghan in Balmain South, NSW.  William Davis Harris was born 1864 in Dubbo (Birth registration #79131/1864) and died on the 16 September 1951 at Queanbeyan.  Richard James Harris junior was born 1866 at Queanbeyan and died at Rose Cottage in 1945 (Death registration #27657/1945). Richard married Mary Pedley in Goulburn in 1895 (Marriage Registration #1055/1895).  Margaret Harris was born in 1870 (Birth registration #16099/1870) in Queanbeyan. She married a man by the surname of Smith and died in Redfern, NSW in 1918 (Death registration #9296/1918). Mary Harris was born in 1872 (Birth registration #16550/1872) at Queanbeyan and married a man by the name of Jackson. She died at Ashfield, NSW in 1932 (Death registration #17174/1832).  Frederick John Harris was born in 1875 (Birth registration #18474/1875 ) in Queanbeyan and it is not known what happened to him.  Amelia Harris was born in 1877 at Queanbeyan and died at Rose Cottage in 1906 (Death registration #14010/1906) unmarried.


    Since the cottage was turned into a tavern there has been a very disruptive force around the Inn. For some mysterious reason there has been many a disagreement between tenants and owners which has gone on for many years. ......chefs fought with waitresses, staff against staff. The relentless feeling of tenants wanting to leave the place but their partners wanted to stay. Cash registers that refused to open and locked themselves; glasses pelted at well known biker members by an unseen hand; kitchen items that have disappeared and turned up later in the same spot they were sitting; light bulbs thrown out of their sockets onto the floor; and that oh so feeling of an air of Irish rebellion lingering around. And then there was a band who played at  the Inn and it's band member went home and committed suicide. Was it connected to the ghosts or just something that was going to happen anyway?


    Previous owners know only too well what has made this cottage come alive under the influence of the ghosts of Rose Cottage Inn. Margaret Harris herself is the main instigator of the frequent haunts and the Glasswell's have been the epicentre of her attention at all times. Here are some of their incredible stories that they have told us about the chills and thrills of Rose Cottage Inn.


    "Once we were hosting a wedding, a young couple that had invited guests of diverse backgrounds. Some were nice family members, parents, grandparents etc. whilst others were obvious bikers of a well known chapter. We separated the party into two parts, the family in the function room and the biker's used Mary's Cottage (the bar in the cottage), and they stayed in the garden. As time went on, some of the bikers began to swear and upon hearing one particularly bad sentence, I sent my daughter out of the cottage (she was collecting glasses). I will never know if it was the bikers bad language, or my daughter's comment to me that "we hear worse than that at school" but as we left the bar, the wine glasses were thrown off the top shelf one after another - crashing on the floor. Michael (my husband) was behind the bar at the time and when the biker exclaimed that the glasses fell off on their own, he explained that Margaret doesn't like swearing, and would he please have some respect.

The biker did not return to the bar all that night".


    One previous owner stated that usually after a bad night like this things would deliberately go missing the very next day. Cake knives, function files and many kitchen implements started to disappear and turn up days later where they were last placed.

One day her chef lost her wedding ring. She saw it fall and they both went to look for it. The ring rolled away from them right in front of their eyes. The drains and every part of the kitchen was searched from top to bottom. However, exactly a week later the ring turned up under the fridge door in a totally different part of the kitchen which is mopped every day.


Another wedding ring incident took place when a groom dropped his ring in the tan bark on the afternoon of his wedding. Knowing what mischief Margaret got up to, and being extremely tired herself from a long day's work, she stormed into the cottage demanding Margaret give it back. It was found five minutes later.


    On another occasion an inquisitive customer asked a waitress about Margaret Harris also nicknamed Mary as no one has been able to establish her identity in full until now, as to the fact if it was Margaret Harris (nee Murphy) or Mary Harris (nee Pedley) haunting the cottage. The comment from the waitress after telling the customer the story was to throw her arms up in the air and say "if you believe in all that!". Immediately after stating as such, all the tills immediately locked for no reason and no amount of budging would get them open. As Margaret was prone to temper tantrums, the owner asked all the staff if anyone had upset Mary. "No No No" replied all the staff except for one young waitress who quietly stated "It must have been me!"

Apologies were said to Margaret and all the tills were opened again after an hour of trying.


    The owners were very careful with intoxicated guests and the amount of alcohol served. Not just for legal purposes as well as ethical but for the reason that Margaret would always cause trouble the next day. Whilst quoting on an 18th birthday party and were making sure the parents would be there for supervision and so the party would generally be a nice one for the client; the owner made a comment which he later regretted. Whilst discussing the menu to fit it into the client's budget, he casually stated "Well lets face it, no one will really be bothered about the food - they will be more interested in the bar tab".

Everything and everyone went silent..........Suddenly a light bulb was thrown out of the light fitting and smashed to the floor.

On the night of the party the birthday girl and her parents went to thank Margaret for behaving herself.


    Margaret Harris, or Mary as she is commonly called; is not the only resident ghost. The residence at Rose Cottage which is roughly 20 years old; is home to a young woman whom visited the owner’s children in their bedroom every night. Moving around their youngest daughter's bed and leaving the eldest alone. She was a gentle young woman with much affection for the girls. It is believed that she is the ghost of either Mary Pedley who is Margaret's daughter-in-law and was married to her son Richard Harris junior. Or that of Margaret's daughter Amelia who died in the cottage in her late 20's and had never married.


    There is also allegedly the ghost of Richard Harris senior who is rarely sighted and tends to stay in the background. He is a thin lanky man who wears black trousers and waistcoat, white shirt with rolled up sleeves, gold watch and chain and a long beard. He is allegedly an evil entity that hides many family secrets and is keeping all the spirits in the cottage grounded.


    Margaret Harris (nee Murphy) has been seen on occasions as well standing by the fire. She is plump in appearance and her hair tied back into a bun. She wears a green taffeta long dress, her favourite, her Sunday best. She is sometimes seen with an old straw broom in her hand or the ghost of the broom near the back door - ready to toss the customers out the door.

She is old school and somewhat religious - hates people who drink and swear and want to possess the home herself.

She is rather mean to everyone and her new life in a new country and harsh climate would have attributed to that. However, there is another ghost in the Inn that she has a soft spot for although she chases him with the broom.


    He is a biker gang member who arrived in the cottage mid 1980s and decided to call the place "home". He is described as a big man the size of Labor politician Kim Beazley; black leather waistcoat and trousers, white shirt with the cuffs turned up; long black curly hair; a well groomed long beard and a devilish look. He is somewhat of a big softy who likes to sit back and cause fights between people just for the fun of it. He sees Margaret as a mother figure as it's something he never had when he was alive.....and she in return had a soft spot for him. He had murdered two people in a gang war and in return he too was murdered. Shot in the chest with a sawn off shotgun.


    Two psychics, one from New South Wales who has never been to the cottage; a psychic from Canberra who has been to the cottage; and a previous owner swapped information as to who the ghosts were, what they looked like etc and all three found that the experiences they had with the ghosts; the feelings, emotions and visions were all identical. The Canberra psychic also picked up on a young illegitimate baby in the cottage and someone swinging from a tree near the nursery. Later it was stated that there had been rumours someone had hung themself on the said tree. It is yet to be proven and the soul accounted for. However, on Monday 8th March 2004 the entity of the biker latched on to the New South Wales psychic Sarah Destiny and within two days changed her personality. She developed a passion for Harley Motorcycles although she hated them from experience of a family member killed on a motorcycle. Had tendencies to drink alcohol when she did not drink alcohol what so ever. Her language became crude, attitude became rebellious and vindictive and had a liking for heavy metal music. In contacting another angel psychic in Queensland, she discovered that an entity was attached when the Queensland psychic refused to accept any more emails from her as the entity was coming through and making her violently ill. Stating he said nothing, stood back and was a murderer. It scared her. The New South Wales psychic underwent a cleanser to rid herself of the entity and things returned to normal.


    A cleanser is a task that psychics and spiritualists undertake upon themselves and places so that spirits of the dead pass on to where they should be in the afterlife. The technique differs from psychic to psychic and from one belief to another.

In this case, the psychic mentally surrounded herself in a gold or pure white light; prayed to God for protection and asked for him to send down his angels from Heaven to take the restless lost souls through the light or whence they came.

Some psychics use a white or pink light surrounded by mirrors in their mind. Some use Eucalyptus oils to bless themselves.

But whatever way the psychic uses to cleanse, it usually does work.









Previous owners - Rose Cottage Inn (unnamed to protect identities)

Ann Gugler - Historian, Canberra

Matt Bowden - COSPER

NSW & Canberra psychics who wish to remain anonymous.

Rose Cottage Inn staff

Australian Capital Territory Interim Heritage Places Register Draft Citation 4 March 1994

Registry of Births, Deaths & Marriages - NSW

Undisclosed - mystic



Categories: None

Post a Comment


Oops, you forgot something.


The words you entered did not match the given text. Please try again.

You must be a member to comment on this page. Sign In or Register


Reply Allan Allen
9:00 AM on February 20, 2010 
You have really great taste on catch article titles, even when you are not interested in this topic you push to read it
Reply Ann Gugler
4:12 PM on February 20, 2010 
Allan Allen says...
You have really great taste on catch article titles, even when you are not interested in this topic you push to read it
Reply Alexis Clark
5:35 PM on February 21, 2010 
Not bad article, but I really miss that you didn't express your opinion, but ok you just have different approach
Reply Anne Seibright
12:29 AM on April 15, 2010 
I am a descendant of Richard James Harris and Margaret Murphy. They are the grandparents of my Grandfather William Thomas Flanagan. It's nice to have a story such as this and I will visit Rose Cottage with my family soon.