Ghost tours go virtual

PHYSICIAL haunted tours of Willow Court may have been cancelled, but virtual tours are now being offered. The New Norfolk Distillery, which is in the grounds of Willow Court, has announced it will conduct a 360° virtual tour of the Carlton Ward in the wake of the Derwent Valley Council’s decision to cancel physical tours of the site.

New Norfolk Distillery director, Tarrant Derksen said with a click of the mouse viewers would be able to visually inspect what the 190-year-old site looks like in present day. “From the steel frame windows and the three-inch thick doors to the 4.5m concrete wall with rounded top to secure its inhabitants, this tour will provide the community with a glimpse inside this historic location,” Mr Derksen said.

“This is an incredible online tool for individuals to experience. The digital mapping technology allows everyone to take a step into Carlton Ward to view rooms that are not readily accessible to the public. “It was great working with García César a Teaching Fellow of Design, Art, and Media at the University of Tasmania, as he was able to help us digitally document the virtual experience of the spaces.

“We also enjoy working with other local businesses like Tasmania’s Most Haunted to help showcase what this and other parts of the Derwent Valley have to offer.”

Tasmania’s Most Haunted director Sharmaine Mansfield welcomed the initiative. She said it was good to give everyone access to this historically rich place through these tours. Ms Mansfield conducted the last tour on Sunday, September 25.

“Supporters of Tasmania’s Most Haunted / Willow Court Asylum Tours travelled from all over Tasmania as far as Devonport to attend the Last History Tour at Willow Court as part of the Derwent Valley Council’s decision to cease all tours until a Heritage Interpretation Plan has been implemented,’’ Ms Mansfield said. “We have been overwhelmed with many emails, messages of support with many disappointed guests who are unable to visit and tour this iconic site.’’

The Derwent Valley Council voted unanimously in August to cancel all tours of the site pending the completion of a Heritage Interpretation Plan.