Haunted Legends, Abandoned Places – Lismore, NSW

Old Lions Park entrance

I recently caught wind of an old story, not far from my home.

Back in the late ‘70s, a child was playing on a set of swings in Lions Park, Lismore and fell off. A swing came back and hit the child, causing a fatal blow. Legend has it, that on windless nights thereafter, the swings rocked back and forth and unearthly screams would emanate from the forest.

The swings were soon removed and destroyed. However the screams continued, and pretty soon the happy families and laughing children, once so familiar with the park, had left. Lions Park was abandoned.

Heading into old Lions Park

It still is.

The story is listed on Australian paranormal and ghost websites, which allege Lions Park to be conspicuously located in South Lismore, next to the now abandoned Lismore station. After further investigation, however, I found out these sites were incorrect. A local told me Lions Park had in fact moved from its original location on the outskirts of town.

Now I’m a fairly sceptical person, I don’t believe in ghosts, or life after death. So why did I decide to investigate a haunted legend? I’m also a curious person, and realising I know very little, the mere possibility of its existence fascinated me.

The creek

Arriving at the front gate, I admit, I was a little apprehensive, mostly because the place really looked forsaken. Evidently, this story was hush hush and the fact no one had done anything with the place since was also a little unnerving. Why had this forest lay abandoned for over 30 years?

Something a little hazy in the background?

Reminding myself I didn’t believe in ghosts, I wandered through the guardian pillars and into the reserve. An unkempt trail led me into the park. Lines of gossamer trailed across the pathway, telling me this was not something a lot of people did, which spooked me a little. I was alone in an abandoned, allegedly haunted forest.

Haunted Legends
A closeup – perhaps just the light hitting the tree.

The forest was wild and very beautiful. It was 10am on a bright sunny day, sunlight pierced the forest canopy, spraying in dappled clusters throughout this seemingly forgotten place. The odd bush turkey rustled about, making me feel not so alone. A few more metres and I came to a clearing with two holes in the ground. Evidently, this was where the swings once stood. I thought about the past, how places bear witness to many stories. However I felt nothing, heard nothing.

The lion heads from old Lions Park, now at W. Tresise Railway Park, South Lismore.

I continued, wandering down to the river and further into the bush. Soon after, I returned, deciding to drive into Lismore, to the new Lions Park, where the old park’s guardian lion heads had been taken. The park is now called W. Tresise Railway Park. From here I walked onto old Lismore station and thought about how this place was once the scene of bustling activity, now also abandoned, seemingly forgotten.

Abandoned Lismore station

Driving home, I remembered the local saying there was another entrance to the old park, so I pulled over and wandered again into the forest. Exploring the other side of the river, I saw a canvas shelter over some logs, someone’s resting place. On my return, I heard twice, the faint but very audible call of a small child, uttering a sound like “mama”. I’m not sure if it was just an earthly child, but no children were about.

This made me think about what a friend had told me, that they believed a ghost was a person “trapped in between worlds”. That can’t be much fun I thought, and for a moment I felt like helping.

But it was only a passing notion, and I left.

Update: Miss S (see comments below) has sent me this still shot of her experience (taken from iPhone video footage) inside the old Lions Park at night. Note the grey figure. What do you think? Fact or fiction?


89 thoughts on “Haunted Legends, Abandoned Places – Lismore, NSW”

  1. Was at Lions Park last week. I had been dying to go for a year or so. Took a few photos and didn’t go in as I contemplated respecting the closure. Might I add the urge is still there. Lions park has a huge history. I had trouble tracking a story of the swing death but was able to find records of other deaths eg. In the logging days someone died in a tent. Lions park has a story that made me sad for a number of reasons. I got so excited about going and heard so many theories about why it had been closed. Prior to 2001 it was still open but progressively, especially after 2006 facilities were removed and deliberate forest rehabilitation had happened. Council developments are public online. Whatever happened before 2001 to cause the rapid decline in family recreational use has many possibilities but according to 2006 park changes the park which had for many years been promoted for camping and family or public recreational use was subject to the removal of further facilities because of vandalism and specific antisocial behaviour. This was named in the document as being evident to the type of waste left behind. The boardwalk, fences, toilet block and other facilities are all gone and it is unlikely to ever be reopened again because of this type of activity. It kind of angers me as I have a family and would of loved the urban legend yet the peace and nature. Being now closed to public I resisted the urge for now. Very sad and angry. I took many photos from outside to best satisfy the curiosity I could including much waste dumped on the site aside from the usual roadside fifth that was there too. A pram, large old box tv, a muffler and some ones old Christmas tree was chosen to be dumped there. Still angry. Still sad.

    Those selfish pigs….

    • Hi Miss M,

      I saw the dumped TV and Christmas tree too. Disgraceful isn’t it?

      I actually entered the old park from the north-west, so didn’t know it was out of bounds until I came to the front entrance from the inside. I can understand you not wanting to go in, being forbidden. Not aiming to entice you but there’s a real atmosphere inside and the place is very beautiful.

      I have a family too and would love to show my son, but alas, no.

      Thanks for your great comment.

      • I have entered the park on a number of occasions as I am a large enthusiast of the rainforest and of the area which was once the big scrub before European settlement. I live in the local area and have visited a number of areas which are still habited by rainforest trees and animals. While it is only a very small patch of rainforest it is very beautiful. Loved your article as I had never heard of that story or legend before. It’s very interesting. I hope that the local council and environmental groups continue with the regeneration works.

        • There was also I believe an old school bus crash possibly 700m up the road where there were a number of casualties. The memorials and photos are still stuck to each sign post as you head around the bend towards byron. I think that adds to the spiritual side of the area

          • Those photos and flowers around the bend signify the death of just one boy “Jake Collins” a few months ago

  2. I live not too far away from the old Lions Park site. One night, a group of friends and I stopped at the re-located Lions Park (just outside of Lismore) and there was a suggestion to see what the old park looked like, as we were all familiar with the new site.

    So we drove a little ways down the road and walked through the brick entry gates. And there was no real surprise. Dark forest, lonely highway, legend of a haunted forest – of course rustled up some spooky feelings – pretty much what we expected. It was an overcast night, so no moonlight to guide us, only our phone torches. My phone would only allow to act as a torch if set to record a video. So off we went, into the forest, with our phones on record for light.

    Not too much happened while we were there, a few lollies we left as we walked along to mark our track had gone on our return (although could be put down to some hungry animals that call the forest home). Not too much at all……until….

    We had come home later that evening, forgetting about the phones being on record. After realising we had video, I went through the video, because our reaction in being in a “haunted forest” would have been hilarious to watch. But what we eventually found on the footage was nothing less than “haunting”. A grey, ghostly figure could be clearly seen just metres from us. It appears to looking straight at us.

    Going past the old Lions Park to go home always gives me the “heeby jeebies” now.

    Would love to be able to email the photo or even the video we have to you for your site.

  3. Hi Miss S.

    What can I say, but far out brussel sprout. That is a creepy story. I was a bit too scared to go in at night, but then again I didn’t round up a gang to head in with.

    Of course I would love to see the photo/video you have and I would certainly add it to this entry. I’m especially interested to see this as a part of me is sceptical about the whole scenario. Although I would love you to change my mind!

    I still find it fascinating that this story is not well heard of, and the park is left abandoned.

    Thanks Miss S, I look forward to your email!


    • Miss M,

      Sorry for the late reply! I’ve been busy with deadlines etc etc. If you’re heading out of Lismore towards Byron Bay, there’s another trail leading into the park by the dirt road (near the edge of the park).

  4. I pass this so many times on a weekly basis, but have heard mixed things about this place. It looks so appealing, the old entrance, broken away, with the forest lines making you want to enter.

    I’ve never had the courage to stop, although I want to photograph in the area a mix of landscape as well as portrait, with a willing model of course.

    Is it safe is my question. walking in with a tonne of camera equipment in the middle of, not really no where but not close enough for instant help if needed.

    Is it trespassing?

    and where the heck is that video???

    • Hi Jose,

      I’d say it’s safe (not sure about the middle of the night), but yes, it is trespassing. So sadly I’d advise against going in there (of course your call). Very tough for a place like that to go to waste when you’re a photographer!

      Regarding the video, I’ve just updated the post (at the end).


  5. I’m Not ready for camping out yet but maybe later this year. I got a friend to agree to go with me within the next two weeks… Just bringing a cheap camera myself

  6. My son told me the story of a child on a swing in a park. He thought it was down near Wardell somewhere. But surely someone would remember in the area if it only happened in the 70’s.

    I am curious but wouldn’t be going in the park alone and defiantly not at night time.

  7. I know the place well. I have been going there to go fishing for years. I have even been stopped by a fisheries officer and asked for a fishing license. The fisheries officer told me that If you stop on the south side of the bridge and head down the side of the bridge and follow the riverbank into the area then you are on crown land (land held by the crown up to the mean high tide mark) and therefore are not trespassing. He also indicated to me that if you were in there doing something such as fishing, photography etc then there is very little likelihood of getting in any trouble, the most you will get is asked to move along.

    Personally i have never seen or heard anything amiss in there. I have seen and heard things all my life in a lot of different places as have a number of my family members but i have never seen anything in there. There certainly is a feeling when you are in there. Its not quite a being watched feeling but more of a feeling that there is something around that you can’t quite see.

    I don’t know anything about the deaths of the kids but i know that dad told me that there was a few people that have died there years ago when it was used for floating logs down river. I will ask him which book that info was from.

    • Hi James,

      Thanks for your insight. Great to know the place is (perhaps) okay for photographers/fisher people, as it’s such a beautiful spot for both and would be a shame to go to waste.

      Interesting what you are saying about the child’s death being unheard of too. Not to put a dampener on this haunting little tale, but thinking about it, and re-reading Ms M’s first comment, I wonder if the story is not just an urban legend? There doesn’t seem to be any record of it. Perhaps Ms S’s chilling iPhone capture (if it’s real) is a lost soul associated with a logging death?

      I might dig a little deeper and report back.


  8. The Lions Park was the favourite party place when we were kids. Large groups of young adults/teenagers would drive out and party all night. Something like the fore runner to the modern rave. Vandalism, loud music, drugs and smashed bottles/rubbish were the reasons given at the time for it’s closure. The mix of drunken kids and the river frightened the community too I believe and police patrolled it on weekends to move kids along. I had never heard of any deaths associated with young kids and swings and that certainly would have stuck in my memory so I would almost completely rule it out from the 50.s or 60.s onward. I can’t recall there even being play equipment there in the late 60.s early 70.s, there was a toilet block but it didn’t appear to be maintained. Not a place you would take the family for a Sunday picnic, Historically I have read of deaths from workers as the area was the original boat harbour for the cedar cutters.

    • Hi Darryl,

      Great to hear some local input on a story like this, and I bet they would have been quite some parties back in the day.

      When I ventured into the old park, I did come across a glade with a couple of holes where I thought the swings might have stood, but then again that was what I wanted to see and they could have been made by anything.

      I find it fascinating how these legends start when there seems to be no record of a child death. Again, this haunt could point to some mysterious logger, or perhaps it’s nothing more than legend.

      Thanks for your comment.

  9. We went there when I was a kid for picnics and stuff in the early 80’s.There were swings there, I loved it and thought it was really cool place when I was a kid.I have heard about the child and swing story and when I was a teenager people went out there partying but it always freaked me out .Good Story I enjoyed reading, I knew I recognised the lion statues at park over South, but never made the connection.

    • Hi Sam,

      Interesting you saw a swing there in the early ’80s. It appears that if this legend is indeed true, it’s been kept quiet.

      Thanks Sam.

      • I’ve been. There several times, when it was open as a park and and also when it has been closed. There was a set of swings, and I’ve known of the child and swing story since the late 80’s. I’m also not sure of the real reason it was closed, they did open a new Park directly across the river but it was shut down after a couple of years due to the behaviour of people there at all times of the night.

    • Yes I remember the swings. I saw them in the very early 90s or late 80s. My husband, who grew up here, has seen one swinging by itself on a still night.
      I went there at night with a bunch of us before it was closed and we all heard what sounded like large objects being thrown into the river. We had no light, flashlights or moon light to guide our way and the sense of foreboding was palpable.
      When we heard the laughter of small children we nearly broke our bones falling over each other to get the hell out of there. I’ve not been back since. But I think I might venture in there again one night very soon..but not alone.

  10. I have lived in the area all my life and had heard of the story of the little girl on a swing that died and that the park was haunted by her not sure if it’s true but it has been closed for some time before 2000 I thought I have never been in there but was always intrigued by it as I too lived out of town all my life Clunes eltham and Richmond hill so always had to drive past it

    • Hi Rachael,

      Great to hear more local input.

      Interesting this legend has been alive for so long (it seems). On my return visit to the park, on the other side of the river, the voice I heard sounded like a girl’s. But honestly, it could have just been a kid playing in the reserve behind.

      I’ve been a bit too busy to investigate this legend further. I’ll see if I can find time this week….

  11. I remember going and hanging out in loins park in the 80’s , we slept there quiet often only thing we ever heard was flying foxes , owls and other wildlife, we also heard the story about the swing and child which was why we sat for hours waiting for something to happen and it never did, the swing never moved unless the wind was blowing it , the old toilet and picnic tables and swing were still there in the late 1980’s as that was the last time I was there , shame its been left it was a lovely place to go get away from town

    • Hi Justine,

      Would have been a nice place to hang out in the day. Still could be I reckon. There’s no toilet or picnic tables anymore, just a couple of disused park benches, which give it more atmosphere.

  12. I went to school and uni in Lismore 84-95 and I remember this story too. I also remember the swings still at the park in the 80s. My memory may be a little hazy but I remember the park being near Boat Harbour not far from Bexhill?

  13. I remember that story too. As a kid growing up in lismore, in the early 70s, that was certainly the urban myth that was going around.
    I do remember going to the park in the 70s, for a party, I must of been around the 8yo mark???
    There was a large clearing, prob where people camped, but I do remember swinging on the set of swings. And the earie thing was, other swing started to swing by itself…
    Wheather this was just the momentum of me swinging, but I was spooked enough to jump off and find mum… We also went on a school excursion there, in high school… Still felt pretty earie at that time too.
    I’m too much of a scardy cat…. Wouldn’t find me going back in there, even if u paid me….

    • Thanks for your story Kylie.

      Yeah, it still feels a bit eerie, mostly because it really feels abandoned. But it also felt really beautiful and as a nature lover I thought it was a great spot. The brush turkeys seemed pretty unfazed, so perhaps the vibe is not all bad.

  14. I can remember being told the story of the child on a swing haunting the park.
    We also went there in the ’80’s for birthday parties and get together a with family. It looks so spooky now….

    • I’d have to say Miss a, this is one of the more interesting places I’ve wandered in. I guess because it’s wild but has a disused urban feel about it too.

  15. After reading this I decided to go for a drive out there a few weeks ago and have a look around. I have been getting into photography a lot lately so I took quite a few pictures. I will put a few up when I am back from Japan.
    I was talking to my girlfriend about it and she said her mother had heard the stories about a child getting killed there when she was a teenager (think early 70’s)
    I will do another trip out there in the weeks when I am back and take more pics to put up.

    • Interesting that your girlfriend’s mother had heard about it too James. And I’d love to see the pics if you’re putting them up. I found it difficult to shoot (as you can see) at the time I was there. Low light and a polariser would be good I reckon.

  16. Oh my God, my body just shivered all over reading That!!!! Grew up around the area and the boys would take us girls there to freak us out. That they did! As well as freaking themselves out! I would never go back there, it has real bad aura about it. The stories we heard were far worse than a child being hit on the back of the head. Was closed way before 2000. As we went there in 94 and if closed then. A weird freaky blast from the past.

    • Probably would have been weird for me too if I had a past connection with it like that Emma. I kept telling myself I didn’t believe in the tale but I still felt spooked. I think it was more my expectations than the place itself though.

  17. Long story short, a friend of mine had a family friend disappear, this is going back probably 6-8 yrs ago. The friend was in Sydney with family and other friends and decided to go to 2 fortune tellers on the same day, 1 in eastern suburbs one in the western suburbs and ask them about the possibility of finding this missing friend. The 2 fortune tellers both said that this person would be found with something to do with ‘boat’ either in the name, a place, a figure etc etc. One night as i only lived a few minutes from what we called it then ‘boat harbour park’ we decided about 10 of us all males to go to the boat harbour park and camp out, for some fun and also on the possibility of finding something. We all setup tents etc and went to bed, at an unknown time in the middle of the night i woke up to, what sounded like, an elephant or something massive walking around the tent site, the thing almost shook the ground. The wind was also really strong which it wasn’t before bed and wasn’t forecasted to be. Like really strong put ur arm over ur face type strong wind. After at a guess 30 secs of this the wind died and the stomping sound stopped. Myself and my mate in the tent hoped out of the tent and looked around and i could hear the other guys coming out of their tents also. All of a sudden there were these screams, not a child scream, not a male or female screams, but something out of a alien type horror movie its something i have never forgotten. This scream was really loud like as if it was right next to me. the spooky thing was that this scream didn’t come from one direction it moved, in front, behind, left and right side, at the same time the wind picked up again to the same strength i remember all of us just running as fast as we could back down the path, the forest in the park is really dense so there wasn’t much light but there was enough to see where we were going etc. i remember as we were running i was about in the middle of the 10 or so guys running. My friend who at the time was 100% into gym and taking steroids, he was no small person and would have been 100-110kg easy. As i was running i remember him flying over the top of my head and going a further 20ms infront of me and tumbling and rolling like a rag doll. He had been completed knocked out and as you could imagine, something throwing a 100kg + person like it did was fairly scary. I remember screaming out to my friends to come and pick him up and carry him to the car. We through him in the boot of my friends car as at that time he had started to kick and fidget like someone having a epileptic fit except x 10. We drove straight to his brother’s house in Lismore and he lived in a house that was raised up and underneath there was a garage etc and big wooden polls that the house sat on. We pulled our friend in and tried to talk sense into him and get him to come back. By this time his eyes were in the back of his head and all you could see was white, furthermore he was literally frothing at the mouth, his whole body was going crazy like he was possessed and it took almost all of us to hold him down while we tried to help him out. We decided to strip him and get cold water on him to cool him down as with all this movement etc he was sweating like crazy, upon removing his shirt we noticed a hand print on his back, but this hand print was 3-4x the size of any hand print you could imagine, furthermore there was instant brusing and the whole hand print was black,green, and purple from bruising. We tied him up to one of the poles under the house and tried to stop him from moving etc. a number of hours passed after watching him and his eyes remained the same and frothing at the mouth but now he started to moan and grunt like something out of a horror movie also. We immediately started calling the fortune tellers, luckily we had their cards and they had mobile phone numbers. We got through to one of them and after explaining what had happened she said that he had been possessed and will be for 24hrs and then go back to normal. Sure enough after 24 hrs to the minute he snapped out of it and was extremely exhausted from all the fidgeting and moaning he had done for 24 hrs. he slept for from memory 20hrs straight after it all and woke up and doesn’t remember a single thing from it.

    as i said this was the extreme short version of this. i always notice driving along bangalow road coming near that section the temperature drops suddenly, happens almost every time i drive past it. You couldn’t pay me enough money to go back in there

    as i said this was the extreme short version of this. i always notice driving along bangalow road coming near that section the temperature drops suddenly, happens almost everytime i drive past it.

    • and further to this, i cant believe this but this was from one of the paranormal websites posted at the beginnning of this story and this extract from it

      highway to Byron Bay – back in the 70’s to the
      mid 90s until they built a new highway. People used to report about a
      young woman dressed in the hippy fashion of the 70s standing on the
      side of the road, late at night, hitching. They would pick her up and
      she would just direct them down the road. Of course the girl would
      disappear. No one knows who this young woman is and why she is hitching
      the road. Witness even report picking her up to take her where she
      needs to go, and she disappears.

      i have seen this girl standing on the side of the road on the bridge just before bexhill and near the richmond hill turn off. thats fkn freaky

    • Next time your friend seems like he may be dying, take hi to the hospital, rather than tying him to a pole underneath your friends house, You want to be charged with murder? Cos that’s how you end up charged with murder.

  18. My mother grew up at Bexhill and always knew about the death of the little girl as well as a crocodile in the river there. The place has always scared me, I hate even driving past. The park on the Lismore side of the bridge was closed a long time ago. In the 2000’s they built a rest stop and picnic area on the Bexhill side of the bridge but it was soon used for not so nice activities and was closed down. I once stopped to check out the bat colony and barely made it to the tree line before I had the most over whelming feeling to GET OUT and ran back to the car. Around the same time as this story or truth started there was also a story of a child being killed on play equipment at Spinks Park in the center of Lismore which is also said to be haunted. Nothing is left now. I think i recall it being on a episode of and old show called Haunted Australia? I think these 2 stories often get combined and confused.

  19. I grew up in lismore, the past 33 years. Through my childhood from the age of five my brothers would take me across the bridge ( ballina st) on our pushies to the train station at least twice a week to watch the trains and put twenty cent pieces on the track for momentoes. They had told me about the swings that always swung by themselves in the park that was next to the railway station. I never seen it happen until when I was at the wandering the streets age, blockies etc. I would say that I’ve been in that park twenty times during that time, day and night when the swing was swinging by itself, (only one, no wind, no one else there). I never felt any type of spirit, or weird feelings. At one time when I was about15, me and a mate have been sitting there waiting for another mate and the swing had started by itself. We both knew the story of a ghost. I went and hoped onto the swing while it was swinging with no thing out of the ordinary happening until I jumped off mid swing, and the swing kept singing for at least ten minutes. No wind. No assistance. just freaking us out. My mate stopped it and nothing else happened.
    My brothers always used to talk about the glowing cross over north lismore graveyard as well. I used to beg then to take me to see it, but someone tossed it into the river before I got to see that legend. Ahh, memories.

  20. I grew up in Lismore in the 80’s and visited the park as a child with my family. I am familiar with the story of the girl on the swing and while I am pretty sure that it is urban myth, I have to admit that I always found the atmosphere at the park a little spooky. I still get goosebumps when we drive past it when we are home for holidays. I don’t think I would be game enough to go in there these days!

    • Hi Mandy.

      I’ll post my recent findings here as it’s far from verified (only hearsay), but interesting as I too regard this an an urban myth.

      This post has gotten around, as a colleague I work with in Ballina approached me about it (I hadn’t told him anything). Now I’ve worked with him for about a year (so roughly know his character), and he told me his grandparents were actually in the old Lions Park when a child “fell off a swing and hit her head on the back of a rock”. She died as a result.

      So perhaps the accident in old Lions Park did happen? I have found no record of this, but the fact this legend is so widely known – and has been for so long – adds to the interest and possibility….

  21. i too grew up in Lismore ( 1969 – 2001) …I have fond memories of the old lions park..children’s birthday parties …Easter egg hunts along the guided rainforest trails..and swimming in the river ….I also remember the scarey stories of the girl on the swing …as teenagers we would go out to the park to party ..each time we would sit around the swing set waiting for it to swing by itself….of course we all witnessed it at one time or another ..although not sure if that was wishful thinking or the alcohol making it move …hehehehe… It was a beautiful rainforest trail ..trees and plants were labelled and many a school went there for excursions because of this …sad that for whatever reason it has been closed to the public …sign of the times I guess ….but I would definitely venture back in there if I had the chance ….PS …love reading all the comments ..brings back many memories ….the glowing cross in north Lismore made the news…people came from miles around just to see it ..as “northies” we found the whole thing amusing and exciting at the same time ..put us on the map !! Well for a few months anyways …hehehehehe 🙂

      • The glowing cross turned out to be nothing supernatural. It was simply the paint wore away and what was underneath was causing the glow. They fixed it up and no more glowing. The park has intrigued me since I first heard of it. I hate even driving past in the day it’s eery. I don’t believe in ghosts and things but I think if something as tragic as a child dying and the heartache of that day it is bound to leave a bad aura there. It’s annoying there is no record of it, I have looked up archives briefly in the past online and found nothing. I wonder if the local library would have anything? Surely if the urban legend has been around so long there must be an event that triggered it even if not anything supernatural but a tragic accident. Many children died in tragic circumstances and still do these days and it doesn’t make the news. I believe something happened there but would love to know more.

  22. Firstly in regards to a previous Comment on the bus crash where you can still see the photos around the bend, that is incorrect, those photos and flowers are from a p – plater car accident earlier this year.

    In 84-85 my mum and 3 of her friends went out there late at night to have a look, they went and and sat on the swings & park bench, they heard something in the bushes, seconds later a man dressed in camouflage came running out at them with a scythe, they ran to the car and he jumped on the bonnet, they reversed up the driveway, he fell off and they got out of there, they went straight to the police station and the park was shut down not long after.. she also says they used to go there alot during the day and would always see the swing moving on its own.

  23. I was studying at the uni in the late 80’s early 90’s and hear the story about the park at that time. I eventually moved to Bangalow so spent a lot of time driving back and forth to uni. There was swings and a nicely maintained little park at that time. Friends and I were always going to go out there and see if we could see a ghost but never quite got around to it.
    There was another story that was to do with the rail crossing just up from the bridge. A mother went to pick her child up from the bus and they were killed crossing the rail line there. That too was supposed to be haunted.

    Then there was a friend who would leave the gate to the property open at night so that she didn’t have to get out of the car in the dark and open/close it. There was supposed to be a man in a raincoat (like a road worker) who would sometimes appear near a bridge which was near their front gate. Especially if it was threatening to rain or was raining.

  24. I too grew up locally and visited the original lions park at Bexhill and then later the smaller one on the other side of the bridge…I understood the park was closed due to homosexual promiscuity and the council trying to not provide a scenic meeting spot for such?? Nothing more…?

      • I believe that was the case for the new lions park that was on the Bexhill side of the bridge. About 12 years ago I was active in the car scene in Lismore and we use to go out there pretty much every thursday night just for a drive and there was cops out there all the time. Not long after the park closed and one of the cops told us that it was closed due to “inappropriate sexual activity and frequent drug activity”

  25. the story i heard was that they found the little girl with her head turned around …facing the other way ..also a little boy died in the river just underneath the park….his leg was caught in one of the tree root systems in the water, and a splash could still be seen on the spot where he drowned!? well thats the story that i was told, and the person that told me the story had a grandfather that worked on the boats there many years ago, said the boats would turn around around at that spot or something

    • Hi Egoitz,

      Thanks for the creepy new addition, I’ve never heard of that side before. At the very least this place has created quite some legend, and it’s still abandoned…

  26. I am still in the process of researching this event however i did find an article that states that on the 11th of April 1932, a young boy by the name of Jack Tompson was struck by a swing. Although in this instance the boy was only injured, he was not killed.

    • Cool Chris. I’ve been a bit busy of late, but for anyone reading this I’ve been told Bexhill Church is a good place to ask questions.

    • Yes I read that a boy was injured by a swing also when I was researching. Scary thing is in the picture posted it looks like a boy not a girl. If it’s not photoshopped

  27. Hi,
    Have just stumbled upon these articles.
    Back in January 1974 on our honeymoon my husband and i spent the night in this park in a bongo van.
    Nothing happened.
    I was wondering when the little girl died?
    Have been visiting relatives in Lismore for many years and have never heard about this, but when i told my husband about it, he said he remembers something had happened there.

  28. Has anyone have the equipment that records ghost etc. Not just phones or video cameras would like to see what is recorded; live in the area over 30 years. Have been looking up the local newspapers to see if I can find anything about the girl and the swing, does anyone have any more info on it, not just what is in the myth

  29. My sister, myself and a couple of friends went to the old lions park one night and saw a figure just like the grey figure that was photographed. Scared the daylights out of us.

  30. Went to Lions Park last weekend at dusk until sometime after nightfall.

    We didn’t stay too long because we were practically pissing our pants but we still had quite an experience.

    Not far in just before where the old tree has fallen across the path we could smell McDonalds French Fries (every franchise has its distinct smell). The smell came and went a few times as we talked to each other and entered further. As anyone who knows the area well there’s no reasonable explanation for there being that smell.

    It felt like we were there for ages but we turned around to head back and strange enough we were almost back already. Not eager to leave yet we decided to dare ourselves to sit on the lonely decrepit bench at the entrance of the park and talk about the deaths that were known there.

    Suddenly my friend looks over her shoulder and asks ‘What was that?’. We continued the discussion outside at the entrance. She had seen something dark fly silently not far beyond her face.

    We left agreeing to come back again another time also after dark and stay longer and venture further. We still can’t get over the chips.

    I’m not saying there’s definitely a little girl in a knee length pleated dress at the park eating chips but I’d have to say I found the idea so sad I had tears in my eyes. She must of loved that park and it would of been a great play for a childish ghost to haunt but now we’ve taken the swings and facilities away and the children don’t come to play anymore.

    Pretty lonely and depressing.

    • Don’t know why you smelt Maccas. McDonalds wasn’t in Lismore until the late 90s or early 00s. Very strange to smell something familiar

    • Anita

      Boatharbour covers an area of 24 hectares and was declared a protected area in 1987. The Boatharbour Nature Reserve is located on Bangalow Road 7 kms north east of Lismore (Geo Co-ords -28.78135 153.32979).

      Us townies just say ‘it’s that old overgrown park across the road from the bottem of that Richmond hill turnoff. You park on the gravel at the intersection and run across the road and try not to get hit by cars.’

      When you get there you will see the pillars. Sit on the creepy bench with your back to the forest where this little bum rest used to overlook the now removed swings. That is if you can overcome that sickening feeling. Cold spot is as you approach the fallen tree across the path as you head dead on in. We also smelt chippies.

  31. I don’t know if anyone is following this old post anymore, but I’ll throw in my 2c worth. (I stumbled across this looking for 2017 flood photos / info etc.)

    I lived up the road at McLean’s Ridges from 1967 to 1986, My parents are still there after 60 odd years. Like some of the messages above, we used to go to Lion’s Park mainly to just hang out – have a few drinks – trying to stay out of trouble… ! I hadn’t heard of the kid on the swing story until I read it here – I’ll ask my parents about it next time I call them, see if they remember anything.

    It would have been April 1984 (I was in year 11 at the time) We were down there watching the flood water coming up the bank and slowly making it’s way into the park, late afternoon early evening. There were about a half dozen of us there, goofing around, sitting at one of the picnic tables on the river side of the park. The swings would have been about 30 meters away. From memory there were two swings on an “A frame” type arrangement, built from 3″ water pipe and chain for the “swing” part.

    I can’t remember who it was, but someone says “F**K ! look at that ! … Both swings chains were wrapped around the top cross member in a neat roll that couldn’t be performed without any one of us hearing something… we were only a short distance away. I know they were in a “normal” position previously, as a few people were using the swings an hour or so before.

    We all saw how the chains were and couldn’t explain it … with the rising flood water – and with that freaky little experience, we decided to get the hell out of there !

    The next time I was there was a few years later when I went home for holidays & it was pretty much as described above – park closed and the swings, & toilet block removed – as well as the the covered roof area in the middle of the park … I may go back for another look next time I’m home…


  32. Also sorry to dump an old thread.. but the post was an interesting read.

    I too grew up in lismore. We used to go out to lions park all the time as kids for picnics and to go fishing. Never heard any of the ghost stories about the place though.

    Unfortunately, the reasons for it closing are all very rational. The park was closed as it became a cruising ground for gay men. They later built another park on the north side of the creek, and it too became a gay hangout and was also closed. As teenagers we used to go out there fishing (great bass fishing) and would regularly get approached by men to whom we’d have to explain that we were not gay, just fishing.

    It was a shame. Still has good bass fishing though…

  33. The old lions park used to be a gay beat. When one time at night I was with a guy we saw someone was watching us in the scrub less than 3 feet away. It was a bright moon lite night. The person stood there strangely, slightly slender, wearing a camo top and jeans. We indicated for him to join us. He no sound either from the dry leaves and sticks which snapped if you slightly moved.
    Me and my companion looked for a moment at each other then back again at the other guy…who completely vanished with no sound. It would of been impossible that could happen due to sound and visibility.
    We both felt a chill in the air and very strange feeling. We realised what happened and that it could of only been a ghost…which spoiled the mood and we couldn’t leave quicker. BTW there was no one else there apart from us.

  34. I always was told the urban myth of child and swing. However, upon telling my parents and a few older people in the community, I was told a different story.
    I was told that party’s started and some people in the gay community started making it a meeting point and a bit of sexually activity was going on.
    One of the people was a emergency nurse at the time and said many assaults took place and it was considered a dangerious area.
    There was many a rumour on attacks on gays happening, with this person reportedly dealing with it all at the hospital. It wasn’t always considered that. But they all believed the story was to try and stop kids from going down there. I was told the council removed swings because they didn’t want it to be an attraction to kids or family’s as it was not safe. The nurse told me the were relieved when they closed it down as they were sick of all the crap emergency coming in due to the unsavoury activity. Who knows the truth so many story’s.

  35. I grew up in the Lismore area as a child my mum took me to lions only once.
    We walked in and it felt eary , the swing was swinging by its self and we heard something , but there was no one there.
    We all felt like we wanted to
    Leave , so we got in the car and left , until reading this I had never known about the girl that died there . All I know is that we are felt unease there and we never went back, I’d say a lot of people did as no one went there. I have never felt a park to be so cold and uninviting ever.

  36. Hello, it took me a while to find the entrance to the park online but then my dad told me it was near the intersection to get onto Richmond hill. Anyway, I’ve heard this story many times and I’m not quite sure whether it was a girl or a boy since I’ve seen stories with both. I’ve been quite interested in stories considered ‘ghost’ stories so I’ll defenetly have to check this out. Does anyone know if you can still access the entrance since on the google map photos there was a gate in front of it and a sign but I couldn’t read the words. My father said it is probably the ‘no fishing, no shooting, no camping’ etc sign but just wondering if it may be a no trespassing. If anyone has been their recently, please tell me what the sign said.


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