[January, 2020: The following pages focusing on the history of Australian horror fiction have been captured from the old AHWA website, and stored here so they’re not lost. James Doig went to a lot of work putting this together so it shouldn’t be lost. Minor edits have been made to suit their addition to this website.]

Australia has a surprisingly long and rich history of publishing and reading supernatural and horror fiction. From the mid-nineteenth century, when magazines and periodicals began to be published in large numbers, there was a wide reading public for tales of romance, adventure, crime and horror.

The following pages provide a checklist of Australian horror fiction up to around 1960, an index of anthologies, bibliographies, and articles covering colonial and pulp-era horror fiction, plus some recommended reading. These resources are not complete but they will provide the interested reader with a useful starting point for exploring the history of Australia’s dark past.

Checklist of Australian Fantasy and Horror Fiction to 1960: A-C, D-G, H-M, N-Z.

References used in compiling this checklist.


Australian Ghost Stories
Australian Horror Stories


  • Digging Beneath ‘Phosphor; an Ischian mystery’ by J Filmore Sherry, by Marty Young (Studies in Australian Weird Fiction 3, 2009)
  • Colonial Ghosts and Modern Terrors: An Overview of Australian Horror Fiction, by Marty Young (Reading Down Under: Australian Literary Studies Reader, edited by Amit Sarwal and Reema Sarwal. New Delhi: 2009)
  • Australia’s Dark Past, regular column by James Doig (Black magazine, 2008)
  • A Bibliography of Australian Fantastic Literature to c.1960, by James Doig (Australian Studies in Weird Fiction, 2008-2009 (Equilibrium Books)
  • The Old Master of Horror, Part 1, by Ron Breznay (originally published on June 2, 2008 in Hellnotes)
  • The Old Master of Horror, Part 2, by Ron Breznay (originally published on July 11, 2008 in Hellnotes)
  • The Old Master of Horror, Part 3, by Ron Breznay (originally published on September 5, 2008 in Hellnotes)
  • The Old Master of Horror, Part 4, by Ron Breznay (originally published on December 23, 2008 in Hellnotes)
  • The Hunt for Australian Horror Fiction, by Bill Congreve, Sean McMullen, and Steven Paulsen (originally published in The Scream Factory #16, 1995)
  • Pulp Fiction in Oz, by Steven Paulsen (originally published in Bloodsongs #4, 1995)
  • The Search for Early Australian Horror, by Steven Paulsen (originally published in Bloodsongs #2, 1994)


(SS = short story; N = novel) 

‘Fisher’s Ghost: A Legend of Campbelltown’ by John Lang (Tegg’s Magazine, 1836) – SS
     – This is the first published ‘horror’ story written by an Australian. Lang wrote several different versions of Fisher’s Ghost

‘The White Maniac: A Doctor’s Tale’ by Waif Wander (aka Mary Fortune) (The Australian Journal vol.2 no.98, 1867) – SS
     – Mary Fortune was a prolific crime writer, one of the first female crime writers in the world. She also wrote several supernatural stories (eg, ‘The Little Chap’ (The Australian Journal vol.30 no.356, 1895) and ‘The Illumined Grave’ (The Australian Journal vol.3 no.111, 1867), often writing under the pseudonyms W.W. and Waif Wander

‘Hunted Down’ (aka ‘The Haunted Author’) by Marcus Clarke (The Australasian 6 May, 1871) – SS
     – Clarke wrote several other supernatural stories, including ‘Human Repetends’ (The Australasian, 14 September, 1872), and ‘Holiday Peak’ (The Australasian January, 1873)

‘The Goblin’ by Old Boomerang (aka John Richard Houlding) (Serialised in The Sydney Mail in three parts: 11 November 1871, 18 November 1871 and 25 November 1871) – SS

‘The Torture of the Clock’ by Lionel Sparrow (The Australian Journal vol.23 no.272, 1888) – SS
     – Lionel Sparrow wrote many horror stories, including ‘The House in the Suburb’ (The Australian Journal vol.27 no.317, 1891), and ‘In the North Wing’ (The Australian Journal vol.23 no.273, 1888)

Phosphor: an Ischian Mystery by J. Filmore Sherry (Centennial Publishing Co., 1888) – N
     – A very rare but very strange novel about a man who ends up in a subterranean kingdom of bizarre prehistoric creatures and anthropoids who are both Latin-speaking and phosphorescent.  

‘The Bunyip’ by Rosa Campbell Praed (Coo-Ee: Tales of Australian Life by Australian Ladies, 1891) – SS

‘The Devil of the Marsh’ by HB Mariott-Watson (Diogenes of London and Other Fantasies, 1893) – SS
     – Mariott-Watson wrote several supernatural/horror tales, including the popular ‘The Stone Chamber’ (1899)

‘A Haunt of the Jinkarras: A Fearsome Story of Central Australia’ by Ernest Favenc (The Last of Six: Tales of the Austral Tropics, 1893) – SS
     – Ernest Favenc wrote numerous horror stories, including ‘Spirit-Led’ (also from the same collection) and ‘The Land of the Unseen’ (Phil May’s Annual (Winter) 14, 1902)

‘The Revenge of Macy O’Shea’ by Louis Becke (By Reef and Palm, 1894) – SS

‘The Haunted Station’ by Hume Nisbet (The Haunted Station and Other Stories, 1894) – SS
     – Hume Nisbet wrote numerous horror stories, including ‘The Vampire Maid,’ and ‘The Old Portrait,’ both from Stories Weird and Wonderful (1900)

‘The Secret Society of the Ring’ by Price Warung (Tales of the Early Days, 1894) – SS

‘The Red Cap Spectre of the Robertson’ by E. Downs (The North Queensland Register, 23 December, 1896) – SS
     – This is the first Australian short story to contain the ghost of an Aborigine

‘The Conquering Bush’ by Edward Dyson (Below and On Top, 1898) – SS
     – Dyson wrote several other horror stories, including ‘The Trucker’s Dream’ (from the same collection), and ‘After the Accident’ (The Bulletin vol.16 no.821, 1895)

‘The Ghostly Door’ by Henry Lawson (Joe Wilson and his Mates, 1901) – SS
     – Lawson wrote several supernatural and horror tales, including ‘The Bush Undertaker’ (Short Stories in Prose and Verse, 1894)

‘The Chosen Vessel’ by Barbara Baynton (Bush Studies, 1902) – SS
     – Bush Studies contains a number of horror stories, including ‘A Dreamer,’ and ‘Scrammy ‘and’

‘A Strange Goldfield’ by Guy Boothby (The Lady of the Island, 1904) – SS
     – A prolific writer of novels and short stories, many with supernatural content

‘Dr. Grahame’s Great Experiment’ by Arthur Bayldon (The Tragedy Behind the Curtain and Other Stories, 1910) – SS

‘Yara Ma Tha Who’ by David Unaipon, 1923 – SS
     – Australia’s first indiginous writer of speculative fiction

‘The Devil’s Ball’ by Dulcie Deamer (Vision: A Literary Quarterly, no.3 November, 1923) – SS
     – Another author who wrote several horror stories worth hunting down

‘The Gland Men of the Island’ by Max Afford (Wonder Stories, January, 1931) – SS

‘Giant Killer’ by Arthur Bertram Chandler (Astounding Science Fiction vol.36 no.2 October, 1945) – SS

‘And Not in Peace’ by George Whitley (aka Arthur Bertram Chandler) (Famous Fantastic Mysteries vol.8 no. 2, 1946) – SS
     – A. Bertram Chandler was a multi-award winning author who wrote many horror/dark science fiction short stories and novels

‘The Curse and the Fear’ by Jack McLaren (Stories of Fear, 1946) – SS

‘The Evil Sickness’ by Wolf Herscholt (aka Gordon Clive Bleeck) (Lightning Crime, by Belli Luigi, 1949) – SS
     – Gordon Clive Bleeck was a hugely prolific writer. He wrote many horror/science fiction/crime stories, for example ‘Thought Thief’ (Thrills Incorporated vol.4, June, 1950) and ‘Insectant Invasion’ (Thrills Incorporated vol.17, November, 1951), and often wrote under numerous pseudonyms.

‘Murder in Tomorrow’ by Roger Gerradine (aka Carter Brown) (Thrills Incorporated vol.6 August, 1950) – SS

‘Blinded They Fly: A Fantasy’ by Vol Molesworth (Futurian Press, 1951) – SS

Let There Be Monsters! By Vol Molesworth (Futurian Press, 1952) (originally appeared as a short story in Woomera no.1 February, 1951) – N