Could Frederick Fisher’s Ghost had pointed for evidence of a murder and help to bring the killer(s) to justice? This is what the Legend of Fisher’s Ghost says.
Now the city of Campbelltown, a suburb and major center in the metropolitan area of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, holds its own event to celebrate the story, the Festival of Fisher’s Ghost, but why?
The Legend of Fisher’s Ghost
Starting in the winter of 1826, the Australian city of Campbelltown witness a strange occurrence of events that marked forever, that once, small town.
One night, a respectable farmer, John Farley, arrives in the local hotel a bit shook up, Mr. Farley attested to who wanted to hear that he saw a ghost sitting on the rail of a bridge over a creek.
The story that would already be amazing, had a twist, he claimed he had seen the ghost of a local farmer and businessman who had been in and out of prison and according to his neighbor had fled the country to England to avoid more legal troubles.
John Farley told that the ghost pointed to a paddock down the creek and slowly faded away in front Farley’s eyes.
On October 25, almost four months after his disappearance Frederick Fisher’s body was found where the ghost had pointed.
Who was Frederick Fisher
Born on August 28th, 1792, Frederick George James Fisher was a shopkeeper. Even not been married he was the father of two children.
Fisher’s trouble started when he obtained forged bank notes through his business, it is not clear if he was naive or had the conscience of what he was getting into.
Frederick Fisher was arrested. His trial occurred on July 26, 1815, at the Surrey Gaol Delivery and declared to be guilty of forgery.
He was sentenced to fourteen years transportation to Australia. He was one of 188 convicts transported on the Atlas, 16 January 1816.
After serving half of his sentence in 1822, Frederick Fisher took the opportunity and applied for a ticket-of-leave and permission to purchase properties.
Fisher secured a farm at Campbelltown, right beside William George Worrall, recognized as an honest and industrious man.
By December 1824, Frederick Fisher was the only person from the Campbelltown area to supply wheat to the government at Liverpool.
With only 33 years old Fisher owned four farms, beside the 140 acres in Campbelltown, he also owned 50 acres in Cabramatta, 30 acres in Appin, 53 acres on the Nepean River in Upper Minto, and 32 acres in Campbelltown with stone and brick buildings.
Who was George Worrall
William George Worrall was a shoemaker by trade and like Fisher, was from London, arrived in Australia in 1815 on the Marquis of Wellington with also a life sentence.
He was a shoemaker by trade and like Fisher was from London.
In February 1823, George was granted a Ticket of Leave and rented a small farm in Campbelltown from William Bradbury.
Fred Fisher’s farm had no buildings or a house, so he, his employees and convict servants all lived in George’s house, occupied one of the three large rooms.
No peace for Frederick Fisher
Even with great success, the troubles for Frederick Fisher weren’t over.
During the year of 1825, Fisher undertook his first building venture, the Horse and Jockey Inn.
A local carpenter named William Brooker was hired to build it. Brooker and Fisher had a disagreement over the payment.
One night, William had had a few drinks and stormed into the Horse and Jockey Inn, demanding Frederick Fisher to pay his work.
During the argument, Fisher pulled a knife and hurt William Brooker. Fred was arrested for assault. Thankfully not a severe wound, Fisher received a light prison sentence.
Fred Fisher gave George Worrell, his neighbor, a power of attorney over Fisher’s property while he was incarcerated, fearing for what could happen to his land.
Fisher served his sentence and returned to town a short time later.
On the evening of June 17, 1826, George Worrell was inquired about the whereabouts of his neighbor. He announced that Frederick Fisher decided to sail back to England because Fisher was concerned about a new forgery charge made against him.
That brought suspicious because Fisher was still a convict and it was risked to be arrest if coming back to England.
Three weeks after Frederick Fisher’s “departure”, George Worrall decided to sell Fisher’s horse and personal belongings, since at that point they belonged to him, claiming Frederick Fisher had sold them to him.
Where is Frederick Fisher?
The disposal of Fisher’s assets raised suspicious of people of the town over Worrall.
George Worrall was arrested on September 17, 1826, on suspicion of Frederick Fisher’s murder.
Testifying he did not have murdered Frederick Fisher but knew who did. Four men were responsible for Fisher’s disappearance.
All four men were then arrested.
While returning home thru, across Fisher’s farm, two young boys stumble into a fence and noticed bloodstains, also found a lock of hair and a tooth at the site.
All that about a month after George Worrall arrest, on October 25, 1826.
An unsuccessful search was made by locals. They sought for an Aboriginal tracker from Liverpool.
While testing the water from puddles in the area, the tracker announced:
“’white fellow’s fat here!”
The remains of Frederick Fisher was later discovered in the paddock in a shallow grave on George Worrall’s land.
On February 2, 1827, George Worrall was found guilty of murder and sentenced to death by hanging on February 5, 1827.
John Farley’s Ghost story was never used in the trial, paranormal stories were not considered evidence, so could not be used against George Worrall.
Frederick Fisher’s brother, Henry Fisher, claimed the body and buried his brother in St Peter’s graveyard, but no headstone was ever erected.
In another hand, Frederick Fisher’s murder, George Worrall’s body was buried overlooking at, now, one of most popular Australians locations, Sydney Harbor at The Rocks.
The Legend of Fisher’s Ghost Continue
During the years claim to have seen or evidence of new sights of the Fisher’s Ghost, but nothing conclusive.
Almost hundred years after, on October 1924, directed and written by Raymond Longford made a movie based on the events from Campbelltown. Starring by Australians actors Ted Ayr, William Coulter and Ruby Dellew.
The Festival of Fisher’s Ghost
Each November, Campbelltown host the Festival of Fisher’s Ghost.
Ten years of fun events, since 1956, featuring the spectacular Street Parade, the prestigious Fisher’s Ghost Art Award, annual Fisher’s Ghost Fun Run, a Street Fair, Craft Exhibition, open days and a giant carnival with fireworks.
More details about The Festival of Fisher’s Ghost and have fun.