Culture

This True Crime Podcast Uncovers The Dark History Of Sydney’s Central Station

Normally when I walk through Central Station in Sydney there’s only one thing I’m thinking: “Why does everyone walk so slowly oh my god why are you like this?” But the next time I pass through might be a bit different thanks to The Burial Files, a new true crime podcast that delves into the station’s dark history.

Turns out, Central Station is built on the site of the old Devonshire Street Cemetery. The Burial Files explores the lives, crimes and adventures of the people who were buried here.

It’s hosted by the State Library of NSW‘s senior curator Elise Edmonds, who spent years researching the site and talking to historians, archaeologists, forensic experts and good old fashioned railway enthusiasts.

 

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Over six episodes, The Burial Files uncovers what life was like in this part of the city in between 1820 and 1900. Hint: it was not great.

“You’ll be transported to 19th century Sydney – to the dodgy end of town where insalubrious activities took place after dark, where epidemics took young lives and grim accidents didn’t always make the news – to the city’s first major cemetery which quickly became overpopulated, overgrown and abandoned,” says Edmonds.

Don’t worry, the bodies were moved when the cemetery became overcrowded, before Central Station was built. Just in case you were wondering.

Edmonds’ research has also inspired the library’s new exhibition, Dead Central, that pays tribute to the cemetery and the local history buffs who were determined to document the site before it was moved.

The first four episodes of The Burials Files are now available to download and stream from podcast platforms and the State Library of NSW’s website. The next two episodes will be released in the coming weeks, and Dead Central is showing until November 17.

The Burial Files is just one way to experience Sydney’s spooky history – another is to take yourself on a bar crawl through the city’s most haunted bars.

(Lead image: State Library of NSW)