Snr Constable Mark Scambary is warning people to keep out of the mushroom tunnel.
POLICE and Wollondilly Council have warned people Picton’s “mushroom” tunnel is a safety risk after a spate of trespassing on the disused railway track.
Camden police acting crime manager Det-Insp Paul Fryer said a large number of people had been caught illegally accessing the tunnel. Police recently caught 30 people inside the tunnel - five on Sunday, July 17, at 12.10am who were issued with criminal infringement notices and 25 on Saturday, July 30, at 2am, who were issued with move-on notices.
The tunnel’s reputation as a haunted venue is believed to be attracting onlookers. It is believed to be haunted by the ghost of Emily Bollard, who was killed there in 1916. In later years it was dubbed the mushroom tunnel because it was used to grow the fungus in commercial quantities in the 1950s. “It is known as one of the most haunted areas in Australia so we think that has led to an influx of people trying to access the area,” Det-Insp Fryer said.
The council had concerns about the safety of people accessing the tunnel “due to the possibility of falling bricks”. The council is concerned the tunnel is not structurally sound.
Wollondilly Mayor Michael Banasik said the council had placed signs and fencing around the tunnel but people were not “hearing the message”.
“The tunnel is dangerous and the noise affects the neighbours. Keep out - it is an OH and S issue.”
Former Picton Ghost Tours owner John Vincent closed his operations, which included a visit to the entrance of the tunnel, late last year because the council wanted him to submit another development application.
“The residents were concerned about the ghost tours and the noise, but stopping the ghost tours didn’t stop the problems for the residents, as we said it wouldn’t - people are still accessing the tunnel,” he said.
People can view the tunnel between 8am and 2pm from outside the entrance but are not permitted into the structure.