What’s a Deadhouse?

For centuries in the northern hemisphere, morgues were called Deadhouses because bodies could not be buried in the winter when the ground was frozen, so the dead were stored in Deadhouses until the thaw. For 140 years before 1972, Sydney’s Deadhouse was the Sydney Morgue and Coroner’s Court in lower George Street. Walking past one day, I had the epiphany that our immersive tales could be derived from the thousands of cases that passed through that grim and intriguing place, hence the birth of Deadhouse Productions.

The photo is a 200-year-old carving about the deadhouse at the entrance to old Darlinghurst Gaol. It’s still there and was the entry and exit point for many prisoners.

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