Ever dreamed of owning your very own castle?
For many Australian Goths, like me, this has always been an impossible dream, but hold on to your parasols people: There’s one for sale!
The advertisement describes it as:
“A stand out landmark in this location this Norman style Castle, with medieval additions, complete with moat, turrets, towers and drawbridge is totally unique in Australia.” – The ‘For Sale’ ad.
Have a look at their page and you’ll see the usual span of propaganda images of families with their children happily pointing at nothing, outside panoramas and their ‘come have your wedding here’ photos, but nothing that shows you what’s inside.
Which leads me to the reason for our chat now…
Last year, I was honoured to be a part of my friend’s wedding, held at this exact castle. It’s beautiful and so gorgeous.. but inside it’s unlike any other castle I’ve ever seen. It’s odd that they don’t have photos on the ad of what’s actually inside, but once you see mine I guess you’ll understand why.
Whilst the bride and groom were having their photos taken after the wedding, we snuck off and explored the castle unaccompanied and unhindered. So here’s what we found hidden inside…
Before I take you around inside, lets start with the castle itself. Most of the nitty gritty you can find on their website but for those who don’t want to get lost down that rabbit hole, here’s the TL;DR version:
The Sunshine Castle is a medieval museum/tourist attraction and function venue. It was built on what used to be the only road heading north of Brisbane, and was a hotspot for travelers throughout the years.
It’s moved away from its original purpose (which I’ll get to soon) and is now focusing on medieval history and hosting events like operas, tournaments and weddings, which is pretty swanky.
It has a ‘treasure hunt’ style of self tour to show you around the castle.
The castle seems to hold all the usual things, keeps and halls… and a dungeon.
Now, I didn’t know there was a dungeon. The only reason I found it was that I had made a candle tree for the wedding, and the tree was sitting on the barrel that hid the way down.
Now, you’re probably thinking that I’ve just dragged you down here to talk about a dungeon. I will admit, a castle just isn’t a castle without a dungeon, and I haven’t seen any photos of it anywhere, but that’s not why you’re here. If you can see how far down the candles have burnt on the tree, you can imagine how late in the evening it was that we stumbled upon the dungeon, how far along the liquors we were, and can understand that as there were no lights in the dungeon I was not going to risk taking a camera down into a hole in the floor so I didn’t take any photos. There are cells down there, which some guests were shut in, and life-size models of torture equipment with life-size figurines looking uncomfortable in them. The whole thing is tiny, just several square metres, and once one person went down, it became a party and everyone took turns checking it out in batches.
So that’s the dungeon. So far, all normal castle things.
The ‘museum’ spans the castle, with little displays and info everywhere. Examples of weaponry and armor, bedding and clothing. Also a very nasty looking chastity belt.
Another cool thing, which I completely fangasmed over, is that they have Xena’s Throne in the reception hall.
You heard me, Xena. Like actually, Xena.
Seriously, we had so much fun with this thing.
So, keeps, halls, dungeons, weaponry, thrones.. They’re all normal things to keep in a castle.
But here’s the thing, that’s not what the castle was built for.
Plot twist: It’s not a normal castle, the whole thing was built to house..
a doll collection!
“Originally built in 1972 the Castle has grown over time and had three freehold owners. First opened by a Scotsman for his wifes dolls and fairytales as the Fairytale Castle, it has also been known as the Bli Bli Castle, since 2006 the Castle has had a transformation and now offers a medieval museum experience with only some of the dolls and fairytales still in action.”
You heard me. This castle is literally a giant doll house.
There are rooms and rooms full of dolls. There are dolls made of everything. Wood, wool, paper, plastic, even wax and sugar. There are marionettes and little Macca’s Smurfs toys, Dolly Vardens and Cabbage Patch Kids. There are award-winning dolls, with ribbons to prove it, and dolls that have obviously been made with more love than skill.
There’s even a ‘dolls of the world’ display that spans two full size rooms. I can’t work out if they’re racist or just kitch.
There’s a set of ‘fairytale dioramas’, which involves twelve tiny rooms lined up along a walkway with dolls acting out things like Gulliver’s Travels, Pinocchio, Goldilocks etc.
Now, there’s two ways we can look at this.
One, some people find dolls creepy, and those people should just use their right to keep scrolling through the castle and go look at the display of medieval pikes or archery and arrow tips, learn juggling from the jester or get Sir Justyn to teach you how to use a sword.
I have a friend who’s actually phobic of dolls, so I’m aware that some will have more of an issue. So to those people, consider yourselves warned and maybe go visit the Macadamia Castle instead. Life’s too short to waste time and energy hating on things.
Two, this place is awesome! Can you imagine ever being in a position where you were able to build an entire castle just to hold something that you collected? That’s Adulting on a whole other level! This whole thing is a shrine to nostalgia, old timey wholesome fun, and it’s seriously, actually, an impossible dream of mine to own a castle.
Now, at a going price in the millions of dollars, it’s still an impossible dream for me, but it warms my heart to know that places like this still exist in Australia. And now that you’ve seen some what’s actually inside it, you know what you’re in for if you decide to buy it!
Also, we didn’t know this during the wedding, but the next day when we came back to pick up our things from the castle, we discovered that out the front are dinosaurs! Can this place get any more eccentric?!
So that’s the real story of what’s inside the Sunshine Castle. You can check out the real estate listing here or head to Bli Bli on the Sunshine Coast (north of Brisbane) in Queensland, Australia to see it for yourself.
Hope you enjoyed our exploration of this amazing, eccentric place!
Until next time, Darklings,
P.S. Seen any other cool places for sale? Link them in the comments so I can check them out!