Cleveland, on the shores of Moreton Bay, almost became the capital the State of Queensland. Many people believed it a much better site for a state capital than the flood-prone and insect-infested former penal colony on the Brisbane River.
Among Cleveland's strongest supporters was the rich grazier Francis Bigge, who built a residence there in 1853. Later the house was leased by the State Government as a police residence and court house. It stands today under yet another guise as Ye Olde Courthouse Restaurant, complete with (it is proudly claimed) its own resident ghost.
Stories of the Old Cleveland Courthouse Ghost (a middle-aged woman in a white gown, her dark hair gathered in two tight buns over her ears) have circulated for generations. No one knows for sure who she is, but most people believe it is Francis Bigge's wife, Elizabeth. The spectre is normally well behaved, content to amuse herself tapping staff and diners on the shoulder or blowing gently in their ears but she has been know to lose her temper on rare occasions, hurling items about the restaurant, switching lights on and off, fiddling with taps and causing valuable pictures to crash to the floor without, curiously, the glass in the frames ever breaking.