Australian mass murders

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Several massacres occurred in Australia leading up to firearms licensing laws in 1996 after the Port Arthur massacre, one of the deadliest lone wolf massacres in history. A 2006 study[1] shows a drop in mass shootings after firearms licensing laws were enacted.

Mass deaths[edit]

  • Cullin-La-Ringo massacre - Horatio Wills and his traveling party were killed by Aborigines at Cullin-La-Ringo Station in Queensland in 1860; police, native police and civilians killed 60 to 70 Aborigines in response.
  • George David Silva murdered six members of the Ching family at Alligator Creek near Mackay, Queensland in 1911.
  • Coniston massacre - Over 50 Aboriginal people were killed in the last Aboriginal massacre in 1928. The motive was revenge for the killing of dingo hunter Frederick Brooks.
  • Hope Forest massacre - Clifford Cecil Bartholomew shot dead ten members of his family in Hope Forest near Adelaide, September 1971.[2]
  • 22 September 1976 - William Robert Wilson - Killed two people and wounded four on Boundary Street, Spring Hill, Brisbane. Wilson took a .22 calibre rifle and 500 rounds of ammunition to Boundary Street around 12.30 pm and began shooting randomly. He shot and killed Monika Schleus, aged 17, as she crossed Boundary Street. Wilson shot and wounded Donald William Hepburn Galloway, who was also crossing the street. Proceeding to a milk bar, Wilson shot and killed Marianne Kalatzis, aged 18, and wounded Mavis Ethel Sanders and Virginia Hollidge. In the neighbouring shop he shot and wounded Quinto Alberti. Wilson was captured by police around 4:15 pm at a suburban house where Wilson was holding a man and four young women hostage. Wilson served three years in a mental hospital. On being found fit for trial, he was sentenced in 1980 to two life sentences for the murders and 10 years each, concurrently, for the four attempted murders. He pleaded guilty to all charges.[3]
  • Milperra massacre - Two biker gangs, the Comanchero and the Bandidos, engaged in a shoot-out in a hotel car park, killing 7 people in 1984, including a bystander. Only one defendant was acquitted on the murder charges.
  • Joseph Schwab - 1987, Schwab shot dead 5 people in and around the Kimberley region in Western Australia before being shot dead by police.[4]
  • Hoddle Street massacre - Armed with two rifles and a shotgun, Julian Knight shot 7 people dead and wounded another 19 in 1987 before surrendering to authorities.
  • Queen Street massacre - Armed with a sawn-off rifle, Frank Vitkovic roamed the Australia Post building killing 8 and wounding 5, also in 1987. When the weapon was finally wrestled from him, he committed suicide by jumping out of a nearby window.
  • Surry Hills massacre - Paul Anthony Evers killed 5 people with a 12-gauge shotgun at a public housing precinct in Surry Hills in 1990 before surrendering to police.[5]
  • Strathfield massacre - In 1991 Wade Frankum killed 7 people and wounded 6 others with a large knife and an SKS before turning the gun on himself when he realised he could not escape.
  • Central Coast Massacre - Malcolm Baker killed 6 people and injured another with a shotgun in 1992 before being arrested by police.
  • Port Arthur massacre - In 1996, armed with two semi-automatic rifles, Martin Bryant killed 35 people around Port Arthur and wounded 21 before being caught by police the next day following an overnight siege.
  • Childers Palace Fire - In June 2000, drifter and con-artist Robert Long started a fire at the Childers Palace backpackers hostel that killed 15 people.
  • Monash University shooting - In October 2002, Huan Yun Xiang, a student, shot his classmates and teacher, killing two and injuring five.
  • Churchill Fire - 10 confirmed deaths due to a deliberately lit fire. The fire was lit on 7 February 2009.[6]
  • 2011 Hectorville siege - A mass shooting that took place on Friday, April 29, 2011, in Hectorville, South Australia. It began after a 39-year-old male, Donato Anthony Corbo, went on a shooting rampage, killing three people and wounding a child and two police officers, before being arrested by Special Operations police after an eight-hour siege.[7]
  • Quakers Hill Nursing Home Fire - 10 confirmed and as many as 21 people may have died as a result of a deliberately lit fire in a Quakers Hill nursing home. The fire was lit early on 18 November 2011.[8]

Murders over an extended period of time[edit]

Main article: List of Australian serial killers

  • Eric Edgar Cooke murdered 8 people between 1959 and 1963.
  • Backpacker murders - Ivan Milat killed seven international backpackers in the early 1990s, and is widely suspected of killing 30 more young adults.
  • Melbourne gangland killings - 36 underworld figures murdered so far in gang related violence between 1998 and 2010.
  • Snowtown murders - 12 murders committed from 1992 until 1999.
  • John Wayne Glover - murders of six elderly women on Sydney's North Shore over a fourteen month period in 1989-90
  • Truro murders - murders of seven women from 1976 until 1977


  • Whiskey Au Go Go fire - Fire lit in club killed 15
  • Douglas Crabbe - Truck driver deliberately crashed his truck into a hotel, killing five and badly wounding 16.
  • Russell Street Bombing - 23 wounded when a car bomb ignites outside a Police Building. One of the wounded, a female police officer, died later of injuries from the explosion.
  • Sydney Hilton bombing - Two garbage men were killed and 12 passers-by were injured by a bomb planted in a garbage bin outside the Sydney Hilton Hotel in 1978. A police officer who was wounded died later.

Effects on firearm laws[edit]

  • Port Arthur Massacre - Semi-automatic rifles and pump action/self-loading shotguns were banned from civilians and a genuine reason was required for all other firearms. Both a firearms license and a buyers permit are necessary to legally purchase a firearm. Furthermore, an acceptable reason must be stated on the permit for buying the weapon, and a minimum 28 day "cooling off" period must be enforced before the issuing of the license.

See also[edit]