List of disasters in Australia by death toll

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This is a list of disasters and tragic events in modern Australia sorted by death toll.

100 or more deaths[edit]

Disaster Location Deaths Date Notes
Pandemic Australia-wide 157,500-375,000 1788-1979 Smallpox was introduced in Australia, where it decimates more than 50 percent of the Aboriginal population.[1][2]
Pandemic Australia-wide 12,000+ 1918–1920 1918 flu pandemic.[3]
Epidemic Australia-wide 8,000+ 1875-1876 Scarlet fever epidemic.[4]
Massacres Australia-wide (except W.A) 6,200 1788-1930 The estimated death toll from those incidents is about 6,200 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and fewer than 100 colonists, with an average of 25 Indigenous people killed in every massacre.[5]
Epidemic Australia-wide 1013 1946–1955 Polio epidemic.[6]
Sea battle Indian Ocean, near Shark Bay 727 1941 Nov 19 Battle between HMAS Sydney and German auxiliary cruiser Kormoran. Both ships sank; all 645 aboard Sydney were killed, along with 82 personnel from Kormoran.[7][8]
Epidemic Australia-wide 550 1900–1910 Bubonic plague.[9]
Heat wave Victoria 438 1938 Dec  – Feb 1939 Heat wave killed 438 and sparked the Black Friday bushfires (see below).[10]
Heat wave South-eastern Australia 437 1895–1896 Widespread heat wave killed 437, including 47 in Bourke, New South Wales.[11]
Cyclone Bathurst Bay, Queensland 410 1899 Mar 4 Cyclone Mahina; estimated toll.[12]
Shipwreck King Island, Tasmania 406 1845 Aug 4 The Cataraqui, was wrecked when it crashed into rocks off the coast of King Island in stormy weather at 4:30 in the morning on 4 August.[13][14] With 400 dead (another source states 406), it was Australia's worst civil maritime disaster.[15][14]
Heat wave South-eastern Australia 374 2009 Jan 25 – Feb 9 A nine-day heat wave in early 2009 in which Adelaide recorded six consecutive days over 40 °C (104 °F), a high of 45.7 °C (114.3 °F) and a record overnight minimum of 33.9 °C (93.0 °F) on 28 January.[16][17] Sparked the Black Saturday bushfires (see below). Health authorities attribute 374 deaths to the heat wave.[18]
Massacre Gippsland Victoria 300+ 1840 - 1850 Gippsland massacres – The Aboriginal people of East Gippsland, Victoria, Australia, known as the Gunai/Kurnai people, fought against the European invasion of their land. At least 300 people were killed, but other figures estimate up to 1,000.
Shipwreck coast near Murchison River, Western Australia 286 1712 Jun Sinking of Dutch ship Zuytdorp, which was wrecked off the coast near Kalbarri.[19] There has been speculation that there were survivors, who may have been assisted by local Aborigines.[20][21]
Sinking Off North Stradbroke Island, Queensland 268 1943 May 14 Sinking of AHS Centaur. Hospital ship torpedoed by a Japanese submarine.[22]
Heat wave Southern states 246 1907 Dec  – Jan 1908 [23]
Air raids Darwin, Northern Territory 243 1942 Feb 19 First bombings of Darwin. The first Japanese air raids against Australia. There were two air raids on Darwin on 19 February 1942, the first one began around 10am, the second around 11:45am.[24] The toll may have been higher because itinerants and Aborigines may be under-represented in the official count.[24]
Prison break Cowra, New South Wales 235–238 1944 Aug 5 Cowra breakout. Escape by Japanese POWs.[25][26]
Pandemic Australia-wide 234 1890 1889-90 flu pandemic[27]
Shipwreck King Island, Tasmania 224 1835 May 13 The convict ship the Neva, was wrecked on Navarine Reef near King Island in the early hours of 13 May 1835.[28][29][30]
Shipwreck Western Australia 212 1726 Aagtekerke. Possibly WA, but there is some doubt on this.[31]
Pandemic Australia-wide 191 2009 2009 flu pandemic in Australia. 191 confirmed deaths. Death toll possibly as high as 1600.
Shipwreck Ledge Point, Western Australia 186 1656 Apr 28 The Vergulde Draeck bound for Batavia, was wrecked near Ledge Point on 28 April 1656.[32][33]
Bushfires Victoria 173 2009 Feb 7 The Black Saturday bushfires broke out on 7 February 2009, strong winds gusted up to 100 km/h, allowing the fires to spread quickly.[34] The final death toll was 173, with over 2000 houses destroyed.[34][35]
Cyclone/sinking Western Australia 150+ 1912 Mar 21-22 The SS Koombana was lost in a cyclone between Port Hedland and Broome during a cyclone with all on board (around 158 people).[36][37] The cyclone crossed the Western Australia coast around Balla Balla, early on 22nd.[38] Several other ships and vessels were also wrecked in the cyclone, claiming another 15 lives.[39]
Heat waves Australia-wide 147 1920–1921 [40]
Heat waves Australia-wide 143 + 1911–1912 [41]
Cyclone Broome, Western Australia 141 1935 Mar 26 Pearling fleet devastated.[42]
Cyclone Eighty Mile Beach, Western Australia 140 1884 Pearling fleet sunk.[43]
Cyclone Eighty Mile Beach, Western Australia 140 1887 Apr 22 A late season cyclone hit the Eighty Mile Beach area (then known as Ninety Mile Beach), devastating the pearling fleet there, killing 140 people and around 20 boats lost.[42][44]
Shipwreck D'Entrecasteaux Channel, Tasmania 133 1835 Apr 12 George III[45]
Shipwreck Cape York, Queensland 133 1890 Feb 28 The RMS Quetta, sank in around 3 minutes, with the loss of all passengers and crew.[46]
Heat wave Southern states 130 1926 Dec – 1927 Jan [47]
Shipwreck/mutiny/
massacre
Abrolhos Islands, Western Australia 125+ 1629 Jun–Jul Wreck of the Dutch ship Batavia, after which mutineers murdered 125 passengers. This toll does not include the mutineers, seven of whom were hanged and two cast away after the remaining passengers had been rescued. Most of the remaining mutineers were later executed.[48]
Heat wave Australia-wide 122 + 1913–1914 [49]
Cyclone/sinking North-eastern Queensland 122 1911 Mar 16 SS Yongala[50]
Shipwreck Sydney, New South Wales 121 1857 Aug 20 Dunbar. 1 survivor.[51]
Heat wave Australia-wide 112 1939–1940 [52]
Heat wave Australia-wide 109 1909 Dec –1910 Feb [53]
Heat wave Southern regions, Australia 105 + 1959 Jan - Feb Some sources puts the death toll at 145.[54][55][56][57]
Cyclone/sinking Ayr, Queensland 102–112 1875 Feb 24 SS Gothenburg. Records of passengers vary.[58][59][60]

50 to 99 deaths[edit]

Disaster Location Deaths Date Notes
Heat wave Southern regions Australia 99 1972 Dec–Feb 1973 [61]
Cyclone Northern Queensland 99 1934 Mar 12 A tropical cyclone crossed the North Queensland coast around Cape Tribulation, which generated a 9.1 storm surge.[62] A pearling fleet off the coast was damaged, with 75 people reported lost (one source says 99).[58][62]
Explosion Mount Kembla, New South Wales 96 1902 Jul 31 Mount Kembla Mine disaster. Coal mine gas explosion[63]
Shipwreck Monte Bello Islands, Western Australia 93 1622 May 24 Tryall. Earliest recorded Australian shipwreck.[64]
Flood Gundagai, New South Wales 89 1852 Jun 24-25 A severe flash flood destroyed the town of Gundagai, which resulted in 89 deaths.[65][66]
Shipwreck near Carpenter Rocks, in South East South Australia 89 1859 Aug 6 SS Admella.[67] South Australia's worst loss of life
Air raid Broome, Western Australia 88 1942 Mar 3 Air raid on Broome. Japanese fighter planes strafed the town. Official toll; may not include some refugees from the Dutch East Indies.
Rail accident Sydney, New South Wales 83 1977 Jan 18 Granville railway disaster. Derailment followed by bridge collapse.
Sinking twenty miles south-east of Jervis Bay, New South Wales 82 1964 Feb 10 Melbourne–Voyager collisionHMAS Voyager sank after collision with HMAS Melbourne.
Explosion Bulli, New South Wales 81 1887 Mar 23 Bulli Colliery coal mine gas explosion.[68]
Shipwreck King Island, Tasmania 79 1874 May 23 British Admiral[69]
Cyclone Queensland coast, particularly Innisfail 77+ 1918 Mar 10 Cyclone and storm surge with death toll estimated between 77 and 100.[70]
Storms New South Wales between Port Stephens and Sydney 77 1866 Jul 12 60 lives lost on SS Cawarra alone.[71]
Explosion Mount Mulligan, Queensland 75 1921 Sep 19 Mount Mulligan coal dust explosion[72]
Bushfire Victoria and South Australia 75 1983 Feb 16 Ash Wednesday bushfires[73]
Shipwreck Green Cape 71 1886 May 31 Ly-Ee-Moon[74]
Bushfire Victoria 71 1939 Jan 13 Black Friday bushfires.
Cyclone Darwin 71 1974 Dec 25 Cyclone Tracy destroys the city of Darwin on Christmas Day 1974. Top wind gust recorded was 217 kilometres per hour (135 mph).[75] On 17 March 2005, a Northern Territory Coroner's Inquest outcome increased the official death toll from 65 to 71.[76]
Flood Clermont, Queensland 65 1916 Dec 27 [77]
Bushfire Tasmania 62 1967 Feb 7 Now known as Black Tuesday, 62 people lost their lives, and 7,000 left homeless as over a hundred fires burned in southern Tasmania.[78]
Cyclone near Roebourne and Geraldton, Western Australia 61–71 1894 Jan Estimated toll includes those lost at sea and those killed in flooding at Geraldton.[79]
Shipwreck Houtman Abrolhos Islands, Western Australia 60 1727 Zeewyk. Approximate death toll[80]
Shipwreck Newcastle, New South Wales 60 1866 Jul 12 SS Cawarra sank during a storm in Newcastle Harbour.
Bushfire Victoria 60 1926 Feb–Mar The worst fires occurred on 14 February (Black Sunday) in the Gippsland region and other areas, where 31 lives were lost at Warburton, Victoria.[81] Houses and buildings were destroyed in many places including Erica and Belgrave.[82] The town of Noojee was destroyed, with only the hotel left standing.[83][84] In all, over the two month period, 60 people lost their lives and 1,000 buildings were destroyed.[85][86]
Cyclone Exmouth Gulf, Western Australia 59–69 1875 Dec – 1876 Jan Most casualties were at sea.[87][88]
Shipwreck Mutton Bird Island, off the Shipwreck Coast of Victoria 53 1878 Jun 1 Loch Ard. Sources vary on exact death toll (2 survivors).[89][90]
Epidemic Southern States 51 1881–1885 Smallpox epidemic[91]
Bushfire Victoria 51 1943–1944 [92]
Shipwreck Brisbane, Queensland 50 1896 Feb Capsize of the ferry Pearl[93]
Cyclone Around Broome, Western Australia 50 1908 [94]

10 to 49 deaths[edit]

[111][112]
Disaster Location Deaths Date Notes
Shipwreck Christmas Island, Christmas Island 48 2010 Dec 15

2010 Christmas Island boat disaster.

Cyclonic effects North coast, New South Wales 46 1923 [95]
Rail accident Sunshine, Victoria 44 1908 Sunshine rail disaster. Rear-end collision
Fire Queenstown, Tasmania 42+ 1912 1912 North Mount Lyell Disaster. Mine fire. True toll may be higher due to subsequent deaths from the effects of the fire[96]
Sinking Sydney 40–42 1927 Nov 3 Greycliffe disaster[97][98]
Shipwreck near Edithburgh, South Australia 40 1909 Jan 31 SS Clan Ranald[99][100]
Cyclone Broome, Western Australia 40 1910 Nov 19 This tropical cyclone was probably Broome's most destructive, with maximum wind gusts estimated to be 175 kilometres per hour (109 mph).[42] There were 40 deaths, and 34 pearling luggers lost with severe damage in the Broome area.[101]
Air disaster near Mackay, Queensland 40 1943 Jun 14 Bakers Creek air crash. USAAF B-17 Flying Fortress crashes shortly after take-off.[102]
Flooding Queensland 38 2010 Dec–Jan 2011 2010–11 Queensland floods. 38 confirmed deaths plus 6 people missing (presumed dead).
Shipwreck Cardwell, Queensland 36 1872 Shipwreck Maria. Some of the survivors were killed by Aborigines although others were helped[103][104]
Shipwreck Jervis Bay, New South Wales, 35 1876 Sep 1 The steamer Dandenong lost during severe storm.[105]
Shipwreck Cheviot Beach, Victoria 35 1887 Oct 20 SS Cheviot
Flood Melbourne suburbs and Southern Victoria 35 1934 Nov 29–Dec 1 Torrential rainfall of up to 350 mm. Yarra River becomes raging torrent. Extensive damage with 35 dead, 250 injured, and 3,000 homeless.[106][107]
Bridge collapse Melbourne 35 1970 Oct 15 West Gate Bridge. 35 construction workers died due to a collapse during construction.[108] Australia's worst industrial accident.[109]
Road accident Kempsey, New South Wales 35 1989 Dec 22 Kempsey bus crash. Two tourist coaches collided head-on[110]
Shooting Port Arthur, Tasmania 35 1996 Apr 28 Port Arthur massacre.
Shipwreck near Southend, south east South Australia 31 1876 Jun 14 Geltwood. Wreck not found for two weeks. No survivors.[113][114]
Shipwreck off Wilsons Promontory in Bass Strait 31 1935 Dec 1 SS Paringa Sunk during storm while towing another vessel. All officers and crew lost.[115][116]
Insurrection Castle Hill, New South Wales 30* 1804 Mar 4 – 5 Castle Hill convict rebellion. An additional nine convicts were later executed for participating in the rebellion. *Exact death toll unknown, likely to be higher.[117] Memorial at Castle Hill gives a figure of 45 lives lost.[118]
Cyclone Queensland coast, particularly Mackay 30 1918 Jan Mackay Cyclone[70][119]
Fire Melbourne 30 1966 Aug 13 William Booth Memorial Home fire – Australia's deadliest building fire. Salvation Army home for destitute men.[120]
Air accident near York, east of Perth 29 1950 Jun 26 The 1950 Australian National Airways Douglas DC-4 crash.[121] The plane crashed in bushland near York, burning on impact, with 28 people dying instantly (there was 1 survivor who later died from his injuries.[122]
Air accident Mackay 29 1960 Jun 10 Trans Australia Airlines Flight 538 crashed into sea.
Cyclone/sinking. Western Australia 29 1991 Apr 17-20 Tropical Cyclone Fifi. 27 were lost in shipwreck of Mineral Diamond, off the Western Australia coastline.[123][124]
Massacre Myall Creek, near Inverell, New South Wales 28 1838 Jun 9 Myall Creek massacre. 28 Aboriginal people killed by white stockmen[125]
Riot and insurrection Ballarat, Victoria 28 1854 Dec 3 Eureka Stockade. 28 confirmed, exact death toll remains unknown, could possibly be as high as 80.
Cyclone Darwin, Northern Territory 28 1897 Jan [126][127]
Shipwreck Kangaroo Island, South Australia 27 1905 Sep Loch Vennachar[128]
Rail accident Murulla, New South Wales 27 1926 Sep 13 The Murulla rail accident. The North West Mail train collided with five runaway wagons at Murulla, near Murrurundi, which resulted in 27 deaths.[129][130]
Sea battle Port Jackson 27 1942 May 31–1 Jun Attack on Sydney Harbour. Japanese submarine attack on allied shipping. Death toll includes attackers.
Air accident Cleveland Bay, Townsville, Queensland 27 1943 Aug 7 C-47 Dakota plane crash. Plane crashed after takeoff.[131]
Shipwreck/massacre Coorong, South Australia 26 1840 Maria. Survivors murdered.[132][133] Brutal punitive expedition ordered by Governor Gawler.
Explosion Wagga Wagga, New South Wales 26 1945 May 21 Kapooka Army Base soldiers received instruction of demolition work in a bunker which was 3 metres (9.8 ft) below the ground when an explosion took place which resulted in Australia's largest military funeral.[134][135]
Cyclone Gold Coast and northern New South Wales 26-30 1954 Feb 20-21 A tropical cyclone (known as The Gold Coast Cyclone) crossed the coast late evening on 20 February 1954 at Coolangatta.[136][137] Extreme rainfall associated with the cyclone produced record totals, including 900mm at Springbrook, Queensland in the 24 hours crossing and 809mm at Dorrigo, New South Wales in 24 hours to 9am on 21st.[137] There was widespread severe flooding over many areas of NSW and between 26-30 people lost their lives in the event.[138]
Air accident Port Hedland, Western Australia 26 1968 Dec 31 In-flight break up of MacRobertson Miller Airlines Flight 1750 (Vickers Viscount)[139]
Rail accident Wodonga, Victoria 25 1943 Train hit bus carrying army personnel[140]
Air accident Seven-Mile Beach, near Hobart 25 1946 Mar 1946 Australian National Airways DC-3 crashed into the sea.[54]
Flood Hunter Valley, New South Wales 25 1955 Feb 1955 Hunter Valley floods. Most deaths were around Singleton and Maitland, but most other river systems in the state were also in flood.[141][142]
Shipwreck Gosford 24 1898 May 6 Maitland[143]
Cyclone Onslow, Western Australia 24 1909 Apr 5-6 A tropical cyclone crossed the coast near Onslow, causing extensive damage in the town, with the tramline partly washed away.[144][145] Four luggers and 24-25 crew were lost during the cyclone.[144][146][147]
Air accident Winton, Queensland 24 1966 Sep 22 Ansett-ANA Viscount disaster. Flight 149 en route Mount IsaLongreach.[148]
Air accident Kudjeru Gap, in the Australian Territory of Papua and New Guinea 24 1972 Aug RAAF Caribou aircraft crashes in rugged mountainous country en route from Lae to Port Moresby, killing 24 of the 28 people on board.
Bushfire Southern regions of Victoria 23 1969 Jan 280 fires. 17 casualties at Lara[149]
Mine disaster Creswick, Central Victoria 22 1882 Dec 12 New Australasia gold mine. 44 miners trapped when a flooded mine shaft is breached. 22 men drown.[150]
Flood Northern Tasmania 22 1929 Apr Eight drowned when truck ploughed into river and 14 died when dam collapsed and wall swept into town.[151]
Heat wave South-east Queensland 22 2000 Jan [152]
Shipwreck off Gabo Island, Bass Strait 21 1901 Mar 1 SS Federal vanished without trace. All crewmembers lost.[153][154]
Air accident Coolangatta, Queensland 21 1949 Mar 10 1949 Queensland Airlines Lockheed Lodestar crash – aircraft crashed shortly after take-off due to incorrect loading.[155]
Shipwreck Smokey Cape, New South Wales 21 1969 Aug 25 The Noongah sank.
Road accident Grafton, New South Wales 21 1989 Oct 20 Grafton bus crash. A head-on collision between a tourist coach and a truck.[156]
Air accident Mossman, Queensland 20 1944 Sep 7 Royal Netherlands East Indies Air Force Douglas C-47 Dakota crashes en route between Merauke, Dutch East Indies and Cairns.
Shipwreck Trial Bay, New South Wales 19–21 1816 Sep [157]
Fire Kings Cross, New South Wales 19 1981 Aug 25 Rembrandt Hotel.[158]
Shipwreck Adelaide, South Australia 18 1888 Jul 13 Star of Greece was driven aground in a storm 200 yards from the beach at Port Willunga, ten survivors.[159]
Air accident Dandenongs, Victoria 18 1938 Oct 25 1938 Kyeema crash
Air accident Perth Airport 18 1949 Jul 2 1949 MacRobertson Miller Aviation DC-3 crash – aircraft crashed a minute after take-off, killing all 18 people on board.[160]
Road accident Tumut Pond, New South Wales 18 1973 Sep 1 Brake failure caused bus to plummet into reservoir.[161]
Air accident Townsville, Queensland 18 1996 Jun 12 Two Army Blackhawk helicopters collided.[162]
Landslide Thredbo, New South Wales 18 1997 Jul 30 1997 Thredbo landslide
Rail accident Brooklyn, New South Wales 17 1944 Jan 20 A mail train ploughed into a bus at Brooklyn Railway Station.[163]
Rail accident Wasleys Crossing, near Gawler, South Australia 17 1970 Apr 12 Wasleys Crossing (Gawler) disaster. Bus collided with a passenger train[164]
Massacre Coniston Station, Northern Territory 17 1928 Aug 14-Oct 28 Massacre of Aboriginal People at Coniston Station, NT.
Explosion Ipswich, Queensland 17 1972 Jul 31 Mine gas explosion in the Box Flat Colliery[165]
Heat wave South-Eastern regions, Australia 17 1993 Feb Possibility of additional unreported deaths[166]
Shipwreck Bass Strait Victorian coast 16 1934 Nov 29 SS Coramba left Warrnambool for Melbourne and was never seen again. Believed lost during storm.[167][168]
Rail accident Camp Mountain, Queensland 16 1947 May 5 Camp Mountain train disaster. A crowded picnic train derailed on bend
Fire Sylvania Heights, New South Wales 16 1981 Apr 29 Pacific Nursing Home fire.[169]
Boating accident Mornington Peninsula 15 1892 May 21 15 members of Mornington football team returning from match in Mordialloc in small fishing vessel Process were lost when their boat sank in bad weather. Only 4 bodies were recovered.[170]
Shipwreck near Cape Schanck, Victoria 15 1893 Dec 28 SS Alert
Air accident Botany Bay, New South Wales 15 1961 Nov 30 Ansett-ANA Flight 325Vickers Viscount aeroplane crash. All on board died.[171]
Fire Fortitude Valley, Queensland 15 1973 Mar 8 Whiskey Au Go Go fire. Arson
Fire Kings Cross, New South Wales 15 1975 Dec 25 Savoy Hotel fire. Arson[172]
Cyclone/sinking near Carnarvon, Western Australia 15 1979 Cyclone Hazel[173]
Heat wave South-eastern regions of Australia 15 1981 Feb [174]
Fire Childers, Queensland 15 2000 Jun Robert Long received a life sentence for starting the Childers Palace backpackers hostel fire[175][176]
Air accident Lockhart River, Queensland 15 2005 May 7 In the Lockhart River air disaster an aeroplane crashed on approach to land, killing all on board.[177]
Cyclone Townsville and Charters Towers, Queensland 14 1903 Mar 9 Cyclone Leonta killed 12 people in Townsville and 2 in Charters Towers and caused massive property damage across North Queensland[178]
Bushfire Dandenong Ranges and Lara, Victoria 14* 1962 Jan 14 – 16 Casualty numbers vary between 9,[179] 14,[54][180] and 32.[149][181]
Bushfires Sydney, Blue Mountains and Illawarra, New South Wales 14* 1968 Jan *Sources vary on death toll but most say 14.[182]
Cyclone Whitsunday Islands, Queensland 14 1970 Jan 17 - 18 Tropical Cyclone Ada passed over the Whitsunday Islands from late 17th to early 18th January, crossing the Queensland coastline around Shute Harbour early that morning. 14 people perished in the cyclone.[58][183]
Cyclone Brisbane, Queensland 14 1974 Jan 27 1974 Brisbane flood. Cyclone Wanda[184]
Explosion Appin, New South Wales 14 1979 Jul 24 Appin Colliery Gas Explosion during a planned ventilation change.[185]
Cyclone/flood Queensland, New South Wales 14 2017 Mar 27–1 Apr Cyclone Debbie causes severe flooding throughout Queensland and New South Wales, leaving behind severe damage.[186]
Explosion Wonthaggi, Victoria 13 1937 Feb 15 Dalyson Colliery[187]
Air accident Tamworth, New South Wales 13 1960 Jan [54]
Explosion Kianga, near Moura, Queensland 13 1975 Sep 20 Kianga Mine explosion[188]
Air accident Sydney Airport 13 1980 Feb 21 Light aircraft suffers engine failure[189]
Air accident near Alice Springs, Northern Territory 13 1989 Aug 13 1989 Alice Springs hot air balloon crash[190]
Earthquake Newcastle, New South Wales 13 1989 Dec 28 1989 Newcastle earthquake
Bushfire Victoria – Portland, Plenty Ranges, Westernport, Wimmera and Dandenong districts 12* 1851 Feb 6 "Black Thursday" bushfires. *Approximately 12 fatalities, one million sheep, thousands of cattle, 50,000 km² burnt.[191]
Flood Windsor, New South Wales 12 1867 Jun 21 12 members of the Eather family swept away in flood.[192]
Shipwreck Calgardup Bay, Western Australia 12 1876 Dec 1 SS Georgette[193]
Bushfire Gippsland, Victoria 12 1898 Feb 1 "Red Tuesday" bushfires. 2,600 km² burnt, 12 people killed, 2,000 buildings destroyed.[191]
Bridge collapse Hobart, Tasmania 12 1975 Jan 5 Tasman Bridge disaster. The bulk ore carrier Lake Illawarra collided with the bridge, causing a section to fall onto the vessel. 7 crewmen died as the ship sank. 5 people perished as their cars plummeted off the edge.
Air accident Adavale, Queensland 12 1983 Aug 28 A charter flight from Windorah to Toowoomba broke up in flight and crashed on the evening of 28 August 1983, near Adavale.[194]
Explosion Moura, Queensland 12 1986 Jul 16 Explosion in Moura No 4 Mine[195]
Fire Dungog, New South Wales 12 1991 Aug 2 Palm Grove Hostel fire[196]
Serial killing Remains discovered in Snowtown, South Australia 12 1992–1999 Snowtown murders.[197]
Road accident Boondall, Queensland 12 1994 Oct 1 Boondall bus crash[198]
Shipwreck Fraser Island 11 1864 Mar 19 The Panama was driven onto sand on the western coast of Fraser Island, near Sandy Cape during a cyclone early on 19th March.[199] The death toll was 11 or 12 sources vary).[200][201]
Rail accident Near Horsham, Victoria 11 1951 Feb 24 A train collides with a bus at a level crossing.[202]
Air accident Cairns, Queensland 11 1975 Oct 23 A de Havilland Heron DH114 aircraft crash landed near Cairns Airport on the night of 23 October, killing all 11 occupants.[203]
Air accident Mount Emerald, Queensland 11 1990 May 11 Cessna 500 jet aircraft collided with terrain 15 km south of Mareeba Airfield.[204]
Explosion Moura, Queensland 11 1994 Aug 7 Explosion in Moura No 2 Mine[205]
Rail accident Near Kerang, Victoria 11 2007 Jun 5 Kerang train crash. A V/Line train collides with a truck at a level crossing.[206]
Fire Kingston, Queensland 11 2011 Aug 24 House fire[207]
Fire Quakers Hill, New South Wales 11* 2011 Nov 18 Quakers Hill Nursing Home fire. As of 9 January 2012, NSW health officials claimed a total of 21 out of 96 residents died but police could only conclusively prove 11 perished directly as a result of the fire.[208][209]
Shipwreck Warrnambool, Victoria 10 1921 Jan 9 Motorlaunch Nestor sinks in the Hopkins River at Warrnambool, Victoria 10 minutes into a pleasure cruise. Of the 80 on board 10 were drowned. Victoria's worst ferry disaster.
Road accident Wangaratta, Victoria 10 1993 Nov 2 Crash between a semi-trailer truck and a bus on Melbourne Cup Day 1993. 10 members of the Anglo-Indian Association died when their bus heading to Corowa for a Melbourne Cup outing collided with a car-carrier semi trailer.
Heat wave Eastern and Southern regions Australia 10+ 1997 Jan – Feb Strong likelihood of additional unreported deaths[210]
Rail accident Near Traveston railway station, Queensland 10 1925 Jun 9 10 died and 48 injured when a passenger carriage and luggage van of the Rockhampton Mail plunged off a high trestle bridge.[211]
Air accident Canberra 10 1940 Aug 13 Senior War Cabinet Ministers, Chief of Staff and others killed when their plane crashed in fine weather.
Bushfire Wangaratta, Victoria 10 1943 Dec 22 Out-of-control grassfires during severe drought.[81]
Air accident Near Redesdale, Victoria 10 1945 Jan 31 Crash of Stinson Tokana caused by fatigue crack in wing spar.
Massacre South Australia 10 1971 Sep Clifford Bartholomew, Father, kills 10 members of his family[212]
Air accident Near Leonora, Western Australia 10 1988 Dec 16 Mitsubishi MU-2 accident.[213]
Storm/flood Hunter and Central Coast regions, New South Wales 10 2007 Jun 8 – 11 Storm and flooding[214]

Significant incidents resulting in fewer than 10 deaths[edit]

Disaster Location Deaths Date Notes
Bushfire Gippsland, Victoria 9 1932 Feb 4 Locations affected included Gilderoy, Noojee and Erica in North Gippsland. Worst incident was at Erica where six people were killed.[215]
Bushfire Longwood, Victoria 9 1965 Jan 17–19 Death toll included seven members of one family who were lost when their car crashed and was engulfed in the fires.[216]
Rail accident Violet Town, Victoria 9 1969 Feb 7 Violet Town rail accident. Head-on collision after driver died at controls.[217]
Fire Kings Cross, New South Wales 9 1981 Aug Rembrandt Apartments Hostel Fire. Fire.[218]
Massacre Melbourne 9 1987 Dec 8 Queen Street massacre. Shooting massacre
Air accident Williamtown, New South WalesLord Howe Island 9 1994 Oct 2 Seaview Air Aero Commander 690 crashes between Williamtown, NSW and Lord Howe Island.[219]
Fire Kew, Victoria 9 1996 Apr 8 Kew Cottages fire. Fire at a Melbourne home for the disabled kills nine men. Coronial inquest in 1997 finds there was no proper fire safety system in place at the time of the fire.
Landslide Gracetown, Western Australia 9 1996 Sep 27 5 adults and 4 children died when a cliff face collapsed at Cowaramup Bay near Gracetown (Margaret River)[220][221]
Bushfire Eyre Peninsula, South Australia 9 2005 Jan 11 Eyre Peninsula bushfire.[222]
Storm Melbourne, Victoria 9 2016 Nov 21 Nine people died of thunderstorm asthma and approximately 8,500 sought hospital treatment after a storm hit Melbourne.[223][224]
Insurrection Norfolk Island 8 1834 Jan 15 Convict mutiny. Six convicts and two guards killed. 11 convicts were later executed.[225]
Civil unrest Broome, Western Australia 8 1920 Dec 23–26 Broome Race Riots. Brawling and rioting between Japanese and Koepanger (Malay & Timorese) pearl divers.[226]
Air accident Snowy Mountains, New South Wales 8 1931 Mar 21 Southern Cloud
Air accident Jervis Bay, New South Wales 8 1943 Apr 14 Two RAAF Bristol Beauforts collided whilst performing demonstration flight for war correspondents on board a naval vessel.[227]
Bushfire Wandilo, South Australia 8 1958 Apr 8 firefighters died[228]
Explosion Sandy Bay, Tasmania 8 1974 Sept 5 8 died when newly installed boiler at Mt. St. Canice laundry breached after transport interlocks were not removed from safety valves and boiler was subsequently fired.[229]
Bushfire Western Victoria 8 1977 Feb Around Streatham was the worst affected area.[230]
Road accident Near Gordonvale, Queensland 8 1987 Feb 4 Bus returning from school camp veered off-road. All of those lost were students of Cairns State High School aged 15–17. 12 more people were seriously injured. Subsequent inquests ruled that faulty brakes on the vehicle were the cause of the accident.[231]
Air accident Off Whyalla, South Australia 8 2000 May 31 Whyalla Airlines Disaster. All on board drowned, one body was never recovered.
Explosion Off Dampier, Western Australia 8 2001 Nov 18 Nigo Kim cargo ship explosion.[232]
Massacre Manoora, Cairns, Queensland 8 2014 Dec 19 Cairns child killings. Eight children were fatally stabbed in a Murray Street residence.[233]
Serial killing Near Berrima, New South Wales 7+ 1989–1994 Backpacker Murders. The remains of seven backpackers found in the Belanglo State Forest; the killer remains the prime suspect for another 16 unsolved murders and is a person of interest for another 14. There is evidence he may not have acted alone.
Mine disaster Collinsville, Queensland 7 1954 Oct 13 On 13 October 1954, seven men were killed in the deepest part of the Collinsville State Coal Mine about 1.5 kilometres from the entrance of the No. 1 tunnel, when an outburst dislodged 900 tonnes of earth.[234] The Collinsville mine disaster was the largest loss of life in a Queensland mine since the Mount Mulligan mine disaster in 1921.[235]
Boating accident Wilson Inlet, Western Australia 7 1911 Nov 5 Seven members of the same family drowned when a small yacht Litle Wonder was hit by a squall.[236]
Boating accident Lake Hume, New South Wales 7 1963 Aug 15 Canoeists on Outward Bound outdoor education trip drowned when their canoes capsized in rough weather and in cold waters.[231]
Flood Canberra 7 1971 Jan 26 1971 Canberra flood. Seven motorists were killed when their cars were swept into a creek.[237]
Serial killing Near Truro, South Australia 7 1976–1977 Truro murders. Remains of seven young women found in bushland.
Fire Sydney 7 1979 Jun 9 Fire engulfs the Ghost Train ride at Luna Park Sydney. May have been arson.[238]
Air accident Near Charleville, Queensland 7 1981 Sep 19 Cessna U206 accident.[239]
Massacre Milperra, New South Wales 7 1984 Sep 2 Milperra massacre. Shooting massacre
Massacre Clifton Hill, Victoria 7 1987 Aug 9 Hoddle Street massacre. Shooting massacre
Flood Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria 7 1990 Nyngan and Charleville Flood. More than a million square kilometres of flooding.[240]
Air accident South Stradbroke Island, Queensland 7 1991 Mar 3 Sea World helicopter accident.[241]
Massacre Strathfield, New South Wales 7 1991 Aug 17 Strathfield massacre. Shooting massacre
Massacre Terrigal, Central Coast NSW 7 1992 Central Coast massacre. Shooting massacre
Air accident Young, New South Wales 7 1993 Jun 11 Piper PA-31-350 Chieftain plane crash.[242]
Massacre Hillcrest, Queensland 7 1996 Jan 25 Peter May killed his estranged wife, three children and parents-in-law before committing suicide.[243]
Cyclone Around Cairns, Queensland 7 1997 Mar Cyclone Justin. 1 death from landslide. There were also 26 deaths from the same cyclone in Papua New Guinea.[244]
Rail accident Glenbrook, New South Wales 7 1999 Dec Glenbrook train disaster. Collision by a CityRail Intercity train into the rear wagon of an Indian Pacific train after "Stop and Proceed".
Heat wave around Adelaide, South Australia 7 2000 Feb [245]
Rail accident Waterfall, New South Wales 7 2003 Jan Waterfall rail accident. Excessive speed resulting in derailment after driver died at the controls and 'dead man' safety device failed to function.[246]
Massacre Osmington, Western Australia 7 2018 May 11 Osmington shooting. Three adults and four children were shot dead in an alleged murder-suicide on a rural property.[247]
Industrial accident Spotswood, Victoria 6 1895 Spotswood Sewer Disaster. The drilling of an underground sewer in Melbourne went too close to the Yarra River.[248]
Massacre Alligator Creek near Mackay, Queensland 6 1911 Nov 17 A mother and five children were murdered in their home.[249]
Battle Broken Hill, New South Wales 6 1915 Jan 1 Battle of Broken Hill. Two Indian immigrants open fire on a train carrying picnickers.[250]
Landslide Between Blackwood, South Australia and Belair, South Australia 6 1928 Jan 31 Hills Railway line disaster. A railway embankment collapsed during tunnel demolition, entombing 6 railway workers.[251][252]
Air Raid Drysdale Mission, Northern Territory 6 1943 Sep 26 Missionary Priest & five Aboriginal children killed in Japanese bombing raid on RAAF aerodrome located beside the Mission.[253]
Flood Kempsey, Macleay Valley 6 1949 Aug 26-27 Six people died in the flood, five in Kempsey.[254] The Kempsey Traffic Bridge reached a peak height of 8.42m on the afternoon of 27 August.[255]
Air accident East Sale, Victoria 6 1962 Aug 15 Four RAAF Vampire jets crashed in a military gunnery range area during rehearsals for a low-level aerobatic display. Four pilots and two passengers killed.[256]
Air accident 18 km south of Wilkurra Homestead, New South Wales 6 1974 Apr 2 Cessna 310H accident.[257]
Air accident Near Merimbula, New South Wales 6 1976 Feb 29 Piper PA-32 accident.[258]
Air accident Near Kingscote Airport, Kangaroo Island, South Australia 6 1977 May 15 Cessna 210K accident.[259]
Flood Sydney and Penrith, New South Wales 6 1978 Feb–Mar [260]
Air accident Norseman Airport, Norseman, Western Australia 6 1978 Jun 11 Beechcraft D-55 Baron accident.[261]
Air accident Essendon, Victoria 6 1978 Jul 10 Aircraft with a crew of two and one passenger crashed into houses shortly after take off from Essendon Airport. 6 members of one family were killed.[262]
Air accident Near Shepparton, Victoria 6 1979 Aug 30 Cessna P206C accident.[263]
Serial killing Tynong North and Frankston, Victoria 6 1980 Dec Remains found in bushland. Investigation still open.[264][265]
Air accident Koolan Island, Western Australia 6 1984 Dec 23 Cessna 210L accident.[266]
Air accident Near Bankstown Airport, New South Wales 6 1985 Jun 7 Cessna 210N accident.[267]
Flood Hawkesbury, New South Wales 6 1986 Aug Hawkesbury and Georges River Flood.[268]
Air accident Essendon, Victoria 6 1986 Sep 3 Air Ambulance Cessna (call signal RED) crashed on take off from Essendon Airport after single engine failure.[269]
Fire Kings Cross, New South Wales 6 1989 Sep 17 Downunder Hostel fire. Arson attack.[270]
Flood/cyclone Southern Queensland and northern New South Wales 6 1990 Feb 3-7 Tropical Cyclone Nancy crossed the coast near Byron Bay, then moving back out to sea. It brought extremely heavy rain which led flash flooding, with 6 lives lost to drowning.[58][271]
Rail accident Brooklyn, New South Wales 6 1990 May 6 Commuter train crashed into a stalled chartered steam train.[272]
Air accident Tarago, New South Wales 6 1992 Jun 19 Beechcraft Baron accident.[273]
Air accident Geraldton, Western Australia 6 1992 Aug 25 Beechcraft Baron accident.[274]
Air accident Launceston, Tasmania 6 1993 Sep 17 A Piper PA-31-350 Chieftain collided with powerlines and crashed near Launceston Airport, killing six of the ten people on board.[275]
Air accident Weipa Airport, Weipa, Queensland 6 1994 Mar 21 Britten-Norman BN-2A-21 Islander accident.[276]
Maritime accident Tasman Sea 6 1998 1998 Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race. 5 boats sank and 6 people died.
Air accident Hamilton Island, Queensland 6 2002 Sep 27 Piper Cherokee Six aircraft crashed shortly after take-off. All six occupants, five of which were foreign nationals, perished.[277]
Road accident Cardross, near Mildura, Victoria 6 2006 Feb 18 Cardross road accident. Car ploughs into group of teenagers, driver flees.
Sinking Sydney Harbour 6 2008 May 1 6 killed and 9 injured when two boats collided.[278]
Road accident Penshurst 6 2011 Nov 11 A car and truck collided and subsequently caught fire at an intersection near Penshurst. Four occupants of the car died at the scene, along with the truck driver, and a fifth occupant of the car died later in hospital.[279]
Air accident Near Gympie, Queensland 6 2012 Oct 1 De Havilland DH84 Dragon crashed in dense bushland, killing all six on board.[280]
Flood Tasmania, ACT & New South Wales 6 2016 Jun 5–8 Three deaths occurred in Tasmania at Latrobe, Ouse and Evandale.[281] One death occurred at Cotter Dam in the ACT. Two deaths occurred in NSW, one near Bowral, the other in Leppington.[282]
Vehicle attack Melbourne 6 2017 Jan 20 January 2017 Melbourne car attack
Air accident Cottage Point, New South Wales 6 2017 Dec 31 2017 Sydney Seaplanes crash. A de Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver seaplane crashed in Jerusalem Bay, killing all 6 people on board including Richard Cousins, CEO of British foodservice company, Compass Group.[283]
Police siege Glenrowan, Victoria 5 1880 Jun 28 Planned ambush of police train by outlaw Ned Kelly and his gang was thwarted and instead became a hostage situation at Glenrowan hotel. Three gang members and two hostages were killed.[284]
Sinking North of Bermagui, New South Wales 5 1880 Oct 9 Mystery Bay disappearance. Crew of 5 men in a small boat disappears off the NSW south coast. Boat found at Mutton Fish Point (now Mystery Bay) with some of the crews belongings.
Landslide Cairns, Queensland 5 1900 May 31 Riverstone landslide. A tramway cutting caves in on workers, at Gordonvale.[285]
Storm Sydney 5 1937 Jan 25 A tornadic thunderstorm moved through Sydney on the afternoon of 25th January. Five people died.[286]
Air accident Lamington National Park, New South Wales 5 1937 Feb 19–20 Crash of Australian National Airways Stinson Model A VH-UHH Brisbane. Four men died in initial crash, fifth man killed in accidental fall the following day whilst trying to reach help. Two survivors rescued nine days later.[287]
Drowning Bondi Beach, Sydney, New South Wales 5 1938 Feb 6 'Black Sunday'- Approximately 200 swimmers were dragged out by severe undertow caused by three freak waves. Surf Lifesavers were credited with saving at least 180 people.[288]
Air accident Nhill, Victoria 5 1943 May 13 Avro Anson During a training mission from Mt Gambier to Nhill crashed in fog just 8 miles north east of Nhill.[289]
Rail accident Sydenham, New South Wales 5 1953 Sydenham rail disaster. Wrong-side failure causes rear-end collision of two trains
Air accident Near Gove Airport, East Arnhem Region, Northern Territory 5 1969 Dec 22 Cessna 402 accident.[290]
Air accident Parafield Airport, Parafield, South Australia 5 1975 Mar 3 Beechcraft D-55 Baron accident.[291]
Air accident Fitzroy Station, Northern Territory 5 1975 Mar 13 A Cessna 310N collided with a radio mast and subsequently crashed.[292]
Air accident Parafield Airport, Parafield, South Australia 5 1976 Feb 1 Airborne collision between a Rossair Cessna 172M and a Piper PA-28 Cherokee.[293]
Suicide air attack Alice Springs Airport 5 1977 Jan 5 Connellan air disaster A disgruntled ex-employee deliberately flew light aircraft into Connellan Airways building. Roger Connellan, son of the company's founder, was among those killed.
Air accident Mount Cataract, Queensland 5 1977 May 26 Cessna 310R accident.[294]
Air accident Near Moorooduc, Victoria 5 1980 Sep 28 Airborne collision between a Cessna 172N and a glider.[295]
Presumed air accident Barrington Tops National Park 5 1981 Aug 9 VH-MDX disappeared
Air accident Archerfield, Queensland 5 1982 Jan 5 A Cessna 411A crashed into an annex, killing the pilot and four people on the ground.[296]
Air accident Near Lang Lang, Victoria 5 1982 Jan 7 Bell 206B accident.[297]
Air accident Near Cairns, Queensland 5 1982 Sep 30 Cessna 210 accident.[298]
Massacre Inland Motel at the base of Uluru 5 1983 Aug 18 Douglas Crabbe rammed his 25-ton Mack truck through the wall of the motel's bar.[299]
Air accident 33 km West of Peterborough, South Australia 5 1985 Oct 22 Piper PA-32 accident.[300]
Air accident Chipping Norton, New South Wales 5 1986 Aug 17 A Piper PA-32 crashed into the roof of a factory, killing five of the six occupants on board.[301]
Riot Pentridge Prison, Melbourne 5 1987 Oct 29 Five prisoners die in fire in Jika Jika Maximum Security Wing. Fire was started by inmates as a protest.[302]
Air accident Cravens Peak Station, Queensland 5 1989 Apr 7 Cessna 172 accident.[303]
Air accident Near Roma, Queensland 5 1989 Sep 28 Beechcraft Baron accident.[304]
Heat wave Southern South Australia and northern Victoria 5+ 1990 Jan Likelihood of additional unreported deaths.[305]
Air accident Wondai, Queensland 5 1990 Jul 26 Beechcraft King Air accident.[306]
Air accident Off East Sale, Victoria 5 1991 Oct 29 RAAF Boeing 707 crash.[307]
Air accident Moormbool West, Victoria 5 1992 Jun 12 Piper PA-32R accident.[308][309]
Heat wave Townsville region 5 1994 Jan [310]
Flood Southern Queensland and Northern New South Wales 5 1996 May Heavy flooding in Southern Queensland and Northern New South Wales, with areas west of Brisbane and the Grafton area worst affected.[311]
Air accident Near Katherine, Northern Territory 5 1997 Aug 14 Cessna 210M accident.[312]
Bushfire Linton, Victoria 5 1998 Linton bushfire. Wildfire engulfs five volunteer firefighters.[313]
Air accident Willowbank, Queensland 5 2006 Jan 2 Skydiving Cessna 206 plane crash.[314]
Massacre North Epping, New South Wales 5 2009 Jul 18 Lin family murders
Air accident Caboolture Airfield, Caboolture, Queensland 5 2014 Mar 22 Skydiving Cessna 206 plane crash.[315]
Massacre Lockhart, New South Wales 5 2014 Sep Geoff Hunt fatally shot his wife and three children on the family property before committing suicide in a dam.[316]
Flood Caboolture, Queensland 5 2015 May 2 Cars were swept off roads by floodwaters in Caboolture.[317]
Air accident Essendon, Victoria 5 2017 Feb 21 2017 Essendon Airport Beechcraft King Air crash
Flood/cyclone North and Central Coast, Queensland 4–5 1990 Dec & Jan 1991 Extensive damage from flooding caused by Cyclone Joy[318][319]
Heat wave Melbourne 4+ 1990 Dec Likelihood of additional unreported deaths[320]
Insurrection Norfolk Island 4 1846 Jul 1 Cooking pot uprising. One overseer and three constables murdered. 17 convicts were later executed, with many wounded in battle.[321]
Air accident Lady Julia Percy Island, Victoria 4 1944 Feb 15 RAAF Avro Anson crashed on island near Western Victorian coast. Crew had become disorientated in darkness, mistaking island for the nearby mainland.[322]
Sinking Cairns, Queensland 4 1947 Sep 13 HMAS Warrnambool. Sunk while clearing minefields after World War II.[323]
Landslide Steavensen Falls, Victoria 4 1968 Jan 9 Four teenage bushwalkers killed when section of cliff broke away and rolled downhill to group's location. Three others survived with injuries.[231]
Road accident Lamington National Park, Queensland 4 1979 Apr 21 Brisbane Girls Grammar school bus crash.[231]
Boating accident Lake Alexandrina, South Australia 4 1987 Aug 22 Canoeists on Scout excursion lost when their canoes capsized in rough weather and in cold waters. Two scouts and two adult supervisors drowned.[231]
Bushfire Eastern Seaboard, New South Wales 4 1994 Jan Over 800 bushfires. 4 of the dead were firefighters[324]
Road/sport accident Stuart Highway, Northern Territory 4 1994 May 24 2 checkpoint officials and 2 occupants killed when a competing car lost control at high-speed and ploughed into a checkpoint.[325]
Fire Indian Ocean 4 1998 May 5 HMAS Westralia. Unsuitable fuel hose in engine room bursts, spraying diesel which ignites, creating a fireball below deck.[326]
Mining accident Parkes, New South Wales 4 1999 Nov 25 A gust of air made its way along the access tunnel causing a truck to roll over two, while falling rocks killed the other pair.
Air accident Newman, Western Australia 4 2001 Jan 26 Fuel starvation on Western Australia Police aircraft.[327]
Landslide Cradle Mountain National Park 4 2001 Feb 18 4 people died when landslide causes a bus to fall into a ravine[328]
Air accident Toowoomba, Queensland 4 2001 Nov 27 Plane hit powerlines[329]
Rail accident Salisbury railway station, Adelaide 4 2002 Oct 24 The Ghan passenger train hit a car and a bus at a busy level crossing at Salisbury, in Adelaide's north.[330]
Bushfire Canberra 4 2003 Jan 18 2003 Canberra bushfires. Bushfire reaches capital city suburbs[331]
Drowning Mackenzie Falls, Grampians, Victoria 4 2004 Dec 25 Four relatives lost on Christmas Day outing.[332]
Sinking Sydney Harbour 4 2007 Mar 28 HarbourCat ferry Pam Burridge collides with pleasure cruiser Merinda.[333][334]
Flood Sydney, Hunter Region and Central Coast, New South Wales 4* 2015 Apr 21–24 Flood deaths occurred in Maitland and Dungog. *An additional four deaths occurred in NSW as a result of vehicle accidents on wet roads.[335]
Bushfire Esperance, Western Australia 4 2015 Nov 17 Three of the dead were foreign nationals.[336]
Air accident Barwon Heads, Victoria 4 2016 Jan 29 Light aircraft en route to King Island crashed into ocean near Victorian coast.[337]
Amusement park accident Coomera, Queensland 4 2016 Oct 25 Thunder River Rapids Ride accident at Dreamworld.[338]
Massacre Stringybark Creek, near Tolmie, Victoria 3 1878 Oct 26 Three policemen murdered by outlaw Ned Kelly and his gang.[339]
Civil unrest Melbourne CBD, Victoria 3 1923 Nov 2–4 Victorian Police Strike. This event prompted widespread looting and rioting in central Melbourne.[340]
Fire/explosion Port Adelaide, South Australia 3 1924 Apr 26 Three firemen died after the SS City of Singapore, fully loaded with flammable cargo, caught fire and exploded. 10 other people were injured.[341]
Air accident Tambo, Queensland 3 1927 Mar 24 Qantas de Havilland DH-9C crash[342]
Motorsport accident Penrith, New South Wales 3 1938 June 13 During 10-mile car race at Penrith Speedway, the lead car lost control and swerved into spectators.[343]
Serial killing Melbourne 3 1942 May Three Australian women were murdered in Melbourne between 3 and 18 May 1942 by US soldier Eddie Leonski who was convicted and executed in November that year.[344]
Air accident Maroochydore, Queensland 3 1950 Dec 30 A routine shark patrol during the Christmas holidays, crashed into a crowded beach killing 3 children and injuring 14 others.
Air accident Near Sandy Hollow, New South Wales 3 1952 January 26 An Auster aircraft crashes four miles from Sandy Hollow, killing three.[345]
Cyclone Townsville, Queensland 3 1971 Dec Cyclone Althea. Cyclone and storm surge.[54]
Terrorism Sydney 3 1978 Feb 13 Sydney Hilton bombing. Bomb explosion outside Sydney Hilton Hotel during the CHOGRM[346]
Cyclone south of Innisfail, Queensland 3 1986 Feb Category 3 Cyclone Winifred in region from Cairns to Ingham.[54][347]
Drowning Mount Field National Park, Tasmania 3 1990 Jul 3 School outdoor excursion. Two students and one teacher drowned whilst crossing creek.[231]
Bushfire Ferny Creek, Victoria, 3 1997 Jan 21 3 dead in bushfire lit by arsonist.
Drowning Sandbar Beach, Pacific Palms, New South Wales 3 1998 Dec 15 Young Christian group on beach trip, three drowned when caught in rip current.[231]
Flood Katherine, Northern Territory 3 1998 Jan Flooding cause by ex-tropical cyclone Les.[54]
Severe storm Hunter Region, New South Wales, Sydney and central western regions 3 2001 Nov [348]
Air accident Near Hamilton Island, Queensland 3 2003 Oct 17 CQ Rescue Bell 407 Helicopter on a medical retrieval flight crashed into sea en route to Hamilton Island.[349]
Explosion Near Gladstone, South Australia 3 2006 May 9 Three people killed and two injured when a massive explosion occurred at a munitions factory in the Mid North of South Australia. The blast radius was 100 meters and the explosion was heard up to 70 km away.[350]
Road accident/fire Melbourne 3 2007 Mar 23 Burnley Tunnel Fire. Traffic accident resulting in explosion and fire.[351]
Bushfire Boorabbin National Park, Western Australia 3 2007 Dec 27 Three men were killed and one man injured when a bushfire in the Boorabbin National Park rapidly changed direction while their trucks were attempting to pass the blaze.
Air accident Lake Eyre, South Australia 3 2011 Aug 19 Three men, including journalist Paul Lockyer, were killed when an ABC helicopter crashed whilst filming a documentary on un-usual flooding occurring at Lake Eyre.[352]
Wall Collapse Melbourne, Victoria 3 2013 Mar 28 Three pedestrians killed when a brick wall collapsed in Swanston St in the CBD of Melbourne.[353]
Terrorism Sydney, New South Wales 3 2014 Dec 16 2014 Sydney hostage crisis: The hostage-taker and two hostages were killed.[354]
Workplace accident Oolong, New South Wales 3 2017 Feb 16 Three people died of carbon monoxide poisoning while cleaning the interior of a water tank on a rural property.[355]
Fire Footscray, Victoria 3 2017 Mar 1 Three homeless people died in a fire in a dis-used factory.[356]
Air accident Renmark, South Australia 3 2017 May 30 Three killed in light aircraft crash.[357]
Air accident Mission Beach, Queensland 3 2017 Oct 13 Three skydivers killed.[358]
Riot Young, New South Wales 2* 1861 June 30 Lambing Flat Riots. Over 3,000 European gold diggers attacked Chinese settlement on gold-fields. *Official death toll was two Chinese killed, but eyewitness accounts claimed that actual death toll possibly as high as 40.[359]
Air accident North Melbourne 2 1943 Sep 4 An RAAF Vultee Vengeance crashed near Macaulay railway station after giving aerial demonstration over Flemington racecourse. Both crew on board were killed.[360]
Air accident Bluff Downs, Queensland 2 1984 Apr 9 Two RAAF Mirage fighter jets collided in mid-air.[361]
Industrial explosion Longford, Victoria 2 1998 Sep 25 a large explosion at an Esso operated oil and natural gas processing plant was responsible for an almost complete shutdown of Victoria's natural gas supply for weeks thereafter. At 12:25 pm 25 September 1998 the weld on GP905 cracked and the exchanger failed catastrophically instantly killing two people.[362]
Bushfire Blue Mountains, NSW 2 2013 Oct 17 A 43-year-old father water-bomber pilot and a 63-year-old man
Bushfire Grampians, Victoria 2 2006 Jan 22 A father and son died in a bushfire in Victoria's west
Rail accident Trawalla, Victoria 2 2006 Apr 28 2 people killed in level-crossing train accident at Trawalla, near Beaufort, Victoria[363]
Electrocution Rainbow, Victoria 2 2010 Mar 16 Father and son killed on their farm whilst moving a windmill which touched overhead power lines. Two other people badly injured.[364]
Avalanche Mt Bogong, Victoria 2 2014 Jul 10 Two snowboarders buried in avalanche.[365]
Workplace accident Wetherill Park, New South Wales 2 2015 Apr 23 Two workers crushed by falling timber inside a shipping container at a truck body manufacturing centre.[366]
Bushfire Yarloop, Western Australia 2 2016 Jan 8 [367]
Air accident Wilton, New South Wales 2 2017 Jul 15 Two skydivers killed.[368]
Flood Townsville, Queensland 2 2019 Feb 4-5 [369]
Riot Brisbane, Queensland 1 1942 Nov 26–27 Battle of Brisbane. Street brawling and rioting between Australian and US military personnel. One Australian soldier was killed, over 20 Australian and US soldiers badly injured.[370]
Building implosion Canberra, ACT. 1 1997 Jul 13 Royal Canberra Hospital Implosion. Spectator killed by falling debris.[371]
Hailstorm Sydney, New South Wales 1 1999 Apr 14 1999 Sydney hailstorm; most costly single natural disaster in Australia's history, with A$1.7 billion in insured damages and approximately A$2.3 billion total (1999 values).
Asphyxiation Sydney, New South Wales 1 2001 Jan 26 Big Day Out Concert. Teenage girl crushed in mosh pit.[372]
Cyclone Queensland 1 2006 Mar 20 Severe Tropical Cyclone Larry
Mine disaster Beaconsfield, Tasmania 1 2006 Apr 25 Beaconsfield Mine collapse
Flood Mackay, Queensland 1 2008 Feb 16 Multiple storm cells resulted in flash flooding in the city of Mackay on 15 February 2008. The flooding caused millions of dollars of damage, with one person dying due to drowning.[citation needed]
Cyclone Queensland 1 2011 Feb 3 Severe Tropical Cyclone Yasi

Significant incidents of Australians being killed overseas[edit]

Excludes deaths attributable to war.

Disaster Location Deaths Date Notes
Terrorism Kuta, Bali, Indonesia 88 2002 Oct 12 2002 Bali bombings
Missile strike Hrabove, Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine 27 2014 Jul 17 Malaysia Airlines Flight 17
Tsunami Thailand and Sri Lanka 26 2004 Dec 26 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake
Air accident Denpasar, Indonesia 16 1974 Apr 22 Pan Am Boeing 707 crashes into a mountain, a total of 107 people were killed.[373]
Flood Saxeten, Switzerland 14 1999 Jul 28 Flash flood hits canyoning expedition
Terrorism New York City and Arlington County, United States 11 2001 Sep 11 11 September 2001 attacks.
Air accident Nias Island, Indonesia 9 2005 Apr 2 2005 Nias Island Sea King crash crashes while providing relief services to victims of the 2005 Nias–Simeulue earthquake
Air accident near Isurava, Papua New Guinea 9 2009 Aug 12 Airlines PNG Flight 4684
Road accident near Cairo, Egypt 6 2006 Jan 10 Tourist bus crash[374]
Air accident Republic of the Congo 6 2010 Jun 20 2010 Cameroon Aéro Service CASA C-212 Aviocar crash
Air accident Pakse, Laos 6 2013 Oct 16 Lao Airlines Flight 301
Air accident Southern Indian Ocean (presumed) 6 2014 Mar 8 Malaysia Airlines Flight 370
Road accident Yamuna Highway, Northern India 6 2016 Jan 10 Five members of an Indian-Australian family killed in car accident while traveling between Delhi and Agra, sixth member later died in hospital.[375][376]
Massacre Balibo, East Timor 5 1975 Oct 16 Balibo Five. Five Australian journalists murdered by Indonesian troops. The Indonesian government claimed that the men were unintentionally killed in a cross-fire but a 2007 inquest ruled that the journalists were deliberately murdered.[377]
Air accident Yogyakarta, Indonesia 5 2007 Mar 7 Garuda Indonesia Flight 200
Tsunami Samoa 5 2009 Sep 30 2009 Samoa earthquake and tsunami
Sinking North Atlantic Ocean 4 1912 Apr 15 Sinking of RMS Titanic. Two other Australians survived.[378]
Air accident near San Francisco 4+ 1953 Oct 29 British Commonwealth Pacific Airlines Flight 304 crashes on approach to San Francisco.
Massacre Waco, Texas 4 1993 Feb 28–19 Apr Waco Siege.[379] At least two other Australians were among the small number of survivors. A child belonging to one of the Australian victims was also lost but was listed as a US citizen.
Bridge collapse Ramat Gan, Israel 4 1997 Jul 14 Maccabiah bridge collapse
Terrorism Jimbaran and Kuta, Bali, Indonesia 4 2005 Oct 1 2005 Bali bombings
Air accident Tanjung Kupang, Johor, Malaysia 3 1977 Dec 4 Malaysian Airline System Flight 653
Fire Manoharpur, Odisha, India 3 1999 Jan 22 Australian missionary Graham Staines and sons killed in arson attack
Terrorism Jakarta, Indonesia 3 2009 Jul 17 JW Marriott/Ritz-Carlton hotel bombing
Air accident Misima Island, Papua New Guinea 3 2010 Aug 31 Cessna Citation crashed on landing. One New Zealander also killed.[380][381]
Air accident Weybridge, United Kingdom 2 1922 Apr 13 Vickers Viking, piloted by Captain Ross Macpherson Smith, crashed on test flight
Air accident Bay of Bengal 2 1935 Nov 8 Lady Southern Cross, piloted by Sir Charles Kingsford-Smith, crashes en route between Allahabad, India and Singapore
Air accident London, United Kingdom 2 1967 Nov 4 Iberia Airlines Flight 062 crashed while landing at Heathrow Airport
Air accident Los Rodeos, Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain 2 1977 Mar 27 KLM and Pan Am jumbos collide on runway (Tenerife airport disaster)
Air accident off Mauritius 2 1987 Nov 28 South African Airways Flight 295
Air accident Near Hawaii, United States 2 1989 Feb 24 United Airlines Flight 811 between Honolulu and Auckland experiences explosive decompression
Terrorism Roermond, Netherlands 2 1990 May 27 Australian tourists shot by the Provisional IRA, in the mistaken belief they are British military personnel
Terrorism Mumbai, India 2 2008 Nov 26 November 2008 Mumbai attacks[382]
Air accident near Qazvin, Iran 2 2009 Jul 15 Caspian Airlines Flight 7908
Typhoon The Philippines 2 2013 Nov 8 Typhoon Haiyan[383]
Road accident Narok, Kenya 2 2014 Sep 7 Tourist bus crash.[384]
Air accident Southern Alps, France 2 2015 Mar 24 Germanwings Flight 9525[385]
Murder Sinaloa, Mexico 2 2015 Nov 20–21 Two Australian surfers murdered.[386]
Terrorism London, Great Britain 2 2017 Jun 3 2017 London Bridge attack[387]
Fire North Kensington, London, United Kingdom 2 2017 Jun 14 Grenfell Tower fire[388]
Road accident Near Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe 2 2017 Dec 23 Two Australian tourists killed in car crash.[389]
Sinking Zeebrugge, Belgium 1 1987 Mar 6 Herald of Free Enterprise disaster.[390]
Terrorism Lockerbie, Scotland 1 1988 Dec 21 Pan Am Flight 103. Although a resident of South Africa, the victim was an Australian national.[391]
Terrorism Nairobi, Kenya 1 2013 Sep 21–24 Westgate Shopping Mall Attack.[392]
Avalanche Mt Everest, Himalayas 1 2013 Oct 16 Australian tourist killed in avalanche.[393]
Terrorism Tunis, Tunisia 1 2015 Mar 18 Bardo National Museum attack[394]
Earthquake Nepal 1 2015 Apr 25 April 2015 Nepal earthquake. Australian killed below Mt Everest in avalanche triggered by quake.[395]
Shooting Minneapolis, United States 1 2017 July 15 Australian fatally shot by US police officer.[396]
Terrorism Barcelona, Spain 1 2017 Aug 17 2017 Barcelona attacks[397]
Avalanche Tyrol, Austria 1 2019 Jan 10 Teenage boy killed in avalanche in Austrian Alps while skiing.[398]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]