Strathfield massacre

Coordinates: 33°52′22″S 151°05′35″E / 33.8729°S 151.0931°E / -33.8729; 151.0931
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Strathfield massacre
Wade Frankum
Coordinates33°52′22″S 151°05′35″E / 33.8729°S 151.0931°E / -33.8729; 151.0931
Date17 August 1991 (1991-08-17)
c. 3:30 p.m.–3:40 p.m. (GMT+10)
TargetStrathfield Plaza
Attack type
Mass shooting, massacre, mass murder, murder–suicide
Weapons50cm Bowie knife
Norinco SKS[1]
Deaths8 (including the perpetrator)
PerpetratorWade John Frankum

The Strathfield massacre was a shooting rampage at a shopping centre in Strathfield, Sydney, Australia, on 17 August 1991. The shooter was Wade Frankum, who killed himself as police arrived at the scene. The incident left eight dead and six wounded.


Wade John Frankum was born in 1958 and had worked at various occupations including as a retail assistant. In the apartment where Frankum lived alone,[2] police found a large collection of violent literature and video copies of violent films. One of his books was a well-thumbed copy of American Psycho and although there is no direct evidence that the controversial novel had inspired Frankum, a number of suggestions that it had done so were made in newspapers [citation needed]. Frankum also owned a copy of Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment. Investigators suggested that both his reading and viewing habits contributed to his motivation for the shooting.[3]


At around 1:00 p.m., 33-year-old Frankum went to Strathfield Plaza, a shopping centre in the Inner West of Sydney. He sat in a café called The Coffee Pot, where he drank a number of cups of coffee.[citation needed]

At approximately 3:30 p.m., apparently without provocation, Frankum pulled a large knife from an army surplus duffel bag and repeatedly stabbed one of two teenage girls who were sitting behind him, killing the girl.[4]

Leaving the knife in the body of the girl, he pulled a Chinese-made SKS[5] semi-automatic rifle out of his duffel and shot around the café, killing five more people. He then shot the café's owner dead and fled into the main area of the centre, where he killed his last victim.[6]

Frankum ran into the rooftop car park and held a car owner at gunpoint, demanding that she take him to Enfield, a nearby suburb.[4] Before the woman could start her car, police began to arrive on the scene with Constable Darren Stewart the first to arrive. He was shot at in his police car by Frankum from the car park rooftop, Stewart had run through the Strathfield shopping centre to engage Frankum, but, upon arriving at the carpark rooftop, Frankum shot numerous rounds into the door leading to the carpark, pinning down Stewart. Upon hearing more approaching sirens, Frankum apologised to the woman and then got out of the car, knelt on the ground, and committed suicide by shooting himself in the head.[6]


Frankum's shooting spree lasted around 10 minutes. He killed seven people and injured six,[4] none of them personally known to him.


  • Roberta Armstrong, age 15
  • Robertson Kan Hock Voon, age 51
  • Patricia Rowe, age 37
  • Carole Dickinson, age 47
  • Joyce Nixon, age 61
  • Rachelle Milburn, age 17
  • George Mavris, age 51[8]

Bravery award[edit]

Greg Read, 41, a father of three and Vietnam veteran, was awarded the Star of Courage for saving the lives of eight people during the rampage.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "COURTS AND THE LAW Strathfield gunman was a caring person, sister tells inquest". The Canberra Times. Vol. 66, no. 20, 670. Australian Capital Territory, Australia. 15 November 1991. p. 13 – via National Library of Australia.
  2. ^ (18 August 1991). A Masked Gunman Kills 6 at a Mall in Australia, The New York Times
  3. ^ Lowe, Barry (1995). Media Mythologies. University of New South Wales Press. p. 65. ISBN 0868400068.
  4. ^ a b c Brenden Hills (12 August 2008). "Strathfield Massacre". News Local. News Community Media. Archived from the original on 1 January 2013.
  5. ^ "Gunman held licence for $3". The Canberra Times. Vol. 65, no. 20, 584. Australian Capital Territory, Australia. 21 August 1991. p. 3 – via National Library of Australia.
  6. ^ a b "Strathfield Massacre: How Wade Frankum killed seven and injured six before turning gun on himself on August 17, 1991". The Daily Telegraph. 2 March 2015.
  7. ^ "Man 'planned mass murder in a very public place'". The Canberra Times. Vol. 66, no. 20, 668. Australian Capital Territory, Australia. 13 November 1991. p. 3 – via National Library of Australia.
  8. ^ (17 August 2011). Strathfield massacre victims remembered.

Further reading[edit]

  • Milton, R (1993). Profile of a Mass Killer : Wade Frankum at Strathfield Plaza. Blackstone Press, Bondi Junction, NSW. ISBN 1-875114-26-2.

External links[edit]