1993 Perth tank rampage

The 1993 Perth tank rampage refers to an event in the early hours of 27 April 1993, when 27-year-old Gary Alan Hayes stole an armoured personnel carrier (APC) – referred to in the media as a "tank" – from Irwin Barracks and drove it through the Perth CBD, ramming police targets and government buildings.[2][3] It is the first of only two events of this kind in Australia, the second happening in Sydney in 2007.[4]

1993 Perth tank rampage
M113 at the WA Army Museum June 2018.jpg
A former Australian Army M113 similar to the one used in the 1993 rampage
Date27 April 1993 (1993-04-27)
Time4.40am - 6.15am
Duration90 minutes
LocationPerth, Western Australia
TypeGrand theft
TargetWembley police station
WA police headquarters
CIB headquarters
Law courts
ParticipantsGary Alan Hayes
OutcomeDamages to police and government buildings, 7 police vehicles, 5 private vehicles, and a bus stop.[1]
Charges19 counts of criminal damage, burglary & assault of police officers
AwardsCommissioner's Certificate of Merit awarded to constables D. Shaw and A.J. Power

Background and rampageEdit

Hayes had a history of mental health issues, and previous encounters with the police over criminal behaviour, including charges of breaking and entering a delicatessen in 1987, stealing $78,000 worth of counter-terrorist equipment from the Special Air Service Regiment barracks in November 1992, and illegal possession of a firearm in April 1993. In 1987 he was forcibly admitted to the maximum-security wing of Graylands Hospital due to paranoid delusions, and treated for schizophrenia.

On the morning of 27 April, Hayes stole an Australian Army M113 APC (without ammunition) from the army depot. Some reports have alleged police abuse and harassment as the motive for his behaviour.[5] Hayes drove the APC through a fence and into the side of the Wembley police station at 4.40am. He then rammed a police van and drove towards the police headquarters in the CBD, where he smashed through the security gates and rammed six police vehicles, a motorcycle, and several private vehicles. He then caused damage to the CIB building before circling Parliament House, where police negotiators failed in efforts to get him to surrender.[6] Three special forces officers climbed onto the vehicle and dropped a tear gas canister into the vehicle, after which he was arrested following a struggle.[7]


The media coverage treated the event as a surreal and somewhat humorous event. When queried as to the ease with which the vehicle had been stolen, Brigadier Terry Nolan stated that "If you'd have asked me this yesterday I would have said it's not easy to do it, but the evidence of this morning would indicate that it's perhaps easier than I would have thought."[3]

In court Hayes claimed his actions were retaliation against the police for three attempts to kill him.[8] His defence was later rejected and he was sentenced to four and a half years in Casuarina Prison with the possibility of parole after 17 months.[9] He was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. Hayes died in 2017.[10]


  1. ^ "Man accused of 'rampage' seeks release". The Canberra Times. 9 June 1993. p. 16.
  2. ^ "Rampage in the City". Western Australian via Geocaching. The Western Australian. Retrieved 26 July 2018.
  3. ^ a b Hughes, Judy (29 April 1993). "Army Vehicle in two-hour city rampage". The Canberra Times. p. 1.
  4. ^ Baker, Jordan (17 July 2007). "Rampage puts tank's owner right off track". The Sydney Morning Herald.
  5. ^ "What happened to Gary Hayes?". Green Left Weekly. Green Left Weekly. 6 September 2016. Retrieved 26 July 2018.
  6. ^ Winterton, Helen; Aisbett, Norman; Butler, Julie (29 April 1993). "One-man war on sleepy city". The West Australian. p. 3.
  7. ^ "Army to investigate 11 ton rampage". Sydney Morning Herald. Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 26 July 2018.
  8. ^ "Man charged over army tank said police tried to kill him". The Canberra Times. 1 May 1993. p. 15.
  9. ^ "Jail for 'rampage'". The Canberra Times. 19 December 1993. p. 4.
  10. ^ "Tank Man Tales". The Western Australian. The Western Australian. Retrieved 26 July 2018.