List of massacres in Australia

This is a list of massacres and mass murders that have occurred in Australia and its predecessor colonies (some historical numbers may be approximate). Many of the massacres not listed here may instead be found in the list of massacres of Indigenous Australians. There is no uniform, global standard for what constitutes a mass murder. For the purposes of this list, the Australian Institute of Criminology definition of mass murder as having a "threshold of four or more fatalities" is used.[1]

Massacres and mass murders edit

Incident Year Location Deaths Injuries Notes
Batavia massacre 1629 Houtman Abrolhos, Western Australia 110+ unknown Massacre of survivors after the sinking of Dutch merchant ship Batavia following a mutiny.
Shipwreck survivors of the Maria massacred 1840 Coorong, South Australia 25 0 Ship travelling from Port Adelaide to Hobart was shipwrecked on the SE coast of South Australia, with all surviving the wreck. The survivors were being guided to safety by the local Narrindjeri people, but were massacred by them.
Cullin-la-ringo massacre 17 October 1861 Central Queensland 19 0 Massacre of newly arrived white settlers by Indigenous Australians.
Response to the Cullin-la-ringo massacre October 1861 Central Queensland 60-70~ unknown In response to the Cullin-la-ringo massacre, "sixty or seventy" Aboriginals were massacred by a vigilante party of eleven heavily armed white settlers accompanied by two Aboriginal trackers.[2]
Cavanagh murders 11 October 1896 Peterborough, South Australia 6 (plus 1 perp.) 0 Joseph Thyer, a sheep farmer, murdered his wife and five children before hanging himself.[3]
Murder of the Glover Family 1 March 1898 Triabunna, Tasmania 6 (plus 1 perp.) 0 A mother murdered her six children and then committed suicide.[4]
Breelong murders July 1900 Breelong, New South Wales 9 (plus 1 perp.) 0 Jimmy Governor and Jack Underwood murdered four members of the Mawbrey family and a school-teacher at Breelong near Gilgandra. Underwood was captured soon afterwards, but the Governor brothers took to the bush. During the period they were at large, ranging over a large area of north-central New South Wales, the brothers committed further murders and multiple robberies.
Bradshaw massacre 26 November 1905 (approx) Victoria River, Northern Territory 7 0 Four white men and three Aboriginal boys massacred with tomahawks by Aboriginal prisoners being transported by boat to Palmerston to stand trial for the earlier murder of two white men. One Aboriginal boy survived and reported the incident.[5][6]
Ching family murders 16 November 1911 Alligator Creek, Mackay, Queensland 6 0 George David Silva murdered six members of the Ching family by shooting and bashing. Silva was hanged at Boggo Road Gaol in Brisbane on 10 June 1912.
Battle of Broken Hill 1 January 1915 Broken Hill, New South Wales 4 (plus 2 perps.) 7 Spree shooting by two Ghans gunmen – Terror attack – by modern definition.[citation needed]
Botanic garden massacre 1924 Melbourne 4 (plus 1 perp.)[7] 2 Mass shooting; perpetrator committed suicide.
Murder of the Archur Family 26 February 1929 Devonport, Tasmania 6 (plus 1 perp.) 0 Andrew Thomas Edgar Archur murdered his five children and his wife and then set fire to their house. He killed himself after the attack.[8]
Murder of the Davies Family 21 August 1931 Perth 6 (plus 1. perp) 0 Roderick A. Davies, a 36-year-old carpenter, shot his wife and five children dead before taking his own life.[9]
Boulder and Kalgoorlie bombings 1 February 1942 Kalgoorlie-Boulder, Western Australia 14 15 Bombing of a boarding house containing 30 people in Boulder, Western Australia.[10]
Glen Innes shooting 2 July 1948 Glen Innes, New South Wales 6 0 Frederick Charles Hall, a 48-year-old labourer shot his six children to death He was sentenced to death,[11] later commuted to life imprisonment.
Murder of the Armanasco Family 12 October 1950 Collie, Western Australia 6 0 40-year-old Raymond Armanasco killed his wife and five of his children in Collie near Perth. Armanasco was later sentenced to death,[12] later commuted to life imprisonment.
Narella Street massacre 18 February 1957 Brisbane, Queensland 6 (plus 1 perp.) 1 Marian Ryszard Majka killed 6 & injured a baby in two houses on Narella Street in Brisbane before taking his own life.
Warwick Farm gassing 5–6 May 1964 Warwick Farm, New South Wales 7 0 An entire family was found gassed to death in their Warwick Farm home. The victims were Herbert Darnley, his wife, Joyce, and their five children. A note was found on the front door of the scene, indicating a murder-suicide, although no perpetrator was reported as identified.[13]
Crawford family murders 1 July 1970 Glenroy, Victoria 4 0 Elmer Crawford electrocuted and bludgeoned his pregnant wife and three children at their home, before putting the bodies into his car and pushing the car over a cliff at Loch Ard Gorge.[14]
Hope Forest shooting 6 September 1971 Hope Forest, South Australia 10 0 Rampage killing by Clifford Bartholomew, who shot dead ten members of his family.[15] It is the deadliest familicide in Australian history.
Whiskey Au Go Go fire 8 March 1973 Fortitude Valley, Queensland 15 unknown Arson attack that killed 15 people and injured many more at a nightclub.
Savoy Hotel fire 5 December 1975 Kings Cross, New South Wales 15 unknown Reginald John Lyttle set fire to newspapers in a hotel. Fourteen died from carbon monoxide poisoning and one from burns as a result of the fire.[16]
Connellan air disaster 5 January 1977 Alice Springs Airport, Northern Territory 4 (plus 1 perp.) 5 Suicide attack on Alice Springs Airport.
Weir Family Massacre 18 January 1977 Echuca, Victoria 5 (plus 1 perp.) 0 Roger Bruce Weir, 32, shot and killed his five children at their home in Echuca with a .22 calibre single shot rifle before using the weapon to commit suicide.[17]
Campsie murders 24 September 1981 Campsie, New South Wales 5 (plus 1 perp.) 0 Rampage killing by Fouad Daoud, who shot dead five members of his family before killing himself.[18]
Inland Motel murders 18 August 1983 Uluru, Northern Territory 5 16 Vehicular attack by Douglas Crabbe, who drove a truck into the bar of the Inland Motel after being refused service.[19]
Wahroonga murders 1 June 1984 Wahroonga, New South Wales 5 (plus 1 perp.) 0 Rampage killing by John Brandon, who shot dead five members of his family before killing himself.[20]
Milperra massacre 2 September 1984 Milperra, New South Wales 7 28 Shootout between two rival motorcycle gangs. One bystander was among those killed in the incident.
Pymble shooting 23 January 1987 Pymble, New South Wales 4 0 Richard Maddrell went to the family home of his former girlfriend, shot her and three others.[21]
Top End Shootings June 1987 Top End, Northern Territory 5 (plus 1 perp.) 0 Spree killing by Joseph Schwab over a five-day period. Shot dead by police.
Hoddle Street massacre 9 August 1987 Clifton Hill, Victoria 7 19 A spree shooting by Julian Knight.
Canley Vale Huynh family murders 10 October 1987 Canley Vale, New South Wales 5 0 Rampage killing by John Tran, who shot dead five members of a family.
Queen Street massacre 8 December 1987 Melbourne 8 (plus 1 perp.) 5 A spree shooting/murder–suicide by Frank Vitkovic.
Oenpelli shootings 25 September 1988 Gunbalanya, Northern Territory 5 0 Rampage killing by Dennis Rostron, shooting five members of his family at Molgawo, a remote Arnhem Land outstation near Gunbalanya (formerly known as Oenpelli).[22]
Surry Hills shootings 30 August 1990 Surry Hills, New South Wales 5 7 A spree shooting by Paul Anthony Evers who killed five people and injured seven with a 12 gauge pump-action shotgun at a public housing precinct in Surry Hills before surrendering to police.[23]
Strathfield massacre 17 August 1991 Strathfield, New South Wales 7 (plus 1 perp.) 6 A spree shooting/murder–suicide by Wade Frankum.
Central Coast massacre 27 October 1992 Terrigal, New South Wales 7 1 A spree shooting by Malcolm George Baker.
Greenough Family Massacre 21 February 1993 Greenough, Western Australia 4 0 William Patrick Mitchell murdered and sexually assaulted Karen Elizabeth Joyce MacKenzie and her three children with an axe at their remote rural property in Greenough, Western Australia. Mitchell was later convicted of the massacre and was sentenced to life with a minimum of 20 years and has been denied parole in 2013 and 2016[24] in 2019 Mitchell was banned from applying for parole for six years[25]
1993 Cangai siege March 1993 Cangai, New South Wales 5 0 Leonard Leabeater, Robert Steele and Raymond Bassett went on a nine-day rampage resulting in their taking hostages in a siege in a farmhouse at Hanging Rock Station in Cangai.
Wollongong Knife Murders 1994 Wollongong, New South Wales 4 0 Ljube Velevski, used a knife to kill his wife and three children in their Berkeley home near Wollongong in 1994.[26]
Hillcrest murders 25 January 1996 Hillcrest, Queensland 6 (plus 1 perp.) 0 Mass shooting. Peter May shot dead six members of his family before killing himself.[27]
Port Arthur massacre 28 April 1996 Port Arthur, Tasmania 35 24 A spree shooting by Martin Bryant. The deadliest mass shooting in Australia. Led to the National Firearms Agreement between Australia's states, territories and federal government, mandating licenses and registration for gun owners and users, and banning semi-automatic long guns in most cases. See Gun laws in Australia.
Murder suicide 28 June 1997 Richmond, Tasmania 4 (plus 1 perp.) 0 Peter Shoobridge cut the throats of his four daughters whilst they slept then took his own life with a rifle after cutting off one of his hands with an axe.[28]
Childers Palace Backpackers Hostel fire 23 June 2000 Childers, Queensland 15 unknown Arson attack by Robert Paul Long, which killed 15 international backpackers.
Churchill Fire 7 February 2009 Churchill, Victoria 10 unknown Arson attack by Brendan Sokaluk that killed ten people, during the Black Saturday bushfires period.
Lin family murders 18 July 2009 North Epping, New South Wales 5 unknown Blunt instrument attack that killed five members of the Lin family.
Quakers Hill nursing home fire 18 November 2011 Quakers Hill, New South Wales 11 unknown Arson attack by Roger Kingsley Dean, a nurse, which killed 11 people.
Hunt family murders 9 September 2014 Lockhart, New South Wales 4 (plus 1 perp.) 0 Murder–suicide, mass shooting, familicide. Geoff Hunt killed his wife and three children before turning the gun on himself.
Cairns child killings 19 December 2014 Cairns, Queensland 8 1 (self-inflicted by suspect) Stabbing attack and Familicide. Eight children aged 18 months to 15 years killed. Thirty-seven-year-old woman also found injured. The woman, Raina Mersane Ina Thaiday, was later charged with the murder of the children, seven of whom were hers, plus her niece.[29]
January 2017 Melbourne car attack 20 January 2017 Melbourne, Victoria 6 27 Vehicular attack. Dimitrious (James) Gargasoulas drove a Holden Commodore into Bourke St Mall, resulting in the deaths of six people and injuring 27 others. Should not be confused with the December 2017 Melbourne car attack which killed one person.
Osmington shooting 11 May 2018 Osmington, Western Australia 6 (plus 1 perp.) 0 Murder–suicide, mass shooting, familicide. A grandfather shot his four grandchildren at their home, his daughter, his wife, and then himself.[30]
September 2018 Bedford massacre 9 September 2018 Bedford, Western Australia 5 0 Stabbing, familicide. Five people were fatally stabbed or bashed in a house in the suburb of Bedford near Perth. The victims were two women, one girl aged 3, and two girls aged 18 months.[31] In April 2019, 25-year-old Anthony Harvey pleaded guilty to murdering his five family members.[32] Should not be confused with the 1879 Cape Bedford Massacre against aboriginal people.
2019 Darwin shooting 4 June 2019 Darwin, Northern Territory 4 1 Spree shooting. Four people were killed and one person suffered a critical leg injury in a mass shooting allegedly carried out with a prohibited pump-action (Category C) shotgun. The shooter, 45-year-old Benjamin Glenn Hoffman, was charged with four counts of murder and later pleaded guilty to three counts. The shooter had been released from prison on parole in January 2019 and was wearing a GPS-tracked electronic monitoring bracelet at the time of the offence.[33]
Camp Hill carjacking 19 February 2020 Camp Hill, Queensland 4 (plus 1 perp.) 0 Domestic violence incident. Rowan Baxter set fire to his estranged wife's car, killing all four occupants, before committing suicide at the scene.
2024 Westfield Bondi Junction stabbings 13 April 2024 Bondi Junction, New South Wales 6 (plus 1 perp.) 12 hospitalised Mass stabbing. Joel Cauchi entered Bondi Junction Westfield shopping centre where he stabbed multiple people before being shot by police. Five victims, four women and one man, died at the scene, while a sixth victim, a woman, died in hospital. The injured victims include a young child, whose mother was the sixth victim.[34]

Attacks causing multiple non-fatal injuries edit

Mass violent attacks which caused many injuries but few deaths.

Murders over an extended period of time edit

See also edit

Indigenous massacres and conflicts:



References edit

  1. ^ Bricknell, Samantha; Lemieux, Frederic; Prenzler, Tim (2 December 2015). "Mass shootings and firearm control: comparing Australia and the United States" (PDF). Trends and Issues in Crime and Criminal Justice.
  2. ^ "The Sydney Morning Herald". National Library of Australia. 11 December 1861. Retrieved 10 June 2018.
  3. ^ "INTERCOLONIAL". West Australian. 14 October 1896. Retrieved 28 February 2023.
  4. ^ A Terrible Tragedy – A mother murders six children, The West Australian (3 March 1898) – The Tasmanian Tragedy – Later Particulars, The West Australian (4 March 1898) – The Tasmanian Tragedy – Results of Inquests, The West Australian (5 March 1898) – The Tasmanian Tragedy – Three Bodies Exhumed, The West Australian (15 March 1898) – The Triabunna Tragedy- A Municipal Inquiry, The West Australian (6 April 1898)
  5. ^ Massacre in the Territory, The Adelaide Advertiser, 18 December 1905
  6. ^ Lewis, Darrell (1 March 2012). A Wild History: Life and Death on the Victoria River Frontier. Monash University Publishing. ISBN 978-1-921867-26-2.
  7. ^ Adams, Michael. "Melbourne's 1924 Botanic Gardens Massacre exposes Australia's chilling mass shooting legacy". Retrieved 26 September 2022.
  8. ^ Family perish in fire – Murder arson, and suicide, The Canberra Times (27 February 1929) – Father's crime, The Brisbane Courier (20 March 1929)
  9. ^ Family tragedy, The Sydney Morning Herald (22 August 1931)
  10. ^ Peter Skehan. "1942 Boulder & Kalgoorlie Bombings". The Western Australian Police Historical Society.
  11. ^ Demented father shoots 6 children, The Canberra Times (3 July 1948) – Killer of 6 convicted, The Sydney Morning Herald (1 September 1948)
  12. ^ Mother and five children are slain, Toledo Blade (13 October 1950) – Woman, five children murdered in W.A.: Man questioned, The Canberra Times (14 October 1950) – Man charged with murder of family, The Canberra Times (16 October 1950) – Death sentence for murderer of son, The Advertiser (20 December 1950) – Armanasco appeal – "Conjecture" about mental condition, The West Australian (2 March 1951) – Armanasco refused leave to appeal, The West Australian (22 March 1951)
  13. ^ Gas kills family of seven, The Sydney Morning Herald (8 May 1964) – Most fascinating crimes, The Sydney Morning Herald (13 February 1965) – Gas kills seven, note found, The Age (7 May 1964)
  14. ^ "Elmer Crawford electrocuted family, bashed daughter".
  15. ^ "Father charged after 10 killed". The Age. 7 September 1971.
  16. ^ "KingsCross.Tv 25.12.75". Archived from the original on 6 July 2011.
  17. ^ "Five Children Shot Dead - Pg. 5". The Sydney Morning Herald. 19 January 1977.
  18. ^ "Thrown out of house three days before family was killed Daoud got gun licence from Campsie police". The Sydney Morning Herald. 7 October 1981.
  19. ^ R v Crabbe [2004] NTSC 63, Supreme Court (NT)
  20. ^ "Man killed his family to spare them 'disgrace'". The Sydney Morning Herald. 26 June 1984.
  21. ^ "Richard Maddrell Massacre Pymble 1987". Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  22. ^ Bradley, Zarisha (23 August 2019). "Mass murderer who shot his wife, their children and her parents released on parole". 9 News. Retrieved 10 October 2022.
  23. ^ "Recent random mass shootings in Australia". Sydney Morning Herald. 21 October 2002. Retrieved 17 September 2010.
  24. ^ [bare URL] Kate Campbell ( 21 October 2016), Parole rejected for Greenough killer William Patrick Mitchell
  25. ^ "State's 'worst killers' set to have parole rights stripped". ABC News. 9 December 2017.
  26. ^ "Quadruple murderer Ljube Velevski". ABC News Website. Retrieved 21 May 2021.
  27. ^ "Victory for Brisbane women's services". Green Left Weekly. 6 September 2016. Retrieved 22 March 2019.
  28. ^ "Peter Shoobridge: 'Tasmanian devil' Poet murdered his four daughters". 8 September 2015. Retrieved 22 April 2018.
  29. ^ "Australia Cairns: Mother charged with eight murders". BBC News. 21 December 2014. Retrieved 21 December 2014.
  30. ^ "Four children, three adults found shot dead in Margaret River murder-suicide". ABC News. 11 May 2018. Retrieved 11 May 2018.
  31. ^ "Bedford Mass Murder". ABC News. 9 September 2018.
  32. ^ "Bedford killer Anthony Harvey pleads guilty to five counts of murdering family members". ABC News. 24 April 2019.
  33. ^ "Alleged Darwin gunman Benjamin Glenn Hoffmann charged with four counts of murder". ABC News. 6 June 2019.
  34. ^ "Bondi Junction stabbing, shooting live updates: Multiple dead, injured in Sydney's eastern suburbs; PM briefed as police probe terror links". Sydney Morning Herald. 13 April 2024.