The interior of the Shark Club after the November 1989 bombing.
The interior of the Shark Club after the November 1989 bombing. The Morning Bulletin archives

There were five bombs, but only two exploded

THOUSANDS of people drive past this location daily, but its infamy as the site of a near-fatal bombing has slowly been forgotten over the decades.

Now a pawnbroker, the building at the corner of Fitzroy and Bolsover streets in Rockhampton was once the vibrant Shark Club where two bombs were detonated on November 10, 1989.

 

PIECE OF HISTORY: The former Shark Club building as it is today. RIGHT: How The Morning Bulletin reported the bombs in November 1989. INSET: One of the timing devices found at the club.
PIECE OF HISTORY: The former Shark Club building as it is today. RIGHT: How The Morning Bulletin reported the bombs in November 1989. INSET: One of the timing devices found at the club. Allan Reinikka ROK111018asharkcl

The club was housed in the former Liberty picture theatre and extended into the neighbouring former Trades Hall building.

The nightclub had been closed since an arson attack on October 16, but the blast just after 3am was felt a block away at Rockhampton Police Station.

It was initially thought to be a gas explosion and firefighters immediately entered the building to put out numerous small fires.

 

NTHLIB

Police and firefighters were still in the building when the second explosion occurred about 3.30am.

This blast blew out the club's front doors and shattered the windscreen of a fire truck.

Trevor Kidd was one of the most seriously injured firefighters, hit so hard that a clip of his helmet was later found across the road.

Mr Kidd sustained massive tissue damage in his back which caused him to lose feeling in his legs and he was hospitalised for five days.

 

The bomb timing device damaged in the first Shark Club explosion in November 1989.
The bomb timing device damaged in the first Shark Club explosion in November 1989. Morning Bulletin archive

The bombs contained sticks of gelignite attached to a juice container filled with gunpowder and a timing device.

Only two of the five bombs planted at the club exploded.

After a 10-month police investigation, a Townsville man was arrested and charged in August 1990.

He stood trial in Rockhampton District Court on April 23, 1991.

 

An detonated explosive device found inside the Shark Club after the November 1989 explosions.
An detonated explosive device found inside the Shark Club after the November 1989 explosions. The Morning Bulletin archive

Todd had worked as a bouncer for two Mackay nightclubs owned by Gerard Falzon, who also owned Shark Club.

During the trial, witness statements suggested Todd may have been paid for his involvement in the bombing.

His former girlfriend also testified that he had asked her to hire a car for him around the date of the bombing, later calling her from Rockhampton.

Andrew Nicholas Todd was found guilty and sentenced to six years' imprisonment.

In passing sentence, Judge Keith Dodds said there was no intention to injure anyone "although it should have been apparent that the imprecision of the timing devices was such that all the explosions would not necessarily occur at the same time".



He tracked her car, called 200+ times daily after break-up

premium_icon He tracked her car, called 200+ times daily after break-up

MARK Jason Rogers was described by a judge as 'emotionally unhinged'

Council tackles climate change with bold new plans

premium_icon Council tackles climate change with bold new plans

ELECTRONIC cars, renewable energy and floating solar farm possible

Special history behind memorial shed burnt down by children

premium_icon Special history behind memorial shed burnt down by children

FOR some it may have just been a shed, but not for the O'Donnells

Local Partners