The waters along Mackay and Whitsundays have been the scene of a number of vicious shark attacks.
The waters along Mackay and Whitsundays have been the scene of a number of vicious shark attacks.

Grisly find inside man-eater: Mackay’s shark attack horror

A SEVERED leg and foot with the boot still on - found in the belly of a huge shark - marked a gruesome end to the vicious attack of a dockworker in waters off Mackay.

It was the night of August 26, 1935 and Patrick Quinn was working as a stevedore on the barge Terka to the cargo vessel Alynbank at Flat Top Island.

The 38 year old was about to cross from one vessel to another when he fell overboard, and immediately grabbed a buoy that had been thrown to him.

A boat was lowered and it had almost reached Quinn, who was clinging to a buoy, when suddenly he disappeared - his body was never recovered.

But later that year, on October 19, crew members from another cargo ship Aldinga caught a 12 foot (3.6m) shark - in its stomach were several human bones including a lower leg and foot with a boot on.

Not long after this another shark was hooked by crew from the Alynbank at Flat Top, off Town Beach, and its belly also contained human bones.

Earlier reports suggested in both instances the remains were thought to be those of Quinn.

This grisly tale is one of a number of horrific shark attacks in the Mackay region.

Article on a shark attack that killed a 16 year old at Blacks Beach.
Article on a shark attack that killed a 16 year old at Blacks Beach.

Two teen boys were among the tragic deaths that have shocked the community.

Sarina High teen Nicholas Bos was nearly ripped in two by a four-metre tiger shark at Blacks Beach while more than 60 children played in the water.

He was among the 130 students and nine teachers enjoying a day at the beach on November 30, 1984 for the school's annual Christmas outing.

The 16 year old and three schoolfriends - Darren Keating, Mark Scott and Chris Petersen - were sailing a catamaran about 400 metres from the beach when Bos fell overboard.

The Daily Mercury reported he had been swimming for a lifejacket "when the man-eater ripped out his stomach and rib cage" about 12.15pm.

The three boys were inexperienced sailors and it took them a little time "to turn the catamaran and retrieve Bos' torn body from the bloodstained sea".

He was unconscious when they lifted his body onto the boat. A doctor, who had been on the beach when the alarm was raised, had said nothing could be done to save the teenager.

TRACKER: The mega sharks lurking off our coastline

There have been a number of fatal shark attacks across the Mackay-Whitsunday region over the decades. Picture: Alix Sweeney
There have been a number of fatal shark attacks across the Mackay-Whitsunday region over the decades. Picture: Alix Sweeney

On February 26, 1956, 15-year-old Barry Antonini was frolicking in the Pioneer River when he was mauled by a 1.8 metre shark.

A news report at the time said the teen and two friends - Colin Harris and Barry McLeod - had been swimming nude at 11am when the attack occurred.

The schoolboy was "bitten deeply on the calf of the right leg and part of the muscle was removed. He was bleeding profusely."

A police officer, who had been fishing nearby, was brought to the scene and applied a tourniquet to the injured leg and sent McLeod for an ambulance.

It was reported, before Antonini was taken away, he said "it looks as though I will have to have my leg taken off". He died on his way to hospital.

MONSTER CAUGHT: Jim Hamilton, with his rifle, and others with the shark that was hooked after Frank Gurran was mauled in Dump Creek in December 1939.
MONSTER CAUGHT: Jim Hamilton, with his rifle, and others with the shark that was hooked after Frank Gurran was mauled in Dump Creek in December 1939.

It was the first fatal shark attack in 17 years after the death of railway fireman Frank Gurran on December 14, 1939.

A 2.6 metre bull shark mauled the 20 year old while swimming in just under four metres of water at Rubbish Dump Creek, which was a popular swimming hole.

He had been fishing and decided to go for a swim about noon, so he jumped off the rowing boat he was in. As soon as he surfaced, he cried "shark" but onlookers initially thought it was a prank.

"The shark seized Gurran's right leg, but struggling violently, the youth kicked the attacker off with his left foot. The shark returned to the attack, ripping its teeth through the left foot," a report at the time stated.

Within two hours, a man named Charles Simpson caught the shark on a handline.

The report stated "it was not finally landed until it had been hit on the head with an axe and 14 shots from a pea rifle had been fired into it".

Gurran died days after the attack. Years later the Rubbish Dump Creek, named because of a nearby dumpsite, became the site of the Caneland Central shopping complex.

Almost 60 years ago, Lamberts Beach was the scene of a ferocious shark attack that killed Pioneer Valley teen Margaret Hobbs. Picture: Rae Wilson
Almost 60 years ago, Lamberts Beach was the scene of a ferocious shark attack that killed Pioneer Valley teen Margaret Hobbs. Picture: Rae Wilson

The waters at Lamberts Beach turned red during the savage attack on Pioneer Valley teen Margaret Hobbs, whose armed were ripped off during the vicious mauling on December 28, 1961.

The 18-year-old student teacher had been swimming with her fiance Martyn Steffens in about 1m of water at 4.15pm when he heard a noise and felt a sharp pain in his right hand.

He was pulled into the water, but managed to free his hand when the three-metre shark cut directly towards Hobbs, who disappeared beneath the surface in a thrashing frenzy.

A report noted parts of the shark's body could be seen coming out of the water as it attacked.

As Steffens began striking the animal in a bid to help Hobbs another man Graham Robert Jorgenson, who witnessed the double attack from the beach, rushed into the water to help.

The two men managed to drive the shark away but not before the teen's right arm was severed at the shoulder, her left arm was severed just before the elbow and her right thigh was severely bitten and had to be surgically amputated.

She died two days later on December 30 from her injuries. Steffen's right hand was surgically amputated at the wrist.

The ferocity of the attack sparked an intense shark hunt with multiple hooked over the next few days including tiger sharks up to three metres in length.

Tiger Shark
Tiger Shark

List of shark attacks (and deaths) since 1889 in the Mackay and Whitsunday regions

•November 22, 1889: E.J. Sharpe was killed by a shark after falling in the water at Bowen.

•November 24, 1910: Cecil Smith was bitten on the foot, by what reports described as a 2.7 metre blue shark, while 'bathing' in waters off Mackay.

•May 22, 1923: Japanese skipper Keizo Masoyo was in shallow waters on a reef off Bowen when he was savaged mauled about noon. His injuries included "his right side being so badly torn that he died almost instantly".

•March 30, 1935: Samuel, a Thursday Islander, was diving from a dinghy for trochus shell when he was bitten on the buttocks by a shark.

•August 26, 1935: Patrick Quinn, 38, fell overboard at Flat Top, near Mackay, where he hung on to a lifebuoy and was presumed to have been killed by sharks. His body was not recovered, but about three weeks later two sharks were caught with human remains, thought to be those of Quinn, investigators concluded.

Sharks attached Hannah Papps and Justine Barwick in Cid Harbour within 24 hours of each other in September, 2018.
Sharks attached Hannah Papps and Justine Barwick in Cid Harbour within 24 hours of each other in September, 2018.

•December 14, 1939: 20-year-old Frank Gurran died after being attacked by a 2.6m shark at Rubbish Dump Creek, Mackay (near where Caneland Central is now). He was bitten on his left foot and right leg bitten, which was later surgically removed.

•October 4, 1950: 25-year-old Valentine Sichter was fishing at night when he was bitten by a 1.2 metre shark. He received cuts to his right thumb and knee.

•February 26, 1956: 15-year-old Barry Keith Antonini was killed after being attacked by a shark when he dived into the Pioneer River near Mackay. According to the database, he had a large amount of tissue removed from his leg, which severed an artery.

•November 27, 1960: 41-year-old Harry Bicknell was attacked by a shark, with injuries to his right shoulder while swimming at Black's Beach.

•December 28, 1961: 18-year-old Margaret Hobbs was attacked by a 3m shark at Lambert's Beach. She had her right arm severed at the shoulder, left hand severed, right thigh bitten and surgically amputated, and died a day after the attack.

Alistair Raddon had his foot bitten off in October 2019 while swimming in Hook Passage in the Whitsundays.
Alistair Raddon had his foot bitten off in October 2019 while swimming in Hook Passage in the Whitsundays.

•December 28, 1961: At the same time as Margaret was attacked, the shame shark attacked a second person - 24-year-old Martyn Steffens - at Lambert's Beach. His hand had to be surgically amputated.

•October 21, 1972: 24-year-old Norman Hargreaves was spearfishing at Stevens Reef, about 60 nautical miles off Mackay, when a shark bit him on the right arm.

•November 30, 1984: 16-year-old Nicholas Bos was sailing on a catamaran and fell into the water 1km off Black's Beach, when a 4m tiger shark killed him.

•January 5, 1993: A 1.5-metre shark attacked 21-year-old Daniel Lance McNally while he was spearfishing at Line Reef, northeast of Hamilton Island. He suffered a 15cm cut to his forearm.

•January 25, 1997: A 1.8-2.1m shark bit 27-year-old Derek Burrows on both legs at Whitehaven Beach while he was snorkelling.

Dr Daniel Christidis was flown to Mackay Base Hospital after he was mauled in Cid Harbour in November 2018. He died from his injuries. Photo: Daryl Wright
Dr Daniel Christidis was flown to Mackay Base Hospital after he was mauled in Cid Harbour in November 2018. He died from his injuries. Photo: Daryl Wright

•February 28, 1997: A 2-3m tiger shark bit Gerald Rauch, 30, on the arm in the Whitsunday Passage while scuba diving.

•February 13, 2010: A two-metre shark mauled Patricia Trumbull, 60, while she was snorkelling at Dent Island about 1.13pm. She received cuts to her legs and bottom.

•September 19, 2018: Justine Barwick, 46, was mauled while swimming at Sawmill Bay in Cid Harbour in the Whitsundays about 5pm. She received severe injuries to her right thigh, which doctors managed to save. It was the first of three attacks in two months at Cid Harbour.

•September 20, 2018: Barely 24 hours after Justine's attack, 12-year-old Hannah Papps was savagely bitten on her upper left leg about 1.34pm also at Cid Harbour. As a result, her leg had to be surgically amputated.

•November 5, 2018: Dr Daniel Christidis, 33, was mauled to death after slipping off a paddleboard into the water at Cid Harbour about 5.30pm. He was flown to hospital with severe bites to his left thigh, right calf and left wrist. He died a short time later.

A tiger shark is retrieved from Cid Harbour after being caught in the drumlines following two attacks in late 2018.
A tiger shark is retrieved from Cid Harbour after being caught in the drumlines following two attacks in late 2018.

•March 26, 2019: Ryan Bowring, 25, believes he jumped on top of a 1.5 metre grey reef whaler when he was bitten in a "freak accident" at Block Reef in the Whitsundays. He received injuries on the hip and bottom.

•October 29, 2019: A shark mauled two English backpackers while they were wrestling and thrashing about in waters near Hook Island. Alistair Raddon, 28, had his foot bitten off and Danny Maggs, 22, suffered a serious injury to his calf when they were attacked while snorkelling at Hook Passage about 10.17am.

SUBSCRIBER EXCLUSIVE INTERACTIVE: QLD SHARK ATTACKS