SHARK CAPITAL? Bites, deaths and sightings in Mackay


Barry Keith Antonini, a 13-year-old schoolboy, died on the way to hospital after being attacked by a shark in the Rockleigh reach of the Pioneer River on February 26.  

He and two friends, Colin Harris and Barry "Jock" McLeod, had ridden to Rockleigh on bicycles.  

They decided to go swimming, diving into the water from a steep ledge. One of his companions had just climbed out when he heard the cry of "shark".   

Although brutally mauled on one leg, Barry Antonini reached the bank.   

McLeod ran to some nearby fishermen and took one of them, a detective with Mackay police, R. G. Field, back to his friend.  

Det Sgt Field applied a tourniquet and sent McLeod for the ambulance.  

No-one was home at the first house the boy came to so he rode to the hospital where the ambulance was contacted.

The injured boy was conscious while receiving emergency aid and even commented that he might lose his leg.  



Two young people were savagely mauled by a shark at Lamberts Beach on Thursday, December 28, 1961. 

Margaret Elizabeth Hobbs, an 18-year-old student teacher of Owens Creek, in the Pioneer Valley, died in the Mater Hospital on Saturday, December 30 from injuries sustained during the attack. 

A friend, Hans Martyn Steffens, of Brisbane, had part of his right arm amputated because of wounds inflicted by the shark.    The attack, of ferocious intensity, occurred just after four o'clock in the afternoon and in about 2ft 6in of water.

An eyewitness said that the two had been in the water, and then had come out to join friends on the beach, the Daily Mercury reported on December 29.   

They went back into the water and had been there only a couple of minutes when the shark struck.  

Part of its body came out of the water as it attacked, the report said.   

There was a swirl and a scramble and the water turned red from the blood of the victims.   Graham Jorgensen, a young man in the party with the victims, rushed into the water and grabbed the wildly thrashing shark. 

The Daily Mercury noted that he was the hero of the tragedy but could easily have been a victim.   

There was little he could remember, Mr Jorgensen said, except that he had seen the shark as it chopped and rolled through the water as it attacked.  

"I saw the turmoil in the water and I raced down the beach," he said.  

"When I got into the water I started thrashing about with my hands.   

"But I don't know if I actually hit the shark or not. I don't know what happened."   

After Mr Jorgensen had dragged the shark away from the young people he brought Miss Hobbs ashore and placed her on the sand.  

He then went back and helped Hans Steffens who had been holding Miss Hobbs with one arm and trying to beat off the shark.  

Jim Bovey, who saw the attack, had driven about half a mile to Slade Point where he rang the ambulance from the Hartley residence. Mrs Hartley, who was a nurse, returned with him to the beach and gave first-aid.   

At the hospital the two were given a series of blood transfusions and the Mackay Blood bank sent out a radio appeal for donors.   

Because of the savagery of the attack many people in the Mackay region, not only those closely associated with the victims, had been visibly moved and had experienced some degree of shock  

The attack, the most ferocious of the recorded attacks in Mackay waters at the time, sparked off an intense shark hunt and within the next few days several were hooked off the beach, including tiger sharks of up to 10ft in length.  



Shane Nyari.
Shane Nyari.

It took 300 stitches and seven hours of surgery to reconstruct Shane Nyari's hand after he was bitten by a two-metre bull shark.


JULY 2013

21 tiger sharks were caught off Mackay beaches and the biggest, at 3.3m, was caught off Harbour Beach.


RELATED: Mackay's monster tiger sharks


MARCH 2016

A 15 minute fight with a shark was not something angler Wayne Tomkins was expecting when he went fishing off Eimeo, but to fight it twice in the space of a few minutes was unbelievable.


MAY 2016

Fishermen were reportedly left bobbing off the coast of Dalrymple Bay on Thursday night, when a hammerhead shark they had caught jumped into their boat and sunk it.

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