Fatal dingo attack on Fraser Island, Queensland 30 Apr 2001. Photograph of Clinton Gage and floral tribute at his memorial service 04 May 2001.
Fatal dingo attack on Fraser Island, Queensland 30 Apr 2001. Photograph of Clinton Gage and floral tribute at his memorial service 04 May 2001.

DEATH IN PARADISE: History of tragedies on Fraser Island

THE idyllic surrounds of Fraser Island mask hidden dangers every would-be visitor should be aware of.

While Saturday's fatal shark attack, which took the life of Sunshine Coast dad Matthew Tratt, was the region's first in almost 100 years, it was far from the first tragedy on the heritage listed island.

Properly following guidelines and planning correctly can make Fraser Island an ideal holiday spot for families and adventurers.

However, as these tragedies show, danger lurks in this piece of paradise.

DINGO ATTACKS

Clinton Gage killed by dingo

Perhaps the most high profile tragedy in the island's recent history was the fatal dingo attack on nine-year-old Clinton Gage.

The boy was attacked and killed in April, 2001.

His death led to the culling of 31 island dingoes, causing public outcry.

Fatal dingo attack on Fraser Island, Queensland 30 Apr 2001. Rangers holding the two dead dingoes that were shot after being responsible for the death of boy Clinton Gage at Waddy Point campsite.
Fatal dingo attack on Fraser Island, Queensland 30 Apr 2001. Rangers holding the two dead dingoes that were shot after being responsible for the death of boy Clinton Gage at Waddy Point campsite.

Since then, dingo conservationists have worried about the safety of children on the island.

It also opened up the conversation about erecting fences on the island - a process which continues today.

Dingo attack on toddler eerily reminiscent of Azaria death

It was an attack eerily reminiscent of one of the most chilling moments in Australian history.

Lindy Chamberlain's famous words, which made headlines 39 years ago, came to mind when 14-month-old boy Hunter Allister was ripped from his bed by a dingo on Fraser Island.

The attack, which took place while the toddler's parents slept about 12.30am on Good Friday 2019, thankfully was not as tragic as Azaria's violent death, with the little boy left with puncture wounds to his head and neck, as well as skull fractures.

## EMBARGOED until 9:30 PM AEST 2/6/2019 ## Hunter Allister was attacked by a dingo on Fraser Island when camping with his parents Luke & Sarah Allister – Photo Supplied Ch 9
## EMBARGOED until 9:30 PM AEST 2/6/2019 ## Hunter Allister was attacked by a dingo on Fraser Island when camping with his parents Luke & Sarah Allister – Photo Supplied Ch 9

It also led to the dingo responsible for the attack being destroyed by authorities.

Just months before this serious attack, another boy, 10 and his mother were attacked by dingoes on the island.

The French tourists suffered multiple injuries in February 2019.

BOATING DISAPPEARANCES

Search called, missing fisherman feared dead

The boat of missing fisherman Paul Brazier was found capsized in the water north west of Rooney Point in May 2020.

Mr Brazier's wife, Terri, made an impassioned plea for his safe return.

 

Paul Brazier and his wife Terri.
Paul Brazier and his wife Terri.

Skipper, crew killed in trawler tragedy

The bodies of FV Cassandra skipper Matthew Neil Roberts, 61, and crewman David Barry Chivers, 36, were never found after the prawn trawler capsized off Fraser Island in April 2016.

Their deaths, along with the fate of the FV Diane crew off the coast of 1770, led to a Coronial Inquest in 2019.

The inquest findings urged changes to Department of Fisheries processes.

FV Cassandra, which capsized off the coast of Fraser Island in April 2016. Photo: Contributed
FV Cassandra, which capsized off the coast of Fraser Island in April 2016. Photo: Contributed

TOURIST TRAGEDIES

Missing teens found dead at Fraser Island lake

What was meant to be the trip of a lifetime turned into a living nightmare for two families on the other side of the world.

Lake McKenzie on Fraser Island, famed for its pristine waters, white sandy beach and safe, calm swimming conditions, claimed the lives of two 16-year-old Japanese students in April 2019.

Lake McKenzie. Fraser Island. Picture: Shirley Sinclair
Lake McKenzie. Fraser Island. Picture: Shirley Sinclair

Tourist chokes on food

German tourist Patrick Roma, 33, was camping on the eastern side of the island, near the Maheno wreck, when he choked on a large piece of steak on January 13, 2010.

Death prompts talk of changes to tagalong tours

THE safety of tagalong tours on Fraser Island was discussed in a meeting, with changes being considered after the death of a British tourist in 2014.

Chris and Melanie Fox lost their daughter Jade, 22, when the four-wheel drive she was travelling in rolled on October 31.



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