Shark Attack at Highgate Hill 1902

Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald and General Advertiser Tuesday 21st January 1902


In spite of repeated warnings of the danger numbers of young fellows still continue to bathe in the river in the vicinity of South Brisbane Cemetery.

About 12 o’clock on Sunday, in the river off Dornoch-terrace, Highgate Hill,a youth named Charles Jones who had been bathing with a number of companions, sustained injuries from an encounter with a shark which[…] are sufficiently severe to necessitate his detention in the General Hospital.

It appears, from the statement of the injured lad’s brother, that Jones, who is a newsboy aged 16, living with his parents at Carlton-street, Highgate Hill, had been for a swim with his companions.[…] Charles swam about 15 yards out from the bank, immediately afterward crying out that a shark had bitten him.

Bull Shark Brisbane River

A Bull Shark caught in the river 2016 (ABC News)

Bull sharks still exist in considerable numbers in the Brisbane River. According to Wikipedia , there have been four recorded  shark attack fatalities  in 1862, 1880, 1901 and 1921. There have also been many dogs attacked.

There were a number of enclosed swimming pools in the Brisbane river at various times to protect bathers including at locations such as Alice street in the city, Mowbray Park and Dutton Park. However swimming in the river was popular, especially amongst boys, but not without accidents. An article in the Telegraph of the 12th January 1903 reported that :

Mortimer O’Leary, aged 9 years, and Maurice O’Leary, aged 6 years, were drowned in the
Brisbane River, near Dornoch Terrace, West End, on Saturday afternoon.

Swimming enclosure on the river at Dutton Park 1921

Dutton Park Baths ca 1921

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