Who Was The Last Person That Died From A Shark Attack In Sydney Harbour?

“The water was stained with blood and I never thought I would get her away from it.” Frederick Knight

It was a sunny day on the 28th of January 1963. Marcia Hathaway, 32 and her fiancé Frederick Knight went out on a boating trip around the harbour with a few friends.

Hathaway, known for her role in the forgotten film The Shadow Of The Boomerang was wading in Sydney harbour just out from Milsons point when she felt her right calf tear open. Blood filled the water around her, and the 32-year-old actress screamed out to nearby witnesses believing she had been bitten by an octopus.

Image: Marcia Hathaway, Photo: Fairfax Archives

“She said she thought she had been attacked by an octopus,'' her fiancé, Knight later explained.

Knight, rushed over to Hathaway’s side. Wrestling the shark to stop it from dragging her further into deep waters.

'I saw a fin and its girth as I straddled it. My legs were wide apart, and its body touched both of them,'' he explained to Fairfax media, 54 years ago.

''The water was stained with blood, and I never thought I would get her away from it. I think at one stage I had my foot in its mouth. It felt soft and spongy.''

Sheets were torn from the nearby cruiser, Valeeta to bandage the wound. Knight swam for help, organising an ambulance to meet the boat at Mowbray Point.

Image: Helpers try unsuccessfully to push the broken-down vehicle up a steep incline. Photo: Fairfax Archives

Unfortunately, for Hathaway, the ambulance broke down just before the road from the harbour. 30 people joined in to push the ambulance towards Hathaway, but the hill was too steep. By the time the second ambulance had arrived, Marcia Hathaway had already stopped breathing.

There have been other shark bites recorded in the harbour, but no deaths since Marcia Hathaway.

Lead Image: National Geographic

Related Articles

Discuss this article


Never miss a Nat Geo moment

Your email address
We use our own and third-party cookies to improve our services, personalise your advertising and remember your preferences. If you continue browsing, or click on the accept button on this banner, we understand that you accept the use of cookies on our website. For more information visit our Cookies Policy AcceptClose cookie policy overlay