The last Fraser Coast shark attack

"GOD, Doug, I'm done." Those were the last words spoken by 19-year-old Alf Gassman who was killed by a shark in Hervey Bay on December 5, 1922.

The shark tore out almost the whole of his right side from the armpit to the thigh and as deep as the spine, the Maryborough Chronicle reported at the time.

Mr Gassman, who was holidaying in the Bay from Cordalba, near Childers, was to have returned home on the Saturday before the Tuesday attack but had decided at the last minute to stay an extra few days.

The shark kept circling in the vicinity for an hour or so after the attack, coming in quite close to the shore on four occasions to the spot where it had bitten the boy.

Several lines were thrown out and one man waded in and fired four shots into the shark with no apparent effect.

Below is an excerpt of the story published in the Chronicle on December 6, 1922.

FOR over 40 years at least, Pialba has enjoyed an unbroken immunity from man-eating sharks until yesterday morning, when a young man named Alfred J. Gassman, 19 years of age, lost his life with tragic suddenness as a result of being terribly torn about by a savage specimen in a few feet of water.

The incident occurred at a point between Scarness and Torquay, about 9.15am, when Gassman, who was staying at a boarding house, went down to bathe with Messrs Oscar Bonney, of Gympie, Douglas Pothecary (an uncle of deceased) and Vincent Thomas Sittell.

The party went into the water just when the tide was reaching its highest point, and almost immediately the shark savely attacked Gassman, tearing out almost the whole of his right side from the armpit to the thigh, and as deep as the spine.

It had also inflicted other gashes on his body with its teeth.

He was quickly assisted ashore and conveyed to a bathhouse but the unfortunate young fellow died shortly afterwards.



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