Skip to content Skip to main navigation

Ask RiotACT

Charity and fundraising auctions for the Canberra community

Body parts in lake (1980s)

By Dacquiri - 9 April 2011 13

I am appealing to the collective memory of Rioters to come up with a piece of not-so-ancient Canberra history. 

We went on Tim the Yowie Man’s Weird Canberra tour last night and he was interested to hear about stories and events that he hadn’t previously heard about or hadn’t been able to confirm.

One thing he wasn’t aware of was the accidental release of body pasrts (as I recall) into Lake Burley Griffin from the morgue at Royal Canberra Hospital in what I recall was the 1980s, post-1984. 

I haven’t been able to find any reference to it but believe it was certainly reported at the time.

Promised Tim I’d checkit out for him, so would welcome any assistance. Many thanks.

What’s Your opinion?


Post a comment
Please login to post your comments, or connect with
13 Responses to
Body parts in lake (1980s)
EvanJames 11:20 am 11 Apr 11

The Qbn coffin incident was in the big floods in the mid 70s. Probably led to people starting rumours in the latest floods (which weren’t quite as high and big here).

Keijidosha 10:00 am 11 Apr 11

John Moulis said :

As I recall, the fact that body parts were released into LBG came to light when the old morgue in what is now the Kingston Foreshores Development was closed in the early 1980s before being relocated to TCH.

In the autopsy room there were four drainholes in the floor. It was the usual practice to hose down the room after an autopsy and the water (with the body parts) went out via the drainholes. Three of these went into a filtering and refining system and the waste was burnt after drying out. However it was discovered when the building was demolished that one of the drainholes didn’t go into the filtering system but directly into the lake. Therefore body parts were unwittingly released into the lake for more than fifty years whilst the morgue was in operation.

It received a bit of publicity at the time and I had forgotten all about it until this post jogged my memory.

When you say the morgue in Kingston, are you referring to the one located on The Causeway? Because AFAIK it still stands today, and was being used in the mid-90’s when I visited and spoke with one of the workers there.

georgesgenitals 9:57 am 11 Apr 11

How do you know when a skeleton has the flu?

It starts coffin…

Thumper 8:40 am 11 Apr 11

“What was interesting was the recent Qbn flood, they had the police on jet skies up near QBN looking for washed up “boxes”

Err, no. As I was actually there, evacuating people, sandbagging, reporting on rising and falling water levels, that sort of stuff, I can quite legitimately and correctly say that no-one was searching for coffins in the river.

SES had flood boats out till all hours at night but they weren’t searching for coffins.

buzz819 7:35 am 11 Apr 11

vg said :

“What was interesting was the recent Qbn flood, they had the police on jet skies up near QBN looking for washed up “boxes”

No they didn’t. What rubbish

Come on vg let the boy dream. I mean you could probably have said that during the floods there was a total ban on river craft (including the Police unless a dire emergency) but that thought and that thought alone was allowing him to sleep at night.

To me it is more of a fantasy then Santa existing.

vg 10:40 pm 10 Apr 11

“What was interesting was the recent Qbn flood, they had the police on jet skies up near QBN looking for washed up “boxes”

No they didn’t. What rubbish

Dacquiri 10:01 pm 10 Apr 11

Thanks guys — triffic stuff. The episode I was remembering was definitely an accidental occurrence, and I did think it was from RCH, so all of this information is a bonus. Will pass the info to Tim the Yowie Man for inclusion on his next tour. 🙂

John Moulis 10:26 am 10 Apr 11

As I recall, the fact that body parts were released into LBG came to light when the old morgue in what is now the Kingston Foreshores Development was closed in the early 1980s before being relocated to TCH.

In the autopsy room there were four drainholes in the floor. It was the usual practice to hose down the room after an autopsy and the water (with the body parts) went out via the drainholes. Three of these went into a filtering and refining system and the waste was burnt after drying out. However it was discovered when the building was demolished that one of the drainholes didn’t go into the filtering system but directly into the lake. Therefore body parts were unwittingly released into the lake for more than fifty years whilst the morgue was in operation.

It received a bit of publicity at the time and I had forgotten all about it until this post jogged my memory.

basketcase 8:30 am 10 Apr 11

With my fading memory, I do recall some of Qbn’s old cemetery being washed into the lake at that time. maybe that was the source of the legend.

Tim the Yowie Man has a good thing going there, come back in a couple of years and those body parts would have given rise to mysterious ghostly figures floating above the lake at certain times of the year as they try to reassemble themselves 🙂

Look like it could eventually work its way into the Paranormals site at http://goo.gl/7Faxd

dr phil 7:22 am 10 Apr 11

Just go to this site and read http://www.actparanormal.com. Alot of Bodys have been found in the lake. We are still getting wash ups from the old cemetry under kings ave bridge.

What was interesting was the recent Qbn flood, they had the police on jet skies up near QBN looking for washed up “boxes”, did any one know that or does any one know if they found any?

TAD 4:22 am 10 Apr 11

Kinda.

The story I heard was that the drains at the mortuary used to feed directly into Lake Burley Griffin. As a result the carp around the area of the outflow were quite healthy from the blood etc and so was a popular fishing spot for some of the local Chinese restaurateurs.

It apparently it occured for a couple of decades until the early 80s when it became noticed and the plumbing was connected to the main sewerage.

It’s before my time, but that’s the story I heard so could be true or an urban legend.

RedDogInCan 11:41 pm 09 Apr 11

I remember this. It was the result of a plumbing mixup at the morgue (I though it was the one at The Causeway though). What happened was that the drains from the post mortem room were connected to the stormwater system instead of the sewerage system. As a result, when they hosed down after a particularly messy examination the human waste washed into the lake.

I’m pretty sure it was reported in the Canberra Times. I came to Canberra in 1986, so it would have been after that.

SSrb 11:40 pm 09 Apr 11

I just did a search of the SMH archive and an article beginning “Canberrans have been sharing their lake with morgue waste,” was published on 4 February 1986. I can’t get to the full-text through my library.

Thanks for distracting me from my assignment!

Related Articles

CBR Tweets

Sign up to our newsletter

Top
Copyright © 2017 Riot ACT Holdings Pty Ltd. All rights reserved.
www.the-riotact.com | www.b2bmagazine.com.au | www.thisiscanberra.com

Search across the site