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Photographs supplied by John Huth
The plaque commemorates the 15 people who were murdered in the Whiskey Au Go Go fire of 1973. The circular plaque, ringed with the names of the 15 dead, sits outside the Amelia Street doorway in Fortitude Valley.

The Whiskey Au Go Go fire was a fire that occurred at 2.10 am on Thursday 8 March 1973, in the Whiskey Au Go Go nightclub in Fortitude Valley Brisbane, Australia that killed 15 people. The building was firebombed, resulting in the deaths of 15 patrons and staff.

The fire began with the ignition of two 23-litre drums of diesel fuel in the building's foyer. The drums were thrown into the foyer, then ignited by a lit torch thrown through the open door. When ignited the burning diesel sent carbon monoxide up to the club's main room on the first floor. Large quantities of grease had been smeared over the stairs of the building's rear fire escape. The door of the fire escape had also been greased. The fifteen people killed had died of asphyxiation as they struggled to open the greased fire escape doors. Police believed that had they been able to open the doors they would have slipped and fallen down the steel stairs.

About 100 patrons, bar staff and entertainers had been in the club at the time of ignition. Many escaped by jumping from broken windows onto an awning and dropping 15 feet to the ground.

Two underworld figures, John Andrew Stuart, then 33, and James Richard Finch, 29, were found guilty of fire bombing the nightclub, on the corner of Amelia Street and St Paul's Terrace. During their trial Finch and Stuart loudly protested their innocence, claiming they had been "verballed": convicted based on false confessions. They both pleaded not guilty. On 23 October 1973 both were convicted of the murder of Jennifer Denise Davie, a drinks waitress at the club.  The jury found that the fire was lit as part of an extortion-terror campaign aimed at Brisbane nightclub operators, and they were sentenced to life in prison. Stuart was found dead in his cell of Boggo Road Gaol after a six-day hunger strike in 1979. Finch won his battle for release in 1988, after almost 15 years in prison. As part of his parole conditions he was deported back to his birth country, England.

After 41 years a memorial will be finally placed at the site of the March 8, 1973 Whiskey Au Go Go fire bombing where 15 people were murdered. At the time, the Whiskey Au Go Go mass murder was Australia's worst-ever mass killing.

Today marks 41 years since the horrific fire. Brisbane Central MP Rob Cavalluci and local councillor Vicki Howard have approval to include the memorial in a special "History of Fortitude Valley" event. That special feature will be unveiled shortly when the upgrades to the Brunswick St Valley Mall are made public.

Two underworld thugs, John Andrew Stuart, then 33, and James Richard Finch, 29, were found guilty of fire bombing the nightclub, on the corner of Amelia Street and St Paul's Terrace. The building still remains.

The first-ever memorial for the victims was only held last year - on March 8, 2013 - the 40th anniversary of the mass murders. The push to finally place a memorial at the site began a month later, after families at the memorial called for some form of memorial.

Cr Vicki Howard and Robert Cavallucci MP have been working on the memorial concepy which is now being finalised.

That 40th commemorative memorial was organised by deceased former journalist Tony Reeves, John Andrew Stuart's nephew, Danny Stuart and Pastor Len Donaldson, who was the preacher to John Andrew Stuart's mother, Edna Watts.
The Brisbane Times, 7 March 2014.



Address:Amelia Street & St Pauls Terrace , Fortitude Valley , 4006
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -27.455297
Long: 153.032023
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Plaque
Monument Theme:Culture
Actual Event Start Date:08-March-1973
Actual Event End Date:08-March-1973


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Saturday 8th March, 2014
Front Inscription

Desmae Selma Carroll . Darcy Thomas Day . Jennifer Denise Davie . Wendy Leanne Drew . Colin William Folster . Carol Anne Green . Petrius Franciscus "Peter"  Marcus . William David Nolan . Leslie Gordon Palethorpe . Desmond John Peters . Ernest John Peters . Brian William Watson. David John Westren . Fay Ellen Will . Paul Ferdinand Zoller . 

Site of the Whiskey Au Go Go

At 2.10am on March 8, 1973, the Whiskey Au Go Go was fire bombed.  

The popular first-floor nightclub was located at the corner of Amelia Street and St Pauls Terrace.

Fifteen people were unable to escape the fire and lost their lives.


Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au