Inside Sydney's last fatal shark attack 59yrs ago when model was savaged by beast who was then caught and put on display

AS glamorous actress Marcia Hathaway toasted her engagement with her fiance on the shoreline of a Sydney bay, little did she know the horror that awaited.

Despite her local success, the tragic star was – up until now – best known as the last person to be killed by a shark in the Oz city some 59 years ago.

Marcia, 32, was lapping up the sunshine on a boat with her partner Frederick Knight and pals in Middle Harbour on January 28, 1963, when, as she shielded her fair complexion from the blazing 30C heat, friends dared Marcia to prove she could swim in a playful bet that would prove fatal.

Moments after Marcia and Frederick dipped into the shallow waters of Sugarloaf Bay, she thought she had been ambushed by an octopus in just 30 inches of water.

“We had been in the water for about five minutes and I was about 12 to 15 feet away from Marcia with my back to her," Frederick later recalled, reports Mosman Collective.

“And then I heard her call out ‘I think an octopus has got me.’

Frederick watched on in horror as she was then dragged under the waterby a bull shark as he bravely tried to wrestle the beast – even straddling its back at one point as he fought to free Marcia.

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But the fearsome creature had sunk its teeth deep into Marcia's thigh,

“I kept hold of Marcia and kept trying to drag her away from the shark,” Frederick told the Sydney Morning Herald after the attack.

“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 was soft and spongy.”

Friends waded in to help, with Frederick and another pal eventually pulling Marica free as nearby boat owners tore sheets from the bunks for tourniquets. 

As she bled out, Marcia was hauled aboard another boat, with an ambulance meeting her and Frederick at Mowbray Point.

But to add to their unbelievable bad luck, the ambulance broke down – forcing more than a dozen men to attempt to push the vehicle up a steep hill before conceding they would have to wait for a second ambulance.

As Marcia lost consciousness, Frederick was stunned at how calm she remained.

“When I asked her if it hurt, she told me, 'No I am not in pain',” he recalled.

“I have seen men die, but I have never seen anyone as brave as Marcia, I think the last words she said to me were, ‘Don’t worry about me dear, God will look after me'."

Tragically, by the time another ambulance had arrived an hour later, Marcia had stopped breathing.

Incensed by Marcia's death, locals returned to the scene and tossed bait in the water in a bid to snare her killer.

They reportedly later caught the bull shark they believed killed the actress, and put it on display.


But while it had been hoped such horror deaths had been left to the history books, Sydney this week reported its first fatal shark attack since Marcia's death almost six decades ago.

Panicked fishermen and beachgoers watched on in horror as a man was dragged underwater and mauled by a shark at Sydney's Little Bay Beach.

Rescue crews on jet skis and boats frantically hunted for the swimmer before human remains were found in the water and, according to reports, parts of a wetsuit were also recovered.

Shocked witnesses claimed the swimmer was attacked by a 15ft great white.

A distressing video of the violent ambush showed the shark thrashing around in the bloodied water just metres from the rocks.

Fisherman Kris Linto told Nine News: "Some guy was swimming and a shark came and attacked him vertically.

"We heard a yell and turned around it looked like a car had landed in the water, a big splash then the shark was chomping at the body and there was blood everywhere.

"It was really bad."

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