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The Queen Street massacre
Classification: Mass murderer
Characteristics: Desire to murder a former school friend who worked in the building
Date of murders: 8
Date of murders: December 8, 1987
Date of birth: September 7, 1965
Victims profile: Judith Anne Morris, 19 / Julie Faye McBean, 20 / Annunziata "Nancy" Avignone, 18 / Warren David Spencer, 29 / Michael Francis McGuire, 38 / Marianne Jacoba Van Ewyk, 38 / Catherine Mary Dowling, 28 / Rodney Gerard Brown, 32
Method of murder: Shooting (sawed-off M1 carbine)
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Status: Broke a window on the floor and jumped to his death on Queen Street

In 1987 Melbourne law student Frank Vitkovic rampaged through an Australian Post Office building killing 8 and injuring 17 before leaping to his death from the 11th floor.


Frank Vitkovic (c. 1965 - December 8, 1987) was an Australian mass murderer responsible for the Queen Street massacre.

At 4:00 P.M. on December 8, 1987, Vitkovic, a former law student at Samaritan Catholic College in Preston, Melbourne, Australia, walked into a building in Melbourne's Queen Street holding a brown paper bag and carrying a sawed-off M1 carbine.

He entered the fifth floor offices of the Australia Post, pulled a sawn-off shotgun from the bag and began firing at fleeing workers, killing a young woman office worker. Vitkovic went from floor to floor, randomly shooting at targets in the elevators or in offices.

On the twelfth floor, Vitkovic's gun was wrestled away from him by an office worker named Frank Carmody. The weapon was immediately hidden in a refrigerator by another worker.

Vitkovic then broke a window on the floor, and despite attempts by postal workers to save him, he jumped to his death on Queen Street.


The Queen Street massacre was a tragedy that resulted in the deaths of 8 people, and serious injury to 5 more, as well as severely traumatising many many more individuals, on the afternoon of December 8, 1987.

The massacre occurred at the offices of Australia Post when, at around 4:00pm, former law student, 22 year old Frank Vitkovic, walked into the building in Melbourne's Queen Street holding a brown paper bag and carrying a sawn-off shotgun.

The motivation for the massacre was Vitkovic's desire to murder a former school friend who worked in the building, and then to take out as many others as possible before ending his own life. Earlier that day he had travelled to the University of Melbourne with the same murderous intent, but his intended target was not on-campus, thus he proceeded to Queen Street.

On entering the fifth floor office where the second intended victim worked, Vitkovic pulled a sawn-off shotgun from the bag and began firing at fleeing workers, killing a young woman office worker. The friend chosen as the original target escaped unharmed. Vitkovic then moved from floor to floor, where he walked through office areas picking his targets randomly, shooting some workers at close range execution style as they cowered under their desks, as well as murdering those in the elevators.

The massacre ended on the 12th floor, when the gun was wrested from Vitkovic by office worker Frank Carmody, and hidden in a refrigerator by another worker. Vitkovic then lunged for a broken window and plunged to his death (although some reports indicate that he was pushed). Carmody was recommended for a bravery award after his actions in disarming the killer.

Victorian Police Minister Race Mathews and Attorney General Jim Kennan also witnessed the event from a building diagonally opposite while gathered for a meeting.

The murderer's death was also viewed by many who had barricaded themselves inside the 18 floors of the Australia Post building, because the building opposite was a mirrored glass building. All these workers were barricaded in their offices from 4:00pm until 8:00pm ... they had heard gunshots echoing up the stairwells around 4:00pm and, at first believing that the philatelic section was being robbed, had been told by management to barricade themselves in the safest of their offices.

All these people had no knowledge of what was really occurring, and their only information, over these four hours, was misinformation from televisions in their offices - television news services were reporting that many gunshots had been heard, that people were barricaded in their offices, that scores of people may have been murdered or might lay dying, and that police were not entering the building because of the possibility of organised terrorists.

The police only entered the building around 8:00pm, after the murderer had thrown himself to his death. During these four hours, many people were severely traumatised, and continue to suffer debilitating post traumatic stress disorder to this day.


The Queen Street massacre was a spree killing suicide that occurred on December 8, 1987 at the Australia Post offices at 191 Queen Street in Melbourne, Australia. The attack resulted in nine fatalities, including the perpretrator, and five injuries.


At around 4:20pm Frank Vitkovic entered the building at 191 Queen Street, Melbourne, carrying a sawn-off M1 carbine in a brown paper bag.

Vitkovic entered the fifth floor office of the Telecom Employees Credit Co-operative where a former friend, Con Margelis, worked. Margelis was called to the counter and briefly spoke with Vitkovic. Vitkovic then pulled his weapon from the bag. Margelis ducked behind a counter; Vitkovic began firing, killing a young woman office worker, Judith Morris. A robbery alarm was activated by a staff member at 4.22 pm. Margelis escaped the office unharmed, and hid in the female toilets. Vitkovic then took an elevator to the 12th floor, to the Australia Post Philately security section. There Vitkovic shot and injured a man and a woman, pointed his gun at a woman sitting at her desk, only to pan his aim to the left and shoot dead Julie McBean and Nancy Avignone. A man in the corner office on this level, Warren Spencer, also died.

Vitkovic then ran down the stairs to level 11, firing indiscriminately. Vitkovic charged into the computer training centre, shooting Michael McGuire at point blank range, killing him. Vitkovic then moved to the north east corner of the office floor, cornering several office workers at their desks. Marianne Van Ewyk, Catherine Dowling and Rodney Brown were fatally shot in this area, some while cowering under their desks. Three other workers were wounded here. A male office worker Donald McElroy (who had been shot once) tackled Vitkovic while another man, who had been shot several times, wrestled the rifle from him. A wounded female worker, Rosemary Spiteri, took the rifle and hid it in a refrigerator.

Tony Gioia had tackled Vitkovic and the wounded Frank Carmody had taken his rifle. Both men were later awarded Australia's second-highest bravery decoration, the Star of Courage.

Vitkovic climbed through an open window, apparently trying to climb onto an external ledge of the building. Gioia held him by the ankles, trying to prevent his escape. Vitkovic kicked free and fell to his death on the pavement below.

No one died in the building's lifts. Vitkovic did not fire on police or into the street. One bullet pierced a window on the 11th floor. It was believed that around 1,000 people were in the building at the time of the shootings. After the fall police and members of the special operations group searched the building for accomplices.

Vitkovic had fallen at 4.27 pm; police started their search of the building at 4.30 pm. At 5.00 pm the Special Operations Group confirmed that the dead man on the street was the gunman and the all clear was given for ambulance officers to enter the building to attend to the injured.

Victorian Police Minister Race Mathews and Attorney General Jim Kennan also witnessed the event from a building diagonally opposite while gathered for a meeting.


  • Judith Anne Morris, 19
  • Julie Faye McBean, 20
  • Annunziata "Nancy" Avignone, 18
  • Warren David Spencer, 29
  • Michael Francis McGuire, 38
  • Marianne Jacoba Van Ewyk, 38
  • Catherine Mary Dowling, 28
  • Rodney Gerard Brown, 32

All died of gunshot wounds.

Brown was still alive when police arrived on the scene but later died. The doctor who performed several of the autopsies told the inquest that even had Brown been taken to a neurological unit within 15 minutes of being shot, his chances for survival would have been "very slight".

Frank Vitkovic

Frank Vitkovic was born 7 September 1965 to a Croatian father, and an Italian mother. He grew up in the Melbourne suburb of West Preston. He attended Redden Catholic College (formerly Immaculate Heart College, Preston, later renamed Samaritan Catholic College) in Preston. He started a law degree at Melbourne University in 1984 but had voluntarily discontinued that course in early 1987.

Police believed he had always intended to shoot people in the Queen Street building. It was reported that Vitkovic had left a note at his home; police indicated that it was not a suicide note. Vitkovic had obtained a shooters licence and had bought the gun a few weeks prior to the shooting. He had illegally modified the .30 M1 Carbine, virtually changing it to a hand gun. It was loaded with jacketed ammunition.

Vitkovic obtained his shooting licence on 17 September 1987. When asked at that time why he wanted a licence, Vitkovic stated "I desire to go hunting". He purchased the rifle on lay-by, finally collecting it 21 October 1987. Prior to the shooting Vitkovic had removed the barrel and the handle of the weapon.

After the shooting a neighborhood friend of the family said that Frank Vitkovic was an excellent student, a good tennis player, friendly and helpful, over six feet tall and very good looking. After the shooting, a rumour circulated that he had sought help from the Melbourne University counselling service on the day of the shooting. The head of law at the University, Susie Nixon, later told The Age that while Vitkovic had once sought counselling during his career with the law school, reports he had been at the university on the day of the shooting were "totally unfounded". He had not left his course with hostility and Nixon believed there was no direct link between the shooting and his "deferral" from his course.

Coronial Enquiry

The coronial enquiry in September 1988 heard that there was chaos during and immediately after the shooting and there was uncertainty over which of the police officers present was in charge. When ambulance men entered the building with police the police shouted to announce their presence as lifts arrived at their destination. Police on the floor also called out and pointed their guns in the direction of the lift.

According to Inspector Adrian Fyfe, the officer in charge at the scene, the first police officer on the scene, a traffic policeman, had acted appropriately. He had used his initiative to isolate the area and had made an accurate assessment of the situation. However Fyfe criticised this officer's "appalling" lack of knowledge of "police command structure" for not realising who was in charge until 5.00 pm, 40 minutes after his arrival. Fyfe said the radio call sign he used identified him as the officer in charge.

Con Margelis testified to the coronial enquiry that he and Vitkovic had been friends for several years. Margelis said after Vitkovic arrived to see him on 8 December he pulled out his rifle, tried to pull the trigger and then aimed it at a female colleague and told her not to move. Knowing that Vitkovic could not move quickly due to a bad knee Margelis jumped over the counter and hid in the women's toilets on the 5th floor. Margelis said he expected that Vitkovic would come after him, leaving others in the office safe. Of possible reasons for Vitkovic's actions Margelis said he had not seen Vitkovic in the months prior, adding that "I can't really explain." Margelis said Vitkovic had become depressed and embittered after injuring his leg playing tennis followed by a failed operation to repair the damage. Margelis said he began to see little of Vitkovic due to his depression.

Another employee of the 5th floor office said that their colleague Judith Morris was shot as Margelis attempted to leap over the counter: "He was after Con and Judy was in the way." This witness described Vitkovic's eyes as being those of someone "completely insane" and his laugh as "sick" and not human, adding that he laughed after shooting Morris.

Officer worker Tony Gioia told the inquest he tackled Vitkovic having just witnessed a co-worker being shot dead at point blank range. Gioia believed he would be the next victim once Vitkovic turned around and saw him. Gioia said during the scuffle Vitkovic lunged for the window and struggled to get out, until he was hanging from the ledge with Gioia holding Vitkovic by the ankles. Despite others helping to restrain Vitkovic he struggled free and fell to the street. A woman in an adjacent office building told the inquest she believed she saw a man in a blue jumper throw the man onto the balcony, and then push him out when he moved back to the window. Under cross examination she incorrectly identified this as occurring on the building's 10th floor, not the 11th, and stated that her building was 80 metres from the Australia Post building.

The counsel assisting the coroner, Julian Leckie, judged that this witness was "honest but mistaken". He said that photographs showed Gioia was not wearing a blue sweater on the day. Evidence showed that Vitkovic tried to jump and others tried to prevent this. Leckie also concluded that Rodney Brown would have died from his wounds no matter what was done.

The psychologist in charge of the team counselling workers and their families said that the video of Vitkovic firing his gun on the 5th floor should not be made public as it would cause significant distress to those being counselled. He advised against publishing a still image of Vitkovic taken from the video. Media outlets had requested copies of the video. The coronor, Hal Hallenstein, said the material presented at the inquest was public and had to be presented in a public way.

A pathologist told the inquest that he found no legal or illegal drugs or alcohol in Vitkovic's system. He also said that Vitkovic was killed instantly from multiple injuries consistent with falling from a great height.

The contents of Vitkovic's diary were read to the inquest on its 12th day. The diary included apologies to his family for his planned actions, and a suicide note. Among his comments to his sister he wrote "It's time for me to die. Life is just not worth living." The final diary entry, written on the day of the shooting, read "Today I must do it, there is no other way out." Earlier entries catalogued his sexual problems. Vitkovic linked these to an incident when he was eight years old and was forced to undress in a school locker room and friends made fun of his uncircumcised penis. "After this nudity was a dirty word for me," Vitkovic wrote. "Since the age of 12 I knew that normal sex was not possible for me and I avoided girls completely until I was 19." In another entry he wrote "I am the odd man out there's no doubting it"; less than a month before the shooting he wrote: "As Rambo said in First Blood, once you accept a problem, it's no longer there."

At the coroner's hearing on 4 October 1988, Joe Dickson, counsel assisting the court, said that the police response was "satisfactory, and no complaints could be made about it." He said that police response was fast, and the decision to not send ambulance officers into the building until it was cleared was responsible, noting that no one died because of any delay. He said the police officer who sent people back into the building truly believed he advised them to go to the top floor, despite evidence that he did not. The hearing heard that while three of the people sent back into the building had emotional trauma, no person sent back died or was injured.

Mr Dickson said a routine practice on the 12th floor where staff had to open a security door to talk to visitors rendered its security measures ineffective. He said the 5th floor Telecom Credit Union security measures were "adequate for all purposes except the visit of a maniac." On the 11th floor, no one could have perceived the possibility of a robbery or violence. Mr Dickson said Vitkovic's visit to the Melbourne University counsellor in December 1986 could not be seen to have contributed to the killings. He said that Vitkovic probably brooded over the results of a Church of Scientology personality test given to him 8 October 1987.

After hearing representations by counsel representing the building tenants directly affected, the families of those killed, and news media organisations, the coroner Hal Hallenstein refused to suppress publication of photographs taken from a 5th floor security video that showed Vitkovic.

Forensic psychologist Dr Allen Batholomew, agreed that Vitkovic was criminally insane at the time of the shooting. He described him as schizophrenic, and said Vitkovic could have identified with Rambo and the Hoddle Street killings.


Tony Gioia and Frank Carmody were awarded the "Star of Courage" for conspicuous bravery. Claire Chalkley and Donald McElroy received commendations for bravery.


Frank Vitkovic

"That'll teach you."

allegedly screamed at a victim.

Frank Vitkovic was a pretty normal looking guy as he entered the Australia Post building in Melbourne, Australia. Well he was if you count wearing a fatigue jacket and carrying a high-powered rifle as being normal.

So anyway Frank stormed his way up five flights of stairs and then burst into the offices of a local credit union. He didn't start shooting straight away though.

First he spoke with a man at the front of the offices. then out of nowhere, apparently, he raised the rifle and went off. he blew the fuck out of anything that moved. the office workers went diving in all directions, hiding behind anything they could find, but this didn't stop Vitkovic from picking more than a few off.

Vitkovic ordered everyone to lie flat on the ground. He then left this floor and walked through the rest of the building firing indesciminatly at anyone. At one point he waited for some lift doors to open, and as they did he let loose.

Four of the lifts five occupants were dead in seconds.

Vitkovic stroll thought the building was ended on the 10th floor where he was confronted by two 'hero's' who tackled him, and succeeded in getting the rifle away from him. This was a bit of a bummer for Vitkovic because it ruined his planned finalè for the day. So since he could to the traditional "Mass murderer blow your brains out" thing, he did the next best thing. He charged at a window, with only one intention when he was again tackled by a security guard.

It was one of the most amusing sights in murder history as Vitkovic was dangling out the window with only one of his intended victims keeping him alive by hanging on to his legs. Vitkovic could be heard screaming to be let go. "He obviously wanted to die" pointed out one bright witness. Eventually Vitkovic was able to kick free of his nemises/rescuer and was still cursing the world as he plummeted 130 feet to the road below.

In the space of a few minute Frank Vitkovic had managed to kill 8 people, which topped Julian Knights 7 victims of three months earlier. The streets of Melbourne have never seen such fun.

The Wacky World of Murder


Frank Vitkovic kept diaries throughout the years

"He shot down four of my friends right in front of me."

A female survivor tells her story.

And now I will let you read some of his Diary Entries

"you are an alien amongst your own."

"it's hard for a self conscious guy like me to talk to girls with confidence."

"I just like violent films. I don't know why. They make me feel better, all the violence gets me pumped up. the sound of the gun going "POW!" It's the only fun i know."

Just before his 16th birthday

"I know one thing for certain I am hated very much by many people, but they don't know anything of my hatred which is twice as much as theirs . . . everyone will pay for their sins."

"People think I'm worth nothing... I'll treat them as nothing."

"As Rambo said in First Blood, once you accept a problem it's no longer there."

"A bullet in the right place seems to do the trick."

December 5, 1987

"I'm geared up... I'm a steam train coming through and everyone better get out of the way."

"Death scares me, but no so much as other people."

"When i go out people don't seem real. I don't feel part of it. I never have really. My life is such a failure."

"The world is against me."


"The world is full of vicious cruel people."

"There should not be people like that in this world."

"I will punish these evil vicious cruel scum people."

December 6, 1987

"I can see the paths been laid out for me."

"I see those people in the city and I admire them, and yet I hate them cos they've been the ones who've lumped shit on me all these years. . . they have all the things I want but will never have."

"... those greedy businessmen and women in the city... They are all pigs. And pigs always end up in the slaughterhouse."



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