Australia has more than its fair share of conspiracy theories, and even some politicians show enthusiasm for outlandish plots and secret schemes. Here are 10 conspiracy theories from the land where women glow and men plunder.
#10. The Port Arthur Massacre
Martin Bryant killed 35 people and wounded 21 others in a shooting massacre at Tasmania’s Port Arthur Historic Site in 1996, after which he was apprehended following an overnight standoff. He is now serving a 1,035-year prison sentence without parole.
In the aftermath, new gun control laws were enacted across Australia, banning semiautomatic and self-loading rifles and shotguns, making it more difficult to obtain a firearms license, and removing and destroying over 60,000 guns through a buy-back program. Conspiracy theorists believe that it would have been impossible for untrained and mentally challenged Bryant to kill so many people and that the massacre was actually committed by a professional assassin, with Bryant used as a patsy in a frame-up orchestrated by the government to restrict gun ownership.
The unprecedented long prison sentence and Bryant’s first eight months in lock-up being spent in solitary confinement are seen as evidence that the government did not want him to spill the beans. The more likely story is that Bryant was placed in solitary for his own protection, having killed several children at close range. Prison is notoriously unpleasant for child-killers. Whatever discrepancies may exist in physical evidence are easily explainable as the results of a police investigation, and there is no doubt that Bryant was caught red-handed.
#9. Perth Bell Tower
The Perth Bell Tower is a iconic, if underwhelming, landmark of Perth, Western Australia, which contains 12 St Martin-in-the-Fields bells—the only royal bells to have left England.
According to conspiracy theorist Ellis C. Taylor, however, the bell tower was actually designed by a Freemason to represent the penis of the Egyptian god Osiris. He claims the site of the tower is known by the aboriginal Nyungar people as being an energy vortex and that the Freemasons have been using public funding to tap this energy through occult architecture.
The tower is meant as a phallic symbol of Osiris, said to be part of the Masonic god Jabulon, while the pool of water next to the bell tower represents the vagina of the goddess Isis. He claims that the year 2000 marked the beginning of the Age of Horus, the son of Osiris and Isis who found his father’s body in the Underworld and resurrected him. The Freemasons are said to have a worldwide plan to recreate the body of Osiris through monuments centered around Perth (“the underworld” becoming “down under”). Other monuments central to this resurrection scheme include the Pyramids of Giza (the body of Osiris), the London Eye (his head), and the Sydney Opera House, which is adorned with sails and could represent semen (seamen).
#8. Hilton Bombing
In 1978, a bomb exploded in a waste collection truck parked outside the Hilton Hotel in Sydney. It killed three people, including a police officer, and wounded 10 others. The bombing occurred when leaders of ex-British colonies were staying at the hotel for a Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), and the leaders were swiftly relocated to the small town of Bowral in a massive operation involving the armed forces and a decoy train.
Suspicions soon fell on on the Hindu extremist sect Ananda Marga, which was demanding the Indian government release their spiritual leader (and convicted murderer), Pabhat Ranian Sarkar. The group had been linked to the 1977 attacks on an Indian diplomat and an Indian airline worker. Three Australian members of Ananda Marga were linked to the bombing when they were arrested for an unrelated conspiracy to kill Australian neo-Nazi Robert Cameron.
The men were fingered by reformed heroin addict and police informer Richard Seary, and it was reported the men said, “You’ve got to be willing to die for your ideology,” and “We will never be stopped. Ananda Marga will cleanse the world.” In 1985, the three sect members were pardoned, released, and awarded $100,000 each in compensation when it came out that Seary had been paid by the police to unearth any links between the sect and the bombing.
Conspiracy theorists believe that the bombing was actually a bungled media stunt by the Australian Security and Intelligence Organisation (ASIO), the military, and the NSW state police. ASIO had been receiving criticism from the Whitlam government for being “fragmented, poorly organized and coordinated, inadequately staffed and equipped and, in many cases, directed towards inappropriate goals.” The theory goes that ASIO originally intended to find the bomb before it detonated and use the discovery to justify a vast increase in its powers.
#7. Schapelle Corby
In 2004, an Australian woman, Schapelle Corby, was arrested at Bali’s Denpasar Airport when Indonesian customs officials discovered 4.1 kilograms (9 lb) of marijuana in her bodyboard bag. She maintained her innocence, and her defense team argued she was the victim of a conspiracy between international drug smugglers and Australian baggage handlers. Sentenced to 20 years in prison, she was released on parole after nine years but required to stay in Indonesia. According to a group known as the Expendable Project, Corby was sold out as an unwitting sacrifice by a complex conspiracy involving the Australian and Indonesian governments, as well as the police, media, and Qantas.
They point to the fact that the marijuana was highly unlikely to have been able to pass through Sydney and Brisbane Airports without being detected, and Corby was a non–drug user without a motive to import marijuana into Bali. The group claims that both the Australian police and baggage handlers were actually involved in a massive drug smuggling ring, which Canberra then desperately covered up in order to prevent political embarrassment and maintain good relations with Jakarta.
#6. Canberra’s Occult Design
In 1913, a competition was held to decide on a city plan for the new Australian federal capital of Canberra. The winner was an American named Walter Burley Griffin who had a clever geometric design that formed an organic fusion with the surrounding hills and plains of the Molonglo River. However, the unique designs and the links between Griffin and esoteric groups has led to speculation that the city plan is riddled with occult significance, linked with geomancy, theosophy, Kabbalah, and Freemasonry.
The double ring around Capitol Hill is said to mark it as a consecrated temple, while the ground plan of Parliament House itself is said to represent the all-seeing eye pyramid of the Illuminati. The design has also been interpreted in various other ways, including a link to Stonehenge, a representation of the cosmic egg, a message to our reptilian overlords, a satanic inverted Petrine Cross, and an imitation of Nazi plans by Heinrich Himmler to represent the Spear of Destiny with Wewelsburg Castle at the tip. The site was also connected to, according to geomancer Steven Guth, networks of underground limestone caves, caverns, and sinkholes linked to stories of aboriginal artwork and witch covens.
#5. Aboriginal Freemasonry
In 1886, a group of Jesuit missionaries journeyed to the Daly River region of northern Australia to bring Christian civilization to the aboriginal tribes living in the area. By that stage, however, the aborigines had encountered enough of Christian civilization in the form of plantations, miners, fishermen, opium, tobacco, alcohol, disease, and massacres, and had already developed a slightly misguided view of Christianity.
They assumed the cross was a form of punishment that would befall them if they angered the missionaries, and they had developed a ritual known as Tyaboi that mimicked what they assumed was the human sacrifice component of Christianity, horrifying the Jesuits. One Austrian Jesuit, Father Kristen, developed his own theory that some of the frontier whites, especially in the government and police, were members of a global conspiracy that were seeking to corrupt the interior tribes and recruit them into Freemasonry.
He made bizarre comparisons between the aboriginal language and Hebrew, and also linked the name of one of the tribes, Malak Malak, with the ancient Canaanite practice of human sacrifice to the god Molloch. He eventually concluded that the Aboriginals had invented Freemasonry and must have exported it to Europe centuries earlier.
#4. Sydney Siege False Flag
On December 15–16, 2014, lone gunman Man Haron Monis took hostages at Lindt Cafe in Sydney, where he forced hostages to hold up an Islamic Shahada flag, and made demands through hostages’ Facebook accounts to speak to Prime Minister Tony Abbott by phone and for the police to deliver an Islamic State flag.
When Monis shot a hostage at around 2:00 AM, police stormed the building and killed the gunman, killing another hostage through bullet fragment ricochets in the process. Conspiracy theorists see problems with the official account of Monis as a lone wolf nutcase.
Monis was a Shia, so requesting a Sunni ISIS flag made little sense, and he had been previously noted for moderate, pro-Western, and anti-Iran statements contradicting his sudden turn to fundamentalist terror. Some claimed that the gunman was actually a government agent masquerading as Monis, citing differences in his beard color. (To be frank, it isn’t hard to think that insanity and sudden graying could be connected.) Others allege that the government used the siege crisis as a pretext for justifying Australia’s involvement in the war on ISIS and the expansion of the police state. And, as usual, there were some who blamed Jewish people.
#3. Set Van Nguyen
On December 14, 2001, microbiologist Dr. Set Van Nguyen was found dead after being trapped in the airlock entrance of a walk-in refrigerator at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization’s animal diseases facility in Geelong, Victoria. He died because a nitrogen leak meant there was almost no oxygen in there. His death was blamed on lax policy, with the only warning given of the nitrogen leak being on a whiteboard and a Post-it note saying “low airflow.”
Conspiracy theorists smelled a rat. The facility was where two scientists, Dr. Ron Jackson and Dr. Ian Ramshaw, had created an extremely virulent strain of mousepox through genetic manipulation. Over the previous few weeks, four other scientists specializing in infectious diseases and biological agents had been found dead in the US and England, with another five from the US, UK, and Russia dying mysteriously the following year. The theory goes that the scientists were killed by the US military or intelligence agencies to cover up a germ warfare program.
#2. The Disappearance Of Harold Holt
The disappearance of Prime Minister Harold Holt while swimming in 1967 led to a wave of conspiracy theories. Some believe the debacle of the Vietnam War led Holt to commit suicide or fake his death to run off with a mistress. Others believe he was assassinated with a delayed-effect drug placed into his refreshments on the way to the beach.
The most outlandish theory was from British journalist Anthony Grey, who claimed that Holt had been working as a Chinese double agent since the 1930s. Grey claimed that a codebreaker had examined Holt’s personal letters from 1952–1962 and discovered a tabular code hidden within the number of words and punctuation marks given in details of menus, theater programs, and horse races that was meant to give “yes” and “no” answers to his Chinese handlers.
Another supposed means of communication was the number and type of fruit and flowers in his room, said to communicate information on Western military vessels with a pineapple being a battleship, a banana a submarine, and an orange a battleship. Grey claimed that Holt’s cover was blown by Australian intelligence, and he was simply picked up by a Chinese submarine and taken away. Holt’s widow, Zara, was highly skeptical saying, “Harry? Chinese submarine? He didn’t even like Chinese cooking.”
#1. Pine Gap
Known as Australia’s Area 51, this US facility near Alice Springs employs almost 1,000 people, mainly from the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Reconnaissance Office. Ostensibly it is the ground station for a satellite network intercepting telephone, radio, data links, and other communications around the world. Originally built to collect intelligence on Soviet missile tests, it now does the same work focused on countries like North Korea and provides vital data used for drone strike targeting.
However, since the 1970s, there have also been a number of UFO sightings in the area. Some have reported beams of light being emitted by the facility’s radomes into the air, and in 1975, an object that resembled one of the radomes was said to have leaped into the air and disappeared. Others have reported objects emerging from a camouflaged door in the hillside.
These sightings have led to a variety of theories on what the facility is doing, including testing Nazi antigravity craft based on alien technology, upper atmospheric subsurface experiments based on Tesla technology for power generation or to create a death ray, preparing an underground city refuge for the elite when the world economy crashes, or maintaining a massive computer database of financial, economic, political, and military information plus private data on every citizen in the Western world. There are even claims that the facility exists simultaneously in the third, fourth, and fifth dimensions, and that it maintains a portal for troops to travel to secret military colonies on Mars.