WE WERE THERE
Minutes before 2am on December 19, 1980, Maitland Woolworths was bombed.
Located in High Street at the time, next to the Westpac Bank, the blast caused $300,000 of stock damage.
A bomb had been lowered through a vent near the back car park of the variety shop.
Police were aware that Woolworths at Warilla had also been bombed with gelignite using a timer attached, and it too had been lowered through the roof.
Three days after the Maitland bombing, Woolworths in George Street, Sydney received a call and a letter addressed to then company executive Mr AJ Harding with a list of demands.
These included proceeding with stage two of the bombers plan – daylight explosions during peak hours and $500,000 in used unmarked 20 notes; $250,000 in 10 50-ounce gold bullion bars; $250,000 in loose diamonds one carat or greater.
A bomb went off at 3.25pm.
The shop had been evacuated after the bombers called in.
No one was killed.
Woolworths put together a ransom inside a cricket bag.
A courier was ordered to drop the ransom into Sydney Harbour at the Taronga Zoo wharf while the police watched and waited.
Officers found Gregory Norman McHardie in a diving suit.
McHardie and Larry Burton Danielson went to trial but McHardie escaped Parramatta jail inside a garbage truck and was at large for two months.
Despite his absence, the trial went on and both men were convicted. They were sentenced to 20 years jail with nine years non-parole period.