Incident Summary:

12/02/1998: In a series of related incidents, a mail bomb exploded in a mail center in Canberra, Australia. The explosion injured two postal workers and caused minor damage to the center. Twenty-one additional letter bombs were found at the Canberra mail center after the one bomb exploded, setting off a nationwide alert. Most of the parcels had been addressed to current or former staff at the Australian Taxation Office. Several other mail bombs were also mailed out around Australia. Colin George Dunstan, a disgruntled former Australian Taxation Office employee, was the suspected perpetrator.




Australasia & Oceania

region/u.s. state:

Australian Capital Territory


Attack Information
Type of Attack (more) Bombing/Explosion
Successful Attack? (more) Yes
Target Information (more)
Target Type: Government (General)
Name of Entity Australian Postal Service
Specific Description Mail center in Canberra, Australia
Nationality of Target Australia
Additional Information
Hostages No
Ransom No
Property Damage Yes
Extent of Property Damage Minor (likely < $1 million)
Value of Property Damage Unknown
Weapon Information
Type Sub-type
Explosives Letter Bomb
Additional Information
Suicide Attack?No
Part of Multiple Incident?Yes
Criterion 1 (more) No
Criterion 2 (more) Yes
Criterion 3 (more) Yes
Doubt Terrorism Proper (more) Yes
Alternate Designation (more) Other Crime Type
Additional Information This was one of four related attacks (cf. 199812020001-3; 199812030003). These parcels let to bomb scares the following day in Melbourne, Sydney, and the Northern Terrority led to the evacuation of major buildings. These scares turned out to be false alarms.
Perpetrator Group Information
Group Name Claimed Responsibility
Unknown (suspected) No
Perpetrator Statistics
Number of Perpetrators 1
Number of Captured Perpetrators 0
Casualty Information
Total Number of Casualties 0 Fatalities / 2 Injured
Total Number of Fatalities 0
Number of U.S. Fatalities 0
Number of Perpetrator Fatalities 0
Total Number of Injured 2
Number of U.S. Injured 0
Number of Perpetrators Injured 0
“Police tighten net on bomber,” The Daily Telegraph, December 3, 1998.
Peter Spielmann, “Bomb scares evacuate NT Parliament, Sydney and Melbourne towers With AP Pho,” The Associated Press Worldstream, December 3, 1998.
“Australian police begin manhunt for letter-bomb suspect,” Deseret News, December 3, 1998.