Murwillumbah Bank Robbery
February 20, 2012 by staff
Murwillumbah Bank Robbery, Murwillumbah Historical Society president Ron Johansen (left) and member Rob Gerdes with empty pockets and ‘They got the lot’ t-shirts outside the Murwillumbah (now Westpac) bank where the famed robbery took place. Photo Jeff ‘I Got Nothing’ Dawson
The headlines of the day nearly 31 years ago said it all: ‘They got the lot’. The Murwillumbah bank heist also prompted a hit song.
It was Australia’s biggest bank robbery at the time, $1.7 million in assorted banknotes stolen from Murwillumbah’s then Bank of NSW (now Westpac) on November 23, 1978 by what was believed to be a gang of professionals who broke into the bank’s strongroom overnight.
The famous event was marked last week by Tweed River Regional Museum members during a site walk conducted by Murwillumbah Historical Society president Ron Johansen and a small footpath photographic display outside the bank.
Renowned Australian singer-songwriter and longtime Kinsgscliff local, Paul Ensbey, also played an acoustic version of the Bullamakanka hit song Murwillumbah Bank Job.
‘It was never solved, they’re still running free and a $250,000 reward is still there if anyone brings them in,’ Ron told The Echo.
A specially-designed t-shirt was made at the time with the words ‘They got the lot’ and Ron managed to borrow two of them for the occasion last week.
‘Thousands of these t-shirts were made but we’ve only got two left, they’re rare and priceless, people wanted to buy them off us last week, but we had them on loan,’ he said.
Ron said that famous English train robber Ronald Biggs, who was released from jail recently on compassionate grounds, apparently also ordered some of the t-shirts through his son Peter three years ago after ‘he’d heard about it’.
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