1972 Taroom Truck Explosion Memorial – Coorada, Australia - Atlas Obscura

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1972 Taroom Truck Explosion Memorial

Coorada, Australia

One of the biggest mysteries of Central Queensland: How did this truck spontaneously combust with the force of a massive bomb? 


This tragic story begins with an earth-shattering explosion big enough to shake the windows of homes 88 kilometers away. Three young lives were lost, and an Outback mystery remains to this day.

On the morning of August 30, 1972, three young men set off from Stonecroft Station on an everyday job, their truck laden with a delivery of ammonium nitrate. They had barely reached the public road when the truck combusted with such force that it left a two-meter deep, five-meter wide, and 20-meter long crater in the road. What exactly caused this explosion, no one can say. The damage rendered the truck almost beyond recognition. The remains have been found as far as two kilometers away.

Sitting beside a lonely, dusty outback road on the corner of nowhere and help-I-think-I’m-lost, is this memorial that was erected in 2013 at the site of the explosion. At the center of the scene is a rusty old bullbar, still registered with its New South Wales plates. When the truck and its occupants met their untimely end, the bullbar was found 200 meters away in a gully. It was found among trees that remained completely unscathed. This suggests that it fell, quite literally, straight from the sky after having reached a height of hundreds of feet. 

The last piece of the truck was found in 2012, but much of it still remains missing. 

Know Before You Go

The memorial is located approximately 90kms north of Taroom on the unsealed  Fitzroy Development Road, just down the road from Stonecroft Station. 

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