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The day that shook Russell Street

  • Date recorded: 24 Mar 2016

  • Duration: 52:35

'It was extremely challenging: there was enormous publicity, and all we had was a crime scene with no leads'

– Det Insp Bernie Rankin, Victoria Police

About this video

The shocking Russell Street bombing of 27 March 1986 marked a pivotal change for the community: where once Melbourne was seen as an uneventful city, the blast heralded the start of a period of criminal violence.

Detective Inspector Bernie Rankin describes the fascinating Victoria Police investigation, worthy of a TV crime drama, to identify and track down the bombers.

Geoff Wilkinson describes the fruitful liaison between media and police that ensured the story stayed in the news while the forensic investigation was open.

Martin Green talks about the Russell Street bombing exhibition on display at the Old Melbourne Gaol, in partnership with the National Trust and Victoria Police Museum.

Making Public Histories

This Making Public Histories seminar was held at State Library Victoria on 24 March 2016. The Making Public Histories series explores public history, contemporary society and heritage with discussions framed around topical issues. It is a joint initiative between State Library Victoria, the History Council of Victoria and Monash University Institute for Public History.

More to explore


  • Associate Professor Seamus O'Hanlon (chair), Monash University
  • Detective Inspector Bernie Rankin, Victoria Police
  • Geoff Wilkinson, OAM, Founding Media Director, Victoria Police
  • Martin Green, Learning & Interpretations Manager, National Trust of Australia (Victoria).