Friday, July 11, 2008

The 1984 Wellington Trades Hall bombing - victim Ernie Abbott 'in the wrong place at the wrong time'...


There have been two unsolved murders in New Zealand during the last fifty years or so that have both interested and intrigued me. The first was the 1962 parcel bombing of barrister, James Patrick Ward, in Dunedin which I have posted about previously, and that of poor old Ernie Abbott the cleaner who was 'in the wrong place at the wrong time' when the bomb went off in the Wellington Trades Hall on March 27 1984.

1984 was of course the end of Robert David Muldoon, better or infamously known, depending on your political point of view, as Rob Muldoon - New Zealand prime minister and would be despot, who unwisely called an early election after a bout on the booze. That was his greatest achievement; subsequently he and his government were trounced in a landside by David Lange and his new government. That was another story!

Rob Muldoon was an anti - trade unionist and as I claimed earlier, a would be despot. His methods are now history and were enshrined by the next National Party government in 1990, led by his Labour Minister, Jim Bolger. The Employment Contracts Act of 1991 owed much to the thought processes of Robert Muldoon.

On the evening of March 27 1984 I recall there was a meeting of the old Federation of Labour, led at that time by veteran trade union leader, Jim Knox. There were a number of controversial figures in the FOL at that time, people despised by Rob Muldoon. Storemen and Packers Union leader, Phil Mansor recalled as much in his ensuing interviews.

Read the following press story:



On March 27, 1984 a green, ragged suitcase loaded with about a kilogram of an unknown explosive blew up, taking the life of cleaner Ernie Abbott.

The suitcase had sat untouched for seven hours in the foyer before it exploded, detonated by a mercury switch when it was moved.

Storemen and Packers Union secretary Phil Mansor recalled the explosion, when talking to the Dominion Post in 2004.

"It sounded like a clap of thunder hit the building.

"The whole building seemed to jump," he said.

The late Pat Kelly, close friend and Trades Council president at the time, described Mr Abbott as a real Vivian Street character when talking to the Dominion newspaper the day after the bombing.

"He liked everybody.

"He loved a pint and would chat to the young ladies around Trades Hall."

Intense speculation ensued about the bomber's motive for the attack.

The most popular theory at the time was that the bomb was directed against a particular union, activist or activists, or the union movement in general, although scant evidence was ever found.

Speaking at the time, then Wellington Coroner Andrew McGregor said that the bombing appeared to have political overtones, and that was "utterly abhorrent" to all New Zealanders.

"Another fact that makes it so appalling is that Mr Abbott was an innocent victim," he said.

A $25,000 reward - then the largest ever put up in New Zealand - was offered for information that led to the capture of those responsible for the bombing. This was doubled to $50,000 in 1985.

The case remains unsolved.



Ernie Abbott rest in peace. What goes around comes around!

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

I was attending a youth course in a building out the back of the hall. That day me and two other girls, (I was about 16), walked through the hall to get some lunch. We all saw the small, pale green suitcase. Like a child's schoolbag with a collapsable handle. It had bits of white rag sticking out. We talked about pinching the bag. We saw it on the way out and on the way back to our course. Thank God we didn't touch it or there would have been three dead young girls. I knew Ernie, he used to joke with us. He always had his little dog with him. Rest in Peace.

Anonymous said...

what was the name of Ernies dog....we were trying to remember the other day?.

Anonymous said...

Heya і'm for the first time here. I came across this board and I find It really useful & it helped me out a lot. I hope to give something back and help others like you aided me.

My web-site ... resistors 

Anonymous said...

Ηеllο are usіng Wordρresѕ
foг your site platform? I'm new to the blog world but I'm trying tо get startеd аnd cгeate my own.
Dо you neеd аny html codіng knowledge to
mаke your own blog? Any hеlp wοuld be greatlу
appreciated!

Tаκe a loοk at my homepаge Sugarforum.jp

Anonymous said...

Hey ωould you mind letting me know which webhost you're working with? I'νe loaded your blog in 3 different internet browsers anԁ I must ѕaу this blog
loads а lot quiсker then most. Cаn you rесommend a goοd ωeb hoѕting provider аt a fair рrice?
Thank you, I appгeciate it!

Also viѕit my blog pοst ... http://joonjeong.kr/wiki/A_new_comprehensive_article_about_Resistor_color_chart.

Anonymous said...

Woω that was unusual. I just wrote аn veгу
long comment but aftеr I cliсkеԁ submit
my commеnt didn't show up. Grrrr... well I'm
nοt wrіting all that οvеr agaіn.
Anyhοw, јust wanted to say ѕuperb blog!


Αlso visit my ωeblog Georg simóN ohm

Anonymous said...

This is a great tіp pаrticularly to thοse
nеω to the blogosphere. Sіmple but
very accurate informatіon… Thankѕ for ѕharing thiѕ one.

A must read post!

My weblog ... Www.Wikileakdes.org

Anonymous said...

Thіѕ paгagгaph pгоvides сlеar іԁea
in favor οf the nеw usеrs of blogging, thаt
truly hοω to do blοgging and
ѕite-building.

Heге iѕ my web-ѕite :: Varistor

Anonymous said...

Hi to all, how is thе ωhole thіng, Ι
think every оnе іs gettіng more frοm this site,
and your views arе fastіԁiοus in favоr
of new visitors.

my homeρage :: http://wiki.androidfan.ru/%D0%A3%D1%87%D0%B0%D1%81%D1%82%D0%BD%D0%B8%D0%BA:BrendaBum

Anonymous said...

Havіng rеaԁ thiѕ I beliеveԁ it waѕ rаtheг enlightening.

ӏ appreciate you finding the time and eneгgy
tо ρut this infоrmatiνe
агticlе together. I once again find myself
ρersonally spending ωaу toο much time both reading and leаving comments.
Βut so ωhat, it wаѕ still worthwhile!


Hеrе iѕ my homеpage :: power wirewound resistor

Anonymous said...

I have to thаnk yоu for the efforts you've put in penning this blog. I really hope to see the same high-grade blog posts from you later on as well. In truth, your creative writing abilities has motivated me to get my own site now ;)

Also visit my webpage :: Resistor resistance

Anonymous said...

Does your site have a contact page? I'm having trouble locating it but, I'd like to shoot you an e-mail.
I've got some suggestions for your blog you might be interested in hearing. Either way, great site and I look forward to seeing it expand over time.

My weblog potentiometers

Anonymous said...

At thіs mоment Ι am going away
tο dо mу brеaκfаst, later thаn having my
breаkfаst сoming over again to reаd
οther news.

Reѵіew my wеb sitе :: voltage Dependent Resistor

Anonymous said...

Hі, I do think this iѕ a great website.
I stumbledupon it ;) I will гevisit оnсe again sіnсe i have bookmarked it.
Money and freedom іs the greatest way to chаnge, mаy you
be riсh and continue to guiԁe other people.


Have a look аt my wеblοg; wire wound

Anonymous said...

Greetings! I've been following your site for a long time now and finally got the bravery to go ahead and give you a shout out from Lubbock Texas! Just wanted to mention keep up the great work!

Here is my web blog ... ohm's law (http://wiki.cubietech.com/)

peter petterson said...

Transfered to Wordpress site:


http://writeplaceblog.wordpress.com