Bali bombings 2002

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Bali bombings 2002

The Bali bombings on 12 October 2002 was one of the most horrific acts of terrorism that has come close to Australian shores.

A total of 202 people (88 Australians) were killed in the tragedy, which took place in the town of Kuta on the Indonesian island of Bali. A further 209 people were injured.

A number of Indonesians were sentenced to death for their parts in the bombings and in October 2002 Abu Bakar Bashir, a leader of the Jemaah Islamiah organisation often accused of being behind the attacks, was charged over his alleged role in the bombing. In March 2005, Bashir was found guilty of conspiracy over the attacks.

The Bali bombings 2002 is sometimes called ‘Australia's September 11’ because of the large number of Australians killed in the attack.

The investigation – Operation Alliance

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) immediately launched an investigation of the bombings, called Operation Alliance. A team of investigative and forensic officers arrived in Bali within 24 hours after the bomb blasts to assist the Indonesian National Police.

The AFP and Indonesian National Police established a joint police investigation, which has been a highly effective partnership resulting in 33 convictions.

At the height of the investigation and victim identification process, more than 120 Australian law enforcement personnel were working alongside Indonesians and experts from around the world. The team included members of the Australian Federal Police, State Police Services, ASIO and specialist advisers.

About the attacks

Just after 11pm on 12 October 2002, a bomb hidden in a backpack exploded inside popular tourist destination, Paddy's Bar. The device killed the backpack owner, likely a suicide operative.

Approximately ten to fifteen seconds later, a second much more powerful car bomb, of close to 1000kg, concealed in a white Mitsubishi van was detonated by remote control in front of the Sari Club. The explosion left a one meter deep crater and windows throughout the town were blown out.

A third bomb was then detonated in the street in front of the American consulate in Bali. This bomb caused a slight injury to one person, and only modest damage. It was packed with excrement for maximum moral damage.

As the local hospital was unable to cope with the number of injured, particularly burn victims, many of the wounded, of all nationalities, were flown by the Royal Australian Air Force to hospitals in Darwin and other Australian cities.


The Governor-General of Australia, Major General Michael Jeffery, announced a total of 199 awards for the Australian Bali Honours list on 12 December 2003.

There were many acts of individual heroism and outstanding contribution. Twenty AFP members were honoured as all playing an integral role in bringing order to the chaos that followed the Bali bombings. A number were in Bali at the time of the disaster and quickly arrived on the scene to provide assistance, while others became involved in the joint Indonesian and Australian police investigation.

The 20 AFP members honoured were as follows.

Member of the Order of Australia (AM)

  • Federal Agent Graham Ashton APM
  • Federal Agent Ben McDevitt
  • Federal Agent Tim Morris

Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM)

  • Federal Agent Murray Black
  • Federal Agent Kendelle Clark
  • Federal Agent Andrew Colvin
  • Federal Agent Donald George Evans
  • Federal Agent Cliff Frost
  • Federal Agent Stephen Jackson
  • Federal Agent Mick Kelsey
  • Federal Agent Karl Kent
  • Federal Agent Mark Laing
  • Federal Agent Glen McEwen
  • Federal Agent Frank Morgan
  • Federal Agent Charles Muller
  • Federal Agent Frank Rayner
  • Mr David Royds
  • Mr Rodney Shawyer
  • Federal Agent Julian Slater
  • Ms Linzi Wilson-Wilde

More information

Find out more about Australia’s response to the Bali bombings at the following websites:

Find out how the AFP is fighting terrorism at its source.