When they climbed abord cabin cruiser ‘Valeeta’ on the last morning of the Australia Day long weekend, Frederick Knight and Marcia Hathaway were in high spirits.
Recently engaged, they’d chosen Middle Harbour as the perfect destination to picnic with friends, planning to reach the pretty harbourside suburb of Castlecrag by lunch time on Monday 28 January, 1963.
A successful Sydney actress, 32-year-old Marcia was well known on stage and screen, but it was her final role, as the last person to die of a shark attack on Sydney Harbour, that she is remembered for.
Just after 10am, boat co-owners David Mason and Peter Cowden, motored past Chowder Bay and headed towards The Spit with passengers James Delmege, Alan Simpson, Sandra Hayden, Frederick, and Marcia.
With striking red hair and blue eyes, Marcia was careful to protect her fair complexion from Sydney’s 30-degree day, donning a sun hat and sleeves as the boat anchored at Sugarloaf Bay.
Cool drinks and a light lunch on Valeeta’s afterdeck then led to a playful conversation, Marcia’s cousin would later reveal, followed by a spur-of-the-moment decision that would ultimately claim her life.