Port Pirie’s greatest catch made headlines again when The Recorder presented the Port Pirie Regional Council with a panel of photos, the history and statistics of the longest white pointer shark ever landed in South Australian waters.
“Shakka”, a 23-year-old, 5.5-metre-long female shark, became part of our history when it drowned after becoming tangled in the anchor rope of a local fishing boat.
It happened on July 12, 1998, the day after the newspaper’s centenary celebrations, and her original jaws, pectoral fin, vertebrae and deformed teeth can be seen up close at the tourism and arts centre.
The Recorder’s managing-editor, Greg Mayfield, said the idea to create a panel of photos had come from Fairfax Media SA regional manager Trevor McAuliffe and his wife Marilyn.
“Marilyn is from Port Pirie and Trevor was here on the day the shark was caught, among hundreds of other people,” Mr Mayfield said.
“They thought that presenting the panel would be a good way to recognise this historical moment for Port Pirie and to showcase Des Parker’s photos.”
It was the morning after his starring role at the centenary celebrations that Des Parker was bombarded with phone calls about a giant shark.
“At first I though it was a joke,” he said. “But I got there and it was true so all I wanted was the get the perfect photo.
“I thank everyone who let me know what was happening and now this is part of our history.”
Ellie Green accepted the panel on behalf of the council.
“We are pleased with the panel,” she said. “We will display it at the council office for a little while and then transfer it to the Shakka exhibition at the cultural precinct.”