On Thursday July 12, it was 20 years to the day that Shakka, the great white shark was caught among the lines of fisherman Craig Fletcher and brought to shore.
It was a day that brought overwhelming surprise to many and ended up with a creature weighing one tonne and measuring five-and-a-half-metres long.
Since Shakka was brought to the shore, she was taken to Adelaide for autopsy and was proposed for taxidermy, but Jo Bain, the head of taxidermy for the South Australia Museum at the time, said that was impossible.
Even with the presence of Jaws author, Peter Benchley, at the autopsy, there was no way Shakka would be returning in her own skin.
Instead, Shakka was made into a life-size replica model and has for the past 15 years, spent her time on show at the Port Pirie Tourism and Arts Centre.
Her life ended through a drowning. She was believed to be caught in snapper lines and ended up there because she was attacked by a stingray, the barb getting stuck in her mouth, shattering her teeth.
This left her stuck and tangled, ultimately losing her life. Her name came about by a school competition and according to Mr Bain was supposed to be pronounced “shark-a”, but with an Aussie twang, she has now adopted the name “Shakka”.
The display has been of great interest to the tourists who visit Port Pirie.
In a year, up to 4000 are able to experience the enormity of Shakka’s reputation by visiting the unique display.
Glen Christie, the manager of tourism and events for the Port Pirie Regional Council, explains that having Shakka on display is a great way for tourists to learn about the kind of animal great white sharks are.
“I think it is important for people to realise what magnificent creatures they are. I was told that people think based on the film, that they are attracted to people and they hunt them”, he said.
“Which they don’t, they are just natural-born eating machines.
“For most people, it is probably the closest they are ever going to get to a great white shark.”
To commemorate Shakka, the centre is offering free tours and entry to the display until July 31.