On the 13 February 1978 at 12:40 am, a massive bomb which had been placed in the rubbish bin outside the Sydney Hilton Hotel in George Street exploded, devastating a whole city block. Three people were killed and seven seriously injured. The noise of the explosion could be heard as far way as Bondi Beach.
At the time, the Australian Prime Minister and eleven visiting heads of state as part of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Regional Meeting were resident in the hotel. From the beginning the police believed it was a terrorist conspiracy, claiming the Ananda Marga religious sect was responsible.
But for ten years, no person or group claimed responsibility and the police, by their own admission, could find no evidence nor question anybody. At the same time, former police constable Terry Griffiths, a victim of the bomb blast, campaigned for a full and open inquiry. While recovering from his horrific injuries, Griffiths received information which alleged it was the security forces themselves who were responsible for the blast, part of a sinister official conspiracy.
Through a series of stylised re-enactments and studio interviews Conspiracy tells the gripping and dramatic story of the Sydney Hilton Hotel bombing.
A huge security operation had been mounted for what was the first Commonwealth Heads of Government Regional Meeting: yet the bombers somehow slipped through the cordon. Was the bomb itself made in a commonwealth government laboratory? Was a bomb disposal unit waiting nearby as part of a pre-arranged plan? Why were the Army bomb sniffer dogs called off just a few days before? Was there a police observation vehicle watching the hotel and did someone from that vehicle make the bomb warning call? Why were almost all of the bomb fragments simply swept up and thrown away? And why was a rubbish bin in a high security area left unchecked and unguarded?
It is many years since these questions were first raised. Now they are being asked in Federal Parliament.
“…an atmospheric and powerful evocation.”
“…an engrossing ABC documentary…a riveting documentary…almost surreal…Griffith’s performance in the documentary is compelling.”
The Sydney Morning Herald
“Bombing handled with authority… Conspiracy‘s strength clearly lies not only in its concise summary of a complicated affair, but also in its impressive array of ‘talent’.”
The Age Green Guide
Directed by Daryl Dellora
Produced by Sue Maslin
Duration: 58 minutes 3 seconds. Rated PG
Format: D2 Master and 1inch C format PAL standard Videotape, Colour & Stereo Sound
Released nationally on ABC-TV True Stories 8:30pm 19 February 1995
Distributed by Film Art Doco
Written by Daryl Dellora and Ian Wansbrough
Original Music by David Bridie and John Phillips
Developed with the assistance of the NSW Film and Television Office
Developed and Produced with the assistance of Film Victoria
Produced with the assistance of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation
Financed by the Australian Film Finance Corporation Limited
© 1994 Film Art Doco Pty Ltd and the Australian Film Finance Corporation Limited