• 41 years of age.
  • Olive complexion.
  • Approximately 162 cm (5 feet 4 inches tall).
  • Dark short hair.
  • Medium build.


  • John Tzelaidis was born in Greece.
  • On 22 March 1978 started work in Dampier.
  • Lived at a construction camp in Dampier.
  • Received a lump sum payment from his employer.
  • Last seen on 4 July 1978.
  • Seen with an unidentified male.
  • Money was withdrawn from his bank account in Port Headland, Darwin and Queensland.
  • Located deceased on 7 August 1978.
  • Died as a result of a gunshot wound to the head.
  • Believed to have been deceased for approximately one month.


John Tzelaidis was born in December 1936 in Greece. He was a naturalised Australian, a labourer by trade and had lived in Australia for about 14 years.


On Wednesday 22 March 1978, Mr Tzelaidis arrived in Dampier and worked as a trade’s assistant for a number of businesses. Mr Tzelaidis lived at a construction camp in Dampier (the single men’s accommodation) until moving out on Thursday 29 June 1978.

Mr Tzelaidis left his employment and was paid all monies owed to him, a total of $600.00 (approximately $3,000 in today’s money), and was driven to the Dampier Shopping Centre.

Over the following days, several people in the Dampier Shopping Centre precinct and local hotels saw Mr Tzelaidis. On Tuesday 4 July 1978, Mr Tzelaidis was seen at the shopping centre in company with an unidentified, male. This male was described as 42-45 years, 165cm tall, thin to medium build and dark ‘scruffy’ hair in appearance.

Witnesses identified this person as “George the moneyman”, with the unidentified individual speaking with a heavy Greek accent. He was described as well dressed and confident.

Police believe Mr Tzelaidis and the unidentified male travelled from Dampier to Tom Price in a brown HR Holden utility (see attached image) to seek employment. A brown Holden utility was seen heading along the Dampier/Tom Price access road. This road intersects the Dampier/Karratha Road, which is in close proximity to Seven Mile Creek.

Mr Tzelaidis was not seen alive again.

Money was withdrawn from Mr Tzelaidis’s bank account in Port Hedland on Wednesday 5 July 1978, in Darwin on Thursday 13 July 1978, and in Hughenden in country Queensland on Tuesday 18 July 1978.


On Monday, 7 August 1978, Mr Tzelaidis’s body was located in bushland at Seven Mile Creek, approximately six kilometres from the Karratha town-site.

When located Mr Tzelaidis was wearing dark blue trousers, an open neck T-shirt and a light blue zip front cardigan. A pair of desert boots were located nearby.

There was no identification or anything of value left on his body except for a well-worn white metal ring on the little finger of his left hand.

An examination revealed Mr Tzelaidis died as a result of a gunshot wound to the head and had been dead for approximately one month.

The person or persons responsible for Mr Tzelaidis’ death have not yet been identified.

If you have any information about the death of John Tzelaidis or his movements around 4 July 1978, please contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or make an online report below. Please remember that you can remain anonymous if you wish and rewards are offered.

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