April 28, 1996 - a date forever etched in many an Australian's memory.
Thirty-five people were killed, 23 wounded and many, many more traumatised by what was, at the time, the world’s worst massacre by a lone gunman.
Twenty years on and sometimes that old cliche could be true: the more things change, the more they stay the same.
The world has changed inexorably since 1996. But has it?
As the small community swells for the 20th anniversary memorial service, take a moment to consider those impacted most by the events of 1996; those people who, by virtue of fate, had their lives changed forever.
If we can help people reflect on and talk about the traumatic event that doesn't evoke more pain, then, in the course of that talking ... it starts to recede into the past- Trauma specialist Dr Rob Gordon
After the Port Arthur massacre Walter Mikac wanted to be left alone.
Instead he found himself inadvertently drawn into Australia’s gun control debate.
The massacre, which happened 20 years ago on April 28-29, began an unstoppable movement for gun law reform. Since losing his wife and two daughters in the mass shooting, Mr Mikac has become one of the debate's most potent voices.
Doug Dingwall talks with Mr Mikac: read it here
Robyn Blackmore remembers vividly the day she thought mass killer Martin Bryant would shoot and kill her.
Mrs Blackmore thought she would be killed along with her elderly parents, Jean and Bob Pritchard.
She has spoken for the first time about the events of April 28, 1996 with Donna Sharpe. Read the full story
Former detective inspector John Warren still recalls Walter Mikac sneaking into the Port Arthur massacre crime scene the following day and asking him permission to kiss his dead wife goodbye.
“Watching him going through his grieving process was a harrowing experience,'' Mr Warren said.
He was the the inspector in charge of the operation on the day. Read Chris Clarke’s article here
Former Prime Minister John Howard will return to Tasmania to attend the 20-year commemorations. He discusses the past – and that fateful day – with Georgie Burgess. Read it here
HOW do you deal with the perennial images of Port Arthur? Martin Bryant giggling in court like a nervous jackal, as the names of his tiny tot victims Alannah and Madeline Mikac were read out.
The police woman unable to control her trembling hands; the 8am smoke rising from the fire Bryant lit at the Seascape cottages, and, the utter devastation on the face of Walter Mikac, as he slumped in a police car.
Barry Prismall writes an emotive account of his experience covering this most hideous of crimes. Read it here
Recovery from a trauma the scale of the Port Arthur massacre is a lifelong process. For the many affected, the wounds are still raw 20 years on.
Georgie Burgess spoke with leading trauma specialist Dr Rob Gordon. Read the full article here
Maria Stacey has lived on the Tasman Peninsula her whole life. After the massacre, Ms Stacey struggled to focus. But she was driven by a thought.
“I’m not going to let anybody take anything else from me.”
Doug Dingwall spoke with Mara Stacey. Full story here
For the first time in 20 years, Hobart woman Julie Thompson sees the beauty in the Tasman Peninsula rather than the pain it has caused her and her family. Hundreds will gather at the historic Port Arthur site on Thursday to mark the anniversary of the 1996 massacre.
She tells Georgie Burgess why she won’t be at Port Arthur for the commemorations. Read her story here
Tony Rundle had been sworn in as state premier just weeks before the 1996 Port Arthur massacre. He was at his North-West home preparing for another Parliament week when he was told there was a mass shooting in the South of the state. Read Georgie Burgess’ report here
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