On Sunday 28 April 1996, 35 people were murdered and 21 injured in a shooting incident at and near the historic penal settlement of Port Arthur in south-eastern Tasmania.
A heavily armed man entered the Broad Arrow café, drew a semi-automatic rifle from a bag and shot dead and wounded numerous people. He then moved to the carpark where he shot others. Then he drove up Jetty Road and killed a mother and her two small daughters.
At the toll booth on Jetty Road he killed the occupants of a sedan, stole their vehicle, and drove to the nearby Port Arthur general store where he intercepted a car carrying a young man and woman. He abducted the man and shot the woman. The abducted man was taken to the Seascape guest house where he and another couple were later found killed.
While the offender was discharging his firearms at the Port Arthur site and in the vicinity, persons working at the site acted courageously without though for their own safety, shepherding visitors away from danger, and attending to the dying and wounded.
Citations of Bravery Medal Recipients
Mrs Loughton was seated in the Broad Arrow café with her daughter and a friend when a gunman opened fire. Mrs Loughton could hear glass shattering and bullets ricocheting around the room as she reached for her daughter and threw her to the floor, protecting her with her own body. When the gunman left the café Mrs Loughton attempted to get up, but found that she had been badly wounded and was bleeding profusely. Both her daughter and her friend were killed in the gunfire. Mrs Loughton was taken by helicopter to hospital in Hobart where she underwent surgery.
Mr Overbeeke was in the car park with his two sons when he heard shots coming
from the Broad Arrow café. He and his sons immediately started to move
people away from the café area to the ruins of the church and to patches
of undergrowth where shelter was available. Having completed this Mr Overbeeke,
at personal risk, left the shelter to warn a group of people having a barbecue.
Mr Overbeeke then saw a car leave the café area followed shortly by the
sound of gunfire from the tollgate. Assuming that the gunman was out of the immediate
area, Mr Overbeeke went to the café where he provided first aid to the
injured and assisted Police on their arrival.
Mr Salzmann was with friends travelling in a vehicle down Jetty Road when they were warned of a shooting incident unfolding in the car park. They returned to the Toll Booth, parking on the opposite side of the road facing the oncoming traffic, thereby blocking the entry of other vehicles into the historic site. From this position the occupants of the car continually gestured and signalled to the passengers of approaching vehicles to stop and go back. When the gunman arrived Mr Salzmann left the safety of the vehicle and approached the man. Mr Salzmann was observed to engage in a verbal altercation with the gunman who appeared very agitated. The man was seen to kick out at Mr Salzmann and then return to an adjacent vehicle for a gun which was used to fatally injure Mr Salzmann.
Ms Beavis and her sister were near the Penitentiary when they heard gunfire and saw customers and staff run from the Broad Arrow café towards them. When Ms Beavis was advised that a man was shooting at random she took cover behind a wall and warned other tourists to do the same. The gunman continued to fire and bullets were ricocheting off the walls and buildings around her. Ms Beavis was later told that the gunman had left in a car and although she could still hear gunfire she left the safety of the wall and ran to assist the wounded and dying in the café, the car park and the tourist buses. Ms Beavis, a nurse, administered first aid and assisted the traumatised tourists and relatives of the dead even though she could still hear a gun discharging and did not know if the gunman would return. When doctors and ambulance officers arrived she continued to assist them with the injured.
Mr Crosswell was seated in the Broad Arrow café with two female companions when a gunman entered and started shooting. Mr Crosswell pulled his two companions to the floor and tried to protect them with his body. While doing so, he was wounded. When the gunman left the café, and in spite of hearing shots being discharged outside, Mr Crosswell left the building to try to ascertain the situation. On finding that the gunman appeared to have left the scene, Mr Crosswell accompanied the two women who had been with him to some bushes behind the café to await help. He then returned to the café to attempt to render assistance to the injured, despite his own injury.
Mr Lever was in the souvenir shop in the Broad Arrow café with his wife and some friends when the shooting started. Staff members behind the café crouched down to avoid being hit and shouted a warning to the customers to seek cover. Mr Lever pushed his wife and another woman to the floor to protect them. In doing so he was shot and killed.
Constable Noble and his wife were seated at a picnic table when he heard the sound of gunfire coming from the Broad Arrow café. At personal risk he ran towards the café and saw the gunman come outside and fire across the car park. Constable Noble ran back to his wife warning people on the way. Together they made their way towards the Port Arthur Motel advising pedestrians and drivers to leave the area, and instructing one driver to call the Police. Shortly afterwards Constable Noble entered a cottage and phone the Police identifying himself as a New South Wales Police Officer. He was requested to re-enter the site to assist until further help arrived. Constable Noble returned to the café instructing people to remain under cover until the area was cleared by Police. He briefed attending Police officers on their arrival and assisted in comforting the distressed, evacuating the wounded and recording witness details.
Dr Windsor was near the Commandant's House when he heard gunfire and saw people running from the Broad Arrow café. Dr Windsor first took shelter behind a wall then ran into the building. After advising staff that he was a medical practitioner, and at a time when the gunman was still in the vicinity, he made his way to the carpark and café where he worked throughout the day attending to the injured and traumatised.
Mr Nudd was seated at a table outside the Broad Arrow café when he heard shots coming from inside and saw a window shatter. He told the members of his group to take shelter behind a nearby brick wall. In spite of the danger of being shot Mr Nudd ran to his car to call for help on his mobile phone. Unable to phone from that location Mr Nudd took cover behind a tree. The gunman saw him, and fired two shots in his direction.
Mrs Winter was preparing to leave the Broad Arrow café with her family when she heard gunfire coming from the other side of the room and saw people slumped forward at their tables. She dropped to the floor and pulled her crying baby in beside her and shortly after saw the feet of the gunman walking around the café. Mrs Winter had started singing softly to her son to try to stop him crying when she heard her husband cry out and a series of shots being fired. As soon as the gunman left the café, Mrs Winter emerged to find that her husband and her father were dead. In spite of her distress Mrs Winter assisted people who were injured until help arrived.
Mr Sharp was standing at a table in the Broad Arrow café with his wife and friends when the shooting started. Mr Sharp immediately pushed his wife and another woman to the floor to protect them, but was shot in doing so.
Mrs Moors was in the souvenir area of the Broad Arrow café when the shooting began. She walked towards an internal door pushing two elderly woman in front of her, and pulled a screen across to protect them. The gunfire continued claiming several victims, three falling against the screen and trapping the women. During this period Mrs Moors, in spite of her own distress, comforted the other women and tried to keep them quiet. After the gunman left the café Mrs Moors, a nurse, assisted with some of the victims.
Mr Francis was seated in a tourist bus with his wife when he heard gunfire and saw a woman run from the Broad Arrow café shouting a warning. Mr Francis pushed his wife down between the seats and lay down in the aisle still holding her. He looked up and saw a man approaching the bus firing at random. Mr Francis crawled to the front of the bus and tried to close the doors, and in that attempt to protect the occupants he sustained a shoulder wound.
Mr Fidler was seated in the Broad Arrow café when he heard shots and saw a gunman shoot other customers. The gunman approached Mr Fidler's table, firing at random, killing one man and injuring others. Although Mr Fidler had been wounded in the forehead, he managed to push his wife under the table and lay at the end of it to protect her. The gunman then moved to another area of the café, giving Mr Fidler an opportunity to take his wife outside and to hide in a patch of thick undergrowth.
Mr Edward approached the Port Arthur site and stopped at the tollgate. He was informed that a man was shooting indiscriminately on the site and advised not to go in. He saw a woman and a child who were running up the road towards him fall to the ground after being shot. Mr Edward reversed up the road, picked up a couple who were running away, and drove to a nearby service station to warn others. In spite of the fact that the gunman appeared to be heading towards them, Mr Edward asked his wife to warn the occupants of the shop and service station while he stopped cars heading towards the danger area. When the gunman came in sight Mr Edward ran to cover, stopping to assist a girl with a broken leg who was trying to get away.
Mr Quinn was talking to the driver of a tourist bus when a man left the Broad Arrow café and started firing at random. People around Mr Quinn were being shot as he took cover behind the buses. He saw the gunman enter a bus, shooting passengers in their seats. Realising that his wife was not with him he searched for her and found that she had been shot and was unconscious. As he was trying to assist his wife the gunman shot at Mr Quinn who again took cover, in a nearby bus. The gunman followed him into the bus, moving down the aisle towards Mr Quinn who was preparing to trip him. Before Mr Quinn could do so, he was shot in the neck. Bleeding profusely and very weak Mr Quinn returned to his wife who died shortly afterwards.
Mr Schadendorff was seated at a table in the Board Arrow café with his wife and a group of friends when he heard gunfire and turned to see a cloud of smoke coming from another part of the Café. He heard people shouting to get down and saw one of his companions shot in the head. Mr Schadendorff dragged his wife under the table and kept her and another woman quiet and still as the gunman walked around the Café firing at random. After the gunman left the Café Mr Schadendorff and his wife left the building and found shelter behind a water tank. They were joined by another man who had been shot in the side of his face. Mr Schadendorff assisted the injured man and made him comfortable until it was safe to seek medical assistance.
Mr Rooke was driving to Port Arthur when he saw a car pull into the driveway of the Seascape guest house. An armed man go out of the car and fired two shots at Mr Rooke followed by further shots which shattered the windscreen of a car following him. Mr Rooke alighted from his car and signalled to the drivers of two other vehicles to follow him. It was apparent that the second car had also been shot at. Mr Rooke led them to the Fox and Hounds hotel where he called emergency services and attended to the injured in the two vehicles.
Ms Andrews and her sister were near the Penitentiary when they heard gunfire and saw customers and staff run from the Broad Arrow café towards them. When Ms Andrews was advised that a man was shooting at random she took cover behind a wall as bullets were ricocheting off the walls and building around her. She was later told that the gunman had left in a car and although they could still hear gunfire she and her sister, a nurse, ran to assist the wounded in the car park, the café and the tourist buses. Ms Andrews accompanied her sister even though she could still hear a gun discharging and gave whatever assistance she could to the injured and traumatised.
Mr Pears was driving towards Port Arthur when he was stopped by a man pointing a rifle at him from the side of the road. The gunman indicated he intended to take Mr Pears' female companion hostage, but Mr Pears convinced the gunman to take him instead. Mr Pears was placed in the boot of his car. The gunman then shot the female companion where she sat. He then drove, with Mr Pears in the boot, to the Seascape guest house where Mr Pears was killed.
Mr Elliott was seated in the Broad Arrow café when he heard shooting and saw a heavily armed man appear from the servery area and fire a gun several times at customers in the room. People began screaming and looking for cover. Mr Elliott, disregarding his own safety, rose from his table and ran towards the gunman, in the hope of disarming him or distracting him to allow others to escape. Mr Elliott tried to grab the gunman. The gunman saw him approaching and shot him. Mr Elliott fell to the floor seriously injured. He was later treated for a fractured skull, a fractured upper arm and wounds to the face.
Mr Nash and his wife were in the souvenir section of the Broad Arrow café when shots were heard. Mr Nash quickly realised the danger and told his wife to crouch on the floor. Leaving himself exposed, he shielded her with his own body, saving her life. When the gunman entered the room firing at random, Mr Nash was killed.
Mr Kistan was sitting at a table in the Broad Arrow café with his wife and a friend when the shooting began. Mr Kistan pulled his wife to her feet and pushed her out the door to safety. In doing so, he was shot. Mrs Kistan immediately re-entered the café and lay on the floor next to her husband, not realising that he was dead.
Mr Jary was in the souvenir shop in the Broad Arrow café with his wife and some friends when the shooting started. Staff members behind the counter crouched down to avoid being hit and shouted a warning to the customers to seek cover. Mr Jary pushed his wife and another woman to the floor to protect them. In doing so he was shot and killed.
Mr Wanders was a front seat passenger in a vehicle driven by a female companion near the Seascape Guest House. As they approached the guest house a man, standing by the side of the road, raised the rifle he was holding and fired at the car severely injuring the driver's forearm. Another shot disabled the car which rolled to a stop still within range of the gunman. Mr Wanders started to run from the car after telling his companion to run. He had travelled about 10 metres when he realised he was alone. In spite of the danger, he returned to his companion who was in shock and had not moved. He grabbed some clothing from the car to use a tourniquet on her arm and encouraged her to make her escape. They were picked up shortly afterwards and driven to the Fox and Hounds hotel and safety.
Mr Balasko was standing near parked tourist buses when he heard gunfire from the adjacent Broad Arrow café. He saw a woman run outside warning that a man was shooting people. When the gunman emerged from the café, Mr Balasko went behind a bus to protect his female companion who had sought shelter there. He saw the woman, who had shouted the warning, shot in the leg. Realising that he had his video camera with him and in spite of being fired at, he recorded the movements of the gunman.
Contstable Gabbedy was near the Tea Rooms when he heard shots and bullets ricochet off the wall behind him. He sought cover behind the wall and looking out he saw a yellow Volvo drive away. He heard more shots, but by then they were further away. Not knowing whether the gunman would return, he went to the Broad Arrow café to render assistance. He comforted a badly injured man and, while waiting for other Police officers to arrive, he drew a map of the café indicating the positions of the dead and injured to assist the Police.
Mrs Sloane had just left the Broad Arrow café when she heard gunshots from inside. She ran away from the care with others to shelter behind parked cars and tried to see who was shooting. As the gunman approached the parked cars, Mrs Sloane and an elderly man whom she was assisting were shot at and the man was wounded. When a car left the scene, and although she was not sure if it were driven by the gunman, Mrs Sloane left her place of concealment. Gunshots could still be heard, but nevertheless she went to the assistance of a wounded woman who had been shot by the gunman.
Last Updated 22 February, 2009