On 28 April 1996, a gunman armed with two high-calibre, semiautomatic weapons shot dead 35 people, injured 18 and attempted to kill a further 20 in Port Arthur, a former penal settlement and popular tourist destination in Tasmania, Australia. He then attempted to burn down a bed-and-breakfast cottage, the Seascape Cottage, belonging to two of his victims, apparently in an attempt to kill himself. Police arrested a 29-year-old man, Martin Bryant, who was tried in Hobart’s Supreme Court on 72 criminal charges, including 35 counts of murder. Tasmania’s Chief Justice William Cox sentenced Bryant to imprisonment for the term of his natural life, with no eligibility for parole, for the 35 murder counts, plus another 21 years for each of the remaining counts, with the remaining terms to be served concurrently. Richard Lower was the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s (ABC’s) Television News Editor for Tasmania when the Easter massacre occurred.
Recommended CitationLower, R., Port Arthur massacre: A TV editor's experience, Asia Pacific Media Educator, 7, 1999, 124-130.