By Carol Altmann

A decade on, journalist Carol Altmann appears to be like at how the folk, where, the killer, and the total state has replaced because the awful bloodbath at one among Australia's such a lot notorious old landmarks.

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Extra info for After Port Arthur: Personal stories of courage and resilience ten years on from the tragedy that shocked the nation

Example text

Despite the devastation that he had caused that day, Bryant remained abnormally calm for most of his conversations with Sergeant McCarthy. His voice was high-pitched and almost singsong as he responded to questions about what had happened at Port Arthur. ’ he asked in a childlike tone as Sergeant McCarthy talked about the shootings. At other times he showed a sharp temper, warning Sergeant McCarthy he would ‘blow this’ if police marksmen attempted to move in on the cottage. Not knowing if the hostages were still alive, the police Special Operations Group was unable to chance storming the cottage.

I wasn’t feeling peaceful. It’s just a funny effect. ’ Keith was desperate to find Walter and was able to convince those at the roadblock to let him drive through to the Port Arthur motel where many of those at the site were now holed up in darkness, unsure if the gunman was still at large. Keith remembers some of those gathered were still spattered with blood and body matter, their faces pale and wide-eyed. He began to feel intensely thirsty and unsteady on his legs as the shock set in, but he continued to search for Walter among the crowd.

Other times, as he drove past the spot, he would wish the girls ‘good morning’ or ‘goodnight’. Keith believes it was again the decision to see the girls’ bodies where they lay that enabled him to confront the site and see it as part of their lives, rather than a place to be forever avoided. Part of Keith’s coping mechanism has been a self-devised method he calls ‘precompensation’; a word he would like to see installed in a dictionary some day. Put simply, it is to accept that, after a death, there will be ‘humps’ on the horizon – birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas – and to prepare for them in advance.

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