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After Port Arthur: Personal stories of…

After Port Arthur: Personal stories of courage and resilience ten years on…

by Carol Altmann

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It was a difficult book for me to read, far harder than the other two books I have read on the Port Arthur Massacre.

When I was a child my family used to have a picnic down at Port Arthur every year. I also went on several school excursions to there as well. As a result, up to 1996, I had good memories of the place. I last went to Port Arthur 3 weeks after the massacre to take part in the Reclaiming Service. I haven't been back since.

At the time of the massacre we were celebrating a friend's birthday while unbeknown to us 35 people were being murdered about a hour's drive away . Soon after I returned home I heard the choppers flying overheard. I thought that something bad must be happening so I turned on the radio to hear a report that 7 people had been shot dead at Port Arthur. I ran over to my neighbour's house and for the rest of the day we sat stunned, listening to reports of what was happening and throughout the day the death toll climbed and climbed.

I remember the months of depression many Tasmanians suffered from following the massacre, myself included.

After reading this book I am determined to start going back down to Port Arthur again. The depression I felt, sometimes still feel, because of the massacre is nothing compared to the suffering of the people mentioned in the book. The stories included stories about people who had lost loved ones, stories about people who had been injured, about a cameraman who was shocked by the behaviour of some of the reporters, stories about some of the Port Arthur staff who were working the day, and of the doctors and other health professionals who had to tend to the injured etc. It left me with a greater understanding of what trauma can do to people. ( )
  Zozette | Apr 24, 2011 |
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Based on interviews with the victims' families, rescue workers, the police, medicos, and the survivors themselves, each shares their story of overwhelming pain, but also resilience, bravery and great love. While some have managed to move on, some never will. None of them will ever be the same.… (more)

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