Friday, April 28, 2006

Port Arthur

April 28th is a day in Tasmania's history that will be sadly remembered. Standing side by side in reflection with people at the Port Arthur Historic Site ten years on from the tragic events of April 28th 1996, we hope to help bring "a sense of healing and encouragement, not to forget, but to move on with strength and resilience."

There was a special broadcast of the Commemorative Service direct from the Port Arthur Historic Site on 936 ABC Hobart, ABC Northern Tasmania (and streamed to the internet) hosted by Tim Cox of ABC Radio Hobart.

This service was an important milestone in looking forward, looking back for the Tasman Peninsula and the people of Tasmania and Australia.

Order of Service
12.27 Official Party arrive
12.30 Like an Eagle: performance by Rosny Children's choir
MC: Edward Gauden
- Welcome by Chair Hon Dr Barry Jones AO
- Reading by Keith Moulton (Mark 4, verses 35-41)
- Ave Maria: performance by Amelia Farrugia
- Reading by Maria Stacey
- The Lord's Prayer: reading led by Edward Gauden
- Song of Joy: performance by Rosny Children's Choir
- Address by the Prime Minister, the Hon John Howard MP
- Amelai Candle Bearers make their way to Memorial Garden
- Reading by Premier of Tasmania, the Hon Paul Lennon MHA (Garden of Peace by Margaret Scott)
- Irish Blessing: recorded performance
1.30 1 Minute silence then
- Looking Forward, Looking Back: Performance by Monique Brumby
1.35 Close: Edward Gauden

The radio broadcast was a very moving time. The words of sadness and consolation were made all the more affecting by the many pauses in which we could hear the sound of the native birds singing in the surrounding forest.

It brought back that awful Sunday ten years ago when we heard the unbelievable news that a gunman had run amok at a popular tourist spot and shot down 35 people. Then as now, it seems completely inexplicable.

What I remember even more acutely is being in the city the following day. The populace were subdued. People sat quietly, talking in soft voices and looking off into the distance every so often. It wasn't hard to know what they were thinking; we were all dwelling on the same thoughts.

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