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Reflecting on a tragedy

The remains of the Broad Arrow Cafe: 20 people died here.

The remains of the Broad Arrow Cafe: 20 people died here.

On 28 April 1996, 35 people were killed and 20 were wounded by a single gunman at and near the Port Arthur historical site in the state of Tasmania, Australia. This was the country’s worst mass shooting and led to a reform of Australia’s gun laws.

Many of the victims were in the site’s cafe and tourist shop when the massacre unfolded. That building is now empty, lacking a roof, windows and doors — a silent memorial.

Beside the eery stone building is a pool of reflection, a garden and benches, where one is gently encouraged to remember and to pay respects.

The remains of the Broad Arrow Cafe.

The remains of the Broad Arrow Cafe.

An inscription at the site reads:

“May we who come to this garden cherish life for the sake of those who died.

Cherish compassion for the sake of those who gave aid.

Cherish peace for the sake of those in pain.”

You may read a detailed account of what unfolded on that day here, but be warned that it is disturbing.

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14 thoughts on “Reflecting on a tragedy

  1. I don’t know if I never heard about this or if I’ve lost it in the myriad of other mass murders since but how awful. We loved our visit to Tasmania which preceded this and cannot imagine such horror in such a peaceful place.

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