Today, we'll remember two ordinary Australian heroes.

Katrina Dawson, left, and Tori Johnson, right.





One week ago, an unthinkable tragedy hit two ordinary Australian families.

On that day, the families of 15 other people were also forever changed as they were forced to imagine a life without them over 16 terrifying hours, and a city shifted on its axis.

But today is about the two victims of the Sydney siege who never came home.

Katrina Dawson, a well-respected barrister with three young children, and Tori Johnson, a man who had lived with his loving partner for 14 years and was described as a “great guy” by friends and family, endured more than 16 hours of terrifying hours in the Lindt cafe during the Sydney siege.

In the early hours of 16 December, their families learned that their loved ones had not survived that harrowing night.

It’s news that changed those families’ lives forever — and left three small children without a mother.

Today, at two separate memorial services held across Sydney, the Dawson family and the Johnson family will honour the lives of the ones they lost.

Australia, too, will today mourn the loss of two of our own: these two ordinary — but by all accounts extraordinarily kind and warm — Australian heroes.

To read more about Katrina Dawson‘s memorial service, see this post. To see more about Tori Johnson‘s funeral service, see this post.

Katrina Dawson, 38, was buried privately yesterday, and today her life will be celebrated at 3pm at the University of Sydney, where the mother-of-three studied Arts/Law.

A drawing left by Katrina Dawson’s daughter Sasha at the Martin Place public memorial site.

Ms Dawson’s children were asked to pick the songs played during the service. Sasha, who is just four, has chosen Santa Claus Is Coming To Town. Oliver, six, has picked Somewhere Over the Rainbow, while Chloe, eight, has chosen The Gambler; reports that little Chloe enjoyed the Kenny Rogers son with her mother.


Ms Dawson’s husband Paul Smith will give a eulogy at the service.

The Daily Mail reports Ms Dawson’s family have asked attendees to wear a splash of aqua, Ms Dawson’s favourite colour, to honour her life.

In lieu of flowers they ask mourners donate to the Katrina Dawson Foundation, which will focus on the education of women. Former Governor-General Quentin Bryce is the charity’s founding member.

Tributes to the victims of the Sydney siege (post continues after gallery):

Tori Johnson, 34, will be farewelled at a private memorial service at St Stephen’s Uniting Church this morning from 11am.

The church is only a few hundred metres from where he died.

Mr Johnson’s partner Thomas Zinn, a hotel manager, and parents Ken and Rowena Johnson — as well as Mr Johnson’s younger brother James, who has flown home from Canada, have said they want the funeral to be a “positive reflection” of Mr Johnson’s life, Fairfax Media reports.

Mr Johnson’s family released a statement last week saying: “We are so proud of our beautiful boy Tori, gone from this earth but forever in our memories as the most amazing life partner, son and brother we could ever wish for… Let us all pray for peace on earth.”

Former colleague Tony Manno, who worked with Tori at Sydney’s Adria Rybar & Grill for years, says he was shattered to hear the news of Mr Johnson’s death.

“Tori was a great guy, a good guy to be around got on really well with all the staff,” he told the ABC.

From the people of Australia, we say: farewell, Katrina Dawson and Tori Johnson.

You are Australian heroes, and you will not be forgotten.

Some more social media tributes:

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If you are distressed or upset, please contact Lifeline Australia on 13 11 14 or your local support line. NSW Health advise that if you experience persistent issues that interfere with your life you are encouraged to talk to your General Practitioner or health care provider. In NSW you can contact your local mental health service via the NSW Mental Health Line on 1800 011 511.