What Really Happened At Port Arthur: A Survivor's Story

True Crime Conversations

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What Really Happened At Port Arthur: A Survivor's Story

True Crime Conversations explores the world's most notorious crimes by speaking to the people who know the most about them. This month we’re focusing on Australia’s most notorious crimes...

It’s lunchtime, on a cool Sunday in April, and the Port Arthur historic site is buzzing with visitors. 

Located at the southern tip of the Tasman Peninsula, Port Arthur is located about 100 kilometres south-east of Hobart, the capital of Tasmania. The quaint village was once a penal settlement and a main drawcard for tourists visiting Australia’s southernmost state. 

At around 1:10pm, a man named Martin Bryant pays his entry fee for the Port Arthur site and parks near the Broad Arrow Cafe. He sits in his car for a few minutes. He is seen walking towards the cafe, with a sports bag and a video camera. He orders lunch, which he eats on the outside deck. To onlookers, he looks slightly nervous, but otherwise like a normal man - likely a tourist visiting Port Arthur. 

That morning, Bryant had awoken at 6am, which was unusually early for him. He left his home at 9:47am and drove to Forcett, arriving around 11am. Then, he continued on to Port Arthur, where he stopped at an accommodation site in Seascape. He hated the owners, David and Noelene Martin, who had bought the property before Bryant’s father had been able to. His father, Maurice Bryant, had been devastated and years later had ended his own life. Bryant blamed the Martin’s for his father’s death. 

When he arrived at Seaside, he fired several shots, killing Noelene Martin, and then stabbed David Martin. 

He then continued to Port Arthur, with a lightweight, semi-automatic rifle. 

What followed, was the worst massacre in Australian history committed by a single person. 35 were killed, and 23 wounded.

 

CREDITS

Guest: Anita Bingham

Host: Jessie Stephens

Audio Producer: Ian Camilleri

Producer: Gia Moylan

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