Martin Bryant
Date of Shootings~28 april 1996
34 kills

His weapons of choice

The Armalite AR-15-It is magazine fed and can take a 20 or 30 round magazine. The caliber is 5.56mm. This deadly weapon was used in the Broad Arrow Cafe.

The SLR(FN-FAL)-It can take a 20 or 30 round magazine as well,it is also magazine fed.The caliber is the larger 7.62mm. This weapon was used outside.

A fine Sunday always meant a good crowd at the Site. People had been coming and going all morning, and by now there were over 500 visitors inside the boundaries.

A good-sized crowd had gathered outside the Information Centre, waiting for the 1.30 P.M. guided tour to begin. Everyone wore a round red sticker to show that the entry fee had been paid. Most carried cameras.

From the car park next to the Broad Arrow, you could see small brightly coloured figures on the far hill pausing to take pictures. Others picnicking at the barbecues near the oval or inspecting buildings like the church or the Model Prison.

The Frances Langford Tea Rooms in the Federation-style Carnarvon house behind the Penitentiary was doing good business. So was the Broad Arrow where the staff had just got through the busiest part of the lunchtime rush.

The cafe where the killing spree started

There were about sixty people inside the building, most of them seated at tables in the restaurant section. Some were at the counter where three staff members were filling plates.

Brigid Cook was hard at work in the kitchen behind the servery while, away to the right, Elizabeth Howard and her second cousin, Nicole Burgess, were on duty in the souvenir and gift shop. A handful of visitors were browsing among the display stands,looking at jumpers and T-shirts, selecting picture postcards.

The young man with long blond hair ordered a large meal and a can of soft drink, as well as a cup of fruit juice. He took his tray outside to one of the tables on the balcony in front of the cafe.

Suddenly he remarked to the people around him that there were a lot of 'wasps' about. A little later he said something about the absence of Japanese tourists.

According to Petra Wilmott, his girlfriend, this was not the first time Martin Bryant had linked these two topics so it seems likely that he was using 'wasps' not in reference to insects that plague picnickers, but as the well worn acronym for white Anglo-Saxon Protestants. He seems not to have grasped its full meaning, using it simply to mean 'white people'.

Certainly, what was to happen in the next few minutes suggests that there may have been a racist element in Bryant's thinking that Asian tourists stood higher on his hitlist than white ones.

Martin Bryants mode of transport to the cafe

Mick Sargent and his girlfriend, Kate Scott, who had both come from Perth to attend a wedding in Hobart, were sitting about two tables away with a friend, Caroline Villiers. The fourth member of their party, John Riviere, had just gone over to the servery to get something else to eat. Mick Sargent gave this account of what happened next:

I thought, 'What's he up to? Because he's obviously a tourist, or trying to look like one, then why is he carrying this big, heavy bag?' I thought that he was a real glutton for punishment, lugging that all over the place.

I checked him out and he put the video camera down on the table and I looked up at his face and he was staring at me. I stared back: he seemed quite young, not as old as I later found him out to be.

He was staring like, 'What's your problem?' and there we were, in this stand-off. It's hard to explain. It's like a male thing. We were sizing each other up and I could see in his eyes that there was something going on. I thought he was just pissed off because I was staring at him and we kept staring for about 10-15 seconds.

Then Kate Scott, who was sitting with her back to the man with the bag, said something to Mick and the stand-off ended. When he glanced up again, Bryant had turned away and was gazing at an Asian couple who were eating their lunch at a nearby table. Thinking nothing of it, Mick had just looked back at Kate when there was a loud explosion.

The young man with blond hair had produced an AR15 semi-automatic rifle from his sports bag and shot Moh Yee Ng from Kuala Lumpur in the neck, killing him instantly. A second later, before anyone could move or speak, he shot the second Malaysian visitor, Soo Leng Chung, in the head.

Mick Sargent saw the second shot fired Rambo-style from the hip, saw the gunman swing around and bring the rifle up to the shoulder, aiming straight at Mick.

The third shot grazed Mick's scalp as he fell to the floor. The fourth brought Kate Scott down beside him, killed by a bullet fired directly at the back of her head.

For a few seconds Mick thought that he had been fatally wounded. He felt a burning sensation on each side of his head and blood running from his scalp.

He could see that Kate, lying on her stomach beside him, was already dead and thought for a moment that it was good that they should die together.

Then he realised that he was still alive and that the wound to his head was only superficial. The will to go on living flared up again, so he pushed his head under his girlfriend's body and remained still, hoping the gunman would think his third shot had claimed another life.

Anthony Nightingale was sitting alone at a table near the front of the cafe, facing inwards. Apparently, when the shooting started, he jumped to his feet, leaned forward and shouted 'No, no! Not here!' Bryant turned and shot him in the neck.

At the next table, six members, of a party of ten, also from Victoria, were just finishing their lunch. The Schadendorfs, the Broomes and the Fidlers had decided to eat while they waited for the last four people in their group to turn up. Kevin and Marlene Sharpe, Kevin's younger brother, Ray, and their friend Wally Bennett had just come into the cafe and were standing in a huddle talking to the early arrivals with their backs to the gunman.

The picturesque 'Port Arthur' before the shootings.

What occurred next is unclear. People were starting to realise that something terrible was happening, and began to dive under tables, to thrust companions under cover. Kevin Sharpe may have turned towards Bryant and flung out his arm to protect his wife or pull her to the ground. He was shot twice, once in the arm and once in the head.

Walter Bennett was shot in the neck. Medical and ballistic evidence suggests that the bullet which killed him went on to strike Ray Sharpe, causing massive head injuries. Gary Broome, John Fidler and his wife, Gaye, were all hurt by shrapnel-fragments of one or more of the bullets that had killed people close by.

Tony and Sarah Kistan, from Sydney, with their friend, Andrew Mills, who had moved down to Hobart only two months earlier, were lunching at a table just beyond the one occupied by the group from Victoria, towards the centre of the room.

When the shooting started, the two men got to their feet, and Tony Kistan, once he saw what was happening, tried to push his wife towards the door. Both he and Andrew Mills were gunned down with single shots to the head.

Again, flying shrapnel wounded people close by. Peter Crosswell, Thelma Walker and Pamelia Law all worked for the Camp Quality organisation, founded to help and support children suffering from cancer. Peter Crosswell, who lives near Hobart, was an area co-ordinator, while his two elderly companions had come from the mainland to promote understanding of young cancer patients by giving puppet shows in Tasmanian schools. They had just started their lunch when they heard three loud bangs. Peter got up to investigate at the moment, it seems, that Bryant emerged from the back of the cafe to move in on the Sharpe brothers and Wally Bennett. As the men fell, Peter recalled that he 'jumped on top of the two women ... and landed on the floor ... told them just to lay dead still'. But, as Damian Bugg, the Director of Public Prosecutions explained at Bryant's sentencing hearing on 19 November: Thelma Walker and Pamelia Law ... were struck with shrapnel or fragments from the shots which killed Mr Kistan and Mr Mills ... Mrs Walker sustained shrapnel wounds to the right temporal region, to the back and right ankle.' Pamelia Law felt a graze across the rear of her head and a stinging sensation in her right side. It seemed at first that she had been shot directly. Only later, when her wounds were being treated, did it emerge that she had been injured by shrapnel. Pat Barker, who was sitting with her husband and a party of friends near the fireplace in front of the servery, also suffered injuries from shrapnel. Almost everyone at her table dived for cover but before she could get to the floor, she was struck in the arm, hand and check by, flying metal. By now Bryant had moved into the middle of the room with tables crowded all around him, the front windows of the café on his right, the fireplace and servery, on his left. Just in front of him a group of three: Carolyn Loughton from Ferntree Gully in Victoria, her boyfriend Graham Colyer, and her fifteen-year-old daughter Sarah. Bryant shot Graham Colyer in the neck, but this time, although he inflicted a wound that left his victim half-suffocated by his own blood, he failed to kill. Next, he turned on a couple from Dunnstown, Mervyn and Mary Howard. Tucked away at their table in a corner by the door, they had been slow to grasp what was going on. Mervyn Howard was still holding his cup when he was shot in the head. His wife, shot once in the neck and once in the head, died beside him. Under the next table, Joanne Winter was hiding with her father and one-year-old son, desperately trying to keep the baby quiet. Bryant was so intent on making sure Mary Howard was dead that he missed them and went on to where Carolyn and Sarah Loughton had fallen to the floor together. He shot Carolyn in the back, again failing to kill, then, despite Carolyn's efforts to shield her daughter, shot Sarah dead. Robert Elliott and his wife, Alyece, were at the same table as Pat Barker. For some reason, which he could not explain, Robert stood up as Bryant went past towards the gift shop. Seeing the movement, Bryant turned and shot him twice, once in the arm and once in the head. He fell, badly wounded but still alive. Meanwhile, outside the cafe, a couple from Corio in New South Wales were filming the Site with their video camera. Over near the Penitentiary, some two hundred metres from the Broad Arrow, another visitor, Barry Turner, was doing the same thing. Both happened to record the sound of the shots coming from the restaurant, and both tapes prove beyond any shadow of doubt that the first seventeen shots were all fired within a space of fifteen seconds. Twelve people had been killed and ten injured in no more than a quarter of a minute. Ian Kingston, the Site Security Officer and Manager of the Tasman Unit of the State Emergency Service, was standing in the upper car-park when the shooting started: I didn't know what it was ... I started running to the cafe. I didn't have a clue what was going on inside. The closer I got, I could see dust coming out of the walls of the building and I thought, 'Must be some wires arcing out in the walls or something in the ceiling.' Ran in the door. There was two bodies on the floor. I could see that they were dead . . . there was a lot of blood coming from them. I looked at the ceiling. Couldn't see anything wrong. All of a sudden the shooting started again . . . bang, bang, bang! I couldn't see where it was coming from initially ... I could see one of the girls at the cash register. Her Mouth was open. She was as white as a ghost and I thought she was looking at the wall, but what she was looking at was - in-between her and I was quite a few people, but amongst them was Martin Bryant. The first thing I saw then was the gun come up. It was a massive gun, big magazine. And then he started shooting people right next to me, only half a metre away. The destruction of the bodies was unbelievable ... How many were dead and how many were lying down, I don't know. I had time to think that I was going to die. I had time to think that I'd never made a will, that my children would lose their father . . . The girl was still at the servery, still there frozen. And he's shooting people and getting closer to her and I'm yelling, 'Get out! Leave! Run!' In the finish, he shot a person only metres from her and she ran. She ran out the back door. That saved her life. She would've been shot if she had stayed there. He got to a point where I could get out. I got out the door and with me I took as many people as I could, but the problem was that every person that was within a few seconds running from the cafe was flocking in. They were flocking in through the front door ... probably 30 or 40 people trying to get into the cafe as I was trying to get people out, the ones that were closer to the door. I had to yell out 'Get out! Get out! There's a gunman in here!' They wouldn't move and in the finish I yelled out 'Fire!' And then they started moving. I said 'Get Out! Fire!' and they all ran. They thought there was a re-enactment going on. The slaughter was not yet finished in the cafe. Over in the gift shop most people had realised they were in danger and were trying to find some means of escape. Three were sheltering behind a display table at the back of the shop. Two friends, Dennis Lever and Ron Jary from Red Cliffs, Victoria, managed to push their wives and another elderly woman behind a hessian screen with jumpers pinned to it. Peter and Carolyn Nash made for a door that led on to the balcony, but found it locked. Two staff members, Nicole Burgess and Elizabeth Howard, were still standing at their counter when they were shot down. Dennis Lever was killed next. Ron Neander, who had just retired from an undertaking business in Adelaide, was on holiday with his wife, Gwen. He saw Mary Howard shot, and described how he and Gwen 'ducked behind a postcard stand, which kept us out of his line of sight'. But not for long. Once Nicole and Elizabeth had been killed, 'Gwen was the next one in line so she got it. Gwen was hit in the face. I knew straightaway she was dead, there was so much blood'. Suddenly Bryant heard movement behind him in the cafe. He took a few paces back the way he had come and fired at Peter Crosswell as he lay under his table, still shielding the two Camp Quality Puppeteers. The shot injured him in the buttock but did no further harm. Jason Winter was less fortunate. Just before the shooting started, the young winemaker from New Zealand had left his wife, son and father-in-law at their table by the window to carry the group's trays back to the counter. He had taken cover there with Dennis and Mary Olson, and must have been frantic with worry about his family, hidden from sight on the other side of the room. When there was a brief lull in the shooting after the killing of Gwen Neander, Jason leapt to the conclusion that Bryant had left the Broad Arrow through some outer door in the gift shop. He told the Olsons 'He's gone'; and got to his feet. Bryant spotted him as he came out from behind the brick fireplace, in front of the servery, and fired twice, killing him instantly. Dennis Olson, crouching nearby, was injured in the hand, chest, head and eye by shrapnel from those bullets. Turning back to the gift shop, Bryant found Ron Jary Peter and Carolyn Nash, an unidentified Asian tourist and Pauline Masters, a secretary from a Victorian medical centre, all crowded together by the locked door at the front of the building. He shot Ron Jary Pauline Masters and Peter Nash, who tried to shield his wife's body with his own, and aimed his gun at the Asian, but by this time the magazine was empty. In less than two minutes he had killed twenty people and injured twelve. He quickly changed the magazine and left the cafe. We can never know everything that occurred in those two minutes. A police taskforce spent months piecing together the accounts of the survivors, the reports of ballistic experts, the evidence of pathologists, measurements, tiny clues. As they worked, it became clear that what some witnesses believed to be true was at variance with most other statements and with the expert evidence. Some spoke, for instance, of Bryant 'moving backwards and forwards through the cafe' when it has been established that he went once through the building, only backtracking to shoot Peter Crosswell and Jason Winter, and then left by the main door. It may well be that other recollections of was what thought or said, of an arm flung out or someone pushed under a table have also been distorted by the confused rush of events. The sound of the shooting inside the Broad Arrow carried across the Site. Peter and Noreen Wilson, who, at that time, leased the Frances Langford Tea Rooms, heard the noise. So did their seventeen-year-old waitress, Anita Bingham: We were that busy and I was the only waitress working that day ... Anyway, it was very hectic ... There was Noreen in the kitchen who does the cooking and there was her husband and another boy in the bakery at the back and I think that was mainly it. Everything just seemed normal for the first half of the day until Noreen said, 'Quick, go and serve this bowl of soup.' So I was putting it down on the table to this foreign couple - Chinese or Japanese - and that's when I first heard the shots go off. Yes, and it just frightened me and this bowl of soup sort of just wobbled a bit and then people started to go `Oh, what's that?' And one of my first reactions that it must be some kind of a joke. Like, 'This is silly.' Because I'd only been working at Port Arthur for roughly three months before this happened. I really wasn't familiar with exactly everything that happened around the place. At first I thought there was probably a show going on like muskets coming out or something. And people are just curious and getting up and going outside and we weren't sure what was going on and then when we looked out the window, we could see people ducking behind walls and cars and things. Mark Kirby is a third-generation bricklayer from New South Wales who has lived on the Peninsula for about eight years. He had been contracted to do some repairs to several buildings at Port Arthur and that Sunday, was working on the front of the Penitentiary opposite the Broad Arrow. Some of the brickwork there needed a lot of re-pointing and bricks needed replacing up to four storeys high. So to do that, it was decided that the Site would hire a cherry picker from a hire firm in town. We'd been on that project - myself and Mick McMillan - he's the fellow that actually made the cross at Port Arthur. We were behind in our work program because I'd had an accident with this stone wall and dropped a massive great piece of stone on my finger and split it open and ended up with about three weeks off work. So we were behind, and the wet weather had got us behind as well so I was doing everything possible to catch up. I'd worked on Anzac day. I worked Saturday and it came to Sunday 28 April. I worked through till twelve. The majority of the work I was doing from the third storey to the fourth storey ... I went over at lunchtime to the Broad Arrow and bought my lunch, spoke to the girls behind the counter in the food section. I was going to go over to say hello to Liz and to Nicole Burgess, but they were far too busy. So I left and went back to work. I got back to work at half-past twelve or thereabouts and elevated the cherry picker up to about twenty-five feet from the ground, right in the corner where the clock tower meets the Penitentiary. It got to what I now know to be about half-past one. I was working on the corner and I heard the noises start. At the time, I didn't have any idea what was happening. But I knew there was something going on. There was something wrong. There was too much noise and too often. The series of what I now know to be gunshots was ... it just kept going. I do remember a couple of slight breaks in it ... There was so much noise, you couldn't put the thought to it being gunfire, if you can understand that. There was too much gunfire. I've been shooting with blokes, gone on wallaby shoots and whatever and I've been in the bush when you've had twenty or thirty blokes around you with dogs running about and the whole bit and the confusion that it is. I'd never heard gunfire like this before. I'd never heard a noise like this. At the time my first recollection was that something was wrong with one of the gas stoves in the Broad Arrow. And as I'm looking across to the Broad Arrow, Brigid Cook came around the back of the Broad Arrow and came running down to the side door. I knew it was Brigid. She had a uniform on with, like a sash across. I'd seen her an hour beforehand. She was very agitated. She was waving her hands around in the air. And at that time I knew there was something really wrong. For Brigid to leave the kitchen-there was something eminent [sic]. So I decided it was time I got down and went over and saw what was going on. So I started up the machine and started making preparations to get down from where I was, which is quite a cumbersome thing to do. You just can't press a button and then drop. Because of where I was, you had to retract the boom first and then do other manoeuvres to actually get out of position. While I'm doing this, I glance across to the car-park and eighty people in the car-park - I believe it was at least eighty people - turned and ran. I now know they were running for their lives. They ran across the car-park ... they had actually been milling around in front of the Information Office getting ready for the half-past-one guided tour. So they run, literally with the guides herding them along. You could see the guides over there. And they take off around the bottom corner by the toilets and start to run up the hill towards the toll-booth. So then I know there is a problem. There's something going on over there ... At the same time, what I now know was gunfire was still going off and there are people - l can remember a fellow jumping, literally jumping over a fence in front of the Broad Arrow. He landed on the ground and just ran ... I now know that at the time I started the cherry-picker Martin Bryant had walked out of the Broad Arrow. He lifted his rifle towards the eighty people who were running . . . and at that moment I started the cherry-picker. It's got a four-cylinder Wisconsin motor in it with basically no exhaust and as soon as he heard me start that thing up, he turned in my direction and fired two shots. We presume at me. Other accounts tally pretty well with this, although some witnesses became confused about the time and, because things happened very quickly, about the sequence of events. It is quite clear, however, that the three staff members who had been at the Counter in the cafe escaped into the kitchen while Martin Bryant was still in the Broad Arrow. They rushed out of the back door with Brigid Cook, who turned and ran west into the upper car-park to warn the people gathered Outside the Information Centre. She says that she thought she might be making a big fool of herself because she hadn't actually seen any shooting, but since the three girls had made it clear that something terrible was happening and, like everyone else, she could hear the gunfire, she couldn't have been in much doubt. She must also have known that the gunman was likely to emerge from the Broad Arrow by the front door and yet, having tried to alert the crowd in the top car-park, she turned and ran straight across the line of fire from the door to warn people in the lower car-park. Like many other actions performed on that day, this act of extraordinary courage gives a heartening quality to in otherwise grim and horrific story of senseless carnage. What happened in the next few seconds is difficult to determine. Those who had understood Brigid's warning were moving away from the cafe, but some, it seems were still surging towards it and were turned back only by Ian Kingston's cries of 'Fire!' Ian, who also acted with great courage and presence of mind, knew that he and the staff in the car-park had only a few seconds to get everyone out of the area. He would have run out - anyone in front of the cafe he would have shot ... We evacuated everyone we could get easily and quickly from in front of the cafe and in front of the information Office ... We hid them out of sight up Jetty Road, the road to the toll-booth. When we got up Jetty Road far enough, we took them into the Government Gardens (the area to the left of the road). We had them just at the corner of Jetty Road when Bryant came out of the cafe. At some point before everyone left the car-park Wendy Scurr, one of the guides, rang the emergency number 000 from the Information Centre. Not surprisingly, she had trouble convincing the person she spoke to that a gunman was wreaking havoc at Port Arthur and held out the phone so that the shots could be heard. A few moments later Bryant appeared at the door of the Broad Arrow and - although Mark Kirby did not see this - fired once towards the crowd fleeing into Jetty Road. Ashley Law, another guide, heard tile bullet whiz into the trees behind him. Then as Mark has described, the gunman started shooting across the oval towards the Penitentiary where the engine had just roared into life. The crowd rushed on towards the toll-booth. Some left the road with Ian Kingston, others ran into the bush on the right of the road and hid among the trees behind the Information Centre. It's rash, to say the least, to speculate about what was going on in Bryant's mind, but it seems likely that at this point he realised that the AR15, deadly at close range, was not the weapon he needed for picking off victims at a distance. He left the cafe balcony, and went down the bank into the lower car-park towards his car, which was parked near the far end beyond a row of tour buses. In the boot of the yellow Volvo were two more guns: a semi-automatic .308 FN or SLR (self-loading rifle) and a semi-automatic Daewoo 12-gauge shotgun. The SLR was better suited than the AR15 to long-distance shooting. By this time, Brigid Cook had run past the buses, which were all lined up with their cabins facing the cafe, warning as many people as she could, and had ended up near the back of the last bus in the line. As Bryant came along behind her, he looked towards the buses, spotted Royce Thompson, driver of the Tigerline bus, hurrying for cover, and shot him in the back. When he came to the last bus, a Trans Otway coach, he fired at Brigid Cook's group. The bullet passed through Brigid's right leg and entered her left one. Mark Kirby saw her slumped against a rear wheel of the bus and wondered what had happened. A little later another bus driver, Ian McElwee, helped Brigid along behind the back of the buses to a small sentry box at the edge of the oval and, using his knowledge of first aid, attended to her injuries as best he could. Then began a dreadful game of hide-and-seek in and around the buses. Yvonne Lockley and Winifred Aplin, on holiday from Adelaide, were running to take cover in their coach, when Bryant fired at them, injuring the first and killing the second.