|Witnesses recall the massacres details|
Some thought shots were part of reenactment
When the sound of gunfire ripped through the balmy autumn air at Tasmanias most popular tourist attraction on April 28, most visitors were unperturbed.
Many concluded it was one of those reenactments you could expect at Port Arthur, site of colonial Australias most infamous prison.
But Peter Crosswell, a former RAAF officer turned Camp Quality area manager, knew the sounds were not play-acting.
I just recognised the sound of a high-powered rifle, then I saw this guys head explode and that was it, Crosswell told reporters after the shootings.
Martin Bryant killed 35 people on that sunny Sunday coldly, deliberately and calculatedly.
Eighteen more were injured requiring hospitalisation.
Hundreds more lives were shattered by loss and grief.
South Australian couple Ron and Gwen Neander were touring Port Arthur during what was set to be the first of many holidays after Mr. Neanders retirement from his profession of undertaker.
‘I heard the noise, but it wasn’t until — I can see her now — a woman was shot right through the temple, her head went back against the wall and blood spurted out of her head and I thought, hey, this is real.’
Port Arthur survivor
The two were browsing through the souvenir section of the Broad Arrow Cafe when Neander heard gunfire.
I heard the noise, but it wasnt until I can see her now a woman was shot right through the temple, her head went back against the wall and blood spurted out of her head and I thought, hey, this is real, Neander told The Mercury after the massacre.
At this stage, we were in the sounvenir shop and ducked behind a postcard stand which kept us out of his line of sight.
He didnt stay in the one place. He moved around, shooting at people generally, shooting people in their seats.
He walked into the souvenir area and everyone in his way he just shot.
The two shop assistants behind the counter they were shot straight out.
He was just going round.
Gwen was the next one in line, so she got it.
Gwen was hit in the face. I knew straight away she was dead, there was so much blood.
Victorian police officer Denis Gabbedy, on holiday in Tasmania with wife Marianne, said his 20 years of police training had not prepared him for the devastation he found inside the Broad Arrow after the gunman left.
There were bodies everywhere and it looked like they were all shot in the head, Gabbedy told the Mercury newspaper.
There was this Asian couple sitting at a table near the window.
They were sitting up, they had their meals in front of them, but they were dead.
When Martin Bryant left the cafe, 20 people were dead.
Many more were wounded, grievously, with some of the gunmans victims losing limbs.
But he was not finished yet.
After reloading his military-style semi-automatic AR-15, Bryant, gun to shoulder and looking through his telescopic sights, surveyed the area.
Rising from his crouched position in the cafe, the knowledge that his wife of 45 years had just been shot dead blaring through his mind, Neander looked out of the window.
In the car park outside, he saw a man walking towards the gunman.
When he realised shots were being fired, he turned and ran towards the buses, Neander said.
The gunman saw him and chased after him.
The bloke got into the bus, up the steps and in the meantime the gunman shot at him but because he was going up the steps he missed him.
So, he followed him on to the bus.
He was definite. He was going to get him.
Four people died in the car park.
Bryant got into his car, a Volvo with a surf board on the roof-rack, and drove back up the hill.
‘The bloke got into the bus, up the steps and in the meantime the gunman shot at him but because he was going up the steps he missed him. So, he followed him on to the bus. He was definite. He was going to get him.’
Port Arthur survivor
Site tour guide Nanette Mikac was enjoying a Sunday afternoon stroll with her two daughters, Alannah and Madeline.
She was carrying her three-year-old, Madeline, when Martin Bryant shot them dead.
Alannah, 6, ran for cover behind a tree on the side of the road. But no shelter was big enough to save her as Bryant hunted down the little girl until he got a clear and fatal shot.
Just along the road, at the toll booth, Bryant stopped his car near Sidney and Mary Nixons BMW.
Port Arthur businessman Jim Laycock, working in his photo shop about 150 metres from the toll booth, said the thud, thud, thud of heavy weapons fire brought him out of the store.
I could see ... a person with blond hair dragging bodies out of the car and throwing them on the road, Laycock said.
They were just collapsed. They were obviously already dead.
A little further along the road Sydney lawyer Zoe Hall and her friend, Glenn Pears, were in a car, just about to leave the general store.
Laycock said Bryant went up to the white Toyota, forced Pears out and into the boot of the BMW he had killed four people to get.
Then he walked back to the car and shot Ms. Hall through the window.
Bryant drove back towards Hobart, shooting randomly as he passed the Fox and Hounds Hotel and wounding Caroline and Simon Williams in their car near the Seascape guesthouse that was his final refuge.
Nineteen hours after opening fire in the Broad Arrow, and after holding scores of special operations group police officers at bay through the night by firing frequently and randomly with a seemingly limitless supply of ammunition, Bryant ran from the burning house, his clothes on fire, and into custody.
In the debris of Seascape lay three more bodies.
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