Port Arthur

Port Arthur Massacre: How Australia Learnt To Deal With Mass Casualties

It was one of the most harrowing days of our time, a day that left a dark imprint on Australian history and a day that would change the way we look at gun ownership. 

We are of course, referring to the Port Arthur Massacre in Tasmania. In case you’re not familiar, the horrible event took place on April 28, 1996, at the tourist town of Port Arthur. 

On that day, 29-year-old Martin Bryant shot and killed 35 people at Port Arthur including the owners of a nearby guest house and a hostage.

While naturally our focus is on the heinous crime itself, it’s likely not many of us know what actually happens after a crime of that magnitude. 

FORENSICS: The Port Arthur Massacre

In this episode of Crime Insiders: Forensics, crime author and screen writer Kathryn Fox gets an in person account of what happened in the hours following the attacks. 

Jodie is the Manager of Forensic Technical Services at the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine which means she is in charge of the mortuary. 

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As the person responsible for the mortuary, Jodie is also responsible for the storage in the case of mass fatalities. 

Jodie said that Australia was completely unprepared to deal with the number of fatalities that came with the Port Arthur massacre. 

“Port Arthur was the first experience Australia had in such a mass fatality,” she said. 

“But it made us realise that no one state can actually do it, that it needs to be a team right around Australia and the expertise needs to be around there.”

Jodie reveals why she became involved in her profession, what running a mortuary entails and how the Port Arthur massacre taught her how to prepare for other mass casualties including the Bali Bombings. 

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