By Carol Altmann
A decade on, journalist Carol Altmann appears at how the folk, where, the killer, and the total state has replaced because the bad bloodbath at one in all Australia's so much notorious old landmarks.
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Extra info for After Port Arthur: Personal stories of courage and resilience ten years on from the tragedy that shocked the nation
Keith recalls ‘lots of hugs and tears’ in public, and nobody giving the slightest heed to what others might have thought. One afternoon shortly after the shootings, Keith was standing at the spot where the girls had been murdered. It had been transformed into a shrine of cards, flowers, teddy bears, books and children’s toys. Keith was preparing to take photographs of the site for his eldest daughter, Bronwyn, when he noticed a young woman looking at the memorials that had been placed by the roadway.
Who could he talk to at the end of the day, when he came home with his own memories of the person who had died and his own sadness at their loss? His various community roles on the peninsula were also coming to a natural end and, while he knew he would miss the area deeply, including the native potoroos which he fed nightly on his back verandah, he felt it time to reconnect with his family. The grandchildren were growing up and some he had not seen for several years. Having decided to leave, he experienced a strange thing.
Having been through the Port Arthur massacre, Keith believes he has gained a deeper insight into human nature and come to understand the true meaning of compassion. By immersing himself in the community, and not fleeing from it, his smiling, round face remained an immense comfort to those living on the peninsula. Keith also became an important contact for some of those who had lost loved ones in the massacre, but who did not live in Tasmania. If he wasn’t suffering a ‘navy-blue’ day, when his emotional strength was not quite as solid, Keith would agree to meet with relatives or friends of those killed who were either revisiting the site since the massacre, or seeing it for the first time.
After Port Arthur: Personal stories of courage and resilience ten years on from the tragedy that shocked the nation by Carol Altmann