Port Arthur massacre 25 YEARS ON: ‘I STILL HEAR GUNSHOTS'
Woman’s Day Magazine NZ|May 3, 2021
A waitress at the historic site on the day of the killings, Anita is still dealing with the trauma
Lizzie Wilson

It was an icy cold autumn morning on April 28, 1996, when Tasmanian-born teenager Anita Bingham asked her dad Steve to drop her off at the Port Arthur Historic Site.

The 17-year-old had recently begun working as a waitress at one of the two cafes at the former convict settlement. It was a day that would define the rest of her life – Anita could not have imagined the horror about to unfold.

“I was in the [Frances Langford] Tearooms, and sometime after 1.30 pm I heard a loud bang, and then another,” Anita, now 41, tells Woman’s Day.

“I raced outside to see people running from The Broad Arrow Cafe. Initially, I thought it was a convict re-enactment show, but I knew something wasn’t right.

“People were ducking behind walls. Instinctively I ran back inside and locked the doors.”

Anita holds back tears as she remembers that terrible day 25 years ago. At the time she was unaware that a few hundred metres away a man named Martin Bryant, armed with a semi-automatic rifle, was carrying out the worst massacre in modern Australian history, brutally killing 35 people, including two children, and injuring another 23.

“A senior staffer came in and told us an armed man was on the loose and we were not to move. I was just a kid working a casual job with my whole life ahead of me. I’ve never been more scared,” she remembers.

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