Port Arthur victims remembered on anniversary


It's 20 years today since 35 people were gunned down at Port Arthur in Tasmania.

It was the worst mass killing in Australia's history and prompted major gun reforms.

Today there were 35 floral tributes for Port Arthur's 35 victims.

For their families and survivors, the emotion is still raw.

Walter Mikac's wife and two young daughters were killed when gunman Martin Bryant opened fire.

"The overriding emotion that I encountered as that A, it could happen and B, that it could happen in a small place like Port Arthur."

Port Arthur, a former penal colony and popular tourist site -- now forever scarred by Bryant's deadly rampage.

In less than two minutes Bryant shot dead 20 people, and killed another 15 by the time he finished.

Tourists thought the gunfire was a re-enactment.

For the first officer on the scene, April 28 1996 is still etched in his memory.

"[It was a] very tragic, rather gruesome sight," says Inspector Brian Edwards from Tasmania Police.

"There were 20 bodies in the cafe, another five in the carpark and more up the access road."

Victims and survivors were remembered today.

Prompted by the massacre, former Australian Prime Minister John Howard led the most drastic gun control measures in Australia's history.

Bryant is currently serving 35 life terms for each of his victims.