The 28th April 2006 marks the tenth anniversary of the tragic events that took place at and in the immediate vicinity of the Port Arthur Historic Site in 1996.
A Working Group was formed approximately 12 months ago to consider an appropriate commemoration to mark this significant anniversary. This followed significant interest and a large number of enquiries to both the Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority (PAHSMA) and other state government agencies from many closely associated with the Port Arthur massacre in relation to the Tenth Anniversary.
The group comprises four PAHSMA staff, a representative from the Tasman Council and two members that have had a close association with 1996 and the recovery process over the past few years.
PAHSMA Chief Executive Officer and Chair of the group, Stephen Large, said the majority of members of the WG were also key contributors in organising the service associated with the Dedication of the Port Arthur Memorial Garden on the fourth anniversary in April 2000, together with other services more closely following 1996.
“Some consultation on the format of the service has taken place although one would appreciate that given the huge number of people affected by the Port Arthur massacre talking to everyone would be an impossible task,” he said.
“One of the key aims of this media statement is to emphasise the fact that apart from an extensive national media advertisement in February there would be no individual invitations to both the Tenth Anniversary Commemorative Service on 28 April 2006 and the Looking Forward Looking Back Concert the following day.
“Anyone that was touched in any way by the events at Port Arthur ten years ago is welcome to attend.”
The Tenth Anniversary Commemorative Service commences at the Port Arthur Historic Site on Friday 28 April 2006 at 12.30pm.
“The Service contains some similarities with previous anniversary services (Looking Back), however it also reflects that it is 10 years since 1996 and many positive things have happened in this time both at the Port Arthur Historic Site and with many people closely associated with the tragedy (Looking Forward),” Stephen said.
“The service will take just over an hour and will include music from the Australian Rosny Children’s Choir, Australian Opera singer Amelia Farrugia and well known Tasmanian singer Monique Brumby, with all having some significance with 1996 and the recovery process over the past 10 years.
“ The Australian Rosny Children’s Choir has sung at a number of the anniversary services at Port Arthur and this performance will include a number of retired members who are coming back for this important service.
“Nationally renowned Australian Opera singer Amelia Farrugia was at Port Arthur on 28 April 1996 and in the Broad Arrow Café some minutes before the shootings began. It will be Ms Farrugia’s first trip back to Port Arthur since that tragic day.
“Monique Brumby – a successful Tasmanian singer now based in Melbourne – has a marked spiritual connection with Port Arthur and a strong belief that the healing process associated with grief and human suffering is an ongoing one. Monique has been heavily involved in organising the Looking Forward Looking Back Concert to be held at Port Arthur the day after the Tenth Anniversary Commemorative Service.”
Working group member and former Port Arthur Community Recovery Coordinator following the massacre, Edward Gauden stated there would be a key address during the Service from someone with a close affinity to 1996. More details on who will give this address will be advised as soon as possible.
PAHSMA Chair Dr Barry Jones will also have a significant role in the Service, as will well-known former Tasman Peninsula resident Keith Moulton.
PAHSMA has also reinforced that those intending to attend the service to leave ample time to get to the site given the volume of traffic expected on the Arthur Highway this particular day.
Further details on both the Tenth Anniversary Commemoration Service and the Looking Forward Looking Back Concert can be found on the PAHSMA websitewww.portarthur.org.au which will be progressively updated over the next four weeks or by contacting Carol Armstrong at PAHSMA on (03) 6251 2305.