Radio remembers Port Arthur 20 years on

In 1996 I won the Brian White Award for Excellence in Radio Journalism. I shared the Award with Derryn Hinch.

Mine was for my reporting on the Port Arthur tragedy which happened twenty years ago today.

But that Award still sits in a draw in my bedroom, as I have never felt a right to display it proudly on the mantle piece.

Thirty-five people were gunned down by lone gunman Martin Bryant on April 28 in what was Australia’s worst mass shooting, 40 minutes from my home in Hobart.

All of the journalists in Tasmania literally worked around the clock, constantly updating the local community as well as interstate and overseas radio stations.

We held the fort until the interstate journalists arrived, even making space for them in our studios.

As we worked we couldn’t believe this was happening in Tasmania. It shattered our psyche.

We no longer felt safe.

What still bothers me today is: What then made me, as a journalist ,compile all ‘the best bits’ of my work and enter it into a competition?

There were no ‘best bits’ from that day or the ensuing days and I have always felt guilty for winning that award and even titling the entry “Port Arthur Massacre” – it was a tragedy and somehow I felt like I was gaining leverage from it.

Today in my, then, home town the tragedy is being remembered.

On Heart 107.3 Tasmania Police Association President Pat Allen spoke with Dave and Kylie in what he says will be the last interview he does on the topic, such is the effect that tragedy had on us as Tasmanians.


I have spent today reflecting and remembering from Adelaide (where I now live), not only the lives lost but the nurses, doctors, police and the Port Arthur community generally.

And the journalists…it was a tough event to report on and we ALL did it well.

 If I had my time again, out of respect, I would never have entered my efforts in a competition.

      Kim Napier (formerly Geale)

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