Today is the twentieth anniversary of the Port Arthur massacre that occurred in Tasmania, Australia.
This mass shooting (Australia’s last) at one of the nation’s most famous historic sites and tourist attractions was committed by a twenty-eight year old gunman by the name of Martin Bryant. Thirty-five people were killed and twenty-three others were wounded.
The massacre shocked Australians so much that they immediately changed the nation’s gun laws, and embarked on a gun buyback scheme that saw thousands of weapons surrendered.
Australia has not has a mass shooting in two decades.
A studio photograph, dated 1880s, of Tasmanian convict Bill Thompson, in convict uniform and leg irons.
By the time this photograph was taken, Britain had already stopped transporting convicts (in 1868).
Visiting Port Arthur really drives home how horrific the conditions for convicts were. I still can’t understand the mentality of Georgian (and later Victorian) England where crimes that were often not very severe resulted in people not only being shipped to the other side of the world, but being treated far worse than animals.
Considering the crimes those with money managed to get away with, the hypocrisy is infuriating! I mean, kill someone in a duel and you’re a hero. Steal a loaf of bread for your family, and get shipped off to New South Wales or Van Diemen’s Land! Strange.