While it’s inconceivable that a massacre and wedding have any correlation, they don’t other than the fact that my first official photography gig as a wedding photographer lead me to visit Port Arthur where the most horrific mass murder took place.
It wasn’t just my first official wedding photography assignment but it was a destination wedding too. I was off to Bicheno, a small town on the east coast of Tasmania, about a 2 hour drive from Hobart. As Id never been to Tasmania before, I tacked on a few extra days to have an adventure and explore. After the wedding, I headed south towards Hobart and deviated to stop at Port Arthur.
While Port Arthur has a treacherous convict history, it is more widely known for Australia’s biggest mass murder. This month is the 20 year anniversary of the Port Arthur massacre. Not that you could say anything good can come out of such a horrific event, at least it led to the then Prime Minister John Howard bringing in gun control laws in Australia.
While there are obvious reminders of the time convicts served there sentences in very archaic conditions, and the memorial for the massacre, in all honesty, I was there late February and it was a beautiful Spring day and I couldn’t help but absorb the beauty of the place. It was quiet in a slightly eerie way, and similar to Anzac Day morning where you are saddened by the historical events, your thoughts go to wondering what the people endured that lived through those times, but hopefulness that we have learned from the past and we as a nation can do a better job in the future.
I guess being a photographer you seek beauty in all manner of subjects, whether it’s a pretty bride on her wedding day or of a place entrenched in history.
RIP to all those that lost their lives in Port Arthur.
Here are some of the photos that I took when I visited Port Arthur.