Newspaper article Daily News (Warwick, Australia)

Haunted by Port Arthur Massacre, Cathy Reaches out to Help Others

Newspaper article Daily News (Warwick, Australia)

Haunted by Port Arthur Massacre, Cathy Reaches out to Help Others

Article excerpt

FROM the stage and behind the bright lights, Cathy Gordon looks out to a crowd of hundreds.

The faces are directed to her, watching her intimately as she leads a capella group.

But at a momentas notice one of the faces changes and becomes recognisable. The face next to it morphs, as do the rest.

Suddenly she is staring out at hundreds of Martin Bryants, a face that has haunted her since 1996.

After countless encounters with the confronting sight, Cathy takes a few seconds and pulls herself back to the stage, leaving the Port Arthur massacre behind her.

This ability to push aside any thoughts of self-preservation is what saved many peopleas lives during Australiaas worst gun massacre.

Living and working in Hobart as a concert manager at the Tasmania Symphony Orchestra at the time, Cathy was looking forward to a bit of R&R on April 28, 1996.

But the born-and-bred Maryborough woman had been appointed the unofficial guide to six musicians visiting from the Australian Opera, who wanted to see Port Arthur.

Sitting at a cafA[c] having lunch, Cathy suddenly was consumed by an overwhelming feeling to flee. Within moments, the unmistakable sound of gun shots rang throughout the cafe.

Cathy ushered and ultimately shielded the fearful group from roaming gunman Bryant, who shot down and killed 35 people that day.

aI thought if they were going to come for anybody they would go where the noise was so I kept my lot really quiet,a she recalled.

aI had people stationed at different lookouts and we were holed up for about an hour and a half.a

Leaving the safety to check on othersa welfare, Cathy walked back inside the cafA[c] to find a killing field.

Undeterred and with a sub-consciousness adamant not to leave anybody behind, Cathy went to the aid of a mother and child.

At that moment she confronted Bryant, who shot at her and missed, before killing the mother and child. …

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