Our Story

On 28 April 1996 at the historical Port Arthur site in Tasmania, 35 people were tragically killed.

Two small children, Alannah and Madeline Mikac, aged six and three, along with their mother, died that day. Because of this terrible act of violence, Alannah and Madeline’s father, Walter Mikac AM and a small group of volunteers, including Gaye and John Fidler who survived Port Arthur, worked hard to set up the Foundation, a national charity with the belief that all children should have a safe and happy childhood without being subjected to any form of violence. It was launched on 30 April 1997 by the Prime Minister of Australia.

Gaye and John Fidler share their story of Port Arthur

Time has not blurred the horrific details of the 1996 Port Arthur tragedy for survivors Gaye and John Fidler. Gaye and John Fidler remember April 28, 1996, with remarkable detail.

The couple were part of a group of 10 visiting Tasmania to celebrate a friend’s birthday. The group had organised to meet at Port Arthur’s Broad Arrow Cafe to squeeze in a little sightseeing before flying home to Melbourne that night.

Just two minutes after the group met, 17 shots were fired inside the cafe. In just 15 seconds, 12 people were dead. Three were Gaye and John’s friends.

Gaye and John vividly remember, and are still affected by, the horrific events at Port Arthur that day.

For a long time, sounds made us jumpy. We’d jump at a car backfiring or a spanner dropping.

Although they have hard days, the couple explain the Port Arthur tragedy has given them a greater appreciation of life.

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