Foundation holds vigil to remember those lost at Port Arthur 20 years ago

Media release - Wednesday 27 April 2016

The Alannah & Madeline Foundation will hold a public candlelight vigil at 6.30pm on Thursday 28 April at Federation Square to mark the 20th anniversary of the Port Arthur tragedy.

A number of Melbourne landmarks will also be lit up purple – the colour of the Foundation – to show their support.

Hosted by Foundation Ambassador Melissa Doyle AM, the event will also include speeches by Founding Patron Walter Mikac and Chairman John Bertrand AM as well as performances by the Australia Youth Choir and Gorgi Coghlan.

Mr Mikac – who lost daughters Alannah, 6, and Madeline, 3, and wife Nanette at Port Arthur – said the event will be a wonderful dedication to his family and those with a connection to the tragedy.

He launched the Alannah & Madeline Foundation 12 months after the tragedy with the help of friends and survivors while also lobbying then Prime Minister the Hon John Howard to enact tighter gun legislation nationwide.

“I always say that the only two positive things that came out of Port Arthur were the gun law reforms and the Alannah & Madeline Foundation,” Mr Mikac said.

Ms Doyle said she felt extremely honoured to be involved with the Foundation, particularly this event.

“As a mother of two, the safety of my children is my greatest priority,” Ms Doyle said. “To know that the Foundation is doing the amazing work it does every day makes me feel better about the country I live in.”   

Mr Bertrand paid to tribute to Mr Mikac and other survivors for their resilience in building positive legacies since the tragedy.

He said the event would provide an important reminder to Australia’s state and territory governments on the need to keep firearm laws strong.

“The Foundation has helped more than 1.5 million children over the past 19 years,” Mr Bertrand said. “And it’s only because of Walter’s strength that this amazing work has been done.”

Sites to turn purple include AAMI Park, Parliament House (Melbourne), Melbourne Star, State Library Victoria, Melbourne Town Hall, Bolte Bridge, Federation Square, 120 Collins, Royal Exhibition Building and the Melbourne Arts Centre spire.  

For more information and to register your attendance at the vigil go to To donate to the Foundation go to                   


Media inquiries contact Adrian Bernecich: 03 9697 0683, 0416 045 701 or

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