Start of CNN’s coverage of the Sydney Siege which was 9 years ago today ending in the early hours of the following day.
The Morning Show was live on air from the old Martin Place studios of ATN when staff evacuated. 7 Perth with Susannah Carr broadcasted the dramatic final minutes and aftermath.
Kochie and Nat aired Sunrise from an OB the following day due to the exclusion zone along the Lindt Cafe which is now closed.
Beginning of 7’s coverage just after 9:30am AEDT
I remember this day vividly. It was also the beginning of the end of ‘The Plaza’ being used for Sunrise. It was also Chris Reasons return after months off. He went on to win multiple awards for his reporting,
Hard to believe it’s been nine years. I was 15 at the time and at school when the events unfolded that morning, so I didn’t learn too much more about it until I got home later that day. I can remember thinking that there was more of a chance of all of the hostages not making it out alive, but thankfully I was proven wrong and they were able to rescue most of the people.
I think the Sydney Siege really struck a fear in most people at the time. You’ve got to remember that 2014 was the start of the rise in lone-wolf terrorist attacks, and the ISIS beheadings were receiving a lot of media coverage as well. It was a pretty tumultuous year for the world. The Sydney Siege only reaffirmed the fact that these acts of terror can also occur in our ‘own backyard’ as well, so to speak.
I won’t share the videos which I recorded from that day (you can find them on my channel if you’d like to watch them). However, I thought I would share these two caps from a recording I made at the end of that night’s Nine News Sydney bulletin.
WIN briefly aired a ticker (at the end of the bulletin) advising viewers to continue watching the rolling Sydney Siege coverage on Gem.
I was working in 52 Martin Place at the time, the same building as Sunrise. They had the mezzanine and we were on the 30th floor. The whole day, and the two days after were surreal.
It was the Monday before Christmas - there was still a bit of work to do, but everyone was sliding into holiday mode and the office was pretty relaxed. I finished some work and headed back up to my floor to get my wallet and head down for a coffee - coincidentally, I was thinking of going back to the Lindt cafe because I’d had a coffee there a few weeks before but it was pretty garbage so I wanted to give them another go.
People were crowded around the TV and the windows and I saw the rolling coverage, and word spread around the office pretty quickly about what was happening. People stopped working and started crowding around the windows until we were told to get back. They offered to evacuate us pretty early on (about 30 minutes in), but the police rescinded the offer when they realised one of the stairwells opened up directly to the exclusion zone in Martin Place.
After another couple of hours of tense back-and-forths, building management reactivated the disabled elevators and we went down one elevator load at a time, being ushered out of the building by police and ducking under police tape on Elizabeth Street.
My coworker and I walked to a pub a few blocks away and got a beer to settle our nerves, and I remember the sense of dread in the air as people watched the news coverage. I naively thought that the whole thing was overblown and would be over in an hour or two, and of course it took much longer than that.
We were kept home the following day while they were clearing up, and I’m pretty sure we were back in the office on the Wednesday. That was when the flower shrine started building, and I can remember the absolute reverence as we walked through Martin Place at lunchtime, juxtaposed by a frantic city the week before Christmas.
I can remember thinking about how these things usually happen on the other side of the world, but there I was watching the news coverage in the kitchenette, then looking out the window and seeing it, in real time, 100 feet away from me.
Last night, Seven News aired Chris Reason’s exclusive interview with a former police officer, known as Officer A, who shot dead the gunman when he and his colleagues stormed the cafe. Officer A wants to overturn a NSW Coroner’s order banning the publication of his name, so he can share his story to help other people.
This is actually the first time i’ve watched some of the coverage. I was staying at the time when it happened in Dec 2014 in a small village in Germany so didn’t really have any access to English speaking channels plus the time difference I didn’t see any coverage (back then there really wasn’t much streaming services). Only really heard the aftermath.
How would that help people? Help his bank account/speaking career maybe…