Hoddle Street Massacre

Elvis Richardson

    Research output: Non-textual formComposition


    When I visited Melbourne in 1998 one of the places I was compelled to go to was the site of the Hoddle Street Massacre. I saw the event while watching TV, when regular programming was interrupted by live footage of darkened streets lit by helicopters sweeping lights, with a soundtrack of gunfire and cuts to a news reporter’s anxious excitement as they struggle to describe the scene.The Hoddle Street Massacre is the name given to a tragedy that occurred on the evening of August 9, 1987, that resulted in the deaths of seven people and serious injury to nineteen more, when nineteen year old Julian Knight opened fire with a semi-automatic rifle in Hoddle Street, Melbourne. Violent events of this kind, where the indiscriminate and cruel slaughter of people takes place, the site itself takes on new meanings. Enlarged through media repetition the event adds new connotations to an otherwise un-extraordinary place. Although the details of how many people died that night or who the killer was faded in my memory, the name and imagined space of Hoddle Street stayed with me. Unfamiliar with Melbourne, I left my friends house with a recording walk-a-man and a plan to ask people on the street their memories of the massacre, what they were doing when they heard about it, and if they could direct me to the site where it occurred. The result was a remapping of memory and place informed by my respondents recall of the event and their description of my spatial relationship to the site. The recording creates a networked text of signifiers through which we gain access to the event via several entrances. As a method I was interested to recreate the work seven years later (2005) to plot how these memories have changed over time, and to injvestigate the erasure of the publics memory of the Hoddle Street Massacre from one of a personal connection to one of a myth.
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationMelbourne
    PublisherOcular Lab Inc, Melbourne
    Media of outputOnline
    Publication statusPublished - 2005


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