Sunday, December 2, 2018


Among all the strange coincidences of the Port Arthur Massacre, none are as vivid as the refrigerated morgue truck. There's no question it was perfect for the job - 22 refrigerated berths kept the dead bodies cool while they were autopsied. The questions arise when you start thinking about why it existed in the first place, and what happened to it after the massacre.

Let's look at a few of the issues and facts in order: First, let's see what Carl Wernerhoff has to say (quoted from Mass Murder by Keith Noble:

“The fact that a morgue truck with over 20 bays was built before the massacre....17 Two specially designed embalming machines were sent to Hobart: ‘One firm in particular, Nelson Brothers [ 7 Droop Street, Footscray, VIC 3011], had organised for an embalming machine box and a special large equipment case to be manufactured ready for the incident. These two containers were the envy of all embalmers and worked extremely well,’ was recorded....”18 All these facts were never reported, in fact they were suppressed and dug up by investigators afterwards because had we known about these preparations I think we might have become even more suspicious of just how ready the city of Hobart was for a traumatic incident of major proportions.... [T]here are people who planned a massacre and blamed an unfortunate intellectually handicapped man for the terrible crimes that took place in one of the most beautiful and peaceful places on earth.
I have gathered innumerable pieces of information and facts which substantiate a cover-up of immense proportions over the past ten years. And even now, I am still uncovering more and more information. There is so much of it that it never ends. For instance, we know that a Mortuary truck with 22 body racks in a refrigerated unit was built before the massacre.... Why would Tasmania need a Mortuary Unit designed for a disaster of at least 22 bodies?

Thirty-five people were killed at one of the most beautiful historic sites in our country and only a few weeks later the Howard government [Liberal by name, but conservative by ideology] pushed through Draconian gun laws that had no hope in hell of getting passed without the emotional turmoil that followed the Port Arthur massacre.
(amended; added emphasis; added italics)  
Carl Wernerhoff
The Port Arthur massacre 10 years on the secrecy continues

17 The Australian (29 April 1996) states that the refrigerated mortuary truck was driven to Port Arthur late Sunday (28th). And on p. 106 of the Port Arthur Seminar Papers it reads:

“Day Four Wednesday 1 May 1996 ...First of the deceased persons leave the scene at Port Arthur and are removed to the Royal Hobart Hospital mortuary.” Euphemistic words of the Australian Funeral Directors Association tell us the first load of bodies was trucked from Port Arthur to the Hobart morgue on Wednesday, three days after the incident. Charleton’s purpose-built refrigerated truck had two functions related to the bodies of the 35 people officially killed: i. Storage; and, ii. Transportation.

18 Stephen Parry. Port Arthur massacre 1996 – AFDA national embalming team – detailed report; Port Arthur Seminar Papers; 1997: p. 112.

It cannot get any more diabolical and shocking. Nelson Brothers had special big-job embalming equipment “manufactured ready for the incident.”

Officials want you to believe they had no fore-knowledge about the incident at Port Arthur. But true facts tell the world another story – 35 people were killed with official approval and funeral directors in Victoria had the special embalming equipment that they would need in Tasmania manufactured ready for use after the killing was done.

End quote.

Next, let's look at what happened after the truck was proven useful. Was it retained by the Tasmanian government, in case a tragedy happened again? Was it purchased by Victoria or New South Wales - both of whom had gun massacres prior to Port Arthur, and with higher populations were statistically more likely to have a mass casualty event like a plane or boat disaster?

 No, it was offered for sale with an enigmatic note: Again, Mass Murder has a copy of the advertisement:

“Yellow Chevrolet 350 V8 truck with refrigerated body, holds 22. This vehicle was primarily used as the disaster vehicle in the Port Arthur Massacre. This vehicle is currently for sale and all reasonable offers will be considered. The vehicle has value as not only a refrigerated unit for body removal, it is the only one of its kind in the entire country. The memorabilia value of it for anyone making a movie/series or writing a book on Port Arthur is limitless. Not only would the purchaser be getting the disaster vehicle, but the whole Port Arthur Story would be given as well. This vehicle is currently for sale and all REASONABLE OFFERS will be considered.” Email

It seems that Chris Wright was then a copper with Tasmania Police. Now how did he get to own, or have responsibility for selling, this 22-body refrigerated morgue vehicle? If you know how, please email your info to:

End quote.
You can also contact me via
Sadly, emails to that address simply bounce back. Now let’s turn to Andrew MacGregor’s book Deceit and Terrorism. He starts with the media circus:

If the Port Arthur massacre was one thing, it was a media show, and a very successful one at that. The media were given top priority, and followed the government leads in their entirety. A typical example of the death of investigative journalism by the television media is that with Andrew Fisher at the Police forward Command Post at Taranna.

Andrew Fisher at the PFCP at Taranna on the evening of the massacre, “Well, a State Crisis Centre is being set up at Police headquarters, and the deputy State Coroner Mr Matterson has turned up as has a Mortuary truck to pick up the dead at the present time. Police are also saying that there will be trauma counselling both on the peninsula and a major centre is being set up at the Rokeby Police Academy just outside Hobart.” “Thank you Andrew, we’ll leave it there; Andrew Fisher.”

None of the audience listening to that little description would pick up anything unusual, but if Andrew Fisher actually saw the Southern Tasmanian Mortuary truck, he should have asked some very pertinent questions. For a full description of this vehicle consider this advertisement placed on the Internet in September 1999:

Vehicle for Sale – the same ad as above.

 A hearse built to carry 22 bodies! It is the only one of its kind in Australia. Why would a State like Tasmania need such a vehicle? Why would a State government decide to purchase such a vehicle? What precedent would it be relying on to consider the application of such a vehicle? There had never been any requirement for such a vehicle in Tasmania’s history prior to the Port Arthur Massacre, and there has never been any further requirement for this vehicle. Andrew Fisher never had any curiosity about such an oddity appearing within hours of the Port Arthur Massacre. This vehicle is described slightly differently though in the EMA Port Arthur Seminar Papers on pages 90 & 97.
On page 90 in the report tabled by Mr Ian Matterson it states, “Also present was a Chevrolet truck to the chassis of which Mr Charlton had attached a refrigerated covered compartment capable of storing sixteen (16) bodies. This vehicle had, in the past, been regarded by many as an expensive aberration that would never have a use. At Port Arthur it was a highly prized possession.”

On page 97 in the report by Mr T. J. Lyons, State Forensic Pathologist, it states, “Removal of the bodies was greatly assisted because the Southern Region Mortuary Ambulance Service provided a large vehicle capable of handling multiple bodies – the only such vehicle currently available in Australia.”

Andrew Fisher is the first reporter to tell us that things are not quite as they seem. There were many more instances where the media reported items that should have aroused suspicion, but did not.” 
End quote 

So, the truck remains an enigma. Here are some questions for an inquiry to ask:

Who authorised the truck to be built?

What reasons did they have?

Who authorised its disposal?

How did Chris Wright obtain the truck after the massacre?

Did he pay a commercial price or value for it?


Anyone with information or eyewitness testimony is encouraged to contact me in absolute confidentiality.


Anyone who wants to read a plausible alternative that matches the facts more closely than the official story, get a copy of The 2nd Empty Chair: The Port Arthur Paradox.
Some more photos of this strange artefact:



  1. The pics show 3 different vehicles. What's the deal here?

    1. Different stages of use and disposal. Pics taken over several months, definitely needs an inquiry

  2. the truck was privatly owned, not by the government although he had the contract with the government at the time to do all coronial transfers, yes it was a large truck but the port arthur shooting showed that the truck was not sutable for the purpose it was built, there was an issue with the suspension. thus why he tried to sell it off. the person who owned that truck now has one capable of transporting over 50 people, the largest mortuary truck in the county. nothing sinister about it. i spoke to him the other week and he told me his story of the truck. he is a nice guy and had no knowladge of what was about to happen, he was then as he is now prepaired for a major catastrophy

  3. does anyone remember the chev truck was used during the royal Hobart hospital mortuary refurbishment?