The moment Australia changed forever

Larry Emdur

Host of The Morning Show Larry Edmur was live on television as he and co-host Kylie Gillies witnessed Australia's most dramatic hostage situation unfold in front of their eyes. This is his recount.

Monday on The Morning Show was never meant to be like this.

We had just shown the latest pics of Prince George, Kylie and I had messed around with our upcoming auditions for Dirty Dancing and X Factor winner Marlisa had just started her song.

Then, in an instant, everything changed.

Police came charging into the plaza from every direction.

Every which way you looked out of our studio police cars and motorbikes were skidding to a halt, police in uniforms, in board shorts and T-shirts, in jeans and sneakers were swarming, wrestling themselves into their kevlar vests as they scrambled around the plaza.

They all had their guns drawn.

The situation was just minutes old and no one knew what was going on.

We watched through our studio window, Marlisa was still singing.

Then the sight I will never ever forget, as Kylie pointed across the plaza we saw people standing in the windows of Lindt cafe.

Two people per window, each with their hands above their heads pressed firmly against the glass.

It took a few seconds to sink in. Even as I write this is still feels surreal.

Two hostages inside the Lindt Cafe. Image: 7News.
Two hostages inside the Lindt Cafe. Image: 7News.

We do live crosses most days to our reporters around the world covering disasters, war zones, school shootings, sieges, terrorist attacks, but now it was happening metres from us, unfolding in front of our eyes.

We could see the hostages faces, we could see the perpetrator, we could hear police moving through our building and then we could see that flag.

The situation was still so raw, we had live pictures but not much else to work with.

With virtually no information available we could only report on what we could see and what we could see was chilling, sickening and horrifying at the same time.


The faces of the hostages pressed against the window, the eerie shadow of the gunman moving around behind them.

Kylie didn't miss a beat, a career journalist with a powerful news sense who shifted straight into top gear and gave Australia an up close and emotive narration on the unfolding drama.

In retrospect, I think both our voices got pretty shaky as the gravity of the situation became more apparent and more ghastly.

We knew we were in the eye of this terrifying storm and it was way too close for comfort.

Both our hearts were breaking as we looked to the faces of the hostages pressed against the windows.

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It was an absolutely, totally helpless feeling.

As police moved in to evacuate the newsroom directly above us, we tried to stay calm and continue to tell the story.

In the absence of any other information we were referring to the perpetrator as a "gunman" but as we were ordered to move away from the windows it became apparent the "gunman" may also be armed with explosives.

The hustle and bustle outside our studio window had gone from pre-Christmas mid-city mayhem to international crime scene in a matter of moments. And those moments will change Australia forever.

Siege situation in Martin Place. Image: 7News
Siege situation in Martin Place. Image: 7News

I don't know how I'll feel driving into work at Martin Place in the morning, I honestly don't.

I don't how I'll feel walking through Martin Place, I honestly don't.

I don't know I'll feel when I look out our studio window at Lindt Cafe, I'll never forget those hands and faces and flag pressed against the window, I don't think any of us will.

Like the rest of Australia and probably the world, I'm still watching it on TV almost 12 hours later.


I hope that whatever God you believe in and the hostages are all hearing our prayers tonight.

I hope I wake up tomorrow morning and it's all been resolved without anyone being hurt.

It's so sad to think that the Australia we wake up to tomorrow is a different Australia than the one we woke up to this morning.

Peace.

A hostage is carried from the Lindt cafe after Sydney's siege ends in tragedy. Photo: Getty
A hostage is carried from the Lindt cafe after Sydney's siege ends in tragedy. Photo: Getty