LIVE STREAM: Three confirmed dead after Sydney hostage crisis ends – – We woke up to some very sad news. I’m going to jot down my impressions and experience before I forget them.

Yesterday. It was a sunny Monday, the week before Christmas break, and I was mostly preoccupied with covering for a few people who were out sick on my team. My bus came up George Street past Martin Place and let me out at Wynyard around 9:35am. I went in and we had our team stand-up at 9:45. A few minutes later, my brother came online to remind me I said I’d Skype with my niece and nephews to wish them a happy birthday. At 10:15am I ducked into a conference room to chat with them. While I was talking to them, I heard a guy outside the meeting room say something about a “hostage situation at Martin Place.” I quickly pulled up Twitter and immediately saw what was happening. Without wanting to trouble the kids, I fired off a quick message to my team in Hipchat.


I said goodbye to my brother and told the kids I loved them. I sent Rodd a message telling him to turn on the TV. (He was working from home for a few hours; I advised him to just stay there.) When I came out of the meeting room, I could already hear that most of the TVs on the floor had been turned to the news. Others had the live stream running on their monitors. Someone was saying, “We could’ve gone there for coffee! What if we’d decided on a whim to go there instead!?” The next few hours were weird, with no one really knowing what to do. HR sent an email at 11:30, “encouraging” us all to stay in the building. I sat through a meeting on advertising, most of which went in one ear and out the other while I kept one eye on Twitter. My desk overlooks the outdoor plaza at Australia Square, and it was emptier than I’d ever seen it (except for a handful of tradies glued to an outdoor TV set watching the news). At 12:30, a crowd of us gathered in the kitchen to watch Tony Abbott’s news conference. (He did an okay job.) I messaged Kunaal in India to tell him to get online. (His team built the 9News site and I knew he’d want to see how it was holding up.) I posted on FB and assured my family that we were safe. Someone said the food court beneath our building was closed, so we joked about eating snacks from last week’s Christmas hampers for lunch. We started to hear that some offices in the city were closing and sending people home. A few people inquired about leaving, so I reached out to HR again. They said that the building was “secure” (in that they were checking IDs of everyone coming in), and that police were still asking us to stay in the building. In the kitchen I saw someone eating a burger from a takeout joint around the corner. “Where did you get that?!” Turns out he just went out and got it. That broke the tension, and more people went out to get food. Through the afternoon, things almost started to feel a little normal at times. Operations sent us a message with an internal network link to watch the news stream to save bandwidth. I turned off Twitter because the rampant speculation was making me crazy. Some people went home, worried that transport was going to be disrupted. By 4:30 the office was feeling empty. I had thought earlier that I might have to walk home (going by Darling Harbour to avoid the city) or possibly take a train from Wynyard if they were still running. Instead when I stepped out at 5pm, I could see a steady stream of buses coming up George Street. I got right on one and trundled past Martin Place for the second time that day. If I strained, I could see the crowd of rubberneckers up the block towards the Lindt Cafe. Traffic was lighter than normal though, so I got home quickly. Other than a few shops being closed, it was like a normal day. I got home, kissed the Snook, turned on the news, and opened a bottle of wine.