Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s ‘Exposed: The Ghost Train Fire’ chronicles how the Ghost Train at Luna Park Sydney got engulfed in flames on June 9, 1979, leading to seven deaths. The show takes the form of an investigation conducted by Journalist Caro Meldrum-Hanna, who tries to discover the truth behind the tragedy. To paint a clear picture of the tragedy that shocked Australia, she holds numerous one-on-one interviews with eyewitnesses, families of the victims, law enforcement officers, and survivors. Jason Holman, who was just 12 at the time of the incident and a passenger on the Ghost Train, also shares his experience in front of the cameras. Well, let’s delve into the details and find out where Jason is at present, shall we?
Who is Jason Holman?
A native of Waverley, New South Wales, Jason Holman was just 12 at the time of the fire. The show mentions that he was pretty close to a group of 13-year-old boys consisting of Jonathan Billings, Seamus Rahilly, Richard Carroll, and Michael Johnson. In fact, Jason met them through school, and although they were a year above him, all five shared an incredible bond. Even their family insisted that the boys were almost inseparable.
On June 9, 1979, Jason and his four friends got permission to travel to Milsons Point, New South Wales, where they planned on spending the day at Luna Park Sydney. This trip was supposed to be the group’s first unsupervised outing, and the five could not wait for the day to arrive. Moreover, the show mentioned that several girls planned to accompany the boys, but their parents stopped them at the last minute.
Hence, Jason, and his friends, caught the bus on their own and made their way down to the amusement park. Once at Luna Park, he, Jonathan, Seamus, Richard, and Michael had a wonderful time on their own. Later, Jason mentioned that since the trip was unsupervised, the kids were excited to try everything, and at the very end, they queued up for a ride on the Ghost Train.
While the amusement ride appeared normal initially, the 12-year-old was shocked when a train attendant picked him up from his carriage and dragged him outside in the middle of the ride. That was when he realized the entire ride was on fire and the people stuck inside had no escape. Tragically, that was also the last time Jason saw his friends, as all four boys and three other victims perished in the fire.
Where is Jason Holman Today?
In the following days, the media dubbed Jason “the luckiest boy alive,” yet he claimed he did not feel so. Besides, the deaths of his friends remained fresh on his mind for years. Even today, Jason finds himself battling the demons of the past from time to time. While on the show, he talked about the question that haunts him to this day and said, “My friends, engulfed by flames, died in front of me. Why did I survive? Why me? I ask myself that question nearly every single day.”
Although the tragedy had become several years old, Jason began investigating the truth by the time he came of age. He soon got acquainted with Australian Artist Martin Sharp, who was responsible for painting the Luna Park face after the fire. Despite the police claiming the fire occurred due to an electrical fault, the latter believed other external forces were behind the incident. Gradually, Jason began assisting Martin in his investigation, and he took over completely when the artist passed away in 2013. He also found a friend in Jenny Goodson who understood what it was like to be “left behind.”
Incidentally, it was Jason Holman who handed over Martin’s meticulous notes and thousands of journals and records to Caro Meldrum-Hanna when she decided to investigate the fire. He now resides in Sydney, New South Wales, and works as a First Assistant Director for Stornaway Films LTD. Furthermore, readers will be interested to know that Jason has directed several productions, including the TV series ‘Home and Away’ and the short film ‘Broga.’ On top of it, Jason mentioned on the show that he believes the fire resulted from deliberate arson and claimed he would not rest until the victims’ families knew the truth.