PRIME Minister Tony Abbott and his wife Margaret joined thousands of mourners who laid flowers at the Martin Place memorial to honour the victims of the Sydney siege.

The couple yesterday visited memorial to pay their respects, before the PM joined NSW Premier Mike Baird to honour Tori Johnson and Katrina Dawson.

Mr Abbott called the events at Martin Place "the most difficult 36 hours in our history".

"This has been an absolutely appalling and ugly incident," he said.

"That's the only way to describe it, an appalling and ugly incident.

"Our hearts go out to the families of Katrina Dawson and Tori Johnson.

"These were decent, good people, who were going about their ordinary lives."


After acknowledging the efforts of police, NSW Premier Mike Baird praised the people of Sydney.  

"I just want to say thanks to this city. I mean, this city is amazing," he said.   

"Its people are incredible, and what you are seeing in Martin Place right now as it unfolds, it is almost as if a beating heart of the city is being put in place.

"That's what those flowers represent to me. It is showing us that this city is alive. It is beating. Despite the challenges, despite the tragedies we have endured, it is people saying they care."


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Florists near the memorial were emptied as Sydney residents, nearby workers and residents paid tribute.

Just hours after escaping the Lindt Chocolat Cafe siege, Elly Chen, who dramatically escaped, returned with her workmates to Martin Place.

NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione also placed flowers at the site.

Police Commissioner Scipione said the death of Mr Johnson and Ms Dawson left him heartbroken.

"I don't think I could be sadder," he said.

"Having said that I'm incredibly proud of our police and what we've done."