It was meant to be the first day of the rest of his life, but on Friday Ian Henderson instead found himself treading the well-worn path back to the ABC’s Melbourne studio.
The veteran ABC Victorian newsreader had already bid farewell to colleagues and friends, and was minutes into what was supposed to be his final bulletin on Thursday night when there was a technical meltdown.
Television screens across Victoria froze and the public broadcaster was forced to air ABC News NSW, derailing Henderson’s plans to say goodbye to the most important people of all — the audience.
For Henderson, who has spent the past 38 years in the lounge rooms of Victorians, it was an unacceptable way to show himself out.
So, ever the true newsman, the 65-year-old delayed his retirement by a day.
“I’m Ian Henderson. Now let’s have another go at this,” he said as he began his final bulletin.
He paid tribute to the ABC’s loyal Victorian audience.
“Thank you for all your kind and thoughtful messages of the past fortnight and for welcoming me into your homes all these years,” he said.
“It has been a rare privilege and a real pleasure.
“Over the years, we’ve experienced the highs and lows of live television together, of which last night was certainly one.
“But from tomorrow night I join you on the other side of the TV screen and I’m very much looking forward to getting my news from my talented colleagues Tamara Oudyn and Mary Gearin.”
Henderson paid tribute to the ABC and members of the Melbourne newsroom.
“I’d like to thank all my colleagues both behind the scenes and in front of the camera whose hard work and diligence makes all this possible,” he said.
And, with a small smile that his colleagues have privately dubbed the “Hendo twinkle”, he had one final message to the audience.
“To all of you: travel well and should our paths cross down the track, make sure you say hello.”