NEXT Thursday, at 7pm, Ian Henderson will sit at the desk at the ABC’s Melbourne studios and read the news for the final time.
After 26 years as a newsreader and 12 more as a journalist covering stories from the fall of the Berlin Wall to the Black Saturday bushfires, “Hendo” is retiring.
Tributes are flowing for the man universally loved by Melburnians who have welcomed the 65-year-old into their homes for nightly national news bulletins since he took the job in 1992.
Premier Daniel Andrews summed up Henderson’s departure best.
“The nightly news won’t be the same without you,” he wrote on Twitter.
Almost 40 years of service to journalism, including 26 of them in the chair. A good innings, @HendoABC. The nightly news won’t be the same without you.
— Daniel Andrews (@DanielAndrewsMP)
Henderson announced the move on Twitter after a week of turmoil at the public broadcaster that saw it lose a chairman and a managing director. But he was quick to distance his decision from those headlines.
“Friends, after 38 years at the ABC, it’s time for me to pull up stumps,” he wrote.
“My last bulletin will be on October 11. Nothing sinister and NO relation to turbulence of the past week. Just a long-hatched retirement plan. Thanks for the fun and the feedback. See you on the swings! Hendo.”
Henderson began is career at Leader Newspapers in 1978 but quickly leapt from the News Corp stable to the ABC.
I just found out Ian Henderson is retiring. I don’t know if I can handle this big of a change. He’s read me the news every night since I was a child. I don’t know if I’m ready to accept someone new into my life (But seriously what a legend!) @abcnews
— Liz Miller (@lizmillsays)
He took a job in Melbourne and worked his way up to the political round at Spring Street. Politics is something he was good at — he covered the election of John Cain in 1982 and worked in federal Parliament during the Bob Hawke era.
He was assigned the plum role of Europe correspondent and crossed live to ABC studios at home when the Berlin Wall was toppled.
“It’s a historic and highly emotional moment,” he told viewers. “For practical purposes, the Berlin Wall has been all but torn down. A crossing which in the past has claimed the lives of hundreds can now be made safely and by joyous tens of thousands.”
Sad to see Ian Henderson go, has been my favourite newsreader for basically all my living memory. When I interned at the ABC in 2016 his desk was near mine and every time I walked past him he was Google image searching Melbourne players.
— Rudi (@RudiEdsall)
He rates that live piece to camera as one of his most important, but he’s most proud of his work during the Black Saturday bushfires in 2009 after Victoria was covered in thick smoke and 173 people died.
“That opportunity to get out there with communities that were really hurting, and really having to pull together to get through this crisis, and sort of feel that you were there muscle and sinew with them was, again, something I’m very proud of and, again, something I’ll never forget,” he told the ABC.
“It was quite an emotional experience.”
On retirement, he said the decision was simple.
“I’ve been aware for some time that I don’t have the stamina that I once did,” he said this week.
“And I felt very much that if I couldn’t deliver the job to that standard, then it was probably time to move on and let someone have a go who could.”