For almost four decades Neil Richardson recorded the history of Northern Tasmania through the lens of his camera. After 37 years of service to The Examiner he decided to retire on Christmas Day last year.
The COVID-19 pandemic and other health issues accelerated the decision but Richardson is content with spending time working around the house and with family throughout his retirement years.
His pictures will stand as a visual memory of how Northern Tasmania has changed and what events shaped the people in our region.
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From Chopper Reid to former Prime Minister Tony Abbott, the Queen and the Pope, Richardson snapped pictures of many colourful characters throughout his career.
Not every story was happy - he covered the Port Arthur Massacre, the murder of Victoria Cafasso and the many fires and floods that devastated Launceston and surrounds.
But, looking back on his time Richardson is proud of the impact his work had on the community.
"The way I considered the job was a record of what happened on that day, at that time," he said.
"I was out at Lilydale and this lady came up to me and said 'you took my sons photo 17 years ago' - they remember the photographer.
"A few people have done that."
Looking back over his career Richardson can pick out a few moments in that stand out as his favourite.
He remembers the moment former Prime Minister Tony Abbott decided to bite a raw onion after touring a processing facility at Devonport.
"There was all the national media there and he was doing his usual 'I'm a tough guy' [act]. The guy who was with him took him over to the big box of onions - he looked at them [and took a bite]," he said.
"All the media just said 'what the f--- was that' [and] it made national news."
Between the exciting opportunities to cover national news or the visits of internationally significant people such as the Queen there was the day to day of news in Northern Tasmania.
Whether it was the local football game, the new café opening or a stakeout in front of the court he would be there behind the lens ready to get the picture needed.
"Courts I liked because you'd get a guy who had been booked and quite often they'd be more annoyed with me than the fine because they had to walk past me," Richardson said.
"There was one guy who - he was in there and he wouldn't come out. So he sat in the court until the end of the [session] about three hours later."
Richardson laughed remembering the moment the man realised he was still waiting for him outside despite the delay.
When Richardson's daughter broke the news of his retirement on a local community Facebook page messages of support quickly flooded in from members of the community.
People reminisced about the times they had met Richardson in his role as a The Examiner photographer. Some crossed his path while on work experience others as subjects of his photos but all expressed the same sentiment of gratitude for the work Richardson had put in over the years.
The night Richardson arrived in Launceston with his wife almost 40 years ago they couldn't find a place to eat at 8pm. Now the city has developed and Richardson's photos will serve as a reminder of what used to be.
He said he is looking forward to finishing his home renovations and travelling around Tasmania with his wife, Alice, in his retirement years.
After the pandemic the pair are hoping to spend more time visiting family in Queensland as well.
Richardson thanked the photography team at The Examiner for making work enjoyable throughout the years.
"It was a good little team. You've got to get on otherwise you fall on your arse," he said.
"We backed up each other which was nice."
Richardson's fond memories of the team at The Examiner are reciprocated by current and former staff.
Alison Andrews, a former chief of staff and senior journalist at The Examiner, remembered the day Richardson arrived at the paper.
"He came in a little group of cameramen that arrive from interstate," she said.
"Neil stood out because you could easily tell what his skill was."
Andrews said Richardson was the go to photographer for hard news jobs such as car crashes or natural disasters.
She said he was a great person to work with because he always knew what was going on in the world and enjoyed chasing real news stories.
"You could depend on him in a tight spot," Andrews said.
"He was the one who could capture it photographically.
"He got a bit bored with fluff stories, he loved chasing news stories."
The Examiner editor Courtney Greisbach agreed that Richardson was a reliable hand for breaking news.
"Neil would often be out the door, balancing his thermos, stool and camera in his arms, before I could finish the brief," she said.
"He loved news, he loved his community and he loved the paper.
"While he will be missed around the office and, no doubt, the community, his photos will stand the test of time and always be a part of Tasmanian history."
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