Who was Harry Lewis?
Heavyweight boxer, demolition man, real estate tycoon, entrepreneur, and notable businessman; Mr Lewis was all these things, and more.
Known around Launceston by the moniker 'Harry the Jew', Mr Lewis revolutionised the taxi industry after introducing the first two-way radio in Australia in 1949.
The Plaza Taxi Service
It seems Launceston was ahead of even London thanks to Mr Lewis' ingenuity.
On August 5, 1949, the Examiner reported that nine Plaza Taxis were fitted with "two-way frequency modulation sets which enable ears to be constantly on call from the company's office".
Conversely, the first radio taxi in London was introduced in December 1949.
The revolutionary technology made dispatching taxis much more convenient and effective and cost between £4000 and £5000, about $278,000 today after inflation.
Mr Lewis, the proprietor of Plaza Taxis, was said to have implemented the radio-telephone system after learning about the technology during a trip to the US.
Former Plaza Taxis employee and close friend of Mr Lewis, Michael Newton, said he remembers a story he was told from when the two-way radio was first introduced.
"Going back, taxis used to line up on the street and answer the phone on the footpath, which would ring and tell them what the job was," Mr Newton said.
"Well after they introduced the telephone line, which was 333, a lady in High Street called and wanted a taxi.
"There was a car in very close proximity to where the lady lived, so when the driver knocked on the door the lady refused to go with him because he got there so quickly.
"She said he was irresponsible and must have driven too fast to get there so quickly, because she didn't understand the new system."
A Launceston legend
Mr Lewis' abundant success was underpinned by sadness; his first and only wife left him after he tragically - and accidentally - ran over his infant daughter.
City of Launceston councillor Joe Pentridge remembers Mr Lewis well.
"I wouldn't be where I am without him," Cr Pentridge said.
"He was a good man; he did a lot for Launceston.
"Harry never really got the appreciation he deserved."
Cr Pentridge said Mr Lewis came to Launceston from Melbourne in the 1940s.
"He was quite a character," he said.
"I'm not sure how he used to walk around without being clubbed on the head; he used to carry all this money, what looked like rolls of notes.
"They were actually just newspaper cuttings with $10 notes on top - but sometimes it was real money, no doubt.
"He was a showman."
'Loved by many and a friend to all'
Mr Newton said even if Mr Lewis pretended otherwise, he was a successful businessman.
"Harry tried to push the boundary on all sorts of things," Mr Newton said.
"Back then, a taxi licence wasn't a cheap thing.
"In the '90s taxi licenses were among the top 10 Blue Chip investments and sold for over half a million dollars.
"Harry had 79 in Melbourne and 23 in Launceston."
In business, Mr Newton helped Mr Lewis introduce "cents per kilometre" to curb expenditure.
In his final days, Mr Newton was like family.
"Without Michael, Harry's latter part of his life would have been more miserable than it was," Cr Pentridge said.
"He had no family except him. He deserves all the credit, really."
Mr Lewis was born on January 26, 1912, and died at 82-years-old on November 5, 1994.