Ross Solly farewell show
Ross Solly during his farewell show of Breakfast with Ross Solly at 666 ABC Radio studios in Dickson. Photo: Jeffrey Chan
Barry of Queanbeyan and Peta of Holt, politicians, Butcher Lindbeck, weather man Sean Carson, satirical singalong musos, producers past and present including Dan ‘‘The Cardigan’’ Craig - they were all out in force for a ‘‘so long’’ to 666 ABC Radio breakfast presenter Ross Solly.
The community came out in force during an outside broadcast to farewell the 47-year-old who has been a part of their morning routine for nine years - and his desk afterwards was groaning with cakes, bottles of wine and other gifts from appreciative listeners.
Ross Solly during his farewell show. Photo: Jeffrey Chan
Solly said the response was a little overwhelming.
‘‘People said how important 666 breakfast had been to them over the last nine years and you sort of know that but it’s not until someone says to your face, ‘My day wasn’t complete without hearing you on the radio’ and it sort of drives home the responsibility you have doing something like this,’’ he said.
Solly will be back on air for another four shows - on Monday and Tuesday and then the following Monday and Tuesday - his final broadcast on New Year’s Eve.
Then he’ll be off to Bangkok to be a stay-at-home dad to Liam, five, and Georgina, nearly three, while his wife Samantha Hawley takes on the role of ABC’s south-east Asia correspondent.
Solly said he was planning to be away for three years and then return to the ABC.
‘‘Ideally I want to come back to Canberra. I love Canberra. It’s my home now. It’s where I want to be,’’ he said.
Solly told his listeners he hoped Canberra remained pretty much the same in the meantime, although he thought light rail and a new stadium and convention centre were exciting initiatives for the city.
‘‘I honestly don’t want to see Canberra change too much because then it wouldn’t be Canberra,’’ he said.
‘‘And I think most Canberrans probably feel that way. Canberrans don’t look with envy at Sydney or Melbourne and think, ‘Wow, I wish we could have the traffic jams they have in Sydney’ or ‘I wish I lived out in Campbelltown and had to commute an hour-and-half to work each day’.
"I don’t think anyone in Canberra wants that. I think we’re pretty lucky with what we’ve got and I’d be devastated if that was to change.’’
Solly said the 2003 bushfires, before he took over breakfast, was one of the news stories he would always remember as well as the aftermath, including the difficult times of the bushfire inquiries.
‘‘I think it was a sign of Canberra’s true character that we came through it as a better, stronger community,’’ he said.
Other memorable stories included the Liberal Party leadership tensions and the influence of Liberal turned independent MLA Richard Mulcahy (‘‘the gift that kept on giving’’) and the sporting successes of the Capitals, Brumbies, Raiders and Canberra United.
He won’t miss getting up at 3.17am - to be exact - to go to work but will miss the job and the people.
‘‘I’m looking forward to living in Bangkok, and Thailand looks like a fascinating country which I’m going to spend a lot of time exploring, but I know there will be days, weeks, months, years where I’m going to miss doing this,’’ he said.
Sydney broadcaster Philip Clark has signed a one-year contract to present 666 breakfast from next year.