ABC Radio Canberra listeners and colleagues bid newsreader Andrew Messenger a fond farewell on Thursday, his last day in a 50-year broadcasting career.
The appreciative texts from listeners flowed thick and fast as Messenger signed off on a career that had encompassed almost every radio station in Canberra, as well as a fair few around the nation.
Listeners said they would miss "that reassuring Andy Messenger" and his "beautiful voice" and noted he had "such a perfect name for the role he plays in our lives".
Ian from Richardson, was even moved to write a poem: "Looking at the rain/Feeling the pain of Andy gone/ Running through my brain."
Former ABC foreign correspondent Philip Williams also gave an impromptu on-air tribute to Messenger as he visited the Northbourne Avenue studios.
Messenger had been Williams' boss when Williams was a cub reporter at 2CC.
"You've been a fantastic journalist and you've really helped train up the young ones, so your legacy is actually in those who follow you," Williams said.
"So, a huge congratulations, mate."
Williams also noted Williams was still delivering the big news, even on his last day, including the death of former United States secretary of state, Henry Kissinger.
"Perhaps one person who you didn't know was a big fan was Henry Kissinger and on his last day, he said, 'If he's out of here, I'm out of here'," Williams joked.
For Messenger, who turns 69 on December 27, it was a day of mixed emotions - time to leave but still hard to go.
"I'm going to miss it a lot," he said.
Messenger, who grew up on a farm outside Mount Gambier in South Australia, got his first job in radio on November 12, 1973 at radio station 2VM in Moree in north-western NSW.
He also worked at radio stations in Kempsey and Tamworth, spinning discs rather than yarns. Hist first journalism job was in Toowoomba before he got a cadetship in Brisbane, covering state politics in the heady days of premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen.
He remembered reporting live from street protests over power cuts, long before mobile phones, instead carrying around "basically a car battery with a phone hook on the top".
Messenger knew he belonged in broadcasting news, rather than playing music on radio.
"For the first time, it felt like what I was doing on air meant something," he said.
Messenger and his wife Irene live in Higgins and have three children - Danny, Phillip and Angela.
The couple, with then one child, moved to Canberra in 1979. A mate from Moree, John Stanley, was working at Parliament House and asked Messenger to move to Canberra to read the morning news for 2CC.
"And after everywhere we'd been, my wife said, 'This will be our last move'," he said.
Messenger worked in most iterations of the AM/FM radio stations in Canberra. He was among the FM 104.7 employees who had to smash their way out of their studios above the Jolimont siege in 1993. A fire burnt through the wires to the transmitter 30 seconds before he was planning to put a bulletin to air.
"It was perhaps the best bulletin I ever prepared that never went to air," he said.
Messenger joined the ABC in 2000, initially to produce its TV news. But after a few years, went back to his first love, radio.
Over two decades, ABC listeners have tuned in for his news bulletins as as well as his gentle, personable chats with the presenters.
"I think after you've been in radio and you get to talk to people one-on-one, because no matter how big the audience is, it's still talking to one person, it's just very intimate and personal and something I've always loved," he said.
In retirement, he plans to take some holidays, continue his daily three hours in the gym (cardio, weights and swim) and make his 500th blood donation, next week.
And what he'll always be known for is his voice, at once authoritative and melodious.
"It's funny, I have this tape from when I was training for radio and my voice is very nasally, high-pitched and very Australian," he said.
"Now, I'm not conscious of my voice being any different to anyone else's. It's just part of who I am, it's part of my DNA."