A story of a good man and friend
its a honour to be associated with him and his lovely wife
this is the blind gent i've taken shooting i've posted about and who's helped organise shoots for other less abled folks around the place
Graham Downie will pack up his desk and close his filing cabinet for the last time today, after a journalistic career at The Canberra Times that has spanned nearly four decades.
Since he was hired as a reporter in 1973, Downie has broken an abundance of stories of importance to the Canberra community and has been been awarded an Order of Australia, as well as the 1990 Canberra Citizen of the Year.
Apart from his consumer journalism, and his coverage of public utilities, Downie has been The Canberra Times ''God'' correspondent, or religion reporter, for most of his career.
He has dealt with at least 14,000 people through his long-running column Consumer Voice, formerly known as Voter's Voice, including one particularly shonky washing machine repairman in a saga that lasted about a decade.
He is also blind.
When reflecting on his career, Downie said he was especially proud of a story in 1992, when he was covering the Anglican General Synod in Sydney. It was decided very late in the day that women should be allowed to become priests, and Downie had to get on a train and race back to his brother's house on the north shore to file the story, getting it in just before deadline, while The Sydney Morning Herald missed out.
He is also proud of breaking the story of Actew's merger with AGL.
Canberra Times editor Rod Quinn said Downie was an accurate, determined and patient reporter who had spent almost 39 years solving the problems of readers.
''He is the most inspiring person I've ever worked with,'' he said.
Chief Minister Katy Gallagher said Downie was a tireless community advocate and a Canberra institution.
''As a journalist he is relentless in holding the government to account - and particularly dogged in lobbying for his fellow bus travellers.''
Canberra Times editor-at-large Jack Waterford said Downie was the best note-taker in the game, an old-style reporter dedicated to accuracy.
Anglican vicar general and assistant bishop of the diocese of Canberra and Goulburn Trevor Edwards said Downie had been a persistent but fair religious affairs reporter.
But Downie's dedication has not been confined to journalism.
He has been a devoted member of the 13th Canberra Scout Troop for more than four decades.
Scouts ACT chief commissioner Peter Harris said Downie was an ''exceptional'' person and a great role model for young people.
''He's a very wise counsellor, he's able to listen very wisely and give people a nudge when they need it.''
There is one story about Downie that has become a legend. It's about a senior federal minister who called The Canberra Times in a rage, furious about a front page photograph.
Downie answered the phone and, so the story goes, was delivered a serve of expletives from the minister, who demanded to know if he had seen the picture.
When Downie said he had not, the politician was incredulous.
''What, are you blind?'' he asked.
''Yes I am,'' Downie replied.
Downie insists the story is not true. But it is likely to be a tall tale that more than one Canberran dines out on for years to come.
The staff of The Canberra Times will gather this afternoon to wish Downie a happy retirement, but he does not plan to sit still for long.
He is already lining up a series of community projects to get stuck into.
Read more: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-...#ixzz28NUtLqrp
Graham will be joining the brigade and be aiding http://www.commandotrust.com/
so the brigade info will be both much more literate and intelligent very soon
and we look forward to him assisting the families of our Commando's who are in need