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Industry stalwarts bow out

Jens Madsen

As well as being the most challenging year in living memory, as Canon’s Jason McLean notes elswhere in Photo Counter this week, 2012 has been marked by the number of admired and respected industry identities who have taken their leave.

Highly regarded – no, legendary –  retailers Jens Madsen (Madsens, Wollongong) Jan Novak (Novak’s Camera House) and Don Roydhouse (Roydhouse CH, Geelong) were three who sadly passed away during the year, leaving their families and the industry diminished by their absence.

Many other retailers retired, sadly most of them with no acknowledgement from within the industry. Three I know of are David Owen (Warrnambool) and Peter De Janko (Photo Plus – now Ted’s – Greensborough) and Wolfgang and Karen Becker (Mid-City Cameraworld, Hobart).

Please note others you know of in our Readers Comments below.

Robert Heim

Rob Heim chalked up over 40 years of achievement in the industry, winding up his ‘Just Picture It’ group in June this year after stints with Watson Victor, Swifts, then Camera World. He established his independent buying group First Choice in 1992. He is now fully dedicated to running his beloved Lancefield farming property ‘Meihrac’. (Slipping away from hay baling and drenching cattle for the occasional lunch or photographic exhibition viewing with old friends, a select group in which am proud to include myself.)

Earlier this year we saw the irreplaceable and irrepressible Richard ‘Robbo’ Robertson (Ted’s Cameras, PMA) step from the stage, along with Canon boss Alan Corder, Rob Tolmie from Photo Create, and, closer to Christmas, a group of highly-regarded staff from Fujifilm. We can expect to see Rob and at least some of the ex-Fujifilm people re-emerge in some capacity in the future.

To this very incomplete list (with sincere apologies to the people we have missed) we now have to add Christine Algie from CR Kennedy, Tony Trask (APS) and Peter Cosham. (Haldex).

Christine Algie

Christine has been a one-woman marketing communications tyro at CR Kennedy for 26 years. I’m reasonably confident in saying she has put together more advertising campaigns than anyone else in the industry over that time – they number in the hundreds – including playing the major behind-the scenes role in the (in)famous Ted’s/Pentax ads of the ’80s through to the ’90s, featuring the telegenic Robbo. She will be a very hard act to follow down at South Yarra.

I for one hope she is not lost entirely to the photo industry. We need more good women, not less!

Tony Trask is a man about whom it’s doubtful anyone sane has ever had a bad word to say (except perhaps his wife Sophie, and only because of the hours he spent away from home). He has distinguished himself in a range of sales and marketing roles over 42 years with top brands such as Canon, Kodak, Hagemeyer and Ricoh.

Peter Cosham ‘did time’ behind the counter in Gippsland and Coffs Harbour before moving onto the supply side with R Gunz and Haldex for the last 20 of his more than 40 years in the industry.

Tony Trask

He won’t be completely lost to the photographic community as he will continue on in a part-time marketing consultancy capacity with Haldex while  re-locating to the country township of Seaspray in East Gippsland.

‘Thanks again to everyone for their friendship and support over the years and I wish you all a very Happy Christmas and a profitable New Year,’  Peter wrote in a farewell note to his friends and colleagues.

The loss of these people subtracts many, many decades of experience from our industry. If there are others who the photo communty should acknowledge, I once again encourage readers to use our Readers Comments section below to make good the omissions.


  1. Stefan Meier Stefan Meier December 15, 2011

    I am saddened to report that after a battle with cancer, camera technician Mr Hank Meier passed away on December 12 2011 aged 62. Hank started technician work with Photimport in the early 70′s and gained diplomas from Minolta and Hasselblad with honors. Later owning and running his own operations, Hank was one of Australia’s most respected men in the field. With never a dull moment when he was around, he will be deeply missed by all his family and many,many friends and colleages throughout the industry. R.I.P

  2. John Swainston John Swainston December 15, 2011

    What an honour roll of splendid industry stalwarts. I’ve had the pleasure of knowing all of them over more than 3 decades, and each contributed so strongly in their chosen field. But I do have to call out one of that number: There never will be ads of the caliber or low budget that Christine Algie produced for C. R. Kennedy, over 2 decades and which helped build a whole industry’s awareness through the power of TV and newspaper print media. Enjoy your retirement, Chris: You deserve a long and happy one. We’ll all miss your incomparable abilities, even those who had to compete against them.

  3. Moss Josephs Moss Josephs December 16, 2011

    I just want to wish Peter Cosham a very happy retirement, he has been an integral part of our industry for many years. I had been fortunate to work closely with Peter, he cares for his clients and is a true gentleman. All the best Cosh!!

  4. Sonja Lunn (Madsen) Sonja Lunn (Madsen) December 16, 2011

    Always an interesting read and interesting to see movements in this industry. I grew up in this industry from the early days in my playpen and then learning to count while sitting on the stool in the darkroom and continued into the retail and portrait photography divisions. My father loved his photography and after 44 years talked as if he had just purchased his first camera. This industry has been like a family to all of us over the years and we saw that especially this year when we lost my father, Jens Madsen. Thank you to everyone. We wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful retirment to those taking that road. My mother, Kari Madsen is now preparing for a year of some lovely travel as part of her retirement too.

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