November 13 saw a reunion of old colleagues from photo industry giant Hanimex, at Young & Jackson’s ‘Chloe’ bar and restaurant, Melbourne CBD.
The late 70s and 80s was a golden age for ‘the house that Jack built’ – Hanimex – or more formally, Hannes Import-Export. Both pro and consumer photographics were on a roll and Hanimex was exporting Australian-made slide projectors, screens and viewers all over the world, made in Brookvale, NSW.
Add to this Jack Hannes’ talent for sourcing photographic equipment from manufacturers in Hong Kong, Japan and Taiwan, and of course the Fujifim distribution rights for Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the UK, and Australia had a home grown imaging giant to rival the best of them. But it was Hanimex’s Industrial & Education division that was a star performer, with agencies such as Durst, Fuji, Noritsu, Sinar and others. Most of those reuniting came from this background
Convened by former Hanimex Industrial manager, Chris Riches, who went on to stellar mini-lab success with PICS, assisted by Andy McCourt who moved on to success in printing and the graphic arts and is still active today; the group included former Hanimex director and shareholder Ralph Goodman, now a sprightly 94 years of age!
Also present and still involved in his family business, The Camera Clinic, was Laurie Rogers; ex-Hanimex sales manager – turned retail shop owner and education supplier Wayne Styles (Camera Styles); Bob ‘Willie’ Ramsay who still works producing photobooks; Vic Apakian who went on to run BCS Photographics; Don Peters; Graham Carter from Tasmania; genial Scot Richard Dodson; Chris Riches (ret.) and McCourt, who publishes a digital graphic arts news service (www.wideformatonline.com), consults and edits magazines. Absent was former Education division manager Dick Marquardt who was hospitalised: a get well card was signed by all for Dick. Also unable to attend this time was Peter Rose from Sydney, who was recovering from knee surgery.
‘It was like one big family reunion,’ said McCourt. ‘Chloe’s at Young & Jackson’s was the perfect choice of venue and it was good to see her “portrait” still on the wall – part of Melbourne’s heritage. Naturally the “war stories” abounded but above all the spirit of collegiate – even fraternal – respect prevailed. It was a great time to be in photographics back then – nothing was impossible – and demonstrated the loyalty and respect that people like Jack Hannes and Ralph Goodman commanded.
‘The passing parade of industry greats were fondly recalled. A repeat reunion is planned for November 2020. Anyone interested, drop me a note at email@example.com.’
(Thanks to Andy McCourt for assistance with this report.)