Veteran TV journalist Peter Harvey refused to give up the chase on a good yarn and despite being gravely ill with pancreatic cancer, insisted on shooting a piece about the Sydney Town Hall clocktower restoration.
Demonstrating his professionalism and courage, he refused to let illness get the better of him and completed the job that was to become his last-ever segment on Nine News, which aired last night.
The 68-year-old newsman, who died on Saturday, was scheduled to interview City of Sydney Project Manager Geoff Brew at the clocktower last month, but was too ill to attend. Instead he sent reporter Amelia Ballinger in his place.
But later, Mr Harvey went to George Street with a news crew and shot a piece-to-camera about the restoration with the clocktower in the background.
He also wrote a ‘beautiful script’, which was used as the voice over for the segment. The piece was his final story for Nine News, and aired posthumously on Tuesday night with the blessing of his family. You can watch the video here.
The much-loved reporter covered many stories about the City of Sydney’s projects and plans and has left fond memories with staff across the organisation.
One of Mr Harvey’s earlier stories with us was back in March 2007, when the City released its Cycle Strategy and Action Plan, and he delivered his piece-to-camera while riding a bicycle along a footpath in Centennial Park. And, yes, he was wearing a helmet.
The story also made it into that edition’s The Last Word segment, in which Mr Harvey mused on the issues of the day.
“The theory is dead right: cleaner air, fewer cars and more of us on the bikes than ever before. Everybody wins,” Mr Harvey said of our cycleways plan.
“But no jumping back in the car at the first drop of rain. You get it – you use it.”
Another highlight for City staff was when Mr Harvey came to Sydney Town Hall to do a story about the refurbishment of the Grand Organ in September 2010.
Both City Historian Lisa Murray and City Organist Robert Ampt were interviewed for the story, but the best part was when Mr Harvey sat down and played the organ.
With his back to the camera, Mr Harvey turned slowly around to reveal he was wearing a Phantom of the Opera mask, saying: “As for the most famous organist of all, why should the phantom have all the fun?”
The City extends its sincere condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Mr Harvey, who was considered a dear friend of the City and whose enthusiasm, passion and sense of humour will be sorely missed.
Mr Harvey will be honoured at a public memorial at Centennial Hall, Sydney Town Hall, this Saturday 9 March, from 1pm. Everyone is welcome to attend.