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Friday, October 31, 2014
My memories of Harry was that he was a Screen Printer, a gentleman & for over 50 years a great supporter of our Industry Association.
I first met Harry in Melbourne , I think the Company was called Graphic Advertising & was a business formed when Lou White, Ron Cromb & Harry combined their three businesses into one, with Lou & Ron doing the selling of the product & Harry being the one in production who had to meet the deadlines promised by the other two! Harry only had one leg & used to use single crutch in place of his missing leg. After a very short time you did not notice his handicap, as he could perform all duties required of him, including holding a large glass of beer while standing in the bar with Lou & Ron.
The Company was sold to Wilkie in the 1970’s & soon after Harry formed a supply Company & did screen stretching for the trade. As far as I know that business is still trading.
He loved Screen Printing & was always willing to share information & help new comers to the industry.
My main regret was that due to distance I did not see as much of him as I would have liked in recent years, our last meeting being a reunion held in Canberra about 2006.
The Industry has lost a pioneer.
For a young boy that fell off a horse drawn cart and subsequently lost his leg Harry was an inspiring character. I did not know Harry during his early days and as I only joined the screen printing fraternity in the late 1960’ early 70’s and being based in Sydney there was not a lot of direct contact with Harry but certainly his antics were legendary. How can a one leg, one crutch carrying person manage to spread reams of paper and positives onto a table while smoking a cigar. Crikey I have trouble spreading positives without the cigar and certainly without a crutch.
I think the word ‘Dynamic” is best to explain the personality of the man. He was critical with his quality, he was always ready to help a friend and was always a fair boss but a word to the wise was that you never crossed Harry as he would always remember the incident.
When Harry started his screen stretching business in Melbourne he was the first to do so. Before Harry, printers used to use wooden screens, flat long edged pliers cardboard supports and staples. Harry introduced the automatic screen stretching methods which allowed the use of metal (and later) aluminium section for printing frames. Thus the introduction of higher frame tensions and finer meshes helped the printer create a better image. It was some 10 years later that opposition came along but Harry was always the leader in his field.
Other screen heroes such as Adrian Crothers, Mal Good, Stan Starkins were all Harry’s mates and many a cool glass was consumed discussing the future.
A Prominent member of the Victorian region of SPAA Harry used to attend almost all conferences and activities that SPAA had to offer. He and Bruce Hartland from Novaprint were part of the technical advisory sector of the Association. From the Association Harry ran into Ted Collister who was also a keen fisherman. Ted had a boat and on many a sunny day, whether a week day or not Ted and Harry used to slip away and enjoy the art of fishing.
When Mark and Jeff took over the running of Harry Magee and Co, Harry used to come to work mostly every day and sit at his desk and read the daily paper from cover to cover. Many old acquaintances and sometimes some newer chums would visit Harry to chew the fat so to speak.
Harry had this mate of his that was a retired school teacher that had lost the opposite leg to Harry. Funnily enough they were both the same shoe size. They used to team up from time to time and find some poor unsuspecting shoe sales person and negotiate one pair of shoes between them both. I am sure that more could be said on this.
Unfortunately most of Harry’s colleagues are no longer with us and I am sure there are lots of quirks and incidents that will remain untold. The industry is indebted to Harry Magee and he should always be remembered as a truly pioneer in our trade. May he rest in peace and may we all remember the deeds of this great man.
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