For the first time in 39 years, Kent Murray will sleep a deep and proper sleep — without headphones on and without listening for calls of “murder” or “fire” or “car crash”. 

Key points:

  • Kent Murray has spent 39 years telling stories in central Queensland but his career is coming to an end with regional newsroom cuts
  • Murray says memorable career moments include the funeral of slain police officer Norm Watt and the discovery of Natasha Ryan — the girl who hid in a cupboard
  • He says he often put the camera down and helped emergency services and has received a Queensland Police Assistant Commissioner Certificate of Appreciation

But he won’t be happy about it.

The ritual was forged by the veteran cameraman on the frontlines of the events that have shaped central Queensland.

And it stops in late August when the 57-year-old’s storied media career comes to an end – his job the latest to fall in a series of cuts to commercial media’s regional newsrooms.

Murray has seen and captured the tragedies and triumphs that have shaped his region, and says he has loved “every second”.

His last day, he admitted, will be “a very sad” one.

“Everyone has mobile phones now, years ago you would go to an accident or house fire, you would ask a witness for an interview, now you ask them if they have any phone vision, which is probably doing me out of my job I suppose.”

A cameraman filming a bushfire

Kent Murray filming a fire at Mount Larcom in 2018.(

Supplied: Kent Murray

)

Reminiscing

Murray says he has worked with more than 360 journalists during his time in central Queensland media.

“In those days, television was a totally different thing with news typed on typewriters,” he says.

“We got our weather in on scripts and updates were given to newsreaders on paper, and she would madly try and put it in the teleprompter, but they were reading off paper.”

Standout names include Karl Stefanovic and Samantha Heathwood.

Two men smiling at the camera

Veteran cameraman Kent Murray with Karl Stefanovic.(

Supplied: Kent Murray

)

“They’ve all come and gone all around the world,” he says.

“A lot of journalists have come through central Queensland; it’s a great training ground.”

For Kent Murray, it’s his passion: “The vision can be so beautiful and the people are great to talk to”.

He lists the funeral of slain police officer Norm Watt and the discovery of Natasha Ryan — the girl who hid in a cupboard — as some of his most memorable moments.

“The desire to get there and get the shots I still love it … it’s great to portray those stories in the local area and network.”

There’s proof in his ritual of sleeping with headphones and jumping out of bed if he heard “car crash” or “fire”.

There’s more in his media awards and in the Queensland Police Assistant Commissioner’s Certificate of Appreciation — that thanks him for “the professional support and assistance he has provided to the Queensland Police Service and the central Queensland community”.

“My work is paramount to me, but I can switch to a human side to help out.”

kent at mt archer 2020

Kent Murray at Mount Archer during a bushfire.(

Supplied: Kent Murray

)

Where to now?

Murray hasn’t yet decided what he’ll do when he puts down the camera but says he’s still committed to central Queensland’s history and community.

A man with a dark polo shirt. There is a meerkat on his shoulder.

Kent Murray contemplates retirement, that won’t involve a caravan.(

Supplied: Kent Murray

)

“I have told some mates I will give a hand in junior sport,” he says.

Laughing, he says: “I don’t want to get a caravan and my wife agrees with me”.

From the girl in the cupboard to Karl Stefanovic: Veteran cameraman reflects as regional cuts end 40-year career
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