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  1. #1

    Default Vale Kevin Andrusiak

    Very very sad news - Kevin Andrusiak, Senior Mining and Daily Assay writer for The Australian passed away yesterday. He was only 33.


    Always enjoyed his column and articles, my first point of call at The Australian.

    He will be missed.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Vale Kevin Andrusiak

    That is very sad news indeed.

    I had been speaking with him a bit over the last couple of months regarding NSL as he was the only reporter who was covering the story.

    QFrom my limited contact he seemed quite a funny man with a great sense of humour.


  3. #3

    Default Re: Vale Kevin Andrusiak

    Tributes to mining writer Kevin Andrusiak

    Kevin James Andrusiak

    Journalist. Born Calgary, Canada. May 25, 1975. Died Sydney, July 7, aged 33.

    AT 10pm one Tuesday night last month, Kevin Andrusiak rang the backbench of The Australian.

    “Mate, it’s Kev,” he told the night editor. “Clear the front page.” The excited call was classic Andrusiak: boyish enthusiasm backed by professional ability. He had a scoop burning a hole in his notepad and he wanted to share it with the widest possible audience, preferably with his name on the top, preferably right below the masthead.

    In the end, his exclusive on Cazaly Resources’ deal with Andrew Forrest to muscle in on the Rhodes Ridge iron ore deposit was deemed worthy of a business section splash, rather than a last-edition remake of the entire front page.

    But that did not dull Andrusiak’s mood as he bounced into the office the following day. His yarn was the only topic of conversation in the trading rooms on the east coast and the mining boardrooms of the west.

    Andrusiak, who died suddenly of suspected heart failure on Monday morning at just 33, was already a respected name in the tight world of business journalism and in the even tighter world of resources journalism.

    According to those who knew and worked with him—including his media rivals and executives at the companies he covered—he had the potential to become one of the best. More than that, they say, he would have risen to the top with the passion, the cheer and the humour that made Andrusiak stand out in a media industry that doesn’t seem to breed as many characters as it used to.

    “The future of resources journalism was in good hands with Kevin,” The Age’s veteran resources reporter Barry FitzGerald says.

    “He was universally respected and admired for the passion and honesty he brought to coverage of the sector. Kevin’s good humour will be greatly missed. There was no better travelling companion, be it on a mine tour to the the wilds of The Philippines or in the front bar of the Exchange Hotel in Kalgoorlie.”

    Kevin James Andrusiak was born in Calgary, Canada, in 1975, the son of Jim and Shirley and a brother to sisters Marnie, Jayni and Summer. When he was five months old, the family moved to Perth, a place he would always call home.

    After completing Year 12 at Perth’s historic Guildford Grammar School, he enrolled to study a bachelor of arts, with a double major in politics and industrial relations, at the University of Western Australia. On his semester breaks he would work as a deckhand on pearl farming boats around the Montebello Islands off the Pilbara coast.

    After graduating, he had a brief spell as a builder’s labourer before joining, in early 2001, the Narrogin Observer, southeast of Perth, as a reporter. The following year, he joined the bigger South Western Times in Bunbury, where as business editor he earned a Walkley commendation for his coverage of a bungled business deal by the city council and, more importantly, met the love of his life, then cadet Katherine Fleming.

    In January 2004, he made the jump to become a resources writer at The Kalgoorlie Miner, spending weekends commuting back and forth to Perth to see Fleming, who had moved to the capital as her own journalism career took off.

    “It was always obvious he was going to go on to bigger and better opportunities,” the Miner’s former editor David Burtenshaw says.

    Sure enough, in late 2004, Andrusiak was chosen from more than 40 applicants to become a Sydney-based business reporter at The Australian.

    “Given the chance,” he wrote in his application for the job, “I know I have the ability to be a brilliant business reporter and an asset to any editorial team.”

    He was given the chance and he did fulfil that promise to the letter, with editor-in-chief Chris Mitchell this week describing him as “one of our most brilliant young business journalists”, someone with “very bright future ahead of him in journalism”.

    The laconic Andrusiak—with his wide-eyed enthusiasm for a new job, a new city and the opportunity to properly embrace in equal measure his passion for the Sydney Swans and disdain for rugby league—was an immediate fit with the business section, professionally and socially.

    Fleming soon joined him in Sydney, leaving her job with The West Australian. “You all know I love my job but I love Kevin more,” she told colleagues in her farewell speech.

    During their six years together, the sentiment never dimmed.

    “I don’t have the words to say how deeply I love Kevin,” Fleming said yesterday. “He was everything to me. He was the most beautiful, wonderful, loving man I will ever meet and I was blessed to have the six happiest years of my life with him. His loss is unbearable.”

    Settled at The Australian, Andrusiak was happy to tackle any topic with an inquiring and analytical—but rarely cynical—mind. He could write to a brief, delivering clean, accurate copy. “Piece of piss,” he’d say. On other occasions, particularly in more recent years as he was happily drawn back into the resources sector, he’d deliver exclusives, driving the news agenda. He was happiest breaking stories, digging up “the goss”, and seethed when companies chose to drop stories to The Australian Financial Review.

    Gavan Collery, one of the mining industry’s public affairs veterans, says he was amazed how many questions Andrusiak could ask, how many notes he could take and how late he could stay out at night: “‘Just taking in theculture’ was his response to the nocturnal aspects of investigative journalism.”

    Andrusiak was prepared to go anywhere necessary to get the story, his “fact-finding missions” taking him throughout the wilder parts of Australia to Scandinavia and Russia, The Philippines and, just last week, to Kazakhstan.

    “He was happiest on the road, talking to the miners and the explorers,” says Andrew White, a former business editor at The Australian who is now with the AFR.

    “He confessed he didn’t feel nearly so comfortable with the bankers and brokers, which probably shows up his time in Kalgoorlie and knocking around the WA outback.”

    Cazaly Resources managing director Nathan McMahon recalls “a straight shooter, a great writer and a champion of the resources sector”.

    Owen Hegarty, chief executive of mining giant Oxiana, remembers Andrusiak as “a good communicator, on top of the industry and great analytically”.

    “He knew his stuff and was always bright and cheerful, and always up for it,” Hegarty says.

    Andrusiak, friends say, fielded other job offers as his career took off, from inside the mining industry and stockbroking firms. But his love of journalism kept him at The Australian and its close-knit business desk.

    The increasing use of the internet was a natural fit for his style of journalism and his enthusiasm for breaking news. His regular online audio reports and his breezy and informative Daily Assay became his soapbox, and required reading in the industry.

    Andrusiak, with his questionable taste in daggy shirts and berets, his mischievous grin and permanently dishevelled haircut, was also a required guest at corporate lunches and at the annual Diggers & Dealers mining industry conference and drink-a-thon in Kalgoorlie. His lived by the motto he learned at the Miner: work hard, play hard.

    Countless contacts in the industry—hacks, flaks and executives—this week remembered his Footloose slide across the dance floor at the city’s Exchange Hotel, more Kevin Bacon than Kevin Andrusiak. “He had on his classic velvet jacket and was performing some amazing knee-slides across the filthy floor of the Exchange Hotel,” remembers fellow resources reporter Rebecca Keenan, now at Bloomberg. “And you were always assured of a big sweaty bear hug from him. If Kev liked you, you definitely knew about it.”

    BHP Billiton media relations manager Samantha Evans remembers the Footloose routine. She also remembers a “genuinely kind”, self-deprecating and funny man, someone who signed her corporate credit card—with a big smiley face and “hello”—when her back was turned after a night at the Exchange. Others recall the five jugs of illusions he put on the corporate credit card of another operative from the world of public relations, an industry he was prepared to tolerate.

    “Often when obituaries are penned, the subjects are written up larger than life and portrayed as better people than they actually were,” says Andrusiak’s friend and colleague at The Australian Anthony Klan.

    “Their positive attributes—kindness, generosity, loyalty and humour—are magnified and beaten up. But in Kev’s case it’s all true and more.”

    Andrusiak’s laid-back manner manifested itself in his most common refrain, one used to placate anxious sources, anxious editors and, most recently, an anxious Fleming when he revealed he hadn’t had his shots for the trip to Kazakhstan.

    “Don’t worry about it,” he’d say. “It’s Kev.”

    And everyone believed him.

    Kevin Andrusiak is survived by his parents, Jim and Shirley, his sisters Marnie, Jayni and Summer, and by his partner, Katherine Fleming.

    Clive Mathieson


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