The start of the 7:00pm news bulletin went as planned — but seven minutes in, the transmission failed.
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However, the 65-year-old will say goodbye. He will return to present one last bulletin on Friday night.
“Im embarrassed by what happened, but he is such a gentleman, the way he took it in his stride was humbling,” he said.
“Theres no way well let him go without a proper goodbye and I invite everyone to watch tomorrow night for the farewell he so richly deserves.”
Despite the technical issues, dozens of past and present colleagues, and Hendersons family, were on hand to congratulate the veteran newsreader on a wonderful career.
Audience members flooded the ABCs switchboards with calls, wondering if their beloved newsreader had disappeared without saying goodbye.
Hendersons 38 years at the ABC took him to Trades Hall as an industrial reporter, to State Parliament — where he covered the election of John Cain in 1982, to Federal Parliament during Bob Hawkes prime ministership in 1987, and then to Europe as a foreign correspondent.
During that posting, Henderson covered some of the continents biggest events, including the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, and he was deployed further afield to report on such history-making moments as Nelson Mandelas release from prison the following year.
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Beloved ABC newsreader Ian Henderson's last night on the job after more than 25 years has been marred by an extraordinary technical glitch.
Ian Henderson misses his last sign off after 25 years as technical glitch forces the station to switch to NSWs 7pm news. Credit:ABC
About 10 minutes into the bulletin a story on Opposition Leader Bill Shorten visiting a school in Brisbane froze on the screen for about 30 seconds.
The screen then switched to the ABC news bulletin filmed out of Sydney with newsreader Juanita Phillips.
Ian Hendersons final ABC bulletin went down during a story about Bill Shorten on Thursday.Credit:AAP
He missed his chance to say thank you and goodbye to viewers as the technical glitch lasted so long that it forced the channel to head straight to 7.30.
ABC Melbourne later tweeted an apology, saying Henderson was amused by the glitch and would say goodbye Friday night.
An ABC spokesman said an "unexpected technical fault" was to blame for the switch to a back-up transmission from NSW.
"The timing of this fault during Ian Hendersons scheduled final bulletin was unfortunate, to say the least," he said in a statement.
"The good news is that Hendo will now be back on air at 7pm tomorrow to present his final, final ABC News Victoria bulletin."
The spokesman said the cause of the fault was being investigated and reiterated the station's earlier apology.
The broadcaster's acting news director, Craig McMurtrie, said there was no way they would let Henderson go without a proper goodbye and invited viewers to tune in again on Friday night for the farewell "he so richly deserves".
Im embarrassed by what happened but Hendo is such a gentleman that the way he took it in his stride is humbling," he said.
The glitch comes after a disastrous few weeks for the national broadcaster that began with the sacking of its managing director Michelle Guthrie after just more than two years at the helm.
Days later chairman Justin Milne resigned after his board turned against him and staff threatened to walk off the job.
However, the 65-year-old veteran journalist was quick to say his decision had nothing to do with recent "turbulence".