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ONE of Australia’s leading motoring publishers, Christopher Mullett, died suddenly last week following complications from a routine surgery.

Chris leaves wife and business partner Maree, and a transport industry and its members that he enthusiastically supported and loved.

The man who was always a noted presence in any room was an officer in the diplomatic protection squad of the metropolitan police in London in the 1970s and worked for companies in the UK including Ford.

He came to Australia in the mid-1980s and started his Motoring Matters public relations business as a freelancer and worked for Mitsubishi Motors Australia in press relations with responsibility for Ralliart and the brand’s rally and racing campaigns.

He also worked in public relations for Michelin – one friend remembering him shepherding a volunteer in the awkward Bibendum suit through the Sydney motor show halls in the 1990s – before joining Truck Australia magazine as editor in the early 2000s.

When it closed in 2003, Chris started the technically-focused PowerTorque magazine for the heavy-duty truck industry. The magazine is available in other markets and has subscribers in Europe and the US.

He followed this with light-commercial vehicle magazine Delivery a year later, then started ECOcar magazine in the mid-2000s before it closed in 2010.

“That magazine was ahead of its time,” said friend and Scania driver trainer Dave Whyte of ECOcar. “What people don’t know is that Chris and Maree took on the big magazine publishers and were very successful working from a room in the back of their house.

“He was never shy about giving new ideas and new people a chance in the industry. There’s a lot of people who owe Chris for giving them a start in the transport and the media industries.”

Chris instituted the Motoring Matters Magazine Group Awards which judged the best vehicles in respective segments but was also seen as a great social way for the industry to get together.

Chris and Maree lived in the Southern Highlands until a seachange in mid-2017 brought them to Airlie Beach on Queensland’s northern coast.

Maree said of Chris that “he worked hard but did so with an unfailingly positive outlook on life”.

“There were times when he could be tough and uncompromising, crossing swords with many in the industry. His passion for the craft put him at odds with some but he enjoyed spirited debates and was always considered good company by those who knew him well.

“His passion for the industry was displayed in the product, putting heart and soul into his work as founder and publisher of  ‘PowerTorque’ and ‘Delivery’ as well as the other activities of the Motoring Matters Magazine Group.”

Maree said the intention is to continue his work by publishing ‘PowerTorque’ and ‘Delivery’ October/November editions, with the temporary assistance of Alexander Corne as associate publisher.

“Our plans for the magazines going forward will be unveiled in due course.

“The entire team at MMMG is devastated at the loss of my husband, our colleague and friend. We will dedicate the next editions to his memory, striving to deliver the quality product for which Chris had worked so hard.”

By Neil Dowling and Terry Martin