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australian rowers profiles and history

Michael F McKenna

Mercantile Rowing Club (VIC)

b:19-04-41 d:19-03-2003

Above: Michael in the two seat of the 1964 Mercantile Senior Eight

Michael was a most distinguished member of the Club being a Vice-President and former Captain.  He provided valuable counsel to the President and Committee on the business aspects of the Club and we dwelt on his advice carefully.  He was deeply involved in the most recent renovations to the Club and any business endeavours considered by the Club.

 Michael commenced his rowing at Xavier College finishing in a good quality first eight.  He continued his rowing at Mercantile and came into focus in crews such as the 1961-62 successful junior eight with other notable members such as Bob Lachal, Dick Garrard and Mal McKenzie.  As you might expect with such rowers, the junior premiership was won that year.  Michael went onto racing in the senior ranks in the 1962-63 season.  In fact that season he was not only in both the winning Victorian Championship Junior and Senior Eights, but the Kings Cup crew – a remarkable effort.   However this was a period of great growth of quality of rowers at Mercantile and the recent dominance of Banks Rowing Club was overcome.

Above: Michael far right celebrates another Victorian Championship

Michael’s administrative ability was sought in 1964-65 as Vice-Captain.  Unfortunately the Captain Jeff Wylie tragically died in a car accident during that year and Michael became Captain.  Michael continued as Captain during the next season as well.  Not being quite enough, he continued as Secretary in the year following.  His counsel and friendship led to the obvious appointment as Vice-President which he held for the rest of his life.  He was also one of the founders of the Monash Rowing Club which became a significant force in Australian rowing during the 1970’s.

Michael led a very active and successful business life including executive level appointments at ICI, CEO of the Association of Certified Practising Accountants CEO of the Financial Planning Association and finally as a principal of Pro:NED, a consultancy that finds non-executive directors for companies.

Michael would have appreciated the fine rendition of the Mercantile song by fellow members at drinks following the funeral at St Patrick’s Cathedral.  A President’s Luncheon was held at the Club to celebrate his life on Sunday 18th May 2003.


Andrew Guerin and others – 2003

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