Gordon James McKern, OAM
24 August 1935 – 29 November 2020
One of five siblings, each born in different states, as his father was a builder/project manager, who moved job to job. Two of his brothers, Douglas Harold MHS 1946-1948, died 2018 and John Tebbutt MHS 1948-1950, died 2016, also attended MHS.
Whilst a student, he learned academic rigour and organisation, and a love for the arts and cricket. He took over his father’s building business and later founded McKern Steel Pty Ltd in 1969 (initially called McKern Manufacturing Pty Ltd) based in West Heidelberg, Melbourne. He moved the business to Eaglehawk in 1976, beginning a lifetime connection to Bendigo. He rapidly expanded beyond his own business into various community groups. He oversaw the merger of various small water works into Coliban Water (of which he was chair for 14 years), that provided an improved water supply and sewage to a large part of north central Victoria.
When local councils were merged in Victoria, he was appointed Commissioner with the then newly amalgamated City of Greater Bendigo from 1994 to 1996. He was a valued supporter and Life Member of The Bendigo Trust (Bendigo Heritage Attractions) , support and sponsor of the Eaglehawk Football Netball Club; President 1981-1989 of the Eaglehawk Dahlia & Arts Festival Inc.; Active member of Rotary, Past District Governor, including raising multiple millions for a Rotary Bone Marrow Donor Institute in Melbourne; Leader of the Ulumbarra Foundation; Chairman of Sandhurst Trustees; long time Sponsor, Supporter and Contributor of the Bendigo Jockey Club; President of Bendigo Regional Institute of RAFE; Chairman of La Trobe University Bendigo Regional Advisory Board; Chair of Bendigo Art Gallery, VP of the Gallery and treasurer.
He was awarded a Centenary Medal in 2001 for long service to the community through Rotary, sport and tourism and a Medal of the Order of Australia on Queens’ Birthday 2009 for service to the community of regional Victoria through a range of water industry, education and cultural organisations.
View an article from the Bendigo Advertiser here: https://www.bendigoadvertiser.com.au/story/7034069/bendigo-treasure-gordon-mckern-remembered/
Luke Savage, Honorary School Archivist