John Kennedy M.P.
“I enjoyed my 10 years [of retirement] but am glad to have something new with a stronger purpose to it,” explains Mr John Kennedy, recently elected Member for Hawthorn in the Parliament of Victoria.
Born in Sydney, John attended Sydney University and completed a double major in History. He moved to Melbourne at the age of 28, where he continued his teaching career, eventually becoming school Principal, most notably at Loyola College, before retiring at 61.
It wasn’t until 2011, after retirement, that John grew an interest in the Labor Party and began happily attending meetings and getting involved. While he was a Principal at a non-government school, he felt that it was best to be publicly neutral to any political parties.
At the 2013 Federal election, he was asked to stand against Josh Frydenberg, and although Frydenberg won and remains the Federal Member for Kooyong, the results of that election were 38.9% in favour of John.
At the recent State Election, John put his name forward as Hawthorn’s Labor representative because “Hawthorn is where I eat, sleep and shop,” for him it “only made sense to run.” Although he has only been in his new role for a short time, so far “nothing has changed, I still go down to Vietstar and Lido.”
Visiting the Glenferrie shopping precinct regularly, John and his wife are only a short walk through Grace Park to the heart of the precinct. John loves the range of different shops in the area, “you can buy a new case for your mobile phone [Procase] in a place right next to the Lido theatre.”
The number of vacant shops is concerning for John, he was staggered by the closing of Crabapple Kitchen and reminisces about long-gone O’Brien Bookstore, owned by an old schoolmate of his from Sydney.
With his wife and two children, John has lived in Boroondara for 15 years, prior to this they lived in Ivanhoe. Only recently, John and his wife moved from Deepdene to an off-the-plan retirement village in Hawthorn West where they have been living for two and a half years.
As John is now 71 years old, he isn’t looking for a long-standing career in politics. He is happy with his new role and will do the best job he can for at least the next four years on the issues he deems most important for our area.
His main interest is education, both government and non-government schools. Last month he spent time visiting schools in the area and had the opportunity to see how government schools are run.
Never having learnt to drive, John commutes by tram or train. Each day he takes the 75 tram to and from work. With first hand knowledge of the education system, having been a Principal for most of his life, and a regular user of the public transportation system, it will be interesting to see how the Hawthorn area progresses as John settles into his new role as State Member for Hawthorn.