80 Years – A Birthday Party to Remember.

Born in 1939, Turning 80 on November 20th.

A longtime in anybody’s experience. 8 Decades and several generations, quite difficult to come to grips with, so many memories!
It is really wonderful, a bit overwhelming, to see so many friends and relations here to help me enjoy the occasion.
How can I adequately say thanks to you all? I think and feel that it’s an honour more than I deserve.
Special thanks are due to Jan and Stewart for instigating and organizing the party, the venue, and the invitations together with Barbara, involving considerable time and energy.

I am basically a “Solitary Man”.  Content with the simple pleasures of Music, Books, Videos, Country, Comfort, Food, and Driving. (and what used to be – sailing and table tennis of course).

BUT, without family and friends it would just be like living in a void. All my friends know who they are, of course, and you are really appreciated, but I would like to make special mention of my wonderful family, who support me, make me proud, and make life really worthwhile.

My wife Barbara, of course – We were the original Barbie and Ken!

Keeping me out of trouble, or trying to 🙂  Going through an ordeal currently, with hospital time and never-ending medical appointments, as I cannot yet drive .

Five capable children, all grown ups of course – Anthony (Anton) and Fran, Kristine (Kris) and Tony, Janyce (Jan)and Stewart, Carolyn (Carol) and David (Dave).

Their off-spring, Eleven wonderful grandchildren – Lachie, Liam, Geordie & Bailey; Braeden, Joel (and soon, Katelyn), Gemma and Bri; Morgan, and certainly not least, Ilaura and Ruby. We also recognize Carol’s recent, foster child Matthew as one of our family.

Thinking I might have, or be obliged to, to say a few words at this special birthday party, I started to make a few notes and found that a “speech” of that type might take more than a few minutes.

Perhaps, printed copies of the historical parts that might, or might not, interest those kind friends and relations present, would save potentially boring all present.

Also it will relieve me of the need to stand and talk for too long.

So, that is what you will find on your tables. Hope you enjoy!

Your enjoying the love and friendship, the food, drinks and hospitality, is important to me so I hope that you all have a great time.

Herewith, a very rough outline of the 80 years of Ken McMurtrie’s life.

80 years!

I suppose I should say something of my 80 years, with a great deal of condensing, and censoring, of course.

A country boy, until becoming city bound for education and employment.

On a sheep farm until age 7, bike or horse and cart to Pomonal school 3 miles (5 Km).

Moved to Stawell and attended over-the-road Primary School 502, (where the girls would fight over me 🙂 ) Dux in Grade 6.

Off to Melbourne in 1956 to Royal Melbourne Tech., for Assoc. Dip. Com. Eng.,  in those days the technical equivalent of a degree.

Major occupation, Electronic Engineering:

Initially in the Defence Department, Government Aircraft Factories, main project the Mirage fighter.  3 months in France for training.

Auto-electrical business partner in Collingwood.

Then self-employed, electronic service oriented. Included design and manufacture of an ultra-sonic aid for the Sight-Impaired.

Typesetting industry, employed by Father-in-Law, as company secretary and office manager, casting machine operator, proof reader etc. etc. etc. until computerized typesetting made ‘hot-metal’ type a thing of the past.

Another home based business, in Marine accessories, involving manufacturing and marketing.  Eventually sold to another like business where I worked for some years.

A few years of under-employment.

Finally, a decade or more with an X-Ray engineering and service company installing, decommissioning, servicing, all sorts of X-Ray equipment in various Melbourne and country locations.

2005, retirement at last, part time contracting with the X-Ray people.

Mostly leisure and hobbies with much enjoyable time in the country on grandfather “duties” with Ilaura and Ruby.

Hobbies and interests:

starting with my Dad’s involvement with motorcycles, the Stawell MC club, scramble track at Stawell, Grandfather the First Aid Man.
Learnt to ride a scramble bike on the Hall’s Gap Rd, unregistered, unlicenced, in about 1953   🙂
Car Rally, amateur Car Club in Box Hill. Champion Navigator 1958 with a driver who taught me a great deal, in a warmed-up FX Holden (First model) which I bought when it was 10 years old.
First car was a English Singer 9 sports, 9 “old” HP based on engine size, probably about 30-40 brake HP today’s system 🙂
Eastern Car Club, run by Llew Stephens, my driver. Social functions, resulting in my meeting Barbara, whose father was also a member, always striving to beat us.

Again, with my Dad’s sailing enthusiasms, starting with a home made (in the shearing shed) sailing dinghy, (LuLuBelle), canvas sails sewn on Mum’s pedal sewing machine and sailed at Lake Fyans, near the Grampians and not far from the farm.
In about 1953, he and a couple of other Stawell chaps created the Stawell Yacht Club, built the clubhouse and I started crewing for him in a purchased VJ dinghy.

Soon he bought me my own yacht, a MOTH, 12 foot (3.5 m), planing hull which I enjoyed till I went to Melbourne.  A wonderful fun-filled and educational, early teenager period.

BOATING, Fishing and a lot of serious holidaying at Rye, where we had our caravan sited at the King family holiday property.

In more recent times  a couple of decades of keel-boat crewing on Western Port Bay. An excellent morale boosting experience in a period of business stress.


Also in the 80’s through to very recently, a pastime of fun, excercise, fulfillment and social friendship. Encompassed family involvement with Anton, Jan and David.

The friendships live on!


A lifetime source of joy and relaxation. Music in particular plays a continuing therapeutic  and personal need.

Community Involvement:

Local Scout Group – parent committee member and Secretary

Blackburn South Tennis Club -Committee member and Secretary

Table Tennis –

Administrator, Blackburn South TTC, also Eley Park TTC

Secretary and Vice President, Eastern Suburbs Table Tennis Association