Rowville Banner

Rowville Volunteers proudly serving the community since 1942

Mark Kennedy

An hour with Mark Kennedy

As Mark Kennedy, new Operations Officer in charge of the Rowville Fire Brigade, grew up he dreamt of becoming a policeman and piloting one of their helicopters. As it turned out, the CFA's gain was the Police Force's loss.

Mark was born in Box Hill in 1976 and lived in East Doncaster until the family moved to Warrandyte in 1980. "My memories are that it was very rural with lots of open paddocks that we used to ride our motorbikes around" said Mark. "We also spent many happy hours floating on the Yarra in tyre tubes".

Mark's father was an accountant with an entrepreneurial streak whilst his mother built a warm and happy household. Mark went to St Anne's Primary School in Park Orchards and completed his education at Aquinas College in Ringwood. Whilst maths was probably his strong point, his interest was sparked in his final years by business studies and psychology.

After leaving school Mark started out in hardware retail, but it was his next move that proved most exciting for a young man. His father had purchased an industrial shade cloth structures business, which resulted in many trips to major customers in the Middle East.

There followed a spell working in the security industry before he landed a job with Chubb, servicing fire equipment. One of his jobs was at the MCG where for three weeks each year, I held a master key to the ground. Mark remembers “Whilst working there I saw an advertisement for the CFA so I thought I’d give it a go, as both Dad and I had been volunteers in South Warrandyte since 1990. I applied and on 10th January 2000 was accepted as a fireman.”

Around this time a friend introduced him to a charming young lady, Vanessa, who in 2003 at Xavier College Chapel in Kew became Mrs Kennedy. Today they have two daughters, 3 year old Maddison and Amelia who is almost 2. Vanessa and Mark moved to their current home in Lilydale in 2002. “I’m not sure how, but Vanessa still finds time to be a personal trainer” said Mark.

Apart from his time as a volunteer firefighter from 1990 to 2012, Mark was a career Firefighter at Geelong from 2000 to 2001 and Boronia from 2001 to 2003. He then became a Leading Firefighter and served at Morwell (2003 to 2005), Eltham (2005) and back to Boronia (2005 to 2006). Then followed a period as a senior instructor at Fiskville Training College (2006 to 2009), before taking the reigns as Senior Station Officer at Dandenong from 2009 to 2012. All in all, Mark has 22 years experience with 12 of those in concurrent volunteer and career posts.

Mark had been a keen basketballer at school and after “but the team were not getting anywhere so we decided to try our luck at netball and surprise surprise, we came second in the State Championships”! However a knee injury curtailed his career and now enjoys 4 wheel driving and is learning to water ski. In the AFL, Mark is an avid North Melbourne supporter, which explains why he nominates his friend and former Kangaroos player Glen Archer as someone he looks up to, both on and off the field. He was also a fan of Michael Jordan, but the one man who he says inspired him the most in the Fire Service is the current deputy chief of the MFB, Peter Rau, who was a first class mentor.

Apart from his travels in the Middle East, Mark has been to the UK and Ireland and to Thailand and Fiji with Vanessa. “I recall visiting Samoa, where they had just had their first traffic lights installed and they had to have a policeman on duty to explain what to do! said Mark. “And they only had 10 kilometres of tarmac roads”.

The CFA has it’s highs and lows and is not for everyone claims Mark “The exposure to traumatic events can be harrowing, but systems help you through” he explained, “The satisfaction of reacting quickly to someone in need and generally helping the community is very satisfying”.

Mark explained that there are over 1200 Brigades and the CFA, who are on call 24 hours a day, every day. Youngsters considering a future with the CFA should start as volunteers, learn new skills, meet experienced people and have a desire to want to give back to the community by helping people in crisis.

Read more Brigade news Click here...

Dial 000 in an Emergency

CFA Logo About Us | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | © L. McKenna - ROWVILLE FIRE BRIGADE