Vale Ken Kirkley 1927-2013

Ken’s first taste of the cinema was working as a small boy in his father’s theatre, the Strand in Eidsvold, a cattle town in the Northern Burnett region of Queensland. After moving to Brisbane he spent a few months at Fox before moving to MGM in 1946 where he worked for 12 years in all departments of the film exchange. Then followed 32 years with Hoyts where he managed all the Brisbane Theatres – Regent, Paris, Town and Skyline Drive In at different times.

At various times Ken had been:

  • Secretary, President and Life Member of the MPI Club
  • President of the Theatre Managers Association
  • President of the Cinema Pioneers (Queensland branch)
  • Committee member by invitation of the Motion Picture Exhibitors’ Association of Queensland (MPEAQ) (the predecessor to NACO)
  • Chairman of the Motion Picture Industry Benevolent Association (Queensland branch)
  • Queensland contributor to the Exhibition Trade Paper

Following his retirement from Hoyts in 1988 he retained his interest in the Benevolent Association, MPI Club and MPEAQ.

Ken was named a Life Member of the MPEAQ at the Australian International Movie Convention in August 2001.

Ken played some part in establishing the Public Relations Institute in Queensland and was Secretary of the Institute for a while in the early years. He received two awards from the Institute for marketing campaigns on behalf of Hoyts Theatres in Brisbane and Sydney.

As a sideline, he enjoyed covering cricket and soccer matches for the media, contributing to The Courier-Mail, The Telegraph, The Truth and Soccer News.

Ken held several positions with the Queensland Soccer Association in the capacity of Public Relations Officer, a member of the Disputes Committee and compiler of the official Soccer Handbook. In 1956 Ken was Manager of the Queensland Soccer Team.

His other sporting passion was Cricket. This started from his school days at Brisbane Grammar where he was a scorer and continued through his work at MGM with social matches. Ken enjoyed many hours watching the game at The Gabba with his fellow enthusiasts from their ‘permanent position’ in the Queensland Cricketers Club, where he held membership for 50 years. He made many close friendships, including cricket followers from interstate and overseas.