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Vale Max Kirwan

Max Kirwan and John Barnes pictured in 1995.

Founding member and president of the Mulwala Water Ski Club from 1982-1995 Max Kirwan OAM passed away at the age of 96 on March 23.

The club’s first life member, Max Kirwan had a major involvement in setting up the Mulwala Water Ski Club in the 1970s and played a significant role in the club’s success from there on.

Max’s involvement included seeking out the land and providing the initial finance for the formation of the club.

For the first 10 years Max worked hard to create interest, borrow money, setting up the freehold and leased land and then prepared the necessary legal and financial documentation in order to secure a poker machine licence for the club. He represented the club during this licensing process and was involved in the formulation of the original business plan and operating procedures.

Max Kirwan pictured in 2006 after the official naming of the Max Kirwan Ski park.

Max was the inaugural club president for 14 years from 1982 and with incredible enthusiasm and drive steered the club through its foundation years helping it to become the great success it is today.

Max was not only recognised as a dedicated member but also committed to the development and promotion of waterskiing and was instrumental in obtaining the inaugural national and world titles at the ski park in 1995.

After receiving his life membership in 1996, from the president Robert “Possum” Purtle at the time, Max was humble in his speech praising the many people who had assisted him with the club’s development.

“Looking back.. I can recall standing on the shores of Lake Mulwala envisaging that one day a water ski club like this great club of ours would be created,” Max said.

“The path ahead was laden with many thorns because there were many who did their best to prevent the club’s formation.

“In 1979, I asked my long-standing water ski friend, John Barnes, to help me and for the next three years we waged war together with all those who opposed the club’s formation and the NSW licensing authorities.”

Mr Kirwan also praised the first board and the boards thereafter for their dedication, policies, and the foundation they have laid down which were based on minimum overheads and maximum expansion to provide great facilities. He also heaped praise on all the financial supporters who gave $10,000 each in an appeal to set the club up.

“My vision for the club would not have eventuated without the financial supporters we had at the beginning.”

Max concluded his speech by saying his aims and vision for the club had been vindicated.

“Water ski people from all over the world are enviable of our great club and its facilities.”

In 2006 the ski park was officially named the Max Kirwan Ski Park in his honour. Recently at the National Water Ski and Barefoot Championships flags at the park were flown at half-mast after learning of Max’s recent death.

Max was farewelled at a funeral in Melbourne at The Ivanhoe Centre on Monday, April 4.