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Vale Max Kirwan OAM
KIRWAN Max_news

Vale Max Kirwan OAM
Esteemed Member of the Sport Australia Hall of Fame

28/07/1925 – 22/03/2022

The Sport Australia Hall of Fame is mourning the passing of esteemed Member Max Kirwan OAM who passed away at home on Tuesday, March 22, 2022, aged 96.

Max Kirwan was responsible for developing water skiing through 40 years of involvement and was President of the Australian Water Ski Association for eight years between 1970-1978. As a sport, water skiing made giant strides during this time, especially in the barefoot and ski racing disciplines.

He founded the Mulwala Water Ski Club in 1982, which has become one of the world’s most successful. He said at the time that the Ski Club – first known as Paradise Water Ski Club – could eventually be the headquarters for water skiing in Australia and he wasn’t too far off the mark as the Mulwala Water Ski Club now ranked among the best water skiing facilities in the world with the Max Kirwan Water Ski Park named in his honour.

In 1985 Kirwan became the first person to be recognised on the Queens’ Honours List for services to water skiing in Australia when he received a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) and in 2010 he was presented with the Melbourne Award for his contribution to the City of Melbourne and for promoting the Moomba Masters International Water Ski Championships for over 50 years – he served as either Chairman or Moomba Masters Coordinator throughout this period. He first approached the then Melbourne City Development Organisation in 1958 with a proposal to run exciting events on the Yarra River over a one-week period. In 1960 his dream became a reality when he launched the first Moomba Masters Water Ski Championships on Melbourne’s Yarra River – an event that has become one of the most famous international water ski events in the world.

Sport Australia Hall of Fame Chair John Bertrand AO said; “Max Kirwan was an ambitious man, with a passion that shone and a personality to match.

Max was the first person from water skiing to be recognised in the Queens’ Honour List. He was instrumental in the development of the Mulwala Water Ski Club which now boasts one of the best water skiing facilities in the world. 

A world class water ski facility, ‘Max Kirwan Water Ski Park’ named in honour of Max is truly fitting. 

Max’s contribution to his sport is like none other, he empowered Australian water skiing – made it the sport it is today.

Our deepest condolences are with Nicole, the Kirwan family and the entire water skiing community. He will be truly missed.”

Read Max Kirwan’s full biography here.


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