News & Events
Making music and connections far and wide
April 9, 2019
Kenny White, renowned Australian blues and jazz musician, has made music and friendship connections with a lot of people at Rushall Park. He loves walking around the village, meeting the new arrivals and through conversations, making connections. “You talk to people, and if you are genuinely interested you soon find common links, like people you have both met over the years,” Kenny said.
Kenny’s links in North Fitzroy extend beyond the village. He participated in 2017 in the first Rushall Park-Fitzroy High School intergenerational project, working closely with a Year 12 student. Then in response to a request from the student, he and his band then played at the school.
While the performance might have been a first for students, Kenny’s music is well known around Melbourne and beyond and he plays regular gigs at venues and occasionally at Rushall Park with singer Margret RoadKnight. His band of many years still meets regularly and they perform whenever the opportunity comes along. He and Margret recently performed together at The JazzLab in Melbourne
Kenny and his wife, Fiona, also a musician, live in one of the village’s charming older cottages. The village is close to the city and to Kenny’s old stamping ground of Carlton where he was born and raised. The couple has a car, but Kenny walks a lot and enjoys riding his bike for any local trips. He comes from a long line of keen cyclists and one of his uncles competed in the Tour de France in the 1950s.
While he loves the beauty of the area, especially the village, nothing compares to the beloved Bunyip property the couple left eight years ago to move to Rushall Park. Almost 50 years ago Kenny, along with friends, cut the timber and made the mud bricks that were used to build the family home on the property in the Upper Yarra.
Straddled by state forests, the small subsistence farm was often threatened by bushfires and on the weekend of the Black Saturday fires they were almost wiped out. Kenny heads off to visit the bush property most weeks and enjoys the peace and serenity of the pristine bushland for a day or two before heading back to North Fitzroy.
Most days Kenny, 75, jams in the cottage, playing one of his many instruments that are stacked up in his lounge room, including a selection of guitars and mandolins. Having played sport his whole life he is a keen member of the newly formed table tennis group that plays regularly in the SEK Hulme Community Centre.
“Rushall Park is a close community and it is like a small village. Then when I go to the bush it’s a great sense of space and freedom.”
Kenny enjoys the best of both worlds.
“I remember when I walked into the carpet bowls and the people greeted me and made me feel I had been here all my life,” said Bernard Pidd who, with his wife Jean, moved into Rushall Park after losing their home in the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires.