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Ron MacKenzie (1918-1992) : Associate Artist

Born in 1918 into a musical family, Ronald Mackenzie was a chorister from his earliest years. He was educated at Fort Street High School, where, aged seven, he sang the Elijah chorus for boys, later recalling Stan Clarkson as a "magnificent bass" in that performance.

He served in the militia, and then the RAAF from 1940 to 1945. Having been shot down in 1941, he was a prisoner of war of Germany until the end of the war. Returning to Australia, he became the resident conductor of the Wangaratta (later City of Wangaratta) Choral Society. Between 1947 and 1968 Mackenzie worked with theatre groups in Albury, Benalla and Wangaratta, preparing choirs for performances, either to be conducted by himself, or by one of a number of eminent conductors who visited the area during that period.

A public accountant by profession, Mackenzie had begun to compose vocal and choral music in about 1938, studying informally as the opportunity arose, or as friends, such as Max Olding, suggested.

He published articles and books, as well as his music, among these publications a book on angling (he was later awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia for his services to the sport of freshwater angling), a history of co-operative housing societies in Victoria, and articles on the care of rivers, wetlands and their environs. Five of his songs were published in Selected Songs by Australian Composers (Allans, 1985), and his Twenty-five Songs were published in 1987.

Ronald Mackenzie died in 1992.