Congratulations to Old Collegians Ken Fitch and Ken Allen – Officers of the Order of Australia

Warmest congratulations to two Old Collegians – Dr Ken Fitch and Mr Ken Allen – on being made Officers of the Order of Australia (AO) in the recent Australian honours list.

Both Ken Fitch (St Mark’s 1951-55) and Ken Allen (St Mark’s 1960-61) had previously been made Members of the Order of Australia – Ken Fitch as long ago as 1979, and Ken Allen in 2005 – and their subsequent outstanding contributions have now been recognised with this significant higher honour.

When congratulated by the Head of College (Professor Don Markwell) on their awards, both reflected warmly on their years at St Mark’s, how much the College contributed to their subsequent lives and careers, and their continuing fondness for the College.

Dr Kenneth Fitch AO, who lives in Perth, was a resident student at St Mark’s while studying medicine at the University of Adelaide. He was secretary of the College Club and won the Collegians’ Prize in 1954, and played football at College, University, and State levels, and competed in athletics for the College and the University.

Over subsequent decades, Ken Fitch has played a leading role in sports medicine – in Western Australia, nationally, and internationally – growing out of his work as a medical practitioner who was interested in sports and soft tissue injuries, and who started running swimming classes for asthma sufferers. His contribution – including through work for the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and other Olympic and Commonwealth Games bodies, the World Anti-Doping Authority (WADA) and Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA), and in many other ways – is truly exceptional.

Starting as a team doctor for the Australian team at the Olympics in Munich in 1972, through to serving with the IOC Medical Commission at the 2012 Olympics in London, Ken Fitch served at 18 Olympic games – summer and winter – in various roles for the IOC and the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC). He was President of the International Association of Olympic Medical Officers from 1989 to 1992, and medical consultant to the Organising Committee for the Sydney Olympic Games from 1994 to 2000.

Ken has served on national and international bodies on anti-doping, such as the IOC’s committee on prohibited substances and prohibited methods, and is recognised as a world leader in this field. He chaired ASADA’s Medical Advisory Committee for 15 years (1999-2014), and was deputy chair of WADA’s Health, Medical and Research Committee from 2001 to 2005.

Amongst many other positions he has held with distinction, Ken served on the IOC’s Medical Commission for 27 years (1985-2012), chaired the AOC’s Medical Commission (1985-97, acting chair 2012-13), and chaired the Medical Commission for the Oceania National Olympic Committees for 25 years (1984-2009).

He has been active in Sports Medicine Australia, and with the Australian Institute of Sport, amongst many other bodies, and served as medical coordinator and team physician for the West Coast Eagles from 1986 to 2001.

Ken has also written extensively on sports medicine, and has contributed greatly to medical education, including in his continuing role as an adjunct professor at the University of Western Australia since 1993.

A fuller account of Ken Fitch’s remarkable lifetime of service to sports medicine can be found here

It is very fitting that Ken Fitch has been recognised as an Officer of the Order of Australia “for distinguished service to sports medicine at the national and international level through a range of roles, and to medical education”.

Ken Fitch said of his time at St Mark’s: “Although I left St Mark’s in 1955, I have very fond memories of my five years there. Sadly, too many of my contemporaries including my best College mates are no longer with us. To this day, I remain grateful that WA did not have a medical school and that I had to leave WA to study medicine.

“I will be forever grateful to my father who generously booked me into and funded my time at St Mark’s, for the College’s major role in my social and general ‘education and development’ and how my five years there enhanced my subsequent life.

“Finally, like other West Aussies, I am deeply indebted to the Adelaide medical school for an excellent undergraduate medical education.”

Mr Kenneth Allen AO, who lives in Sydney, was a resident student at St Mark’s in 1960-61 while studying for a Bachelor of Economics (Honours) at the University of Adelaide. Amongst other contributions to College life, he played football and squash for St Mark’s, and football for the University.

Ken has subsequently had a long and distinguished career in business and finance, and served as Australia’s Consul-General in New York (2001-05). Amongst many other notable achievements, he pioneered and led the development of Advance, a professional network for Australians living and working around the world. Advance works to bring skills and knowledge gained overseas to the benefit of Australia.

Ken’s career in business and finance took him from being marketing manager for Unilever Australia in the 1960s, to serving as a senior project officer at the World Bank in 1974-79, to being chairman and managing director of Merrill Lynch (Australia) in the 1980s, and several subsequent senior financial positions, especially investment banking and capital advisory roles.

These roles include serving currently as chairman of Allen Partners and until recently as senior adviser to Lexington Partners in New York. His many directorships have ranged from Australia Post to the Australian Chamber Orchestra.

It was from the position of senior director at Macquarie Bank (1999-2001) that Ken Allen was appointed as Australia’s Consul-General in New York.

While serving in New York, Ken led the development of the Young Australian Professionals in America network, out of which the wider Advance global network grew under his leadership. With 17,000 community members across 83 countries, its many activities to recognise and connect Australian expatriates, and to bring their skills to Australia’s benefit, include the Advance Global Australian Awards and the Advance Global Australian Summit.

In 2005, Ken Allen was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) “for service to the business and finance sectors, to international relations as Consul-General in New York, and to the community through fundraising for charitable organisations”.

We are delighted that his leadership and service with Advance and in other ways have now been recognised with an AO “for distinguished service to international relations, particularly through global information sharing networks for expatriate Australian professionals”.

There are further details of Ken Allen’s outstanding contributions here

When congratulated by the College on his award, Ken Allen said: “It’s been a fun journey and no greater time than my time spent at St Marks.

“Those years at College are amongst my fondest memories as it was a real bridge into the real world.

“The College does great things for those fortunate enough to enjoy the experience.”

Professor Markwell said: “It is so good to see outstanding local, national, and international contributions by St Mark’s alumni acknowledged with these awards.

“On behalf of the entire St Mark’s community, I warmly congratulate both Ken Fitch and Ken Allen on this richly-merited recognition of their service.”


Photos: (Left) Ken Fitch taking part in the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games Torch Relay in Subiaco, WA. (Right) Ken Allen sailing on the Pittwater in the Woody Point Summer Series Regatta in Sydney, NSW.

3 February 2021