Born 4/10/1937, Died 3/6/2012
Eldest son of Walter and Theo Kennard, brother to Joan Connery and Andy Kennard. Survived by his partner Gaby of 32 years, and 3 sons, Sam, Walt and Jim, and first wife Roddy and 6 grandchildren. Educated in public schools then All Saints College Bathurst and Shore School North Sydney.
He said his lack of tertiary education was one reason for his success. This allowed a lifetime of learning and intrigue without the restraints of over-education.
He lived a very rich and full life.
He was an exceptional entrepreneur, he was insightful in identifying business opportunities and giving things a go, starting many businesses and supporting many others in their attempts in business.
He joined Kennard Brothers Ltd. for 4 years including a directorship before joining the family business in equipment hire and manufacture and sales of car roof racks. The Kennard roof racks were THE brand of roof racks in the 1960s and 1970s. Nev was the architect of expanding and designing the ranges of roof racks and bars.
Nev bought his fathers business: Kennards Hire. Andy joined the hire business in 1964 and the brothers were partners in Kennards Hire for 27 years, which has become the largest family owned hire business in Australia. Nev, with Andy, applied his typical tenacious and entrepreneurial ways to innovate with new products and grow Kennards Hire. Identifying niche opportunities, from Kennards Hire, many other new enterprises were spawned and grew.
Neville founded the Hire Association of Australia in 1967 and was founding president.
In his typical entrepreneurial spirit, he introduced self-storage to Australia in 1973, when he developed a small storage facility in Moorebank. The storage business gradually grew with Nev’s astute property acquisitions. Later, his son Sam joined and became partner with him in Kennards Self Storage, which has become the largest self-storage business in Australasia. Kennards Self Storage remains a family owned business.
His values and practices are embedded throughout Kennards Self Storage to this day.
He was instrumental in the founding of the Self Storage Association of Australia in 1990 and served on the national committee for many years.
He was strongly independent and developed his belief in the rights and responsibilities of personal freedom, ‘self ownership’ and property rights. This lead to the conclusion that the taking of personal property by any person or group of people, no matter whom, was theft. And this included the taking of personal property by force by Governments.
His beliefs developed with reading and attending seminars on freedom until he was no longer just against this theft that he decided to act and joined the Workers Party, and in 1975 Stood as a Federal Senate candidate with Sinclair Hill, but unsuccessfully.
Passionate about liberty and property rights, Nev was the first public donor to the Centre for Independent Studies (CIS), when he learned of its conception in 1976, and continued to play an important, generous and formative role in its activities for decades. He was founding chairman of the board of CIS. The CIS developed to become the leading intellectual think tank of freedom, free markets and limited government in Australia under Greg Lindsay.
He also supported other libertarian organisations including the Institute of Public Affairs, Property & Freedom Society and economics.org.au He became anxious there was not enough radical thought and ideas being canvassed.
While maintaining his generous financial support, Nev’s Libertarian views moved ahead of the ‘think tanks’ later in life. He described himself as an anarcho-capitalist, which was evident in his many writings on economics.org.au in recent times. The term for his thinking was coined by the Herald as “Neville-osophy”.
He believed that freedom has its obligations – to not impact the freedoms of others. He was a gifted writer and coined many clever phrases and words, amongst others “bossleneck” which meant the boss unconsciously getting in the way of progress.
He detested businesses that received subsidies from the government – he called them corporate dole bludgers.
While he was a wealthy person he did not show it off. He lived a comfortable but low-key life and has been described as humble, yet assertive.
He and Gaby lived in Aspen for many years, filling much of his time with ski race training. He enjoyed the relative freedom of the USA and of Hong Kong where he found the low tax rates and fewer regulations allowed the people to progress without the interference of bureaucracies placing restrictions on their freedom to pursue their projects.
He was an adventurer, and loved the open spaces of Australia and associated with other adventurers Dick Smith, Peter Pigott and Hans Tholstrup.
He flew fixed wing planes and helicopters around Australia, rode a motorcycle from Sydney to Perth and then back across the country, and also drove across the Simpson Desert. He was nearly killed twice: crashing and sinking his amphibian airplanes, once in the Everglades of Florida and the other off the Kimberley coast of north Western Australia. He and Gaby landed on Lake Eyre when it was full in 1990. He was a keen helicopter pilot and flew around Australia and into the outback exploring remote and wild areas.
He was a clear and creative thinker. He visionary in many ways; one vision was that democracies would eventually fail when people receiving handouts from the government became dependent on them, instead of personal responsibility and independence. He believed that democracy was the cause of the nanny state problem with societies and that an alternative would rise.
He kept very fit, climbing Kilimanjaro in Tanzania and attempting to climb Mt Aconcagua (7000m) in Argentina, ran the city to surf many times, swam in ocean swims, kayaked in New South Wales and around the islands of North Queensland. He sailed competitively in yachts (winning 20 races in a row in Bluebirds) and in Solings. His adventurousness cannot be overstated, particularly with his sons, with many hiking and cycling trips. He also continued to be a snow skier his entire life.
He will be remembered for his authentic warmth to people, ever-curious nature, tenacity and restlessness to make things better.
Nev’s love of life and desire to make the most, or find more, from life inspired many in lasting ways.
Encouraging others to not accept the status quo through his own example.
To learn more about Nev’s anarcho-capitalist ideas, he has 65 short essays on his ideas published at: www.nevillekennard.info