Ken Randall's 80th Birthday @ The National Press Club

4 June 2016

Ken Randall is the Patron of the National Press Club, a position achieved after decades of membership of the club he first joined in 1964 at the invitation of Tony Eggleton. His career has been formidable in the world of journalism covering newspapers, magazines, radio, and television and it all began in Hobart, took him around the country and back to Canberra where in 1964 he was among the original team as a writer for The Australian that began in the back end of Mort Street in Braddon where Rupert Murdoch started this flagship paper. The logisitics notwithstanding of that endeavour where Canberra’s notorious early morning fogs caused many problems it did survive of course but Randall left after seven years to start a freelance career at the Press Gallery.

 As Patron of the club he is now a centrifugal force in his VIP seat front and centre at the main table for Press Club addresses. His quiet demeanour belies a sharp mind, formidable knowledge and intelligent summation of the speakers’ performances. And he is much respected by the current cabal of inquisitors and just about everybody of importance in this politically astute city.

And now he is 80 years young and we celebrated with the kind of birthday party  we knew a man of this vintage would enjoy among club colleagues, family and friends, with speeches to recall the past, tributes from his children, a photographic montage of the famous, significant occasions and those who have been there through the Randall years.  Ask him who has impressed him over the years and he is circumspect, but his two favourite current political women are Penny Wong and Tania Plibersek. Now that’s an endorsement.

For me as I cover the Press Club lunches he is the main man. I watch his reactions, photograph him often and enjoy his company and friendship. And while we didn’t dance on the tables for his birthday I promise we will for his 90th.