Denis McKimmie (SPC 1953-57)
March 30, 2022
Old Collegian Denis James Alexander McKimmie (SPC 1953-57) passed away on March 28, 2022 in Warrnambool. We extend our condolences to Denis’ wife Pat and their children, as well as their extended family and friends.
Denis was a student at St Pat’s originally a day student, however he became a boarder after his parents moved to Warrnambool and the College sponsored Denis to stay on as a boarder because of his sporting prowess.
Denis was a very talented sportsman across football, athletics and cricket during his time at SPC.
He was the captain of Football and Athletics in his matriculation year and was awarded the Athletics Senior Champion honour and The Brian Gleeson Cup in football.
Denis was captain two years running of Br O’Malley’s 50th and 51st Public Schools First XVIII Football championships in 1956-57.
He was consistently named as one of the best players and was quoted alongside a few others as having “splendid fighting ability” and being a “player with skill and dash”. It was noted in the 1957 College Annual that the 1957 First XVIII Football team was “probably the only team to have surpassed its record was the famous 1952 XVIII which contained Brian Gleeson and John James of Brownlow Medal fame”.
Gerard Ryan spoke of Denis’ ability in the 1957 Ecka Dora by saying “The Captain (1956 & 1957) was Denis McKimmie a clever player with lots of pace and tenacity “.
A fellow Old Collegian remembered Denis “certainly had pace as he won the 100 and 200 yard races in each of the four years between Under 15 to Open class and often combined in the 440 yard relays for success as well as winning the odd hurdle race”.
It was not surprising then that Denis went on to be named the Senior SPC Champion in Athletics in 1957.
As captain of the College’s Athletic team in 1957, Denis had the honour of being presented with the Athletics’ Perpetual Challenge Cup after SPC was named champions for the ninth successive season.
He was also a member of the 1956 Ballarat Combined Sports SPC Athletics Champions team and featured prominently in the College publications at the time.
In the 1956 College Annual, Denis was again described as a football “captain who always gave the utmost in inspiration to his team. An extremely clever footballer, whose pace, tenacity and ground play were of the highest order. Frequently outmarked taller opponents because of brilliant judgment. Missed part of the season through injury”.
In tribute, a former Old Collegian also remembered Denis’ footballing ability.
“Denis played at centre half back in football and while a good mark often gave away inches to opponents but once the ball came to the ground he would be too fast off the mark for his opponent and regularly clear the ball down the field.
“An example of his tenacity was seen in 1956 when he broke his arm and directly quoting again from the Ecka Dora, (Denis was quoted saying) “I remember playing against St Kevin’s in 1957 in Ballarat with a plastered broken arm strapped to my body beneath the green, white and blue guernsey ”.
Denis was also a member of the 1957 First XI Cricket team, which were BPS Co-Premiers with Ballarat High School and was a member of the St Vincent de Paul Society.
Denis was named an assisting prefect as well as a second year matriculation prefect and received a studentship for Teachers’ College.
After leaving school, Denis went to Ballarat Teachers College, where he met his future wife Pat, and played with Redan Football Club while undertaking his teacher training. He would sometimes run Lake Wendouree’s 6km circuit four times in a training session!
A former classmate recalled a regular attendee at his matches was Ted Whitten who had the keys to a Volkswagen for Denis if he would sign to play for Footscray.
However, Denis was not interested, preferring to get on with life.
He moved to Warrnambool and played football for South Warrnambool and had his first job at Nestle. He continued to study after teacher’s college and completed his Masters of Education at the Warrnambool Institute (now Deakin University).
Denis’ first teaching job was at the technical school in Timor Street where he taught English and Social Studies and coached many football teams. He moved to the annex and then changed schools, teaching at the brand new North Technical Secondary School where he spent 10 years, before receiving a promotion to Brauer College, where he finished his career at the community school in 1993.
Along with playing football for South Warrnambool and in representative league teams, Denis also played squash, cricket for Brierly, and enjoyed fishing.
In 1965 Denis married Pat (nee Quinlan), a pairing which began at a St Patrick’s College social night dance and they had five children: Jane, Sam, Lucy, Prue and Gregor and seven grandchildren.
He is remembered by his family as “a gentle father and very playful”, who was very involved, especially in their sporting activities. He is a life member of the Warrnambool East Cricket Club where his sons played every Saturday. Denis was also on the board of Our Lady Help of Christians and designed the logo for the school which they still use today and volunteered to help with the building of the presbytery.
In later life, Denis developed a great love of stamps and coins and took up a stall at the Sunday Market and continued collecting right up until the past few years. He was well known for his stamp and coin collection and people often called upon him to value their stamps and coins.
Again in later life, Denis’ tenacity was also demonstrated by his fight against leukaemia over 15 years.
Rest in Peace Denis.