Mr Joseph Kenna was a prominent and highly respected personality in the commercial and civil life of Rockhampton for more than 50 years, and was the founder of the firm Joseph Kenna & Co. Chartered Accountants.
Mr Kenna was born at sea between Africa and Australia on the "Prince Consort" in 1863 or 1864. His parents settled at Maryborough. Early in life he entered into a business career and studied accountancy. In 1891 he took over the management of the Mt Morgan branch of Kirby Bros and several years later he was appointed assistant manager and accountant at the head office of that firm in Rockhampton.
On the 31 October 1896 he started the firm of Joseph Kenna & Co. Six years later as testimony to his high standing in the profession, Mr Kenna was elected a member of the Federal Institute of Accountants. In 1908 he was admitted as one of the foundation members of the Australasian Corporation of Public Accountants. In 1928 he was made a foundation member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia. He was also a member of the Chartered Institute of Secretaries, England.
From his early days of living in Rockhampton, he took a keen interest in public life. As far back as 1895 he was prominently associated with the early closing movement and was elected secretary of the early closing association. It was mainly due to the efforts of that association that the half holiday on Saturday for retail establishments came into operation.
During World War II he held executive positions on several patriotic bodies. It was during his term of four years as alderman, that the City Council initiated the existing water and electric light schemes. He also took an active part in the affairs of the Agricultural Society and was a member of the Chamber of Commerce for a period of 41 years. He was a foundation member of the Rotary Club of Rockhampton and was elected its first President.
In his younger days, Mr Kenna was an avid sportsman. Sport in all its forms occupied his spare time, but running was his forte. When only 17 he registered one of his best performances at Gympie. From scratch he won the 150 yards, 300 yards and 440 yards handicaps. He was secretary and founder of The Queensland Amateur Athletic Association which he inaugurated in 1894. The first Queensland Amateur Athletic Championship was held in Rockhampton in 1894, at which many of Australia's foremost runners participated.
Mr Kenna was a keen horticulturist and he devoted most of his leisure time to his garden. This, along with his extensive collection of books, were his hobbies. He was also interested in art and architecture.