Bernie Kennedy was born in the town of Burnie, in the island state of Tasmania where he grew up. He later moved to Melbourne, Victoria where he became interested in Square Dancing and Ballroom dancing. He began his calling career in Melbourne under the umbrella of the Bill McGrath Group of Callers. Bernie originated a figure in the early days of Square Dancing, which helped him achieve his 'Ace' badge. In those days, a figure such as he created, was considered to be 'high level'. He called it 'The Kennedy Crossover'.
He later moved to Brisbane, Queensland where he opened several clubs and called in the Sunshine Coast town of Caloundra. Bernie took Square Dancing to the airwaves, where he called for the 4KQ Brisbane Radio Club in 1952, and had dressed squares representing that club promoting Square Dancing. He entered squares in the Square Dance Championships at Cloudland ballroom, in 1953 and 1954 from the J bar L club.
Bernie had a regular Saturday night club in Brisbane at the Milton Church of England hall in Hale Street Milton, an inner city suburb of Brisbane. The club was called the Bar K Ramblers. He was famous for his 'Swing Sessions' after supper every evening, which the dancers loved. The Bar K Ramblers, participated in the Brisbane’s Warana Festival for several years, by dancing in the Brisbane City Square and the City Plaza along with other Brisbane clubs.
The Bar K Ramblers dancers attended many State and National Conventions, and participated in the dressed squares at those conventions too. Later in 1974, the Bar K Ramblers, joined with the Circle W Club from Wynnum, Brisbane which was run by Nev McLachlan, and the clubs became known as the Bar K Circle W Square Dance Club.
The Bar K Circle W club organised and ran the Exhibition Roundup, one of four big dancers held in Brisbane every year. These four dances were the highlight of the Brisbane Calendar.
Sadly, Bernie passed away on the 18th of August, 1977 at the age of 49 years. Bernie was one of the Callers who pioneered Square Dancing in the South East area of Queensland. He made a fantastic contribution to the movement in this state.
Compiled by Sid Leighton.