A LOW-PROFILE Palm Beach philanthropist — who gave tens of millions of dollars to charity and medical research during his lifetime — is still giving more than a year after his death.
Three northern beaches properties, one owned by Pat Kilkeary, and the other two owned by his friend and neighbour Lloyd Walshe, are all up for sale, with all proceeds to go to a foundation he set up in his mother Cecelia’s name.
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The collective sale could boost the Cecelia Kilkeary Foundation’s coffers by some $10 million.
Ironically, the pair, who lived across the road from each other, died within days of each other in late 2016, Mr Kilkeary’s sister Bernadette Jones said.
“Pat went to his funeral on the Friday and he died on the (following) Wednesday),” she said.
“Lloyd was also a member of the foundation, and had another property in Forestville. He left both (his Palm Beach and Forestville properties) to the foundation.”
Mrs Jones said her brother, who made his fortune as a structural engineer and then in the family business Guthridge Pty Ltd, never married or had children. One of seven children himself, he had always had a desire to help others.
“He was an amazing man really, everyone really looked to him as the head of the family after our father died,” she said.
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Mr Kilkeary was very close to both of his parents. Mrs Jones said donated a Dee Why house to St Vincent de Paul in memory of his father, and it was called Desmond Kilkeary Lodge.
He set up the foundation after his mother died, in her memory.
“She knew he was giving a lot of his money away,” Mrs Jones said. “She was all for it, we all were.”
But by the time he set up the foundation, Mr Kilkeary was already an established philanthropist who shunned the limelight.
Westmead Hospital renal physician, Professor Jeremy Chapman, recognised as one of the world’s foremost experts in kidney transplantation, remembers meeting Mr Kilkeary in 1989 when he was working at the Red Cross.
“He’d just made a stack of money and decided he’d better start giving some away,” he said.
Around that time, NSW drivers’ licences were transitioning from paper to plastic photo cards, and the Red Cross was pushing to increase awareness of making it clear on your licence whether you consented to being an organ donor.
Mr Kilkeary stumped up the money to help run the advertising campaign that turned out to be a huge success.
“The result of this generosity was that NSW has had the largest number and percentage of people signing on to organ and tissue donation in Australia,” Professor Chapman said.
But he didn’t stop there. He set up the foundation and embarked on a mission to fund a raft of medical research, medical welfare and social welfare programs that Professor Chapman estimates has helped tens of thousands of Australians.
He said that in today’s financial terms, Mr Kilkeary and his foundation have probably donated about $30 million.
“He supported a youth club in an economically depressed town in Tasmania — for 20 years,” he said.
“He supported research into Ross River Fever — leading to a successful vaccine. That wouldn’t have happened without Pat.”
He also looked after the northern beaches community — giving generously to support both the homeless and needy children, Professor Chapman said.
“People with melanoma, down syndrome, multiple sclerosis and parkinsons disease were among those to benefit, almost always without knowing who their benefactor was,” he said.
“He always measured his support by two criteria — would the money be used wisely and prudently; and would it really benefit individuals in need?”
Mr Kilkeary died peacefully at his Palm Beach home, just shy of his 81st birthday. Professor Chapman said he had met many philanthropists over the years, but Mr Kilkeary was a standout. He said it wasn’t common to meet someone who gave so much of himself.
“He had the brains and he did the hard work and he was in the right place at the right time (in his business) and he wanted to share his good fortune,” he said. “But he was a very humble man. He lived prudently and when you met him in the street walking his dog you would not have known his passion to help others less fortunate.
“He has willed his home and his carefully saved financial resources to support others through the foundation in the years ahead — a true Australian, a true philanthropist and a true friend to many.”
LJ Hooker Palm Beach is marketing all three properties, including 963 Barrenjoey Rd, Palm Beach, 944 Barrenjoey Rd, Palm Beach and 31 Epacris Ave, Forestville.
Sales manager Peter Robinson said this was a particularly special assignment, knowing the proceeds were all going to charity.
“It’s a very good feeling and it’s not something we’ve done before,” he said.
While Mr Kilkeary’s home is the cream of the crop, with a price guide of $4.7 million, the others are sure to attract plenty of attention.
Mr Walshe’s home at 944 Barrenjoey Rd, Palm Beach, is a two-level coastal-style beach house, with three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a double garage and uninterrupted Pittwater views.
The 1195sqm block offers plenty of renovation potential, and there are decks on both levels.
This home goes to auction on April 4 with a price guide of $1.75 million — $1.85 million.
The third home, at 31 EpacrisAvem, Forestville, is sure to appeal to first home buyers and investors. It has three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a double garage and plenty of off-street parking, all over one single level on a 740sqm block.
Features include a versatile, open plan living and dining area, modern eat-in kitchen with stone benchtops, plus a terrace with automatic vergola and sliding glass doors. The property is also close to schools, shops and transport. It goes to auction on April 4, with a price guide of $1.65 million.
For information about all three properties, contact LJ Hooker Palm Beach: David Edwards, on 0415 440 044; or Kristal Pilarski, on 0458 499 154.