Former politician Barry MacKinnon flies flag for Ardross neighbourhood


Barry MacKinnon with a Nepalese flag.
Picture: Jon Hewson        www.communitypix.com.au d464896
Barry MacKinnon with a Nepalese flag. Picture: Jon Hewson        www.communitypix.com.au d464896

FORMER Liberal politician Barry MacKinnon gets out of bed to grab the paper and run a fresh flag up outside his Ardross home.

His 90-odd flags, accumulated over 30 years, have been purchased on his travels or donated by friends and strangers.

“I’ve always had a flag pole and started with an Australian flag and a West Australian flag,” he said.

“I’ve had people walk past and ask if they can give me a flag to fly.”

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Mr MacKinnon hopes a flag stolen around Christmas will be returned to his collection.

“It was a green flag with red writing saying ‘Merry Christmas and Happy New Year’ with a Father Christmas on it,” Mr MacKinnon said.

He said when Wally Edwards was Australian Cricket Board chairman he gave Mr MacKinnon a Nepalese flag which is the only flag that is not rectangular – its two peaks symbolising the nation’s mountains.

“When I get a flag, I google the national days and public holidays and look at the diary,” he said.

“I keep a record of how many times I fly a flag.

“The flag from Fiji is up today as it needed a turn.”

Repairs are made at the local alterations outlet if the flags fray and Pennant House provides flags at Mr MacKinnon’s request – he even designed one to represent the units he lives in on Cunningham Street.

Unit residents nominated the flag’s four colours and the Cunningham clan emblem was included in the middle to represent the street name.

The Cunningham flag is run up the pole to celebrate the birthdays of each resident.

Mr MacKinnon said his hobby makes him a vexiollogist.

The word is a synthesis of the Latin word ‘vexillum’, meaning ‘flag’, and the Greek suffix ‘-logica’, to mean ‘study’.

Mr MacKinnon ran his own accounting practice before he married and entered politics in the same year in 1977.

He was the member for Murdoch – a seat that would now be similar to Jandakot – and in 1980 was appointed to Cabinet. He was Opposition Leader from 1986 to 1992.

He retired from politics but continued to offer political consulting and lobbying skills.

His eldest son had a hearing impairment from birth and this motivated Mr MacKinnon to become involved with the Disability Services Commission and the Deafness Council of WA.

In 1997 MacKinnon was made a Member of the Order of Australia for services to people with hearing impairments.

He babysits his granddaughter on occasions, but said his hobby of collecting and flying flags had so far been his passion alone among the family.