Kester Cranswick Lifetime Achievement Award

IT Writers Awards Home

Many people in the IT industry have fond memories of Kester Cranswick, and a number of them have kindly shared their memories here.

2013 Kester
Merri Mack (2nd right) being presented with the 2013 "Kester" by Paul Fletcher (3rd right) with left to right) Julian Day, Founder & CEO Consensus, Mark Gamble, Technical Director Actuate, Paul James, GM Professional Services Hosted Continuity and (far right) Graeme Philipson, veteran IT Journalist and recipient of the 2005 "Kester".

If there is a person that you would like to nominate to receive a 'Kester' Lifetime Achievement Award please complete the Kester Nomination form.

Kester Award Recipients

2013 Merri Mack
2011 Stuart Kennedy
2010 Stuart Corner
2006 John Costello
2005 Graeme Philipson
2004 Beverley Head
2003 Helen Dancer
2002 Helen Meredith
2001 Kester Cranswick
2000 David Frith - Winner of Lifetime Achievement Award prior to it being named in Kester's honour

Malcolm Turnbull
Stuart Kennedy being presented with the 2011 "Kester" by The Hon. Malcolm Turnbull, Shadow Minister for Broadband & Communications

Kester Award Winner Biographies

As part of our commitment to the outstanding individuals who have contributed to IT journalism in Australia we intend to place on this page a short biography of each Kester recipient If you have interesting anecdote or can provide any background information it would be gratefully accepted.

Merri Mack 2013


Merri Mack started writing about the computer industry for IDG in 1985. She is one of the best-known IT journalists in Australia, not just because of her abilities and longevity in the industry but because of her bubbly personality and infectious enthusiasm. But it hides a steely determination. Perhaps it comes from her running (she is a competition marathoner) – she never gives up. It seems she’s always there.

After starting out in nursing (“it wasn’t for me”) she moved into computer operations before she started as a features editor for Computerworld Australia. She had more news stories published in her first year than any of the journalists who were supposed to be covering that beat. She was headhunted to Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) as Public Relations Manager in 1986 until 1990, then did the same job at Fujitsu Australia until 1995.

As Manager of the IT consultancy for PR firm Macro Communications she was in charge of Bill Gates’ first media trip to Australia in 1997. She then returned to journalism, and to her old job of features editor of Computerworld, moving to PC Week in 2001 before freelancing after that publication closed down. She is best known in recent years as the long time editor of Voice & Data magazine (2004-2012). She is now a freelance writer and editor, and a contributing editor to Computer Daily News.

Stuart Kennedy 2011


Stuart Kennedy is one of Australia’s best known and experienced IT journalists. He became IT editor of The Australian in 2003, and is now its longest serving editor. The Tuesday IT section in The Australian was for many years the largest IT supplement in any newspaper in the world. It was also the first.

Before coming to IT journalism Stuart was a bus driver, hippy, university dropout and motorcyclist. His eclectic experiences qualified him as a journalist for Computing Australia, a weekly that was launched in 1985 and which totally transformed IT journalism in Australia by publishing real news and exposes. As part of the launch team, Stuart's investigative journalism and colourful writing style was an integral part of its appeal.

Stuart then worked for The Bulletin, then Australia’s leading news magazine. His cover story “Why the Banks are Bastards” was one of the most talked about pieces it ever published, and still reverberates today. He then worked on a number of leading IT publications, including Strategic Publishing’s MIS and CFO magazines (now owned by Fairfax), David Frith’s Computer Daily News, and David Richards’ IT News. He was also a test rider and contributor to Two Wheels magazine, indulging his passion for motor bikes.

The IT industry needs writers, and characters, like Stuart Kennedy.

Stuart Corner 2010


Stuart Corner is one of Australia's most experienced writers and commentators on telecommunications. He started his career in journalism in 1984 with IDG working on Computerworld Australia and in 1986 co-founded C&C News Pty Ltd which launched Australia's first weekly newsletter on telecommunications and Australian Communications as a full colour monthly magazine.

In 1989 he started the weekly subscription telecoms newsletter, Exchange which is still going after 22 years, now a compilation of ExchangeDaily, and both published by iTWire. He is presently the telecommunications editor of and a director of iTWire.com a news web site dedicated to IT and telecomms news launched in September 2005.

He is also a speaker and broadcaster on telecommunications topics and has been awarded Telecommunications Journalist of The Year by the Australian Telecommunications Users Group (ATUG), twice and one by the Service Providers Industry Assocation (SPAN). Stuart's writing is underpinned by a solid technical background. He holds a Higher National Certificate in Electronic Engineering from Paddington Technical College (UK) and a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (technical) from the University of London.

Before migrating to Australia in 1979 he worked as an electronics engineer in the UK's offshore oil industry and as a technical college lecturer in electronics. Before joining IDG in 1984, he was a customer engineering instructor at Fujitsu Australia (then known as Facom Australia) where he taught technicians on the maintenance of IBM compatible mainframe computers and associated communications equipment.

Graeme Philipson 2005


Graeme Philipson has been writing about computers since 1983, when he started an Apple II magazine for Gareth Powell. After a stint with analyst company Yankee Group he became editor of Computerworld in 1987 and 1988, and was founding editor of IBM mainframe magazine True Blue in 1989. He was a columnist for Computing Australia for many years before founding Strategic Publishing Group with Alistair Gordon in 1992.

Strategic's best known title was MIS magazine, which within five years was being published in NZ, Singapore and India. The company was sold to John Fairfax in 1999, just before the tech crash. Graeme was founding editor of MIS, and editorial director of Strategic. He also started and ran Strategic's market research division, which was sold to Gartner in 1997 before being reacquired just in time to be sold to Fairfax. He joined Gartner for two years as part of the deal.

Graeme had a weekly column in The Australian's IT section from 1992 to 1997, and has had one in The Sydney Morning Herald and Melbourne Age since 1999. He writes extensively for UK analyst company the Butler Group, and has monthly columns about IT in Campus Review and Print21, the magazine of the Printing Industry Association. He is in demand as a conference speaker, and is writing a book on the history of software. This year he began a new market research company, Connection Research, concentrating on the Digital Home space.

Beverley Head 2004


The 2004 Kester Cranswick lifetime achievement award goes very deservedly to Beverly Head, who has been writing about IT in Australia for longer than most of us (and she) cares to remember. Bev has always been a true professional, cutting her teeth on Fleet Street in the early 1980s before moving to Computerword Australia in 1986.

She has worked for many of the industry's leading publications, and was for ten years the IT editor of the Australian Financial Review, where she was instrumental in turning that publication's IT pages into the enormously respected section it is today. The IT section went daily while she was editor, and when she left in 1997 she was Features Editor for the entire publication.

In recent years Bev has worked on a freelance basis, allowing her more time to devote to her family. She continues to contribute to the AFR and other Fairfax publications, and was for some years a columnist in BRW. Rumours that she was the junket queen in the IT boom years of the mid 1990s are only partially true she did go on those trips, but she worked very hard and always wrote the best stuff afterwards.

Graeme Philipson on behalf of the judging panel

Helen Dancer 2003


This award celebrates the life and career of a very special person in information technology journalism, one who made a tremendous impact on all who met and knew her.

Helen Dancer began writing about technology long before it became a field for the trendy. She knew the issues and wrote about them -- and the people involved in them -- with flair, passion, clarity and great understanding, for a wide range of titles, publishing houses and audiences. 

She was always a true professional. Nobody did it better. Her words always fitted and were delivered spot on time, as many an editor will attest.

But she was much more than a proficient and gifted technological writer. She had warmth and wit and a canny commonsense that was universally engaging. She was a wonderful mentor to the many young journalists entering the trade. And she faced life with enormous courage, never allowing a long and debilitating illness to get between her and her work or her and her many friends.

All of us who knew, respected and loved Helen miss her deeply. It is most fitting that this award should be her memorial.

David Frith on behalf of the judging panel

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