Kevin Weldon AM, Little Ripper Lifesaver
Kevin Weldon AM is a distinguished Australian book publisher, businessman, aviator and lifesaver.
Born in Ingham North Queensland, he was educated at Brisbane Grammar and studied arts and management at Queensland University of Technology. At 25, he hecame Queensland manager of Grenville Publishing Company of Sydney, before being elevated to the role of General Manager in Sydney.
He is the founder of major publishing companies including Rigby Inc. in Chicago and the Weldon Publishing Company, which produced and published bestsellers such as The Macquarie Dictionary and A Day in The Life of Australia. The Weldon Group went on to sell books in 40 countries and in 28 languages. He later acquired The Paul Hamlyn Group in Australia, as part of the International Publishing Group, which was the largest newspaper magazine and book group in the world at the time. In two short years, the Group became the most successful publishing house in Australia, breaking all sales records for music, in putting music into supermarkets and selling 6 million LPs in one year.
In 1996, Kevin decided to sell his international publishing companies to McGraw Hill and Reed Elsevier in one of the largest takeovers in the publishing industry at the time.
Afterwards, Kevin acquired several companies in the media with great success. He later exited them all to concentrate on new technology startups and on his passion for lifesaving. He is a Life Member of Surf Life Saving Australia and World Life Saving, of which he was the founding president - among other positions at lifesaving organisations.
Kevin’s achievements have been widely recognised. He holds the prestigious publishing industry award, The Lloyd O Neil Lifetime Award in Publishing, The Order of Australia Australian Medal AM, The Millennium Medal for contribution to sport, the Defense Medal, and the National Service Medal for service in the naval reserve.
An active sportsman, he has played A-grade Rugby Union and Rugby league, and held various club championships in surfing. He is also passionate about aviation and holds a current pilots license for fixed wing aerobatics, seaplanes and helicopters.
He is married with two daughters and a son, and has six grandchildren.