Les McKeand: Olympic Veterinarian
Featured image: Les McKeand at the 1950 British Empire Games
It’s a very sad and poignant tale but one of the very first ‘pioneer’ veterinarians in the Upper Hunter Valley was there for only a very short duration. Les McKeand was tragically killed in a motor accident near Denman in 1950 not long after competing in the Empire Games in Auckland, NZ. He was 26 years old. McKeand had attended Sydney University in 1943–1948 and graduated with a Bachelor of Veterinary Science in 1949.
Leslie “Les” Alexander H. McKeand (17 September 1924 – 11 November 1950) was an Australian triple jumper and javelin thrower. In the triple jump he won the national title in 1950 and a silver medal at the 1950 British Empire Games, placing seventh at the 1948 summer Olympics in London. In the javelin, his best result was seventh place at the 1950 British Empire Games.
Les was a native of ‘Kyogle’ NSW. His Athletics Club was the Royal Australian Air Force, Canberra.
It’s quite likely Les would have known the Scone ‘veterinary pioneers’ Murray Bain and Frank Williams who set up practice there in 1950.
There have been many very fine veterinarians who excelled in sport in the Upper Hunter; notably Rugby. However I think Les is the only Olympian?