Des McKenna and his wife Carmel live in the hills of Upper Beaconsfield in Victoria, Australia where they have raised a family of eleven many of whom are practising artists. A food technologist by profession Des spent most of his "working life" in the food industry in managerial positions with one of the world's largest multinational food groups. Opting for early retirement in 1986 he decided to take up woodworking as a hobby as in his early years he had made some of the furniture for the family home. It did not take long before his life-long love of nature and art and his developing skills led to his production of some remarkable works. The encouragement of his wife Carmel saw him present some sculpture to a local art gallery that was just opening and its acceptance and subsequent sales was the beginning of a remarkable new career.
Des uses fallen timber from the forest floor taken with a permit and is mostly River Red Gum, Black Box and Swamp Gum collected from the Murray River area in North Western Victoria. Many of his smaller and medium sculptures are made from recycled timber such as old River Red Gum fence posts and house stumps.
Des is a member of the Victorian Woodworkers Association and regularly exhibits with them. He is also a professional member of Craft Victoria. In a very busy life Des has always found time for community work and for this was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia in 1992.