Living Local with Todd McKenney

Todd McKenney is an Australian entertainer. He is best known for portraying Peter Allen in the musical The Boy from Oz and as a judge on Australian television show Dancing with the Stars.

McKenney has performed on stage since 1983 in productions including 42nd Street, The Pirates of Penzance, La Cage aux Folles, Singin' in the Rain, and Priscilla Queen of the Desert - the Musical. In 1992, he played the role of ballroom dancer Nathan Starkey in Baz Luhrmann's film Strictly Ballroom, alongside his future Dancing with the Stars co-star Sonia Kruger, as well as Paul Mercurio.

ID - How long have you been living in the Upper North Shore?

TM - I’ve lived in the upper north shore for almost 7 years. I previously lived in Tamarama.

ID - What do you enjoy most about living there?

TM - My neighbours and my garden. I’ve got a really substantial, beautiful garden. I’m on half an acre and that was really the reason I moved because I wanted more space around me. So here I get space and I get a heritage house. The construction of my house started in 1896 and was completed in 1901. It’s also surrounded by hedges so I’ve got privacy as well, that’s why I left the East.

ID - What is your favorite eatery on the Upper North Shore?

TM - There’s a few. The place I love the most is a local Chinese restaurant but it’s really good Chinese food, it’s called Choy an in Gordon. It’s really good, it’s got a Westerners Chinese menu but also a real Chinese, Chinese menu which I love.

ID - So what do you recommend there?

TM - The velvet omelette, it’s with king prawns and it’s delicious.

ID. What’s your favourite place to relax?

TM - I start every morning at the St Ives Showground walking my two greyhounds. Rain, hail or shine I’m there every morning with the dogs and most of my friends are people I’ve met at the dog park.

ID. How long have you been doing this for with the dogs?

TM - I’ve had them for years now; I got them as soon as I got here. I had two dogs that died as soon as I got here. So I just ended up with two greyhounds just to look after and then they never left.

ID. If you could live on any street on the Upper North Shore, where would it be?

TM - Burns Road.

ID - Would you rather go to a football game, to a gallery opening or both?

TM - Well you may laugh; I’m an ambassador for the Sydney Swans. So, both is my answer. I’ve just come back from Art Basel in Hong Kong, I’m a mad art collector. So, both.

ID - Who else is an ambassador for the Swans?

TM - Kylie Gillies, John Paul Young, Tom Williamson.

ID - Where would you have a holiday home anywhere in the world?

TM - Well I’m looking for one at the moment on the Hawkesbury River. It’s beautiful, there’s lots available and it’s well priced. But I want water access, I want Bar Point. I 

go there a lot, it’s 20 minutes from my door. So I drive to Brooklyn, get a tinny, putt over to a house and if I need to get back I can.

ID - If you had overseas guests visiting, where would you take them?

TM - In my area, I think Lane Cove National Park is pretty good. And the Hawkesbury. And Choyan. I think the Hawkesbury is so beautiful, people forget to go there. You instantly turn off, as soon as you get on that boat you’re done.