Made a Life member of the VFL Umpires Association in 1955, Albert Borlase was one of the first to be so admitted under the new condition of ten years service and at the time of his recent passing was third most senior of the Association’s Life Members.
Albert John Borlase was born on 17 April 1926 in Seddon and grew up in Brunswick and Kensington. A keen sportsman he played football for North Melbourne Under Eighteens and Kensington YCW in addition to cricket in the summer months.
During 1945 the Second World War was still going on and limited competitions in the metropolitan region meant Albert’s first year on the VFL Senior List consisted of eight matches in the Federal Football League.
With the end of the war and the return of VFL umpires to country competitions the variety of appointments grew and so did Albert’s experience. His first final was in 1947 in the Wimmera League and the Grand Finals he umpired also came in these early years from Culcairn to Warrnambool to Launceston.
For five consecutive weeks in 1950 Albert umpired in the VFL Second Eighteen competition but despite regular big country league appointments he did not make it back to the city.
Albert had begun his working life as a bricklaying apprentice but his father, who worked for the Melbourne City Council, wanted him to work there as well. It didn’t matter what as, he wanted Albert to work there. Albert eventually did go to the council and worked in a variety of roles including Parking Officer. His work commitments with the Council on Saturday mornings were the reason he requested, and was granted, a leave of absence during the 1954 season.
He advanced to the position of Supervisor of the Fish Market in Footscray Road and retired in 1989 after 39 years service but never returned to the VFL. His total of matches remained at 170 country and metropolitan matches over ten seasons.
Some years later he did take up a position on the Sunday Football League Umpires Appointment Board.
Albert Borlase passed away on 3 July 2008.