Bernie Hogan contributed an enormous amount to football as an umpire, an administrator and an author. His recent passing ended a long relationship with the game he loved and made more accessible to those who could not face reading the Laws from front to back.
Bernard Mannix Hogan was born on 5 March 1918 to Mick and Johanna, the second eldest of seven children. He left the farm at Donald, in the Mallee, aged of 16 and moved to Melbourne where he completed his secondary studies at nights employed at the Commonwealth Railways. Bernie moved steadily through the organisation ultimately attaining the top job as Executive Director.
During the Second World War Bernie put his administrative skills to work on transport in the Darwin area. Major milestones followed the war, firstly marriage to Sheila in 1947 and, secondly, his promotion to the VFL senior list the following year.
Country records for this period are scarce but Bernie moved very quickly through the ranks. So fast that by the middle of his first year he was umpiring VFL Second Eighteen football and during his second season he was appointed to his first VFL senior match, South Melbourne versus Hawthorn at the Lake Oval, and again the following week at Punt Road. The latter match was most notable as Richmond legend Jack Dyer’s final VFL match.
It was only a brief taste of life at the top and it was back to the reserves and the bush until round seven 1950 when he returned to the city for three matches. Brunswick Street and Glenferrie Oval were mud-heaps that Melbourne winter and all three of the three matches were dour struggles. They also did not give much opportunity for Bernie to display his excellent running form which was honed as a competitive athlete with numerous successes around Victoria’s professional circuit.
In the Hawthorn-Richmond clash Bernie and both boundary umpires reported Hawthorn captain, Kevin Curran, for rough play after a late and violent bump. Curran has just returned from four weeks suspension and received another month on the sidelines when the tribunal found him guilty. South Melbourne versus Melbourne was to be Bernie’s last senior match. His remaining years saw him unable to break back into the ‘big six’.