Harry Beitzel passed away on August 13th in Gosford hospital following a brief illness, aged 90. While Harry was renowned for his 16 years of media work on numerous Melbourne radio stations and for his now innovative “Galahs” trip where he took the best Australian Rules players overseas to play what we now know to be the Ireland International Rules Series, Harry was a VFL umpire.
His CV is highlight filled and was his precursor into the media.
Harry’s first VFL appointments were in the now defunct Federal League when he was on leave from the Royal Australian Navy. Harry was appointed to the VFL list in 1945, umpiring his first VFL game in 1948. He is Heritage Number 205. Harry debuted as a 21 year old.
Harry umpired 152 games, including 4 finals and the 1955 VFL Grand Final. He also umpired the 1956 VFL night grand final and the ANFC Carnival. He umpired 28 VFL second 18 games, 91 VCFL games including 16 grand finals. He umpired 19 Tasmanian games (4 grand finals), two metropolitan games and one Canberra grand final. Which in any era is an amazing record.
Harry was a VFLUA member between 1945 and 1960. As the VFLUA President in 1956 he was instrumental in initiating the 10 year life membership clause that we still have today and the provident fund while a member of the executive.
Harry was elected a life member in 1955 and was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award in 1957 for services to the VFLUA. He was inducted into the AFLUA Hall of Fame in 2008.
Harry became VFL Umpires’ Director in 1980 and 1981. He was made an Australian Football Hall of Fame member in 2006 for his services to the media.
Harry was always looking forward and always looking for an innovation. Harry is survived by his wife Karolyn and four children.