Kevin Barker

Five VFL grand finals and countless young umpires’ careers affected is the outstanding legacy of Kevin Barker who passed away peacefully in his sleep on 3 July 2018, aged 81.

Kevin Charles Barker grew up in Melbourne and Ballarat after being born in Flemington on 20 June 1937.  He began umpiring with the Ascot Vale Presbyterian’s on the boundary before commencing with the VFL Reserve Grade in 1960.  He was one of a few who umpired in all three disciplines in that competition: boundary 1960-1963, field 1964-65 and goal 1966-1969.

In 1970 he was promoted to the VFL senior list of goal umpires debuting at Arden Street on 11 April 1970 and being awarded Heritage Number 155. It was a one-point thriller with Barker signalling the winning goal.

The first of Barker’s 11 finals came in the 1972 preliminary, a seesaw affair only decided with minutes to play. His next final was the 1975 Qualifying Final but it led to a sequence of finals appointments that included VFL grand finals in 1976,1977 (including the replay), 1978 and 1980.

When he retired following the 1981 season Kevin had umpired 217 games including 11 finals and 5 grand finals.

Immediately upon retiring he took on a role as a VFL goal umpires’ observer in 1982-83 but missing the action he returned to goal umpiring in the VAFA in 1986 before taking on the role as goal umpires advisor from 1987-1992 where he played a big role in developing young goal umpires as part of the new pathway scheme that promoted goal umpires from community through to the VFL.

Kevin became a VFLUA life member in 1980.  He was inducted into the AFLUA Hall of Fame in 2008 and was made a Grand Final Legend in 2009.

Vale Kevin Barker.