Obituaries 6

Jeff Mark

Jeffrey Raymond Arthur George Mark was born on 23rd December 1948.

Promoted to the VFL senior list in 1973, he took the following year off and upon his return umpired throughout Victoria until 1981. He umpired 123 VCFL matches with a senior final at Tallangatta and Districts in his last season with the VFL.

Following his retirement from the VFL, he joined Southern Umpires where he became a life member before joining the then Southern Football League in the early 2000’s. As a long time SFNL umpire and goal umpire coach, he was still coaching up to the 2022 finals and was a respected mentor to all the umpires.

Jeff Mark passed away on 11th November 2022, aged 73.

Mike Ball

For more than two decades Mike was a leading umpire in the WAFL, VFL and AFL.

He was at the forefront during the greatest period of change in the game when he became the first non-Victorian appointed to the VFL Umpiring panel in 1987 at the start of the transition to a national competition. He umpired 301 Senior games including 45 in the VFL/AFL competition. He was the first non-Victorian to umpire a VFL/AFL final – a drawn final between West Coast and Collingwood at VFL Park in 1990.

Mike umpired 4 WAFL grand finals and 6 State games. He was a member of the AFLUA in 1990 and 1991; was made a life member of the WANFLUA in 1990 , was inducted into the WANFLUA Hall of Fame in 1996 and was inducted into the WA Football Hall of Fame in 2017.

Not just an on-field contributor Mike was the President of the WANFLUA from 1989-1990 and was involved as an umpires’ coach and as the Umpire Development Manager after he had finished umpiring. Even after these roles were finished, he has also shown a keen interest and involvement in the development and journeys of young umpires.

Mike Ball passed away 11 December 2021.

Mike Ball

WANFLUA Member – 1973-1992
Games – 301 (248 WAFL, 45 AFL/VFL, 6 State, 2 SANFL)
AFL Service 1988-1990
AFLUA Member 1990-1991
AFL Finals – 1 (First Non-Victorian)
WAFL Grand Finals – 4 (1983,1984, 1986, 1989)
WAFL Finals – 13
WANFLUA President 1989-1990
WANFLUA Life Member 1990
WANFLUA Hall of Fame 1996
WA Football Hall of Fame 2017

Ron Boyack

Ronald Neil Boyack umpired with the VFL senior list for 12 seasons.

Rather than coming via the second eighteens competiuton Ron was one of the few who came directly onto the senior list from the Victorian Fiootball Assocition.

His VFA ties went back to his playing days with Yarraville Football Club Reserves and Thirds. They were his local team given his birth on 6 Febraury 1932 and early days in that area. He began umpiring with the VFA as a boundary umpire in 1951, moving to the field in 1952 and having his application for transfer to the VFL senior list approved for the 1955 season.

For the next 12 years he covered all the major VCFL competitions and a number of the ‘outside competitions’ that requested VFL umpires for thier finals series. While not apponted to a senior VCFL grand final the highlights were the reseves grand finals in the Alberton (1958) and Mid-Murray (1961) leagues. His two Second Eighteen matches occured in August 1958.

From 1955-1966 he accumulated 2 Second Eighteen, 3 Metropolitan and 220 VCFL matches. He was awarded VFLUA life membership in 1965.

Ron Boyack passed away 15 December 2021 aged 89

Rod Leffanue

Roderick Eric Leffanue began umpiring with the VFL Reserve Grade in 1960 and completed three seasons before being promoted to the VFL senor list for the 1963 season.

Between 1963 and 1972 he umpired 158 VCFL matches and 4 Metropolitan matches. This included two VCFL reserves finals; 1971 Ovens and Murray Second Semi-final and, his final match, the 1972 Murray League First Semi-final.

He was awarded VFLUA life membership in 1973.

Rod passed away 2 July 2021 aged 87

Ron Dalton

Ronald John Dalton was born in Melbourne on 9 October 1937 ad grew up in the South and Port Melbourne areas.

He played football for South Melbourne FC Thirds (VFL) as well as cricket for Port Melbourne CC Seconds and captained the South Melbourne CC Under 23s.

Beginning umpiring in 1960 with the VFL Reserve Grade he was promoted to the VFL senior list for the years 1963-1965. During those three years he umpired 31 VCFL and 2 Metropolitan matches. Work commitments saw him retire early in the 1965 season.

He did return to umpiring in the mid-1970s as a goal umpire in the VFA.

Ron Dalton passed away 30 March 2021.

Norman Downer

Born Norman John Downwer in Maidsgone on 5 Febrary 1939 he grew up in Melbourne’s western suburbs where he played football for Maidstone in the Footscray District Football League. He won a best clubman award and ultimatley life membership at the club.

Also played squash, golf (Club aggregate champion), athletics, bowls and boating (Royal Vic. Motor Yacht Squadron)

He began umpiring with the VFL Reserve Grade following his playing career and 1965 was his only year as a member of the VFL senior list. In that year he umpired 9 VCFL and 1 Metropolitan matches before continuing his umpring at the Footsray District Football League.

Norm Downer passed away 20 August 2021 aged 82.

Graeme  Galletly

Graeme George Galletly was born on 14 April 1940 and grew up in Murrumbeena and Reservoir where he played football for Reservoir Colts in the Preston and District JFL. This was the same league where he began umpiring in 1962.

In 1964 he was accepted on to the VFL Reserve Grade list and two years later promoted to the VFL seniors.

From 1965 to 1971 he umpired 82 VCFL matches.

In later life his football involvement included roles as league director and league delegate and tribunal member at the Doncaster and District JFL 1987-2000

Graeme passed away 28 August 2020 aged 80.

Dick Gillivour

Known always as Dick, Richard John Gillivour was born on 15 October 1927 and grew up in Preston and Reservoir where he played football for Rivoli FC (Preston DFL), East Brunswick Methodists and Preston VFA Reserves.

He took up umpiring with the VFL Second Eighteens in 1952 and umpired there for four seasons after which he was promoted to the VFL senior list.

In his two seasons with the VFL he umpired 28 VCFL and 2 Metropolitan matches.

He returned to the the playing side of the game in 1958 taking on the player-coach role at Portarlington Football Club and leading them to the 1958-59 Geelong Football League premierships. He was later awarded life membership.

Dick Gillivour passed away peacefully on 1st December, 2020 Aged 93 Years.


Fred Jackson

As a single season VFL senior list umpire Frederick Henry Conroy Jackson officiated in 3 VFL Second Eighteen, 13 VCFL and 1 Metropolitan matches.

He had been a handy footballer playing with Fitzroy Thirds and Reserves before taking up the whistle with the VFL Second Eighteens in 1952. In fact he had played in combined VFL Second Eighteens team versus Werribee Districts team June 1949 and later umpired this same fixture in his first umpiring season.

Born 7 December 1929 in North Fitzroy, Fred Jackson passed away 21 July 2021 aged 91.

Bob Smallman

Robert Joseph Smallman umpired a single season on the VFL senior list officiating in  11 VCFL and 1 Metropolitan matches.

Retired from VFL with bad knee but went on to umpire with the Footscray District and Werribee football leagues.

Born 12 August 1943 ,, Bob Smallman passed away 31 January 2021 aged 77.


Robert Swainson

Bob Swainson served football and umpiring in a range of roles in Victoria and later the Australian Capital Territory.

Robert John Swainson was born in Footscray 29 July 1937 and gre up in Maidstone. After playing football for the Maidstone Football Club he began umpiring in 1958 with the VFL Second Eighteens. After three seasons he was promoted to the senior list and umpired there for seasons 1961-1965.

During this time he compiled a career consisting of 81 VCFL and 2 Metropolitan matches. His last three matches were VCFL finals in the North Central FL thirds, Picola FL and Kowree-Naracoorte FL seconds.

Following his VFL career he umpired with the East Suburban Churches FL from 1969-74 before moving to Canberra.

In the ACT he was heavily involved with the local umpires association as treasurer and president of the ACTAFLUA and later as a member of the Umpires Appointment Board, assistant umpires observer and umpires observer for the ACTAFL.

Bob Swainson passed away after a short illness on 8 June 2019 aged 81.


Ian Trainor

Born Ian Robert Trainor on 17 April 1935 he grew up in the Brunswick, Moreland and Coburg areas.

While not a footballer he was a premiership cricketer for West Moreland Baptist Church, a golfer and later in life a lawn bowler.

Ian began umpiring as a boundary with the VFA in 1952 before transferring to the field in 1956. He transferred to the VFL Second Eighteens in 1959 and then was promoted to the VFL senior list in 1962.

At the VFL he was listed for two seasons officiating in 29 VCFL and 1 Metropolitan matches.

His football involvement contiuded later as vice-president at the Essendon District Football League 1972 and assistant umpires Advisor at EDFL 1972-73.

Ian passed away 28 January 2020 aged 84.


John Williams

John Llewellyn Williams was born on 19 September 1947 and was on the VFL Reserve Grade list of umpires in at least 1967 when he was appointed to a Latrobe Valley match when the senior list was short of umpires.

Promoted to the senior list in 1970 he compiled a successful career in the next eight seasons.

He umpired 18 VFL Reserve matches in both the one and two-umpire systems and 118 VCFL matches. This latter toatl included 14 finals and 5 grand finals. Three of those grand finals came in his most successful season 1976; Omeo and District, Mallee nd Kowree-Naracoorte football leagues.

Off the field John was a contributor to the VFLUA with a seat on the Social Committee from 1973-1975.

John’s body was discovered on 8 December 2020 having passed away some days earlier. He was 73.

Mark Turner


Having suffered a debilitating back injury playing junior football, aged 16, Mark endured a series of operations and long recovery, which makes his athletic achievements remarkable.

Born Mark Alan Turner on 23 October 1970, he took up boundary umpiring with AFLQ in 1998 after having played junior football, he was coaxed down to training by former police colleague and AFL goal umpire Glen Dryburgh, who knew of Turner’s athletic and football background.

In 1999, Mark was offered an AFL contract – an outstanding achievement given the time he had spent in the game. Early season injury delayed his taking up the offer, though he still ran the AFLQ Grand Final that year.

Debuting on 8 April 2000 at The Gabba, Mark was an AFL boundary umpire from 2000-2004 and umpired 53 AFL matches. All but one was at the Gabba, the other venue being the Melbourne Cricket Ground. He was awarded Heritage No. 494.

From 2016-2017, he took on the role of state umpiring manager in Queensland.

A long-term tri-athlete, Mark was heavily involved in coaching. Among other roles, he served as the head coach for Triathlon Scotland throughout the 2019-2020 season.

Moving to New Zealand and becoming the owner of World Multisport, Mark passed away on 17 December 2022, aged 52.


Brain Bock

An author in later life Brian Spencer Fitchett Bock used his experience as a VFL country umpire to write a short story in one of his anthologies.

Born on 9 December 1932 in Maffra he grew up there and in Stratford. He was a premiership player for the Stratford in the Gippsland Football League.

After moving to Melbourne as part of his teaching career he joined the VFL Reserve Grade as a field umpiure in 1957. He was promoted to the VFL senior list for the 1961 season. Between 1961 and 1966 he umpired 101 VCFL and 5 Metropolitan matches. His only senior VCFL final was Murchison versus Merrigum at Tallygaroopna in 1965.

Returning to the Reserve Grade in 1967 he continued umpiring there until teaching took him to the Benalla area in 1970. That year he umpired with Benalla and District Umpires’ Association.

After retiring as a school principal he took to writing and had numvberous titles published includiong murder mysteries and books on education reform. In his 2005 short story anthology The way the cookie crumbles he inclded a piece based around his experiences as a VFL umpires waiting outside the Gas and Fuel Building for country taxis. [check title of short story]

Brian passed away 16 August 2022 on the Gold Coast.


Graham Fricke

While known more for his contribution to the law and literature Graham Fricke was also an umpire and for a single season on the VFL senior list.

Born Graham Lewis Fricke on 5 December 1935 in Richmond he grew up in Northcote[the son of long-time VFA field and goal umpire Norman Fricke.

He began umpiring in 1952 with the VFA on the boundary and the following year joined the VFL Reserve Grade as a field umpire. Staying with the Reserves until 1955 when he had a year with the VAFA in 1956, he returned to the Reserves in 1957-58 and gained promotion to the senior list for 1959.

As a law student he was destined for success and after only 8 VCFL matches he moved to Hobart to start his career as an academic and lecturer at the University of Tasmania. He umpired in the local competition but later that year was accepted as a Fulbright Scholar and moved to the United States to take up studies at the University of Pennsylvania.

Ultimately he became a judge on the County Court of Victoria from 1983-1995 following a successful career as a barrister.

His Honour Graham Lewis Fricke QC passed away on 7 November 2021, aged 85.

Bill Hedger

Bill Hedger debuted in the VFL on 30 June 1973 earning Heritage No. 268 in the Geelong v. Richmond fixture at VFL Park. It was a relatively speedy ascension to the highest level given he had only been promoted to the VFL senior list for the 1970 season.

By July 1970 he was umpiring VFL Reserve Grade football and that year umpired three senior VCFL finals. From 1971 to the middle of 1973 he was primarily umpiring Reserve Grade football and the major VCFL competitoions until his debut at Waverley.

The path to the VFL indicated future success as he had been with the VFL Reserve Grade since 1967 and umpired the 1969 VFL U19 Grand Final.

The successful 1973 season was followed by a great start to 1974 umpiring the first nine rounds before a poor performance at Arden Street saw him dropped for the remainder of the season.

After almost two years in the Reserves and country he returned to VFL football in Round 6 1976, now in the two umpire system, and shared his final four VFL matches with Bill Deller, Mike Henry and Mike Dye. At the end of 1976 he called time on his VFL career and transferred to the VFA. In all he had umpired 17 VFL, 76 VFL Reserve Grade and 80 VCFL matches. His VCFL total included 7 grand finals.

At the VFA he umpired more than 50 senior matches between 1977 and 1980 before taking up the role of Advisor, West Gippsland Umpires from 1981-1983.

Away from umpiring Bill was successful in athletics. As a professional runner he won four 800m, six 1600m and three 3200m races between 1976 and 1980. In 1977 he was Professional Athlete of the Year. He had also played football with Preston in the VFA captaining the 1962 U19s to their fourth consecutive premiership.

William Francis Hedger was born on 16 February 1943 and passed away 4 September 2021, aged 78.

David McCormack

David Neil McCormack was born in Euroa on 20 September 1920 and 100 years later became the fifth VFLUA/AFLUA to mark his centenary.

After playing football for Euroa (Waranga-North East FL & Goulburn Valley FL), Fitzroy (Sub-District FL) and Fitzroy (VFL) Reserves he began umpiring in the YCW Football League in 1943-44. He moved to the Sub-district league for 1945 before joining the VFL Reserve Grade in 1946.

Promotion to the senior list in 1947 came as the country competitions re-commenced in earnest following the Second World War. In that same year he umpired the first of his 12 VFL Second Eighteen matches.

Seasons 1949 and 1950 were his most successful in terms of city football and included a finals match in the North Tasmanian Football League. He took a break from 1951-1952 and returned for 1953 before another break for the 1954 season.

In all he umpired 12 VFL Second Eighteen, 76 VCFL, 2 Tasmanian and 1 Metropolitan matches over six seasons. A lone grand final appointment in the 1949 Central Goulburn Valley FL was one of 15 VCFL finals.

David McCormack passed away 18 January 2021, aged 100.

Doug McIntyre

Born Douglas Phillip McIntyre on 21 January 1930 in Coburg, Doug grew up in Sea Lake, Ballarat and Dimboola before attending the Royal Australian Naval College in 1944.

He played football for Dimboola (Wimmera FL) and later Werribee South in their premierships 1949-51.

Beginning umpiring while still playing in the Werribee Football League in 1950, he joined the VFL Second Eighteens for 1953-54.

In 1955 he was promoted to the VFL senior list and during two seasons umpired 13 Second Eighteen, 26 VCFL and 1 Tasmanian matches.

Doug passed away at Holmesglen private hospital on 29 May 2022, aged 92 after suffering a stroke.