Obituaries 7

Cecil Akerley

Cecil James Akerley was born in Melbourne on 28 July 1931. Growing up in Preston he played football for Preston Presbyterians FC (Preston District FL).

Joining the Victorian Football Association umpires in 1949 he umpired in the field there until he applied for a place on the VFL senior list in 1955 and was accepted, by-passing the VFL Second Eighteens.

Between 1955 and 1957 he umpired 45 VCFL and 3 Metropolitan matches.

Returning to the VFA in 1958-59 before he retired from umpiring.

Cecil Akerley passed away on 2 May 2023, aged 91.


Gordon Andrews

Gordon Donald Andrews ran the boundary in the VFL from 1954 to 1962 amassing 102 VFL premiership and 4 night series matches.

Born in Bradford, England on 30 March 1930, he and his mother, Mary, emigrated to Australia arriving via Magnolia on 11 September 1934. They eventually settled in Horsham and in 1947, Gordon boarded at The Geelong College, starting in Form V.

He began umpiring in 1952 with the VFL Second Eighteens and was promoted to the senior list following his appointment to the 1953 Second Eighteens Grand Final.

His success was little surprise. During his time at Geelong College, he was a member of the relay team and following school he pursued an amateur running career. He won multiple Stawell 220 and Heidelberg Gifts, and travelled to England for summer athletics meets.

Gordon was awarded Heritage No. 303 when he debuted at Princes Park on 8 May 1954, Carlton v. Footscray in a high-scoring affair.

While he did not umpire a finals series match, he did reach the 100 VFL match milestone in Round 15 1962, his final season on the list.

Gordon passed away 14 June 2023, age 93 years.


Kenneth Kirk

Ken Kirk had a rich football heritage before became an umpire.

Born in Wedderburn on 11 January 1934, he played football with Wedderburn FC 1948-51 (North Central FL – Premiers 1951), Strathmerton FC 1954-56 (Murray FL – Premiers 1956), and was captain-coach of Newbridge FC 1957-60 including their premiership year of 1957. Additionally, he was captain-coach of the Loddon Valley Inter-League Team 1957-58.

In his later years he was a keen and successful bowler with Melbourne Bowls Club of which he was president in 1990.

Following that successful playing career, he sought to stay in football and took up umpiring with the Bendigo Umpires 1961-62 and then moved to the VFL Reserve Grade in 1963-64.

Promoted to the VFL senior list in 1965 he toured the regions until the end of the 1969 season. In all he umpired 75 VCFL and 3 Metropolitan matches. The highlights were three finals; the first in the Southern Mallee Reserves (1965), the second in the Mid-Gippsland league (1967) and the following week the reserves preliminary final in the Tyrell League at Sea Lake.

After his umpiring with the VFL was complete Ken moved onto Airport West Football Club. Between 1976 and 2000 he was at one time or another: vice president, coach, secretary, committee member, team manager and recruiting officer. His services were rewarded with life membership.

Kenneth Maxwell Kirk passed away 20 March 2023, aged 89.


Ivon Northage

Ivon Northage went by his middle name for much of his life. A life that in addition to a contribution to football involved a deep love of nature and resulted in him being know in later life as Mr Glasshouse Mountains.

Born in Melbourne on 7 July 1931, Edward Ivon Northage grew up in Newport and was primarily involved in athletics and table tennis. As hurdler in the early 1950s he had success with he Williamstown Athletic Club, mainly in the 440 yards event.

This running translated nicely to boundary umpiring which he took up with the VFL Second Eighteens in 1952. After moving to field umpiring in 1954 he was promoted to the VFL senior list in 1957.

The early years saw many country matches but for two weeks in July 1960 he ran around in the VFL Reserve Grade competition at Brunswick Street and then the M.C.G.

Overall Ivon had umpired 2 VFL Reserve Grade, 143 VCFL and 4 Metropolitan matches at the time of his retirement following the 1965 season. Of the 10 finals he umpired the 1961 Tyrell League Reserves Grand Final was the only premiership decider but there were senior finals at Horsham, North Wagga and Murchison.

Leaving Victoria for Queensland after his retirement from football he remained involved as umpires advisor at the Queensland Australian Football League 1971-78 and 1981-82, assistant manager Queensland NFL Carnival Team (Perth) 1979 and manager Queensland Teal Cup (Perth) 1980.

When he retired in 1994 he moved from Brisbane to the Glasshouse Mountains. Here he worked at the local tourist information centre from 2002 and became so involved in the history and ecology of the region that he authored the book The National Heritage Listed Glasshouse Mountains. He had been deeply involved in the project that had the area placed on the Natural Heritage List. His local knowledge was unsurpassed.

Ivon Northage passed away 12 November 2019, aged 88.

Ray Risstrom

Ray Risstrom umpired on the VFL senior list between 1963 and 1966. He controlled 65 VCFL and 2 Metropolitan matches.

He was recruited from the VFL Reserve Grade where he had begun umpiring in 1958 as a boundary, moving to the field in 1959.

Raymond John Risstrom was born on 2 December 1939 and passed away 16 October 2023, aged 88.

Lindsay Sullivan

In Round 1 1960 boundary umpire Lindsay Sullivan earned Heritage No. 313 and also became the ninth umpire in VFL/AFL history to debut in a drawn match.

Born in Melbourne on 30 November 1937, Lindsay John Sullivan grew up in Kensington, Footscray, Ascot Vale and Essendon.

He began umpiring in 1954 with the Essendon District Football League and moved to the VFL Reserve Grade. In 1959 he was appointed to the VFL Reserve Grade grand final and in 1960 moved up to the senior list.

After his debut at Princes Park the highlight for the year may have been Hawthorn’s first ever win at Victoria Park by a point in a screaming finish as John Peck goaled after the siren.

In 1962 Lindsay umpired the Night Series Grand Final, Richmond v. Hawthorn, and the following year bought up 50 VFL matches. He retired at the close of the 1964 season have umpired 67 VFL premiership and 5 Night Series matches.

Lindsay Sullivan passed away 19 February 2023 after a battle against cancer, aged 85.