Robert Dunball

In June 2021, this Association lost a good friend, a very good umpire and a servant of umpiring and the game. He demonstrated great leadership qualities and an excellent understanding of people.

Born on 15 October 1939, Robert George Dunball attended Aberfeldie State School and Essendon Technical School and he became an apprentice Fitter and Turner at Maribyrnong Ordinance Factory. He played football with Aberfeldie and Riverside Stars. Following a knee injury, he joined the VFL Reserve Grade umpires in 1964 and was promoted to the VFL Senior list in 1966, becoming one of 150 field umpires in that group. At the time of his retirement in 1981, Bob had umpired 320 VCFL games, including 54 finals and 14 grand finals. He became a revered figure in country football as a VFL umpire for 16 years.

Off field, his legacy was even greater. Bob served as an office bearer of the Association for 8 years, successively as a member of the Social Committee, the Executive Committee and he became President in 1975. He was made a Life Member of the Association in 1976, he received a Lifetime Achievement Award in 1977 and he was an inaugural inductee into the AFLUA Hall of Fame in 2008.

Between 1977 and 1981, Bob served as a training group supervisor – one year at Caulfield and four years at Royal Park – and as a VFL umpires’ observer in 1982 and 1983. He also actively participated in the ancillary activities of the Association, including his role as a tenacious footballer in the annual Pentridge matches, a key member of the golf group and his involvement in 2 Ultra Marathon events conducted throughout country Victoria.

Bob Dunball passed away on 7 June 2021, aged 81 years, following a long illness. We farewell him with heavy hearts as an esteemed colleague, a diligent office bearer and a loyal friend. Those of us who knew Bob miss him greatly, we applaud his service, and we are better people for being a part of his life.