Ross Raphael

Born on the 25 March 1930, Ross as he was commonly known to VFLUA members, had a career in sport that spanned 45 years, from playing football at school to umpiring as a boundary then field umpire and then on the administration side as an adviser , observer and chairman of the VFA Umpires Board until its demise following the amalgamation of the VFA and the Australian Football League.

In 1946 Ross joined the Northern Districts Umpiring Association as a boundary umpire, a task he performed for two years until deciding that field umpiring would be his preference. At the same time he tried out with the Carlton Football Club Under 17’s, but when the coach told him he was a touch small, concentrated all his efforts into umpiring.

After trying out with the VFL he was accepted onto the Second Eighteen  list of umpires in 1949 and it wasn’t long before he quickly rose through the ranks was umpiring Under 19 level. In those days the Under 19’s played the curtain raiser to the seniors and one such game Ross umpired at North Melbourne saw a capacity crowd of 15,000 cram into the ground.

Promoted onto the VFL senior list in 1953, Ross was awarded his life membership of the VFLUA in 1963 and he continued on umpiring until his retirement in 1968 when on 7 September  he officiated at his last game.

Ross’ record speaks for itself, 482 appointments in 20 years on the list. A figure that  does not include mid-week matches  with the Tramways but was highlighted by 4 Second Eighteen matches, 7  VCFL. grand finals, and a host other appointment,s including Tasmania.

It was during this time that Ross decided to become a member of the Freemason’s Lodge amongst the umpires. Named  ‘The Lodge of Decision’, several members joined.  Because of his great skills as an organizer, the league decided it would be a good idea to have Ross charge of the Royal Park, Tuesday/Thursday training groups, a position he kept until his retirement.

In November of 1968, Ross was approached by the VFA to join the Umpires Board as an observer/boardman, and at the same time applied and was accepted as the umpires advisor in the Northern Metropolitan Football League. Choosing the advisor position  he remained until 1979 earning life membership of both the league and the umpires association,  This allowed Ross to concentrate on his newly appointed position as chairman / secretary of the VFA. Umpires Board. After 10 years at the helm Ross was awarded life membership of the Victorian Football Association.

Ross, a fitness fanatic would run, 13 km a day, that was until he was struck by a vehicle putting an end to his running. He never married as he stated  running a transport/ delivery company he never found the time.

Ross passed away on 26 March 2018 and will be remembered by numerous hospitals for the millions of dollars he has donated over the years.