My next ‘Where are they Now?’ profile – Doug Edwin Lamb – has spent 40 years in Football: the first 7 years as a field umpire, with the VFL and the VFLRG, and then 6 years with the Sunday Amateurs from 1954 to 1959 as a field umpire and 1 as a goal umpire; then in 1955, on the Victorian Football League Reserve Grade Umpires Board as Secretary/Manager/Advisor/Observer to young umpires for the next 30 years. During that period, Doug served as the Vice-President of the VFL Reserve Grade League.
His work commitments with the Melbourne Metropolitan Tramways Board restricted country travel. After officiating in 21 VFL Games between 1950 and 1951, he finished his career in 1953. Doug then transferred to the Sunday Amateur League – field umpiring from 1955 to 1958 and then 1 year goal umpiring with the Sunday Amateurs. The VFLRG folded in 1986. Ex-umpires who were on the VFLRG board were Coaches Norm Grant (1st Coach), Jack Irving and Don Jolley, and board members Doug Lamb, Norm Price, Tom McKenna, Norm Attwood, Bob Belsey, Frank Leverett, Jim Brewer and Des Fitzgerald. Of the members who were on the board, Doug Lamb at the age of 97 years is the only member living today.
Born in Richmond on 11th August 1926 at the Appleton Street Private Hospital, Doug’s parents Walter Lamb and Margarita Olley moved to Hawthorn, where in 1931, Doug attended Glenferrie State School and after three years, moved on to Hawthorn West Primary School. At the age of 15, Doug applied for a position with the Melbourne Metropolitan Tramways Board, was successful, and continued his employment with the board until 1986 when he retired after a total of 45 years employed.
Living in Hawthorn, Doug joined the Hawthorn Football Club Under 18’s from 1941 until 1944 starting at the age of 15, then played for the RAAF Headquarters Melbourne Central Football Club from 1945 to 1946.
At the age of 21, Doug applied and was accepted onto the VFL Second Eighteens Umpires list. This all came about when Doug, who was in the Air Force and the headquarters were at Melbourne Central Albert Park, noticed the advertisement in The Sporting Globe for Umpires. His work mate at the time, Leo Wright (a foot-runner), mentioned to Doug that they should both apply, were successful and both umpired at the highest level.
Doug was promoted onto the Senior list in 1948, where his first appointment was in the Yarra Valley Football League (Wandin v. Wesburn). During the 1949 season, Doug was emergency at Hawthorn when the Secretary of the Second Eighteens called Doug that he wanted him to umpire the Under 19’s as they were short of umpires, and in those days, the Curtain Raiser to the Seniors was the Under 19’s. Doug agreed, so long as the Secretary got the authority from the VFL Senior list. This was his moment of opportunity. Doug grabbed it and umpired very well – so much so that Doug was asked to umpire the rest of the season on the Second Eighteens list, and to his delight, was appointed to the 1949 Under 19’s Grand Final. He was also appointed to the Werribee Football League, where the league requested Doug to officiate at their 1st Semi, 2nd Semi, and the Grand Final.
After two years on the list, on 20th May 1950, Doug was appointed to his first VFL game at the Brunswick Street Oval where Fitzroy 19.15 d. Hawthorn 4.24. Awarded Heritage No. 210, his time on the Senior list saw Doug appointed to 19 VFL Seconds and 39 VCFL games, where he was appointed to 6 finals. His last game in the VFL Seniors was on 4th August 1951 at the old Punt Road Oval, where Richmond 9.12 d. Carlton 4.9.
His last game on the Senior list was a 1st Semi-Final between Sorrento and Mornington at the Frankston Oval. He claims the highlight of his umpiring career were his first VFL senior game and the Under 19’s Grand Final.
Over the years, Doug has been awarded Life Membership VFL Reserve Grade, Life Member VFL Reserve Grade Umpires Association and the National Football League Merit Award, which was also presented to Frank Leverett.
In his early days, Doug played the flute with the Drum and Pipe Band at St. Kilda and has travelled to many places, including Europe, America several times, and Asia.
Lovely to chat, Doug. Stay healthy.
# Article written by AFLUA Life Member Graeme ‘Wizzer’ Fellows