Harry O’Callaghan

Harry_O_CallaghanAn icon of Queensland football from the 1920’s through to the 70’s who excelled as a player, coach, umpire and administrator. Born in Terang, Victoria, he represented Victorian Schoolboys in 1914 before moving to Queensland with his family aged 18, captaining the 1921 Queensland Junior Team in his first season. He initially played at South Brisbane where in 1922 he played in two grand finals on one day – in the Juniors and the A-Grade.

In 1924 he helped to establish the Windsor Football Club, and later that year represented Queensland at the National Carnival in Hobart. A regular State representative, he was Windsor captain-coach from 1928-31, including the club’s first premiership in 1929, and did not miss a game from 1924-30. He retired at the end of the ’31 season after a severe bout of peritonitis, but returned as captain-coach of South Brisbane in 1933-35. There he played until the end of ’38 when, as a result of a challenge from a League official, he took up umpiring. He began in reserve grade but in his first season was promoted to A-Grade, officiated at interstate level and controlled the grand final.

He built a fine reputation as Queensland’s No.1 umpire through the war and beyond, controlling numerous grand finals, interstate matches and service games, finally retiring at the end of ’48. In ’49 he was appointed Umpires’ Coach, and he later established the Queensland Umpires’ Association.He served for 22 years as the Queensland delegate to the National Football Council, and was patron of the Queensland Junior Australian Football League, who named a medal for the most B&F votes in all grades in his honour.

A Life Member of the NFC and Queensland Australian Football League, among other bodies, he was further honoured when the homeground of Windsor-Zillmere AFC at Zillmere was named after him. Also a life-time servant of Queensland Surf Lifesaving, he passed away in the 1980’s.

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