Tom McArthur

tom_mcarthurTA field umpire who was chosen as the Queensland Umpire of the Century in 2003 after officiating in a national record 502 senior QAFL games over four decades from the 1950’s to the 80’s. A born and bred Queenslander, he was selected to play at the 1951 All-Australian Schoolboys carnival in Melbourne but after an outbreak of poliomyelitis at host club Footscray the Queenslanders were not allowed to travel.

He played junior football at Taringa State School and joined Western Districts aged 13, making his senior debut in 1955 after breaking into a side coached by the legendary Doug Pittard that had won the1953-54 premierships. Played 58 senior games as an on-baller/wingman to the age of 20 when a car accident early in 1958 ended his playing career.

Having made his senior QAFL umpiring debut in 1959, he controlled seven QAFL grand finals in 1960-63-64-65-66-68-72, was emergency umpire a further seven times, and had 10 interstate assignments, including the 1960 NFL Division Two Championships in Canberra featuring Queensland, NSW, ACT and the Australian Amateurs.

He retired in 1985 due to a bad back in what he described as the only regret of his extraordinary career. Recipient of the 1976 NRL Merit Award and a 2000 Australian Sports Medal for Services to Football, he was named with Kevin Symmons, Darren Morris and Martin Hopp as the field umpires in the AFL Queensland Umpires Association ‘Team of the Century’ 1904–2003.

In 2008 became the first resident Queenslander inducted into the AFL Hall of Fame.

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