Glenn James

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Glenn James
Personal information
Full name Glenn Robert James
Other occupation Teacher
Umpiring career
Years League Role Games
1977–1985 VFL Field umpire 166

Glenn Robert James OAM[1] is a former Australian rules football umpire in the Victorian Football League. James umpired the 1982 and 1984 VFL Grand Finals and is recognised as the only Indigenous Australian to umpire VFL or AFL football.[2][3]

Early life[edit]

James was the tenth child in a family of 14. His father, an Indigenous Australian of the Yorta Yorta people, worked in the Ardmona Cannery in Shepparton. The young James attended school at Gowrie Street School in Shepparton.[2]

In 1968 James was drafted into the Australian Army and spent a year in Vietnam during the Vietnam War.[2][4] James is one of two VFL umpires to have served in Vietnam, the other being goal umpire Trevor Pescud.[5]

Football career[edit]

Playing career[edit]

With his brothers, James played for Wunghnu in the Picola & District Football League. After a broken jaw ended his playing career James turned to umpiring.[2]

Umpiring career[edit]

After starting his umpiring career in country football, James umpired 166 VFL matches between 1977 and 1985 including the 1982 and 1984 VFL Grand Finals, and was the umpire selected in the Indigenous Team of the Century.[6][7]

As an umpire James faced abuse from spectators on the basis of his racial background.[8] In 1978 as a result of the nature of the abuse of James, lawyer Greg Lyons studied the legality of this abuse.[9]

In 1985 James was President of the Victorian Football League Umpires Association.[10]

Post football career[edit]

Umpire coach[edit]

Immediately after retiring from VFL umpiring, James was appointed in 1986 as Umpiring Careers Advisor with the Victorian Country Football League.[11]

Between 1994 and 1996 James was AFL Assistant Umpires Coach.


He has a Bachelor of Education degree as well as a Diploma of Technical Teaching.[12] James was a lecturer at Swinburne University for many years.[2] Glen James taught graphic arts at Box Hill Technical College in the 1970's - 1980's.

James currently works for the Worawa Aboriginal College as a student ambassador, providing support for Aboriginal students.[13]


James commentates AFL matches for the National Indigenous Radio Service. He also is a panellist for The Marngrook Footy Show on NITV.[2][14]


In 2008 James with former umpires Peter Cameron, John Sutcliffe and Andrew Coates; and then-current AFL umpires Scott McLaren, Mathew James and Ray Chamberlain recorded a song entitled The Man In White.[15]

Koori Court[edit]

As of 2008 James worked for the Koori Court in Melbourne as a cultural advisor.[2]



  1. ^ "The Man In White". Australian Football League Umpires Association. Retrieved 2009-07-06.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Harms, John (7 May 2008). "Trailblazing umpire calls to his people". Herald Sun. Archived from the original on 7 May 2008. Retrieved 29 June 2014.
  3. ^ "Cyclist is a winner". Star News Group. 2 April 2009. Retrieved 23 November 2009.
  4. ^ Coward, Mike (4 May 1982). "James sweats it out in Victoria Park Jungle". The Age. Google News Archive. Retrieved 2009-11-14.
  5. ^ "Roll of Honour – Vietnam War 1961–1975 Servicemen who became VFL Umpires". Australian Football League Umpires Association. Retrieved 2009-11-14.
  6. ^ "Indigenous team of the century named". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 2005-08-01. Retrieved 2009-11-13.
  7. ^ Neale, Margo; Kleinert, Sylvia; Bancroft, Robyne (2000). The Oxford companion to aboriginal art and culture. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-550649-9.
  8. ^ Tatz, Colin (1987). Aborigines in Sport (PDF). Bedford Park, South Australia: Australian Society for Sports History. p. 77. ISBN 0-85837-603-2. Retrieved 2009-11-16.
  9. ^ McNamara, Lawrence (2001). "ON THE FIELD AND OFF THE FIELD: Sports and racial hatred". Australian Human Rights Commission. Retrieved 2009-11-16.
  10. ^ "VFLUA Office Bearers 1973–1995". Australian Football League Umpires Association. Retrieved 2009-11-16.
  11. ^ "History of the VCFL: A Select Chronology". Victorian Country Football League. Retrieved 2012-01-01.
  12. ^ "Ambassadors – Glenn James". Australia Day Committee (Victoria). 2005. Archived from the original on 11 July 2009. Retrieved 2009-11-16.
  13. ^ "Ambassadors". Worawa Aboriginal College. Retrieved 2009-11-16.
  14. ^ Quayle, Emma (24 September 2009). "Punt pays off big-time". The Age. Retrieved 2009-11-14.
  15. ^ McClure, Geoff (21 February 2008). "Umpires on song". The Age. Retrieved 2009-11-16.
  16. ^ Harari, Fiona (7 September 1984). "Aborigine of the year". The Age. Google News Archive. Retrieved 2009-11-14.
  17. ^ "List of Life Members". Australian Football League Umpires Association. Retrieved 2009-11-16.
  18. ^ "JAMES, Glenn Robert". It's an Honour. Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Retrieved 2009-11-16.