DONALD CLIVE MORRISON* - 2014
The history of the Goulburn Valley Football League goes back to the last years of the 1800’s when football teams played against each other in social games.
After the turn of the century a competition was formed, known as the Goulburn Valley District Football Association.
In 1902 Eminent Goulburn Valley solicitor Donald Clive Morrison took over as President of the fledgling football body and was still in the President’s chair when the First World War forced the game to go into recess. Mr Morrison lived in Tatura and had been President of the Tatura Tennis Club and the Tatura Football Club. Mr Morrison chaired the revival meeting after the war in 1919 and was re-elected as President of the Goulburn Valley Football League, which at that time played games on the Wednesday half holiday. Times were hard for football clubs who were trying to find enough players to take part in the game. Mr Morrison and his wife moved to Shepparton in 1920 and purchased the stately home called “Ambermere” in Knight Street. It was Shepparton’s most notable home.
D.C Morrison took on the challenge to improve the League and showed great leadership as he recruited new clubs and fostered the game he loved.
As a legal man he ensured the League was properly constituted and drew up the original constitution, which enabled the League to become a part of the State wide football organisation.
As well as being the force behind football he was also interested in golf and became President of the Shepparton Golf Club. He handled much of the club’s legal business which enabled the club to gain “permissive occupancy” of the land it now owns.
Throughout his professional career he operated Goulburn Valley legal practices in Shepparton, Tatura, Numurkah and Kyabram.
Whilst D.C. Morrison was at the helm, the GVL was held in high esteem and he was well known throughout the football world as a leading administrator. He remained as GVL President until his resignation from the position in 1931 due to him moving to live in Melbourne. He oversaw the transfer of the competition to play on Saturdays instead of Wednesdays.
Two years after his resignation the League decided to award the best and fairest player a medal. It would be called the “Morrison Medal” to show appreciation of Morrison’s wonderful service to football in general and the Goulburn Valley Football in particular. He was also the first recipient of Life Membership of the League. His name lives on in that medal and in the legal practices he established.
There is no doubt that he was the architect of the League and the person responsible for the early success of football in the Goulburn Valley.
In his later years he still showed great interest in the League after he moved to Melbourne to open yet another legal practice. Donald Clive Morrison passed away at his home in Malvern in 1943.
The League will always be indebted to this great man and it is absolutely fitting that he becomes the first inductee into the GVFL Hall of Fame.