As a footballer, Ross Oakley will be best remembered for how the cruel hand of football fate cost him a place in St Kilda’s only VFL premiership side in 1966.
But as a football administrator, Mr Oakley is widely acknowledged as the man who turned the financially crippled Victorian Football League into the rich and powerful Australian Football League of today.
Along the way the 70-year-old AFL Hall-of-Fame member has lent his considerable business acumen to both the college council and fundraising foundation of Uniting Church school Wesley College, where he was educated.
Mr Oakley was one of five recipients from Victoria and Tasmania with Uniting Church connections recognised with Order of Australia Medals in the Queen’s Birthday Honours announced last month.
The others were –
- Margaret Adcock, an elder at St Andrew’s Uniting Church in Mansfield, for service to the community through a range of sporting and service organisations
- Lorraine Henderson, from the Buninyong Uniting Church, for service to the Ballarat community
- Ashburn Uniting Church member Wallace McGillivary for service to veterans and their families and;
- Glamorgan Uniting Church member Craig Johnson for service to local government and his local community in southern Tasmania.