Originally from Adelaide, Donald Victor Selth grew up with a natural love for sport and all his life he combined sport with academic success.
His life long passion for sport started a few months after his sixth birthday when we witnessed Donald Bradman score 299 not out against South Africa. While studying at University Selth regularly wrote about sports and took it upon himself to broadcast sporting events catching the attention of the ABC’s Sporting Supervisor which resulted in the start of Don’s 12 year career with the ABC broadcasting Track and Field. Don was at that time one of only three Australian members of the International Association of Track and Field Statisticians.
After moving to Canberra to take up a headmaster position Selth wrote The History of the PM’s XI and Cricket on the Limestone Plains: The history of the ACT Cricket Association and wrote countless sports history related articles for The Canberra Times.
Upon learning of the need for capable goal umpires in the ACT Australian Football competition Selth volunteered to help out and typically went on to become President of the ACT Australian Football Umpires Association for 2 years. He was part of two very large developments being the 2 field umpire system and negotiating sponsorship with Lennock Motors Datsun. In 1979 he wrote The Art of Goal Umpiring and distributed it to all clubs with the aim of encouraging people to become umpires. As an umpire he managed to officiate an amazing 156 first grade games and 5 first grade grand finals.
In 1980 he was made an honorary life member of the ACT Australian Football Umpires Association.
Throughout his lifetime Don has been involved in almost every aspect of sport while maintaining a successful career as a teacher and public servant. He was an athlete, coach, umpire, administrator, historian, selector and commentator. Broadcasting Track and Field at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics is no doubt a career highlight.
In 1982 Her Majesty appointed Don a member of the Royal Victorian Order and in 2000 was awarded the Australian Sports Medal in recognition for his contribution to sport throughout his lifetime. At his death Don was finishing a history on ACT sport titled Canberra’s Sporting Heritage 1854 -1954, which is to be published.
Born: 6 October 1925
Deceased: 28 December 2006