Graham Duff AM (SPC 1956-59)

February 22, 2022

Graham Duff.

We are very saddened to learn of the passing of the larger than life Old Collegian and SPC Legend Graham Duff AM (SPC 1956-59) who passed away on February 12, 2022 aged 80 years.

A distinguished sports administrator, Graham, known to many as “Duffy”, lost his fight after a short illness.

Tributes have poured in for Graham, who made an outstanding contribution to sport, most notably as Racing Victoria’s (RV) inaugural chairman for six years between 2001-07 and chairing North Melbourne Football Club between 2005-07. He also held other high-profile chairmanships of major sporting organisations.

Graham received a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) on Australia Day, 2006, for service to the administration of sport in Victoria through the establishment and development of the Institute of Sport and to the thoroughbred racing industry.

Graham was inducted as a SPC Legend in 2008.

He was inducted as a Legend of SPC in 2008 acknowledging in his work in these areas.

He has been remembered for his services with tributes flowing following his passing.

RV chairman Brian Kruger remembered Duff’s legacy in a stirring tribute: “As Racing Victoria’s inaugural Chairman, Graham played a crucial role in establishing and guiding the organisation through its formative years and we are deeply saddened to hear of his passing”.

“As an owner of several racehorses and a frequent visitor to the track, Graham was fully immersed in the industry and was a passionate advocate for racing, and he fully deserved the Order of Australia he was awarded.”

Likewise, former North Melbourne director Mark Brayshaw remembered Graham for standing up for the Roos during one of the club’s most turbulent period as it fought to remain in Melbourne.

“Graham Duff lacked no confidence whatsoever and God knows we needed it when he was president,” Brayshaw said.

Duff also held a number of high-profile board positions including, Victorian Institute of Sport (foundation chairman), 2002 World Masters Games Victoria and International Masters Games Association’s Board of Governors.

Graham Duff, pictured in his matriculation year at SPC in 1959.

Graham was a boarder at SPC from Colac. He joined SPC in his sub-intermediate year and completed his matriculation in 1959. He was very actively involved in all facets of school life, from debating and athletics to football, cricket, cadets and Our Lady’s Sodality.

Graham Duff was a member of SPC First XVIII Football team, which were crowned BPS champions and premiers, in 1959.

Graham was a member of the SPC Athletics team in 1959, which were named the BPS champions.

Graham was a member of the 1959 First XVIII Football BPS Premiers and Champions team as well as the College’s BPS Champions team for athletics.

He competed in the Melbourne Combined Sports in long jump and was noted in the school sports in areas including broad jump, hurdles and running, finishing fourth in the open championship during his matric year.

He was named BPS Open Hurdles Champion in 1958 and received The “Myer” Cup after being awarded the Under 16 Champion, and was part of the 1958 BPS Champions Athletics Team.

Graham also turned his hand to rowing and was the bow in the winning sixth crew in the Head of the Lake in 1958, alongside Francis Denahy, John Byrne and Leon Kavenagh.

He was a member of the Under 15 Football XVIII and Senior Park XI Cricket side and was named the Under 15 athletics champion in 1957 after finishing first in the 100 yards, 220 yards, hurdles and broad jump.

In his first year at SPC, Graham was awarded the Under 14 “Ashkar” Cup for his performance in the school athletics. He was also a non-commissioned officer and member of the Le-Gen Secombe Trophy-winning guard platoon.

Graham attended many SPC and Old Collegian events in Ballarat and Melbourne in later life. Building on his own boarding links, he was master of ceremonies at the College’s Boarding Appeal Launch in 2016, which culminated in the construction of a multi-million dollar new boarding precinct on the SPC grounds and officially opened in 2018.

We extend our deepest sympathy to Graham’s wife Bonnie and their children Lisa, Nick and Tony and extended families. Graham’s funeral was held on February 18 at the Basilica of Our Lady of Victories in Camberwell.

You can read more about Graham’s community contributions in these stories – here here and here

Graham Duff, pictured in his 1956 sub-intermediate class photograph.