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Profile - Doug Corben - Administrator

Pamela Bryant, Wednesday, 21 September 2005

Doug Corben lists his date of birth as "a long time ago" and if the list of his achievements is anything to go on....it must have been "a very long time ago!".  Doug was born in Melbourne and has lived in Balwyn, Blackburn, Box Hill and Beaumaris; in fact anywhere in the eastern suburbs that starts with a "B", it seems.


One of three boys, Doug grew up with a very strong sport ethic, playing footy, cricket and badminton, interspersed with a love of athletics. He attended Box Hill High and Melbourne High, later gaining a Diploma in Accountancy and Cost Accounting and a Degree in Local Government Management at RMIT.  These qualifications were put to good use throughout Doug's working life. …. In today's terms his title would be that of CEO Local Government.


Doug served on numerous Local Government Committees and Community Boards and only last year retired from the Municipal Electoral Tribunal, a Government appointment which dealt with complaints arising from Local Government Elections.  His expertise and value to Local Government and Community was recognized in 1992 and an OAM was bestowed in appreciation. Corben House an aged care facility, well known to Kingston residents, was so named in Doug's honour.


Doug joined the Mentone Bowls Club in 1978 and HE'S STILL THERE!  Wife Joy, loved and remembered by many, was also a member there, as was his youngest son (David) for a time.  Unfortunately David discovered triathlons somewhere along the way, competing in 3 Hawaiian Ironman events and many other long course and short course triathlons all over Australia and New Zealand. Now what would make a young bloke choose Triathlons over Bowls? Beats me! Doug’s eldest son (Bruce), followed Doug's other interest, nurturing youth and the law, through scouting and his work as an Honorary Probationary Officer.


Doug's current workload in Lawn Bowls revolves around many roles:- within his club Mentone, as section treasurer and RVBA delegate, within his Group, as Councilor and a member of the Deputy Umpire Committee, Deputy Coaching Committee and Group Match Committee, plus the many facets of activity involved with the RVBA, Bowls Australia and World Bowls.


Within the RVBA, as well as being Deputy President and a member of the Board, he is Chair of the Rules, Appeals and Umpires Committee, which is responsible for overseeing the examination of prospective umpires, hearing appeals on matters relating to the Laws of the Game, advising current umpires and bowlers on the application of the Laws, issuing rules and seeing through their implementation. There are always many Q and A type scenarios which must be dealt with and changes to rules which must be addressed. You may have seen Doug’s umpires column in "Bowls in Focus" and other publications over the years.


At the National level, Doug looks after Bowls Australia's "Technical Officials". They are the ones who will ultimately control bowls play in the upcoming Melbourne Commonwealth Games in 2006. (How many sleeps is that?)  Right now they are preening and arming themselves with skills needed to reach the required standard.


This process began when Doug and Valmai Lewis attended the Manchester Commonwealth Games and saw first hand how it "could" be done. They returned armed with a "how to" and immediately took out advertisements in all local bowls magazines, seeking "expressions of interest" from those keen enough to give it a go or willing to lift their present status from Level 1 to Level 2.  Groups and Country Regions also had their ears to the ground approaching those "most likely" to take the task on board.


After an initial flurry, 200 men and 60 women answered the call. That figure later reduced to 117. Quarterly training groups worked their way through assessment, umpiring, marking, measuring and the Laws of the Game. International rules, sets play and many unfamiliar concepts and practices had to be mastered. Over the last year we have seen this band of International umpires and markers, either personally or through our television sets, officiating at events throughout Australia, honing their skills and impressing us with their knowledge, flair and competence, sometimes being mic'd up for the occasion.

These Technical Officials have officiated at all Victorian State finals, the Australian Open, the Adelaide, Helensvale and Moama Grand Prix's, the women's Round Robbin in Hobart, the Tri Nations challenge and other Tweed Heads events. We have all been suitably impressed!  They will continue to gain confidence over the coming months at many prime events including Asia Pacific.


Doug's third hat is the one he wears internationally, as a member of the World Bowls, Laws and Constitution Committee. The Committee is presently reviewing the International Laws of the Sport of Lawn Bowls. The final product of this review will have an effect on the Laws of Lawn Bowls in Australia and will have a dramatic impact over the coming years.


Doug you've been a tireless worker, at every level throughout your life. Enjoy the Commonwealth Games. You and your squad of helpers should all be very proud of the, now 32,special people out on the greens as Melbourne sets a new "international benchmark"!. Oh, and by the way, "Clackers", "Clappers", "Flappers" and Paddle Pops" are now "Shot Indicators",...get used to it!,