Vale John Miles

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The VAFA extends its deepest condolences to the family and friends of VAFA Life Member, John Miles, who passed away peacefully at the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness Centre yesterday.

John sat on the VAFA executive committee (Board) from 1977 – ’95 and was Chairman of Selectors for the Big V from 1981 – 85 during the period we won 10 consecutive senior representative matches.

Former VAFA President, Richard Evans, said John was responsible for a number of positive changes within the VAFA, but his greatest legacy is the little known ‘Miles Rule’.

During his tenure, U19s would often forfeit through lack of numbers, but John introduced a rule which allowed teams to borrow players from their opposition.

“The Miles Rule would allow teams to share players so U19 games could still go ahead and often their were 15 players per side,” Evans said.

“It was one of the best things that would happen to the VAFA and John’s greatest legacy.”

By Phil Skeggs

Ivanhoe Amateur Football Club mourns the passing of club legend John “Plumber” Miles at the Austin Hospital on Monday, (July 18) aged 82.

John, a VAFA and IAFC life member and triple premiership player, died peacefully in the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness Centre.

One of three sons of Arthur Miles – an Ivanhoe player from the 1920s and club stalwart in later years – John played during a halcyon era for the Hoes.

He was a half-forward flanker in Ivanhoe’s only A grade senior premiership team in 1956. He also played in the Hoes’ 1954 B grade premiership and 1953 Under 19 flag side.

He continued to serve the Hoes as an under 19s coach and on committee as president, vice-president and secretary, and later with the VAFA executive during the 1980s.

John’s plumbing background proved invaluable in maintaining the playing surface and clubrooms at Ivanhoe Park and later Elsternwick Park.

During the 1977 season, with Ivanhoe Park a quagmire of Merri mud, John arranged for a committee member who had a local dairy to bring a horse and dray onto the park to help scrape inch-thick mud off the surface, drain and improve it.

John also made his mark as a VAFA chairman of selectors between 1981-85 – VAFA senior teams recording 10 consecutive wins between 1981-84. John was awarded VAFA life membership in 1987.

John was also Ivanhoe Amateurs’ first historian. In 1984, to mark the club’s first 50 years in the VAFA, he typed up a brief history that has proved an invaluable record for later generations.

Ivanhoe football club was John’s second home, but he couldn’t have dedicated his life to it without the wholehearted support of wife Mary, who spearheaded ladies committees and was also a popular club life member.

Even in his final years, John could be found volunteering as a goal umpire, timekeeper, bar manager, football polisher or tending a barbecue after training. The Hoes’ John Miles best clubman award perpetuates his unstinting work over the decades.

John’s son Greg said his father was particularly proud to witness Ivanhoe’s rise back up the grades in recent seasons, including a reserves flag in D2 last year and a drought-breaking under 19s premiership the previous season.

And even when his health was obviously failing, John still ventured out with Greg to watch his beloved Hoes notch some memorable wins earlier this season.

All at Ivanhoe extend deepest sympathies to the Miles clan – daughters Heather, Wendy, Leanne and Greg. John is also survived by 10 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. His wife Mary died in January 2015.


The funeral to celebrate the wonderful life of John Miles will be held this Friday 22 July at 2pm at Ashton Manor in Diamond Creek.

Photo: Phil Skeggs