A MORNINGTON man is in the running to become Australia’s Local Hero in the Community Achievement Awards for Regional Victoria.
The awards are linked to the Australian of The Year Awards with nominations closing on 31 July.
Self-employed builder Wayne Hinton has been nominated by his wife Alina for the Southside Plumbing, Heating and Cooling Community Hero Award which acknowledges those making a significant contribution at a local level in regional and rural Victoria.
The award recognises those “many selfless people who, through their actions, have positively impacted the lives of others and their community”.
Mr Hinton, who is best known as an umpire of AFL football over the past 40 years, said in his early days he “just wanted to participate”.
“I was keen on athletics and umpiring fitted in well,” he said.
Since then he has umpired at the highest levels, including the VFL/AFL and the Victorian Amateur Football Association where he has officiated in more than 600 games. He regularly umpires school football for the APS/CGS and currently umpires in juniors for the Southern Umpires League.
Mr Hinton began umpiring in the VAFA before going on to the VFL’s Cadet Squad in 1983. Appointed to the senior VFL panel he umpired for eight years before returning to the VAFA in 1992.
He umpired five senior VFL games, 100 reserve grade games and more than 50 Victoria Country Football League games, as well as one grand final in his time on the VFL list. He is a life member of the AFL Umpires’ Association and a life member of the VAFA Umpires’ Association. He has been involved in umpires’ coaching, mentoring and has sat on many committees for various umpire associations for almost 40 years.
“You never know how you are going to go,” he said. “You go to training, receive coaching, sit in on lectures, read about umpiring … but it’s what happens out on the ground that counts.”
A story in the AFL Umpires’ newsletter states: “Anytime you speak to Wayne ‘Chuck’ Hinton about football and umpiring you will have his undivided attention. With a smile on his face and a gleam in his eye he engages anyone who wants to have a chat.”
Mr Hinton loves mentoring young umpires through the ranks. He especially loves supporting young female umpires, including inspiring and coaching his daughter Asha who is a boundary umpire with the VAFA.
The trio are part of the “Hinton dynasty” which had its beginnings with Wayne’s father John who umpired more than 300 VAFA games. Mr Hinton credits him as being the “biggest influence” on his career.
Mr Hinton, who has umpired four VAFA A-grade, four B-grade and six C-grade grand finals, has contributed to the development of many umpires over his long career. At present he contributes to AFL on the Mornington Peninsula by developing junior umpires and also teaching junior players about the rules in a kind and generous way.
“He is well liked by other umpires, football clubs and players alike,” Mrs Tooley said. “While Wayne gets paid to umpire, since COVID-19 began he has been going above and beyond to fill gaps in the umpiring rosters due to lots of people quitting umpiring.
“Most Sundays he umpires three junior games in a row to ensure the juniors have a trained and experienced man in charge. At the moment he is umpiring around six games a week which takes up to 20 hours of his time.
“On top of working full time as a builder, Wayne fits in these games of umpiring each week – not bad at 63 years of age and after facing kidney failure and receiving a kidney donation in 2013.”
The nomination says Mr Hinton has “contributed significantly” to his community through his building business and also by umpiring. “He is an outstanding member of his community and is well respected in the AFL community,” Ms Tooley said.