2 December 2021

John Miller’s enormous contribution to the Canberra sporting community lays the platform for the next generation

| Tim Gavel
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John Miller playing for Ainslie. Photo: Supplied.

John Miller playing for Ainslie. Photo: Supplied.

John Miller’s most significant contribution as a sportsman in Canberra was in Australian Rules.

In that sport he won the 1980 Mulroney Medal for the ACT’s best and fairest player. It was an extraordinary feat given he only played nine games for Ainslie that year.

In total, John played 107 games for Ainslie, including in the 1980 team that won the premiership after going through the season undefeated. He represented the ACT 21 times, six as captain.

He also played for the ACT in the historic victory over the might of the VFL in 1980, a result regarded by many as one of the greatest achievements by a Canberra sports team. John had come to Canberra two years before this historic win after growing up in Victoria.

“I had a brief military career. I was in Townsville before ending up in Canberra,” John explains.

John Miller

John Miller played 107 games for Ainslie. Photo: Supplied.

Sport, though, remained a constant throughout his life, with football in winter and cricket in summer.

In the 1980-81 cricket season, following on from his success on the football field, John came fourth in the Canberra Times Cricketer of the Year awards.

He played for Norths, Ginninderra and South Woden before heading back to Ginninderra as the captain-coach for the 85-86 season.

John’s impact on Canberra sport wasn’t confined to his playing exploits. He became president of the Ainslie Football Club in 2001 because “I always had a desire to give back; every sporting club needs volunteers”.

Giving back saw John join the board of ACT Cricket in 2010.

He succeeded Ian McNamee as president in 2016.

“Ian’s very passionate about ACT cricket and we shared that passion.”

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Together they oversaw significant developments in ACT Cricket, including the Manuka Oval lights and the first men’s test match held there in 2019.

“The Phillip Oval redevelopment was a priority during my time on the board and as president. The oval was repurposed for sport after it had become a wasteland and is now a great second venue for cricket and AFL.”

During his time on the board there has also been a significant increase in female participation as well as a commercial return.

John Miller

John Miller at the ACT Cricket Awards 2021. Photo: Cricket ACT.

Now after 11 years on the board, including five as chairman, John has decided to call it stumps.

“My term went through to 2023 but I thought by going now it would allow for a smoother changeover with changes in the leadership on the board of Cricket Australia and other negotiations important to Cricket ACT requiring longer-term input,” says John.

He has supported Canberra businessman Greg Boorer taking over as president.

John says he is proud of Cricket ACT’s proven ability to host major events such as test cricket. He has played an enormous part in making this happen and his legacy will live on through the strong foundations to which he has significantly contributed.

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