The Melbourne Cricket Club (MCC) is saddened to hear of the passing today of Life member and former president, Dr Donald Cordner, aged 87.
After an illustrious career as a footballer with the Melbourne Football Club - including 166 games (1941-50), two VFL premierships (1941 and 1948), a stint as club captain and the 1946 Brownlow medal - Donald commenced what became a lifelong affiliation with the MCC.
The Cordner name is one of the most famous in the club’s history, so much so that when the current MCC Members Pavilion at the MCG was opened in 2005, its entrance at Gate 2 was named the Cordner Entrance.
Donald Cordner joined the MCC Committee on April 28, 1964 and was elected vice-president on September 23, 1980. On August 21, 1985 he became the 22nd president in the club’s history, a role he held with distinction until his retirement on October 20, 1992.
During his tenure as president, Dr Cordner oversaw several historic events and projects affecting the club and the MCG. These include:
• Allowing MCC members to convert Lady’s tickets to female membership in 1983.
• Securing a long-term agreement for AFL football to be played at the MCG, leading to the rebuilding of the Great Southern Stand in 1992.
• Introducing a reciprocal agreement with the Marylebone Cricket Club.
• The reconstruction of the MCG arena to incorporate a sand profile in 1992.
In addition, he was a popular and loyal participant in the activities of the MCC Sporting Sections. He was chairman of the Tennis Section (1972-85) and Squash Section (1975-85), as well as the Sporting Sections Sub-committee (1979-85). In 1992 he was presented with the prestigious Hans Ebeling Award, in recognition of his outstanding service to the MCC Sporting Sections.
In 1993, Dr Cordner was awarded the MCC’s highest honour, that of Life membership, recognising his outstanding service to the club. It has been bestowed sparingly and, including visiting royalty, only 81 members have been honoured since the club's foundation in 1838.
Following retirement, he continued to serve the club voluntarily as a popular member of the MCG Guides team, regularly taking stadium tours and regaling tourists and locals with his many stories about the fascinating history of the club and the stadium.
“Donald Cordner had a long and proud association with the MCC over many decades, serving with distinction during a momentous period in the history of the club and the MCG,” said MCC president Mr David Meiklejohn. “On behalf of the MCC committee and members, I pass on my condolences to Moyle and the family. He will be sadly missed.”
Donald is survived by wife Moyle and his children Steven, Christopher and Merryn and several grandchildren.