John Halbert

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 Glenelg Career Highlights
  • Coached Glenelg 1979 - 1982
    • took Glenelg to 7th, 4th, 2nd and 2nd
  Other Career Highlights
  • 244 games and 253 goals for Sturt, 1955 - 1968
  • Captain of Sturt 1962 - 1968


  • Member of premiership team of Sturt, 1966


  • Centreman in victorious 1963 team


  • Magarey Medallist 1961 (runner up 1955, 1958, 1960, third 1964)
  • Four time best and fairest of Sturt 1958, 1960, 1961, 1964
  • All Australian 1961
  • Player life member of Sturt
  • Player life member of the SANFL
  • SANFL life member 1986
  • Inducted SANFL Hall of Fame 2002
  • MBE awarded in 1969 for services to sport and work amongst young people.
  • AM awarded in 2009
  • SA Senior Australian of the Year 2009


  • Coached Sturt 1983 - 1984


  • State of Origin selector – Chairman 1992-1998
  • SANFL Football Commission 1996 - 2008
  • South Australian Football Development Foundation:
    • Member 1970 - 2006
    • Chairman 1993 - 2006
  • AFL Laws Committee 2000 - onwards
  • Member AFL Australian Football Foundation 1995 - 1998
  • Member of the SANFL Umpires Board 1985 - 1996
  • Chairman of Selectors of the Adelaide Football Club 1992 - 1994

John A Halbert MBE AM had a long and illustrious career with Sturt Football Club. He made his debut with Sturt in 1955 and was an immediate success. By the time he retired from the game he had established a new record for the Blues by playing 251 games.

He coached Glenelg for four seasons 1979 - 1982.

Halbert (R) celebrating Glenelg's famous 1982 Preliminary Final win

Football Career

Halbert was a centreman and first played for Sturt in 1955. In his debut season he finished second in the Magarey Medal count to Lindsay Head and in 1958 was again the runner up with Head winning another Medal. He also polled well in 1960 but again finished second, this time losing to Barrie Barbary. The Medal was finally his in 1961, his 20 votes enough to hold off the challengers. Sturt had actually finished with the wooden spoon that season but it was a good year for Halbert, as well as winning that elusive Magarey Medal he was also picked in the All Australian team after his performances for the South Australians at the Brisbane Carnival.

He represented South Australia at interstate football at total of 17 times during his career. In 1962 he was made captain of Sturt and led them to a premiership in 1966, their first flag since 1940. Injuries prevented Halbert from playing in Sturt's 1967 and 1968 premiership sides, and he was forced to retire. He finished with a then club record 251 SANFL games.

Halbert held coaching ambitions but with Sturt winning five successive premierships from 1966, the job of Sturt's coach belonged to Jack Oatey for virtually as long as he wished to hold it. Halbert was appointed as Glenelg's coach from the 1979 season and coached the club for the next four years. He was at the helm when Glenelg had a famous victory over Port Adelaide in the 1982 Preliminary Final, but the ultimate success eluded him.

In 1983 he was appointed coach of his beloved Sturt, and coached them 1983 - 1984.


He also played two first-class cricket matches for South Australia in the 1961/62 season.

Halbert had an exceptional career as an academic, sportsman, educator, mentor and public speaker. His dedication to the development of young people in sport has been a focus and this was recognised when he was made a Member of the British Empire in 1969 for his work in this area. He was also awarded the honour Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 2009 for service to Australian Rules football administration, to youth development, and to the community particularly through the Lutheran Church of Australia.

Furthermore his service to the community has extended to his participation in the Lutheran Church as a congregation Chairman, Board Member and respected elder.


1. Wikipedia article

2. Australian of the Year article

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