The Sport Australia Hall of Fame (SAHOF) has acknowledged with much sadness, the passing of esteemed Member, Mr Tony Charlton AM, on 17 December 2012 aged 83.
SAHOF Chair, John Betrand AM said he was very thankful to have had the opportunity to catch up with Tony at this year’s SAHOF Annual Induction and Awards Dinner and for his generosity, despite his illness, in once again recording the very special ‘voice overs’ for their 2012 Inductee video packages.
Inducted into The Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 2007, and the ALF Hall of Fame in 2011, Tony’s career in sports media, which commenced with his first job as an office boy with 3AW in 1949 has been nothing short of outstanding.
From that humble start he was quickly embraced by an industry soon to be revolutionised by the arrival of television and its capacity to make stars of storytellers. After stints in radio and advertising, he joined Channel Nine for the first major TV event in Australia, the 1956 Olympic Games and ever since he has been brining the drama of great Australian sport into the lives of Australians.
After the 1956 Games he switched to Channel Seven as one of its inaugural football commentators and so began a close relationship with a game that received huge exposure through radio, the new medium of television and the written press.
Excelling in the electronic media, he left Seven to return to Channel Nine, where he was commentator, producer and presenter of football shows for 11 years before turning his professional attention to his favourite pastime – golf.
From 1970 to 1983 he was promoter and tournament director of the Australian Open, the PGA Championship and the Victorian Open.
His CV also includes TV coverage of three Olympics and two Commonwealth Games, well as tennis champion Rod Laver’s second Grand Slam in 1969, track stars John Landy and Herb Elliott breaking the four-minute mile and racing driver Jack Brabham winning the world championship. He was also the MC of the popular Caltex Sports Star of the Year series for 30 years.
From 1988 to 2008 Charlton was MC of the Prime Minister’s Olympic Dinner, a mammoth fundraising event for our Olympians. He remained closely connected to the Olympic movement, compering special anniversaries of the 1956 Games and other events for many years.
He also compered the opening by Prime Minister John Howard of the Australia Cricket Hall of Fame in 1996 and MCG Media Hall of Fame induction dinners from 1999-2006. Since then he has been presenter at a host of sports functions, notably at the MCG.
Tony has given his time generously and freely to sporting and charitable causes including the Alfred Hospital where he was treated when his cancer was diagnosed , the Victorian Olympic Council and the Australian Commemorative Plaques group which marks sites of Australian military involvements around the world.
An outstanding Australian, and very much the voice of Anzac Day, Charlton was awarded an OAM in 1990 and an AM in 2003. In 2008 he received the Order of Merit from the Australian Olympic Committee and was also a recipient of the Order of Merit from the Melbourne Cricket Club.