One of Australian sport’s biggest pioneers Albert ‘Ted’ Harris AC will be recognised for his significant contribution in shaping the trajectory of the sporting industry when he is inducted into The Sport Australia Hall of Fame next month.
The 85-year-old will be officially inducted alongside six others at The Sport Australia Hall of Fame Annual Induction and Awards Gala Dinner, proudly presented by Etihad Airways, on Thursday, 10 October at Crown Melbourne.
Amongst Harris’ most well-known contributions was his work as the first ever Chairman of the Australian Sports Commission and overseeing the amalgamation with the Australian Institute of Sport.
And whilst he began his career on the Macquarie Radio Network calling the 1949 Davis Cup, he ended up shaping sport for all Australians.
Working with petroleum company Ampol, he took sport and broadcast sponsorships to new levels. Recognising the significant pull of international sport, Harris set up televisions in his Ampol services stations for people to be able to watch the Melbourne 1956 Olympic Games “appear on television long before there were many people who had television sets.”
His passion for a range of sports made him an ideal first Chairman of the Australian Sports Commission, a role in which delivered some of his most treasured achievements.
“I think what gave myself and my fellow commissioners the greatest feeling of a contribution was that we were able to convince the government to give what was a large sum of money at that time to be distributed by the Commission to a number of sports that we saw fit to provide financial support to,” Harris explained.
“The Commission felt that it was important that not only the sports that got the most publicity should be given financial assistance when many of those smaller sports relied so much on people who gave their time.
“We had a number of commissioners who had been great sportsmen and sportswomen themselves so there was a real understanding of what sport needed.”
Harris credits the ability to mix corporate life and sport on the contribution recognised by The Sport Australia Hall of Fame.
“I am greatly indebted to those who saw fit to put my name forward, it is a singular honour,” Harris said of his induction.
“What it means is that I have done something hopefully that has contributed to the progress of sport in Australia over a long period time.”
Robert de Castella MBE, Chairman of The Sport Australia Hall of Fame selection committee, is one of the first to support this claim.
“Sport in Australia owes Ted an incredible vote of thanks and acknowledgement for the work and guidance that he put in,” de Castella said.
“He was a great tennis player and commentator in his early days but then went on to champion and lead Australian sport through that period of the developments of the Institutes of Sport and through his work with the Australian Sports Commission.”
Established in 1985, The Sport Australia Hall of Fame aims to preserve and celebrate the history of Australian Sport and excite the next generation of Australians to achieve their potential both in sport and in life.
With a vision and values built around the words of the first Inductee and Legend, Sir Donald Bradman AC, The Sport Australia Hall of Fame is determined to carry to all Australians everywhere the symbol of excellence, as represented by its 518 Members across all sports and genders.
For more information about The Sport Australia Hall of Fame, visit http://www.sahof.org.au.