Peter Darcy TANNOCK

Year Inducted 2011
Date of Birth 2nd October 1940

Category - Administrator

League Games Played 51 (East Perth 1963-1966), Goals 26

Independent WAFL Board Member 1985-1988, Chairman Football Development Trust 1988-1989, Chairman WA Football Commission 1989-1999  Life Member AFL 1996

WESTERN Australian football has had many fine administrators, but none faced the breadth or depth of challenges that confronted Peter Tannock when he became inaugural chairman of the independent West Australian Football Commission in June 1989. The game in Western Australia was effectively insolvent and almost at civil war due to a significant non-alignment of interests at various levels. Within five years of his appointment, Tannock had overseen an almost unimaginable transformation and, with the aid of a committed WAFC and staff, placed football on the foundation for success that has subsequently been fully realised.

Peter Tannock brought to football administration, an important combination of skills and experiences. As a player for East Perth, he was a valuable 51-game ruckman from 1963-1966 and narrowly missed selection in the Hobart Carnival team. He had previously experienced success with the University MJFA team and Albany Railways (1962) and later captain-coached University to two A grade amateur premierships in 3 years between 1969 and 1971. He was captain-coach of WA at the 1970 Amateur Carnival and his performances saw him awarded vice captaincy of the All Australian Amateur team for 1970.

A doctoral scholarship in Education at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore USA terminated Tannock’s senior football career in August 1966 but this qualification and his subsequent career in education imparted important leadership skills. His various roles included Professor of Education at UWA, Commonwealth public servant in Canberra (where he served on the prestigious Karmel Committee into the organising and financing of education in Australia, and was later chairman of the Australian Schools Commission) and Director of Catholic Education in Western Australia. Critically, Tannock also had the vision and the sense of responsibility to resurrect football in Western Australia and restore the necessary order to ensure ongoing strength. Equally importantly he had the strength of character to pursue unwaveringly the path he believed to be necessary.

Initially filling a vacancy created on the independent WAFL board, Tannock became chairman of the Football Development Trust in 1988 and began implementing the model for junior development that is now the envy of all other states. Football had at that time largely disappeared from the schools and junior development was in a desperate state. In the FDT role, Tannock emerged as a leading player in the formation of an independent Football Commission and in June 1989 he became inaugural WAFC chairman.

The major changes driven by the independent commission under Tannock may be summarised thus:

  • The rescue of Indian Pacific Ltd (owner of West Coast Eagles) and restructure to bring WCE under Commission control.
  • The restoration of the financial health of West Australian football through the agency of loan restructure, Government guarantee and development of new income streams.
  • The granting of a 99-year lease of Subiaco Oval to the WAFC though government legislation providing security of tenure and confidence to invest in the asset.
  • The formation of a second AFL club in WA under the control of the Commission.

While he would bestow substantial credit to others for the achievements of the WAFC under his eight-year chairmanship, the role of Peter Tannock is widely acknowledged and respected even by critics of his authoritarian style.  His leadership, vision, political skills and persuasiveness and his outstanding successes in the rescue of West Australian football were recognised by the AFL when in 1996 they awarded Tannock Life Membership – the only West Australian so honoured other than 300 game players. In terms of impact and achievement, Peter Tannock is arguably the most important administrator in the history of West Australian football.