A passion for cricket and teaching

David Kelly (Supplied)

Ash Bolt

Cricket and teaching are two of David Kelly’s greatest passions.

On Wednesday he was awarded an Order of Australia Medal for this lifelong commitment to teaching and cricket.

“I am extremely overwhelmed and surprised,” he said.

“I’m totally indebted to all the volunteers [I’ve worked with] because you never do anything on your own.

“I’ve had some great mentors and built some long term friendships that I’ve relied upon.

“And I couldn’t do it without the support of my wife Mary, who has been my biggest supporter on this great journey.”

Originally from Casterton in the state’s west, Mr Kelly’s first involvement in cricket came as a statistician as a teenager.

In 1963 he moved to Geelong to study teaching and trained specifically to teach children with hearing impairment.

He taught at Geelong Special School and North Shore Public School, before becoming principal of Oberon South Primary School in 1988.

He then moved back to Geelong Special School, now known as Nelson Park School as principal until his retirement.

He was also a founder and principal of the Nelson park Early Learning Centre.

“It was a great honour to be a principal – I really enjoyed nurturing people,” he said.

“I’m very project-driven and you need to have people around you who share your vision – I was very lucky to have that because that’s how you achieve great things.”

Along with his teaching, Mr Kelly was a passionate supporter of local cricket, first with the Grovedale Cricket Club and then the Geelong Cricket Club.

“Cricket still continues to grow in Geelong and underlying that is a fantastic set of volunteers who do what they can,” he said.

“That’s important, because you can’t get a baggy green without volunteers.

“I just think how lucky I am sometimes to have been able to be involved.”

Mr Kelly said some of his cricketing highlights, which included serving as president of both clubs, were the Grovedale club’s annual sports nights, that featured the likes of the Chappell brothers, Tony Greig, Viv Richards, Imran Khan and Richard Hadlee.

He was also proud to see the Grovedale club grow to one of the strongest in the Geelong Cricket Association and to see the continued growth of the Geelong Cricket Club.

He said his proudest moments came when the club’s practice wicket was named the David Kelly Training Centre and when he was awarded life membership by Cricket Victoria.