World War I splintered Don Miller’s football career. He was a spirited Norwood defender in 1915, before league football closed down for three years, and returned for a final season in 1919.
Don was the slightly older brother of Norman Miller, a nifty Norwood forward in 1913 and 1913. They were among the best players when the Kent Town Ramblers made it two premierships in a row with the 3.6 to 0.5 defeat of Norwood Union in the Adelaide and Suburban junior association in 1912. Don was the Ramblers’ practice captain and auditor. He and Norman also represented Norwood II in 1912. Don, Norman and their younger brother, Alfred, were members of the Seagulls Swimming Club.
Don was born at Golden Grove on 12 August 1890 to Thomas Miller and his wife Annie, née O’Donoghue, who as well as three sons had a daughter, Agnes.
Don was regularly named in the Norwood best players in 1915. Newspaper reports testify to his ability: “D. Miller played a grand game in defence and was never beaten in a straight-out go” . . . “Miller has established himself in the back lines and raised the enthusiasm of the crowd” . . . “Perry and Miller were difficult to pass” . . . “Miller relieved dashingly” . . . “Johns and Miller were the best of the backmen, the latter defending in fine style and giving promise of developing into a fine footballer”.
When the war ended, Don returned to football as though he had never left it, playing 10 games in 1919 and still earning plaudits such as “Miller . . . consistently beat his man, both in the air and on the ground”. The Critic of 30 July 1919 did note that “Miller of the Norwoods is unfortunately a very poor kick but in all other aspects is improving every match.”
Despite the efforts of the Miller brothers, Norwood finished bottom in the years 1913, 1914, 1915 and 1919. Don helped the Norwood B team to defeat Sturt at the opening of the 1920 season on 7 May and then appears to have retired at the age of 29.
Don married Oriel Page in Adelaide in 1919. He died at Hindmarsh on 19 December 1937 and is buried with his siblings at the West Terrace Cemetery.
P. Robins, D. Cox, M. Coligan December 2021