Lakeside Stadium
Lakeside November 2021.jpg
Former namesLake Oval, South Melbourne Cricket Ground, Bob Jane Stadium
LocationAughtie Drive, Albert Park, Victoria
Coordinates37°50′25″S 144°57′54″E / 37.84028°S 144.96500°E / -37.84028; 144.96500Coordinates: 37°50′25″S 144°57′54″E / 37.84028°S 144.96500°E / -37.84028; 144.96500
OperatorState Sports Centre Trust
Capacity12,000 (7,400 seated)[1]
SurfaceGrass (soccer stadium), blue synthetic (athletics track)
Construction
Broke ground1876
Opened1878
Renovated1995, 2011, 2019
Tenants
Athletics

Australian Little Athletics
Athletics Victoria
Athletics Australia

Soccer

South Melbourne FC
Melbourne Victory FC (Youth Team)
Melbourne Victory FC (Women's Team)

other tenants

Albert-park Football Club (Challenge Cup/VFA, 1878-1879)
South Melbourne Football Club (VFA/VFL, 1879–1915, 1917-1941, 1947-1981)
Victorian Institute of Sport
South Melbourne Cricket Club (until 1994)

Methodist Ladies' College
Ground information
International information
Only WODI31 January 1985:
 Australia v  England
As of 8 September 2020
Source: CricketArchive

Lakeside Stadium is an Australian sports arena in the South Melbourne suburb of Albert Park. Comprising an athletics track and soccer stadium, it currently serves as the home ground and administrative base for association football club South Melbourne FC, Athletics Victoria, Athletics Australia, Victorian Institute of Sport and Australian Little Athletics.

The venue was built on the site of a former Australian rules football and cricket ground, the Lakeside Oval (also called the Lake Oval and the South Melbourne Cricket Ground), which served for more than a century as the home ground of the South Melbourne Cricket Club, and most notably as the home ground of the South Melbourne Football Club from 1879-1915, 1917-1941 and 1947-1981,[2] though Australian rules football had been played at the site since 1869. The ground has also been used for soccer from at least 1883.[3][4]

It is one of four state-supported sporting facilities in Melbourne - the others being the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre (MSAC), the MSAC Institute of Training (MIT) and the State Netball and Hockey Centre (SNHC) - organised under the banner of Melbourne Sports Centres.[5]

History

Cricket

The South Melbourne Cricket Club was formed as early as 1862. The oval remained home to the South Melbourne Cricket Club until 1994.[4]

Australian rules football

South Melbourne and the touring British Lions in front of the grandstand at the South Melbourne Cricket Ground in 1888
South Melbourne and the touring British Lions in front of the grandstand at the South Melbourne Cricket Ground in 1888

The South Melbourne Football Club was formed in 1874.[4][6]

With the formation of Albert Park from a low lying swamp, a growing population and the popularity of football in the 1870s, an oval was established at the South Melbourne end of the park by the late 1870s, and both clubs soon adopted it as their home ground.

What came to be known as the Lake Oval or Lakeside Oval served most prominently as the home ground for Australian rules football club South Melbourne, in both the Victorian Football Association and the Victorian Football League. In its early days, the ground was considered one of the best in the league and was the venue for the 1901 VFL Grand Final. [4][7]

Following the destruction of the previous grandstand by fire, a new grandstand was built in 1926 designed by Clegg & Morrow and featuring a non-symmetrical layout, ornamental gables and prominent vents in the form of ridge lanterns.[8][4]

When electric floodlighting was installed at the venue during the 1950s, it became one of the first venues in Melbourne to regularly host night football matches, including the night premiership series between 1956 and 1971. Night premiership matches in the Victorian Football Association in 1957 and 1958[9] and night interstate matches,[10] including many matches at the 1958 Interstate Carnival[11] were also held at the Lake Oval.[4]

The ground record crowd for Lake Oval was set on 30 July 1932, when 41,000 turned out to see Carlton defeat South Melbourne by nine points.[12]

The 1926 grandstand prior to Lakeside Stadium redevelopment
The 1926 grandstand prior to Lakeside Stadium redevelopment
Aerial view of Lakeside Stadium prior to 2011 redevelopment
Aerial view of Lakeside Stadium prior to 2011 redevelopment

South Melbourne used the ground for home games until the end of the 1981 VFL season, when the club relocated to Sydney and became the Sydney Swans.[13] The last senior VFL match played at Lake Oval was on Saturday, 29 August 1981, when South Melbourne were defeated by 33 points against North Melbourne in front of 8,484 fans.[14]

The ground hosted 892 senior matches in the recognized top level of Victorian football - 188 in the VFA and 704 in the VFL/AFL - in 98 seasons of competition, with another 26 matches - 24 in the unaffiliated era and two in the VFA - being played on the site in the eight seasons prior to the ground's construction.

The Lake Oval was used for VFL/AFL reserves matches after South Melbourne's relocation in 1981 until 1993.[4]

Aerial photo of the South Melbourne cricket ground with a football match in progress.
Aerial photo of the South Melbourne cricket ground with a football match in progress.

For a time during the late 1980s and early 1990s, the struggling Fitzroy Football Club used the ground as a training and administrative base.[15][16] The Old Xaverians Football Club of the Victorian Amateur Football Association were based there in 1993 and 1994.[4]

Redevelopment and transformation into a soccer stadium

Redevelopment of the venue from an oval football/cricket stadium to the rectangular soccer stadium which became known as the Lakeside Stadium took place in 1995, when South Melbourne FC was forced out of its old home at Middle Park.[17] The stadium was built with a capacity of 14,000 people,[4] which was achieved or approached several times in South Melbourne's history at the ground. A grandstand with an approximate capacity of 3,000 people was situated on one side, with a social club, reception centre and administrative facilities built in, while the other three sides of the ground consisted of open terraces with wooden seats. At one stage, a second two tiered stand for the outer side was proposed, but only preliminary plans were produced.[18][4]

As well as being the home of South Melbourne FC, the venue also hosted games by the Socceroos,[19] Young Socceroos, Australia's national women's team the Matildas,[20] and grand finals and finals matches of the Victorian Premier League (now National Premier Leagues Victoria).[21][4]

The old grandstand remained unused and decaying in this period; at one stage the Sydney Swans football club showed interest in repurchasing it to be used as a museum and administrative building, while there were also calls from others to demolish the building because of its derelict state.

Athletics venue

In May 2008, the state government announced that Lakeside Stadium would undergo a major redevelopment, in order to accommodate an athletics track, as part of moving Athletics Victoria from Olympic Park. The Victorian Institute of Sport, Athletics Victoria and South Melbourne FC would share tenancy of the venue. Major Projects Victoria committed $60 million to the project. South Melbourne played its final match under Lakeside Stadium's previous configuration in April 2010, and construction work on the remodelled venue began in June 2010. Under the remodelling, the old grandstand stand was refurbished to house the VIS.[22]

The synthetic 8-lane athletics track was constructed to international IAAF standards. A 6-lane 60 metre warm-up track was also constructed. The remodelling also saw a FIFA-sized natural grass soccer pitch, a new electronic scoreboard, upgraded lighting, a new northern stand and new spectator amenities. The old grandstand was also renovated to accommodate offices.[23] In March 2012, the stadium hosted the Melbourne Track Classic.

Despite often providing windy conditions for athletes, some world class performances have been recorded at the venue, including a 12.49 second run by Sally Pearson over the 100m hurdles.[24]

The venue is operated by the State Sports Centre Trust, the operators of the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre and the State Netball and Hockey Centre.[4]

See also

References

  1. ^ "Lakeside Stadium". South Melbourne FC. Retrieved 5 July 2017.
  2. ^ South Melbourne did not compete in 1916 due to World War I, while the ground was occupied by the military from 1942 to 1946.
  3. ^ Syson, Ian (30 September 2013). "Victorian Soccer Fixtures and Results 1883". Neos Osmos. Retrieved 24 June 2016.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "Lakeside Stadium". Retrieved 9 April 2022.
  5. ^ "Melbourne Sports Centres - Home". melbournesportscentres.com.au. Retrieved 1 April 2020.
  6. ^ "Timeline: VFA era and the birth of a new club (1874 - 1897)". Retrieved 21 April 2022.
  7. ^ "Timeline: VFA era and the birth of a new club (1874 - 1897)". Retrieved 21 April 2022.
  8. ^ "South Melbourne Cricket & Football Grandstand and Press Box". vhd.heritagecouncil.vic.gov.au. Retrieved 1 April 2020.
  9. ^ "Lone V.F.A. club's 'no' to night football". The Sun News-Pictorial. Melbourne. 2 April 1957. p. 47.
  10. ^ Carrick, Noel (24 July 1957). "Burst by S.A. crushes V.F.A.". The Sun News-Pictorial. Melbourne. p. 45.
  11. ^ Bretland, Bernie (3 July 1958). "Big men pave way for WA". The Sun News-Pictorial. Melbourne. p. 38.
  12. ^ "Lake Oval - Attendances (1921-1981)". AFL Tables. Retrieved 5 July 2017.
  13. ^ "Timeline: Tough times see the Swans fly north (1960 - 1984)". Retrieved 21 April 2022.
  14. ^ "Timeline: Tough times see the Swans fly north (1960 - 1984)". Retrieved 9 April 2022.
  15. ^ Linnell, Stephen (23 July 1993). "Lion members back move to Western Oval". The Age. Melbourne. p. 28. Retrieved 5 July 2017.
  16. ^ "The moment that began Fitzroy's long, slow death". 24 June 2016. Retrieved 21 April 2022.
  17. ^ Keyte, Jennifer (presenter); Donahoe, Brendan (reporter) (29 May 1994). "Albert Park - The Track". Seven Nightly News. Seven Network. HSV Melbourne. Retrieved 5 July 2017 – via Argiri on YouTube.
  18. ^ "Bob Jane Stadium Redevelopment". Austadiums. Archived from the original on 17 May 2008. Retrieved 5 July 2017.[better source needed]
  19. ^ Esamie, Thomas; Stock, Greg; Cazal, Jean-Michel; Scicluna, Frank. "Socceroo Internationals for 1996". OzFootball. Retrieved 5 July 2017.
  20. ^ Esamie, Thomas. "Matildas Internationals for 2006". OzFootball. Retrieved 5 July 2017.
  21. ^ Punshon, John. "2006 Vodafone Cup Results". OzFootball. Retrieved 5 July 2017.
  22. ^ "State Sports Facilities Project". Major Projects Victoria. Archived from the original on 22 April 2011. Retrieved 5 July 2017.
  23. ^ "State Sports Facilities Project Profile" (PDF). Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre.
  24. ^ "Lakeside Stadium Track Records on the Athletics Track Directory". Inside Athletics.