Subiaco Oval

Subiaco Oval (/sbiˈæk/; nicknamed Subi) was a sports stadium in Perth, Western Australia, located in the suburb of Subiaco. It was opened in 1908 and closed in 2017 after the completion of the new Perth Stadium in Burswood, Western Australia. The stadium is currently undergoing demolition which is expected to be completed by late 2019, although the historic oval playing surface is planned to remain.[2]

Subiaco Oval
Subiaco Oval
Former namesMueller Park, Patersons Stadium, Domain Stadium
LocationRoberts Road, Subiaco, Western Australia, Australia
Coordinates31°56′40″S 115°49′48″E
OwnerWestern Australian Government
OperatorWest Australian Football Commission
Capacity43,082[1]
Record attendanceConcerts:
65,000 (Adele Live 2016)
Sports:
52,781 (1979 WANFL Grand Final)
SurfaceGrass
Construction
Broke ground1908
Opened1908
Closed2017
Demolished2019/2020
Construction cost1991 rebuild – A$45 million
ArchitectVarious
Tenants
Subiaco Football Club (1908–2004)
West Coast Eagles (AFL) (AFL Matches 1987–2017, training ground 1987–2019)
Fremantle Football Club (AFL) (1995–2017)
Western Force (Super Rugby) (2006–2009)
Perth Glory (A-League) (2012)

Subiaco Oval was the highest capacity stadium in Western Australia and one of the main stadiums in Australia, with a final capacity of 43,500 people. It began as the home ground for the Subiaco Football Club and from the 1930s onward was the home of Australian rules football in Western Australia. It hosted the annual grand final of the West Australian Football League (WAFL), with the ground record attendance of 52,781 set at the 1979 Grand Final. It later served as the home ground of the West Coast Eagles and the Fremantle Football Club, the two Perth teams in the Australian Football League (AFL). Other events included Perth Glory soccer games (including two National Soccer League grand finals), Western Force rugby games, international rules matches, and rock concerts. Under naming rights the stadium was known as Patersons Stadium (2011–2014) and Domain Stadium (2015–2017) in its final years.

Ground structure

The ground was first built in 1908, at which point it was known as Mueller Park. In 1969 a three-tier stand was constructed at the western end of the stadium, and in 1981 a two-tier stand on the members' wing was completed. A further redevelopment came in 1995 with the opening of the new two-tier "ANZ Stand" (now NAB Stand) opposite the members' wing. In 1997, light towers were installed at the ground. The last redevelopment, which converted the stadium into an all-seat venue with a capacity of approximately 43,500 was completed in 1999 at a cost of A$35 million.[3]

The three-tier stand is named the Orr-Simons-Hill stand, in honour of three leading figures in the history of WAFL (then known as WANFL). This was proudly and prominently displayed on the exterior western face of the stand right up until the early 1990s, when it was replaced with the logo of a commercial sponsor. There is a small plaque remembering the original naming of the stand, mounted in one of the stairwells, and each tier has a sign on the back interior wall; for example, the first (ground) tier is the R. W. Hill Tier, and the second is the W. R. Orr Tier. (W. R. Orr was secretary of the WANFL in 1932, R. W. Hill was captain of West Perth in 1940 and 1941, and secretary of the WANFL in 1968). The ground is floodlit by four lighting towers.

Ground dimensions

AFL playing surface:

  • Length: 175 m (574.15 ft)
  • Width: 122 m (400.26 ft)
  • Goals run east to west

Fence to fence

  • Length: 191 m (626.64 ft)
  • Width: 132 m (433.07 ft)[4]

Subiaco Oval was the longest ground in the AFL competition, with visiting interstate teams often having to adjust their playing style accordingly. Between 2000 and 2017, the ground was sometimes referred to as "The House of Pain", with many visiting teams losing by lopsided scores.[5][6][7]

Ground naming rights

In 2003, the retail telecommunications company Crazy John's controversially attempted to buy the naming rights to the ground, but the bid was denied by the local Subiaco council, which refused planning permission for advertising signs on the stadium's exterior. In May 2005, a non-commercial name change was being considered; the proposal to rename to 'ANZAC Field' was put forward by the West Australian Football Commission, but rejected by the Minister for Veterans Affairs, De-Anne Kelly, as Anzac is a federally protected word. In October 2010, Perth-based stockbroker Patersons Securities bought the naming rights, and the name of the ground was changed to Patersons Stadium.[8] The Western Australian Football Commission accepted it and said it would put money back into all levels of football.

In February 2015, it was announced that real estate company the Domain Group would take over naming rights from Patersons Securities, and the ground was subsequently renamed Domain Stadium. The deal lasted for three years, the period of time before the new Perth Stadium opened its doors in 2018.[9]

As a music venue

Subiaco Oval has been the venue of major music concerts. These include:

Due to its large size and oval shape, the venue was not well suited to music concerts and was known to have very poor acoustics. It was often chosen for large concerts because there were no other venues of comparable capacity in Perth.

Transport

The oval was served by Subiaco and West Leederville stations, which were upgraded to handle more passengers. Special bus services were run for football matches and other special events. After 2007, tickets to AFL games included free travel on buses and trains for three hours before and after the game. That increased the proportion of football fans using public transport from 23.4% to 32.6%, with Dockers fans more likely to do so than Eagles fans. The completion of the Mandurah railway line was expected to increase public transport patronage to the ground, by replacing buses from south of the river with faster and larger trains.[11]

Proposals for rebuilding

In 2005 the West Australian Football Commission released a $235 million plan (excluding transport infrastructure or land acquisitions) to increase the stadium to a 60,000 seat venue in a staged project. However, this proposal became a matter of significant debate in Western Australia. Although the demand for a larger stadium was undeniable (in 2005 the West Coast Eagles had 42,000 season ticket holders in a 43,500 seat stadium), the option of developing and expanding Subiaco in order to meet this higher demand was called into question. An alternative plan was tabled for the construction of a new stadium which would seat 70,000 and have retractable seating to cater for rectangular field codes, and appeared to be the lead candidate. Others argued that it may be more cost effective to re-develop Subiaco to 60,000 seats, and redevelop Perth Oval, a small rectangular stadium in Perth, to 35,000 seats to cater for rectangular field sports.

The Government of Western Australia had already commenced development of a major stadia review project in late 2003 which led to much interest in the future of major sporting venues in Western Australia. A major stadia taskforce was appointed in early 2005 and released the Perth major stadium interim report in June 2006.[12] The taskforce delivered its final report in May 2007,[13] which recommended the construction of a new 60,000 seat stadium at either Kitchener Park (which adjoins Subiaco Oval) or in East Perth, suitable for Australian rules football, cricket and also rectangular-field sports such as rugby. It recommended against the further development of Subiaco Oval, which would be demolished.

In July 2007 the Government of Western Australia announced its preference to build a new 60,000-seat stadium rather than re-develop Subiaco Oval.[14] Early the following year, the Government confirmed that Subiaco Oval would be demolished for the new Perth super-stadium to be built at the adjacent Kitchener Park.[15] The new 60,000 seat stadium would be built between 2011 and 2016, with the majority of the stadium being completed in 2014. Subiaco Oval was set to be demolished between 2014–2016 to allow the end of construction on the new stadium.

Demolition

Following the election of a new state Liberal party government, Premier Colin Barnett, announced in February 2009 that, in light of the state's deteriorating finances, his government had scrapped plans for a new outdoor stadium. He stated that a new stadium, including an alternative proposal to redevelop Subiaco Oval, would not be considered for at least two years.[16] However, in December 2009 he announced that he wanted to demolish Subiaco Oval and build a new stadium so Perth can host soccer World Cup games in 2018 or 2022. He stated that this would involve a complete demolition of the old stadium and the building of an entirely new stadium on the site, and suggested this would likely cost well in excess of $450 million.[17]

In June 2011 the premier announced the government's decision to proceed with development of a new major stadium on the Burswood Peninsula, known as Perth Stadium, to have a minimum capacity of 60,000 seats and a maximum of 70,000 seats.[18][19]

In June 2017 the State Labor Government announced plans to build a new high school at Kitchener Park next to Subiaco Oval with the playing surface of the grounds to be used as a recreational facility.[20] Demolition of Subiaco Oval's grandstands is expected to begin in 2019, ahead of a range of potential new developments around the existing playing surface.[21] The proposed demolition includes retaining the Subiaco Oval Gates and the historic playing surface in its original dimensions, location and orientation due to their historic significance.[2]

The video screen above the Southern Stand was dismantled and sold to the Penrith Panthers in 2018 and has since been erected at their home ground, Panthers Stadium.[22][23]

Attendance records

Top 10 overall attendance records

Seven of the ground's ten highest attendances were achieved at West Australian Football League grand finals:

RankAttendanceEventDate
165,000Adele28 February 2017
255,000U218 December 2010
352,781WAFL Grand Final22 September 1979
452,322WAFL Grand Final27 September 1975
551,385WAFL Grand Final27 September 1969
650,975WAFL Grand Final2 October 1971
750,883WAFL Grand Final18 September 1982
850,517WAFL Grand Final3 October 1981
948,247AC/DC6 March 2010
1047,760WAFL Grand Final17 September 1983

Top 10 AFL attendance records

No. Date Match Teams Crowd
18 September 1991Qualifying finalWest Coast v. Hawthorn44,142
214 September 2007Semi finalWest Coast v. Collingwood43,627
327 August 2006Round 21West Coast v. Fremantle43,527
42 September 2005Qualifying finalWest Coast v. Sydney43,302
521 September 2013Preliminary finalFremantle v. Sydney43,249
616 September 2006Semi finalWest Coast v. Western Bulldogs43,219
79 September 2006Qualifying finalWest Coast v. Sydney43,116
85 August 2007Round 18West Coast v. Fremantle43,096
926 September 2015Preliminary finalWest Coast v. North Melbourne43,080
1027 August 2005Round 22West Coast v. Adelaide43,044

Last updated on 26 Sep 2015[24]

References

  1. "Domain Stadium". Austadiums. Archived from the original on 5 October 2017. Retrieved 5 October 2017.
  2. Josh Zimmerman (30 October 2018). "Plans for Subiaco Oval demolition to commence in early 2019". PerthNow. Retrieved 17 November 2019.
  3. "Subiaco Oval: Remaining useful life assessment" (PDF). GHD Pty Ltd. May 2009. Archived from the original (PDF) on 12 September 2009.
  4. "Patersons Stadium Fast Facts". Wafootball.com.au. 29 March 1997. Archived from the original on 19 June 2012. Retrieved 16 September 2012.
  5. "The missing metres in Eagles' push for a flag – News". TheAge.com.au. Archived from the original on 6 March 2008. Retrieved 16 September 2012.
  6. "Swans tackle field of screams – AFL". Smh.com.au. Archived from the original on 23 October 2012. Retrieved 16 September 2012.
  7. "2015 AFL season: Round 5 preview". The Roar. 29 April 2015. Archived from the original on 29 April 2015. Retrieved 3 May 2015.
  8. Subiaco Oval at Austadiums
  9. "Domain takes over as new naming rights sponsor at Subiaco Oval". WA Today. 9 February 2015. Archived from the original on 13 February 2015. Retrieved 9 February 2015.
  10. Stratemann, Dr. Klaus (1992). Duke Ellington, Day by Day and Film by Film (Hardcover). Denmark: JazzMedia ApS. p. 662. ISBN 87-88043-34-7.
  11. Footy fans take to public transport Public Transport Authority 23 May 2007
  12. Major Stadia Task Force Perth Major Sporting Stadia interim report Archived 23 October 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  13. Major Stadia Taskforce, The Stadium and the City, May 2007.
  14. New stadium the right option, Kobelke says AAP in The West Australian 4 July 2007
  15. Clarke, Tim (8 February 2008). "Perth to get new super stadium". News.theage.com.au. Archived from the original on 16 February 2008. Retrieved 16 September 2012.
  16. Sports stadium and museum plans scrapped Archived 8 March 2009 at the Wayback Machine Australian Broadcasting Corporation 2 February 2009
  17. Colin Barnett reveals plan to rebuild Subiaco Oval for World Cup stadium Archived 13 December 2009 at the Wayback Machine Perth Now 9 December 2009
  18. Ministerial Media Statement: Major new stadium to be built on Burswood Peninsula Archived 7 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine Government of Western Australia, 28 June 2011, retrieved 13 February 2012.
  19. Premier announces architect and location for major stadium Archived 31 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine Department of Sport and Recreation, Government of Western Australia, 2011, retrieved 2 February 2012.
  20. "Perth Modern School parents win relocation fight". abc.net.au. 13 June 2017. Archived from the original on 22 August 2017.
  21. "A first look inside Perth's new state-of-the-art high school at Subiaco Oval". abc.net.au. 11 December 2017. Archived from the original on 14 January 2018.
  22. "Panthers Stadium to get a new Screen". Panther Pride. 19 July 2018. Retrieved 20 May 2019.
  23. Panthers Stadium big screen has arrived, retrieved 20 May 2019
  24. "AFL Tables - Crowds - Subiaco". afltables.com. Archived from the original on 21 October 2014.

Further reading

  • Wilson, Ray (2008) Field of Dreams: Celebration of Subiaco Oval's 100th year Perth, Western Australia: The West Australian 16 pp – inserted into 7 May 2008 edition of The West Australian newspaper.
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