Aerial view of Lakeside Stadium in 2009, prior to its redevelopment for athletics.
|Former names||Lake Oval, South Melbourne Cricket Ground, Bob Jane Stadium|
|Location||Albert Park, Victoria|
|Operator||State Sports Centre Trust|
|Capacity||10,000 (Venue Capacity)
6,000 (Seated Capacity)
|Victorian Institute of Sport
Australian Little Athletics
Melbourne Victory FC (Youth Team)
Melbourne Victory FC (Women's Team)
South Melbourne FC
South Melbourne Football Club (VFA/VFL, 1878–1981)
South Melbourne Cricket Club (until 1994)
Lakeside Stadium is an athletics track and soccer stadium in Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia. It currently serves as the home ground and administrative base for the South Melbourne FC, Athletics Victoria, Athletics Australia, Victorian Institute of Sport and Australian Little Athletics.
The venue was built on the site of the former Australian rules football and cricket ground, the Lake Oval (or South Melbourne Cricket Ground). It served for more than a century as the home ground of the South Melbourne Football Club and the South Melbourne Cricket Club.
The Lake Oval and Australian rules football
In its original oval configuration, the Lake 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. 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. The last senior VFL match played at Lake Oval was on Saturday, 29 August 1981, when South Melbourne was defeated by 33 points against North Melbourne in front of 8484 fans. The club continued to use Lake Oval for reserves matches for several years after 1981.
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 and night interstate matches, including many matches at the 1958 Interstate Carnival were also held at the Lake Oval.
For a time during the late 1980s and early 1990s, the struggling Fitzroy Football Club used the ground as a training and administrative base. The Old Xaverians Football Club of the Victorian Amateur Football Association was based there in 1993 and 1994. The oval was home to the South Melbourne Cricket Club during the summer.
A remnant of the old Lake Oval structure, a grandstand built in 1926, still remains standing at the venue. It had not been used for several years, and had fallen into disrepair. Its continued existence was the subject of debate. 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. Under the re-modeling of the venue in 2011, the stand was refurbished to house the VIS.
Revelopment of the venue from an oval football/cricket stadium to the rectangular football 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 to make way for the Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit. The stadium was built with a capacity of 14,000 people, 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 3 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.
As well as being the home of South Melbourne FC, the venue also hosted games by the Socceroos, Young Socceroos, Australia's national women's team the Matildas, and grand finals and finals matches of the Victorian Premier League.
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 remodeled venue began in June 2010.
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. In March 2012, the stadium hosted the Melbourne Track Classic.
- "Lone V.F.A. club's 'no' to night football". The Sun News-Pictorial (Melbourne, VIC). 2 April 1957. p. 47.
- Noel Carrick (24 July 1957). "Burst by S.A. crushes V.F.A.". The Sun News-Pictorial (Melbourne, VIC). p. 45.
- Bernie Bretland (3 July 1958). "Big men pave way for WA". The Sun News-Pictorial (Melbourne, VIC). p. 38.
- Stephen Linnell (23 July 1993). "Lion members back move to Western Oval". The Age (Melbourne, VIC). p. 28.
- Lakeside Stadium homepage
- Lakeside Stadium at Austadiums
- "Around the Grounds" - Web Documentary - Lakeside Oval