The Menzies, Bradman and Hawke stands (left to right)
|Former names||Manuka Circle Park (before enclosed)|
|Location||Griffith, Australian Capital Territory|
|Operator||Territory Venues and Events|
|Record attendance||14,922 (2006, Kangaroos v Sydney Swans, AFL)|
|Field size||179 x 150 m|
|Scoreboard||Jack Fingleton Scoreboard|
|GWS Giants, AFL
Canberra Comets, Futures League
Eastlake Demons, NEAFL
ACT Meteors, WNCL
Manuka Oval, also known as StarTrack Oval Canberra during Australian rules football matches for sponsorship reasons, is a 13,550 capacity cricket ground (however the capacity can be exceeded, 10,000 seated) located in the suburb of Griffith, adjacent to Manuka, a business district of Canberra, Australia's capital. The stadium is home to many events throughout the year, including cricket matches in the summer months and Australian rules football matches in the winter months.
The oval was originally a park officially known as Manuka Circle Park, however by the end of the 1920s it was known as Manuka Oval. The park and nearby shopping centre were named after the leptospermum scoparium plant's Māori name, Manuka. There was a push for the park to become an enclosed oval starting in 1926 by various sports groups. Work began on Manuka Oval to erect a fence, along with other improvements made in 1929. The field had previously been used to casually play rugby league and Australian rules football. The first cricket pitch was played on in April 1930. The Bradman Pavilion, the oval's main stand, was constructed in 1962 in honour of Sir Donald Bradman. The Robert Menzies Stand and the Bob Hawke Stand were constructed in 1987 and 1992 respectively and were named after the first two Australian Prime Ministers to bring international cricket teams to Canberra to play against the Prime Minister's XI. In 2004, Manuka Oval celebrated the 75th anniversary of its formal establishment. Manuka Oval will have a $4.3million upgrade starting from the second half of 2011, which includes 4,300 additional temporary seats for the venue, new media and corporate facilities, upgrades to the Hawke and Bradman stands' covering and upgrades to entry facilities. Floodlights were installed at the ground in late 2012 to allow sport to be played at the venue at night, and were first used on 29 January 2013 for a day-night cricket match between the West Indies and the Prime Minister's XI.
Sports played at the ground
The first cricket match to be played at the oval was on Easter Monday, 13 April 1930. The Prime Minister's XI is played at the oval annually, it was started by Robert Menzies in 1951 and there were six more matches up to 1965 in his term as Prime Minister, the match was brought back in 1984 by Bob Hawke and has been played annually since. In 1992, the ground hosted its first One Day International (ODI) match between South Africa and Zimbabwe as part of the 1992 Cricket World Cup, but otherwise remained largely unused for top level cricket.
Manuka Oval held its second ODI, and its first as part of a normal international tour, on 12 February 2008 between India and Sri Lanka in the Australian tri-series; and it hosted its first international match featuring Australia on 6 February 2013, in which Australia defeated the West Indies by 39 runs. Top level domestic cricket also returned to the ground from 2011-12, with the New South Wales Blues for three seasons playing a Sheffield Shield and Ryobi One Day Cup match each season; and, the ground hosted the 2013/14 Sheffield Shield final, because the Sydney Cricket Ground was unavailable due to a Major League Baseball series.
Australian rules football
The oval has served as an occasional venue for Australian Football League matches since 1998, and a permanent home venue since 2012.
Between 1998 and 2014, the North Melbourne Football Club played a total of nineteen matches (including one away match against Greater Western Sydney in 2014, after ending this arrangement in 2006) at the venue, playing three games per season between 2001 and 2006. The ground record crowd was set in 2006 when 14,922 people came to watch the Kangaroos play the Sydney Swans. As of 2014, Brent Harvey is the only player to have played all 19 AFL games featuring the Kangaroos played at Manuka Oval.
From 2012 onwards the newly established Greater Western Sydney Giants play three home-and-away matches and one pre-season match at the ground each year. The club's first ever AFL win, against the Gold Coast Suns in Round 7, 2012, took place at this venue. Manuka Oval also hosts the home matches of the Belconnen Magpies and Eastlake Demons in the North East Australian Football League competition as well as all eastern conference finals.
During the 1951 French rugby league tour of Australia and New Zealand, Les Chanticleers played a game at the oval against a Monaro side that attracted approximately 5,000 spectators. The Canberra Kookaburras (rugby union) played their home games at Manuka Oval when they competed in the Sydney competition from 1995 until they were excluded from the competition in 2000. Manuka Oval hosted one National Rugby League game on 29 May 2001 with the Canberra Raiders moving their game to the ground because of a clash with the ACT Brumbies. The Kookaburras rugby union team rejoined the top Sydney competition in 2004 as the Canberra Vikings however opted to play their home games at Viking Park instead. The Canberra Vikings did make a return to Manuka Oval in 2007 for the Australian Rugby Championship and played three of their four home games at the ground. The other game was played at Canberra Stadium. However the competition was scrapped by the Australian Rugby Union at the end of the year.
Manuka Oval has also previously hosted boxing and wrestling. In the inaugural year of the National Soccer League in 1977, Canberra City played its home games at Manuka Oval, but moved to the newly built Bruce Stadium in 1978. Hockey was also played at Manuka Oval until the National Hockey Centre was built.
A two-storey curator's residence is attached to the oval. It was built in the 1930s in the style typically used by the Federal Capital Commission. The trees that circle the entire oval include cypress, poplar, oak and elm trees many of which were planted in the 1920s. The oval's scoreboard, the Jack Fingleton Scoreboard, was originally located at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, dated to 1901, however as the Melbourne Cricket Ground installed a new electronic scoreboard at the ground in the early 1980s the scoreboard was relocated to Manuka oval. The scoreboard was named after Jack Fingleton, who had recently died at the time of installation at Manuka, who was an Australian opening batsman as well as a political correspondent in Canberra and prolific author.
Top 10 Sports Attendance Records
|1||4 June 2006||North Melbourne Kangaroos v. Sydney Swans||14,922|
|2||18 April 2004||North Melbourne Kangaroos v. Sydney Swans||14,891|
|3||27 May 2007||Western Bulldogs v. Sydney Swans||14,517|
|4||15 May 2010||Western Bulldogs v. Sydney Swans||14,308|
|5||25 May 2003||North Melbourne Kangaroos v. Sydney Swans||13,832|
|6||3 August 2008||Western Bulldogs v. Sydney Swans||13,550|
|7||2 April 2005||North Melbourne Kangaroos v. Sydney Swans||13,481|
|8||2 September 2001||North Melbourne Kangaroos v. Collingwood Magpies||13,117|
|9||5 June 2005||North Melbourne Kangaroos v. Melbourne Demons||12,626|
|10||30 May 2009||Western Bulldogs v. Sydney Swans||12,542|
|Source: AFL Attendance Records Last updated on the 12 April 2012|
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- Giants stun Suns for first win, ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation), 12 May 2012
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- Whyte, Julia (11 August 2007). "Return from exile". The Canberra Times. Retrieved 11 December 2007.
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- "Manuka Oval ACT". Screenmakers Pty Ltd. Retrieved 4 May 2011.
- Growden, Greg (2008). Jack Fingleton : the man who stood up to Bradman. Crows Nest, New South Wales: Allen & Unwin. ISBN 978-1-74175-548-0.
- Cowley, Michael (5 June 2006). "Close shave a wake-up call: Hall". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 4 April 2012.
- Hinds, Richard (1 April 2005). "Kangaroos finding capital gains taxing". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 4 April 2012.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Manuka Oval.|
- Official website
- Manuka Oval at Austadiums
- ACT Cricket history of Manuka oval
- CricInfo's profile of Manuka Oval