Royal Melbourne Showgrounds
|Location||Epsom Road, Ascot Vale, Victoria.|
|Renovated||2010 & 2011|
|Owner||The Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria|
|Field dimensions||Left Field - 285 feet (87 m)
Left-Center Field - 327 feet (100 m)
Center Field - 348 feet (106 m)
Right-Center Field - 305 feet (93 m)
Right Field - 266 feet (81 m)
The Melbourne Showgrounds is located in the inner north-western suburb of Ascot Vale, Victoria, Australia, next door to Flemington Racecourse. Is the home of the annual Royal Melbourne Show, as well as major exhibitions, trade shows, and music concerts, including the Supanova Pop Culture Exp, PAX Australia and Manifest.
It is commonly used for large music festivals – as of 2010, it plays host to Soundwave, Creamfields, Stereosonic, Raggamuffin Music Festival and was the former home of the Big Day Out (which is now held at the adjacent Flemington Racecourse). Part of it is often leased out during the year.
It also was used on the last show on The Police's Synchronicity Tour, their last world tour, before they re-united briefly to play three concerts for the Amnesty International A Conspiracy of Hope Tour and reuniting in the studio.
The 30 acres site at Ascot Vale was given to the National Agricultural Society of Victoria (predecessor of the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria) in 1882. The first Show held the next year and over the next few decades a number of pavilions were erected on the site. During both World War I and World War II the showgrounds were requisitioned for military purposes. During the 1970s the first major attractions were built, such as the 1,800 feet long chairlift, with 112 chairs that covered the journey in 7 minutes. In 1977 the new Government Pavilion was completed, costing $1,800,000 and covering an area of 2,839 square metres. The iconic "Pie in the Sky" was also built the same year, and was heritage listed in 1999.
By the early 2000s the Royal Melbourne Showgrounds had become dilapidated, especially when compared to other Australian venues such as the Sydney Showgrounds at Homebush. As a result the State Government announced a redevelopment of the Royal Melbourne Showgrounds site, to be carried out as a joint venture partnership with the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria and private sector investors, with demolition commencing in June 2002, and all work to be completed by the 2006 Royal Melbourne Show.
In March 2004 a list of the three short-listed consortia was announced, with the winning applicant revealed in December that year: PPP Solutions – a consortium of financier Babcock and Brown, Multiplex Constructions, Multiplex Facilities Management, Spotless Services and Daryl Jackson Architects. The contract with PPP Solutions was signed on 22 June 2005, and required the consortium to design, build, finance and maintain the showground facilities for a period of 25 years.
Costing $146 million, the government provided $101 million for the project, the Royal Agricultural Society $16 million, and the remaining $29 million will come from lease revenue and management fees. Two-thirds of the 27 hectare site was redeveloped as a venue for the Royal Melbourne Show, while 'non-core' land along Epsom Road and Langs Road to be given over to other uses.
The works were completed as planned by the 2006 Royal Melbourne Show, and included the following new works:
- An 8,000-square metre Grand Pavilion,
- A new 10,000-square metre Exhibition Pavilion, which can house livestock,
- A new 4,300-seat outdoor arena, capable of holding two horse competition rings,
- A Grand Boulevard linking the grassy spaces and events areas, and
- The new headquarters for the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria.
The following heritage buildings were also restored:
- Centenary Hall, an art-deco hall built in 1934 and now restored to its original condition,
- The heritage-listed Public Grandstand, built in 1915 with new seating,
- Pie in the Sky, the heritage-listed and popular meeting point which was built in 1977.
Before the redevelopment the main arena had a 15,000 capacity, with the new basic rectangle arena opened for the 2006 Royal Melbourne Show. Around the same time the rest of old arena was demolished.
In 2008 the development of the Epsom Road site was announced, with Coles Group building a $40 million neighbourhood shopping centre, featuring a Coles supermarket, 1st Choice Liquor superstore, 30 retail spaces ranging in size from 50 square metres to 600 square metres, and a not-for-profit child care centre able to accommodate up to 120 children. The heritage listed Woodfull Pavilion was also incorporated into the development, which opened in August 2009.
Film & Television Productions
The showgrounds has also been used to film numerous television productions including commercials.
- MasterChef Australia (Network 10) (2013-)
- MasterChef Australia: The Professionals (Network 10) (2013)
- Thank God You're Here (7 Network) (2009)
- The Librarians (ABC) (2007, 2009-2010)
- Rush (Network 10) (2008-2011)
- AFL commercial shoot
- ME Bank Commercial shoot
- "RASV Heritage". rasv.com.au. 2011 [last update]. Retrieved 6 October 2011.
- Minister for Major Projects (May 24, 2006). "Media Release: REDEVELOPED SHOWGROUND IS NO PIE IN THE SKY". legislation.vic.gov.au. Retrieved 6 October 2011.
- Minister for Major Projects (August 6, 2003). "Media Release: EXCITING FUTURE AHEAD FOR SHOWGROUNDS". legislation.vic.gov.au. Retrieved 6 October 2011.
- Office of the Premier (June 13, 2002). "media Release: WORK STARTS ON $101 MILLION SHOWGROUNDS REVAMP". legislation.vic.gov.au. Retrieved 6 October 2011.
- Office of the Premier (December 6, 2004). "Media Release: START OF A NEW ERA FOR A VICTORIAN ICON". legislation.vic.gov.au. Retrieved 6 October 2011.
- Partnerships Victoria. "Royal Melbourne Showgrounds Redevelopment". partnerships.vic.gov.au. Retrieved 6 October 2011.
- Darren Gray (December 7, 2004). "$146m revamp will shrink showgrounds". The Age. Retrieved 6 October 2011.
- Minister for Major Projects (August 27, 2006). "Media Release: NEW-LOOK SHOWGROUNDS ON SHOW AS PREPARATIONS START". legislation.vic.gov.au. Retrieved 6 October 2011.
- Marc Pallisco (4 October 2008). "Coles Announces Million Shopping Centre at Melbourne Showgrounds, Ascot Vale". Real Estate Source. realestatesource.com.au. Retrieved 6 October 2011.
- Marc Pallisco (31 August 2009). "Coles Opens New Million Supermarket on Former Royal Melbourne Showground Land, Ascot Vale". Real Estate Source. realestatesource.com.au. Retrieved 6 October 2011.