|Full name||University of Wollongong Jubilee Oval|
|Former names||WIN Jubilee Oval
OKI Jubilee Stadium
Kogarah Jubilee Oval
|Record attendance||23,582 - St George vs South Sydney, 1975|
|St. George Dragons (NSWRL/ARL/NRL) (1936, 1950–1985, 1989–1998)
St. George Illawarra Dragons (NRL) (1999, 2003–2007, 2009–present)
Sydney Olympic FC (NSL) (2003–2004)
UOW Jubilee Oval, also known as Kogarah Oval, is a multipurpose stadium in Carlton, Sydney, Australia. The stadium is primarily used for rugby league and is the home of National Rugby League (NRL) team St. George Illawarra Dragons. The oval has also hosted soccer matches, including hosting Sydney Olympic FC during the 2003–04 National Soccer League (NSL) season.
The ground hosted its first game of rugby league in March 1936 when the St. George Dragons were defeated by the Newtown Bluebags in an exhibition match. The stadium has undergone several constructions over the years and one is still being planned for the foreseeable future. The first official game was played on 22 April 1950 in which the Dragons lost 17-15 to South Sydney.
Jubilee Oval currently stands on part of the original grant of 87 acres (350,000 m2) awarded on 23 December 1853 to Archibald McNab. Edmund English purchased the grant on 23 May 1854 for around 400 pounds. It officially became known as Kogarah Park when it was acquired by the Department of Lands on 1 July 1896 and dedicated as the first public park in Kogarah. Control of the park was eventually passed to the Council of the Municipality of Kogarah on 29 August 1906.
During Kogarah’s Jubilee celebrations in 1935, Jubilee Oval was constructed in Kogarah Park.
The ground was closed from 1986 until the end of 1988 because of the construction of the new grandstand being built on the western side of the ground. During this time the Dragons played their home games at the Sydney Cricket Ground in 1986 and 1987, while using Belmore Oval, the home of the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, in 1988.
Since 2003, Jubilee has been steadily upgraded in a 3-stage plan, funded by the NSW State Government and Federal Government. In 2006, the ground had been updated with new features to the seating around the grandstand and features directly out of the stadium including re-developments to the Hall of Fame walk and Kogarah Park in front of the stadium. Stage 1 consisted of new terraced seating at the north-western end, perimeter seating at the base of the hill, and a regrassed and raised hill area. Floodlights for televising night matches were also installed.
In 2007, the Dragons announced that they would not be playing home games at Kogarah for the 2008 season so that Stage 2 redevelopment of the ground could be completed with new roofed extension on the Southern side of the main grandstand increasing capacity by around 2000, and further upgrading to the hill area, including turnstile facilities and strengthening the retaining wall at the Southern Jubilee Avenue end. The Dragons returned for 2009 against the Sharks in round 3, and broke the club record for highest Crowd at the ground.
In 2010, the Dragons secured $13m from the NSW State Government to complete the Stage 3 Northern grandstand extension, with an additional 1580 seats and the replacement of 1730 seats in the existing main grandstand. Also included in the development are additional public toilets and facilities, refurbishment of the existing grandstand facilities including the team change rooms, a new passenger and service lift, additional corporate and multi purpose facilities, and a museum and merchandise store.
A new digital scoreboard and several satellite scoreboards, new security system, turnstiles and ticketing facilities at Gate B and a rainwater harvesting tank were also installed around the ground during 2010 and 2011.
While the improvements to Kogarah have generally been well received, fans from other NRL clubs, especially those in Sydney, have questioned why the Dragons were given so much money to upgrade the ground (and WIN Stadium in Wollongong) when they would only be playing at most half of their home games there, while other clubs struggle to get money from the NSW and Federal governments despite their grounds being in need of upgrading and used more frequently (e.g. Brookvale Oval, the home of the Manly Sea Eagles and Endeavour Field, home of the Dragons local Southern Sydney rivals Cronulla-Sutherland). Many fans point to the money being given at the time when the clubs #1 Ticket Holder John Howard, was the then Prime Minister of Australia, claiming that the Dragons only got the money because Howard is a lifelong supporter of the club.
Walk of Fame
In March 2004 a Legends Walk at Kogarah Oval was opened, with 16 club greats inducted into a hall of fame.
Brian `Poppa` Clay • Mark Coyne • Reg Gasnier • Ken Kearney • Johnny King • Graeme Langlands • Eddie Lumsden • Matt McCoy • Noel Pidding • Norm Provan • John Raper • Rod `Rocket` Reddy • Kevin Ryan • Billy Smith • Ian Walsh • Billy Wilson • Craig Young
From 1950 until 2003, the ground was simply known as Jubilee Oval. In 2003, printing and data communications company OKI signed a five year sponsorship deal for naming rights to the ground with the name becoming OKI Jubilee Stadium. In October, 2008, OKI Printing Solutions decided not to renew the naming rights of Jubilee Oval, as the Dragons played at ANZ Stadium during the 2008 season due to re-developments at Jubilee. The naming rights ended on 31 October with the park reverting to its former name. It was officially announced on 25 December 2008, that WIN Corporation had bought the naming rights for Jubilee Oval,. With this agreement, WIN owned the naming rights to both of St. George Illawarra's home grounds, WIN Jubilee Oval and WIN Stadium. In early 2014, WIN backed out of this sponsorship, with the ground once again reverting to its original name. From 2016, the University of Wollongong hold the rights to the ground for a two year period. The ground is known as "UOW Jubilee Oval".
The ground is sometimes referred to as "Kogarah Oval" by the media and fans.
- Jubilee Oval (1950–2003, 2008, 2014 - present)
- OKI Jubilee Stadium (2003–2008)
- WIN Jubilee Oval (2009–2013)
- UOW Jubilee Oval (2015-2017)
St. George DRLFC
The St. George DRLFC which commenced competing in Sydney's top level in the 1921 NSWRFL season, had an unsuccessful debut game at Jubilee Oval in 1936 when they were defeated by Newtown in an exhibition match as part of the Jubilee celebrations. The gate-takings from the match were donated to the St. George Hospital. Saints at this stage were still based at Arncliffe’s Earl Park and it wasn’t until 1950 that Saints returned home to Jubilee Oval.
The Dragons played their first official match at the ground on 22 April 1950 against the South Sydney Rabbitohs before 12,500 fans. The Dragons lost a rather exciting match 17-15 but defeat would become quite a rare sight for the Dragons over the coming decades while at Kogarah.
St. George were based at Kogarah during their world record breaking 11 successive premierships from 1956 to 1966. They set a record at Kogarah and were not beaten at home for an astonishing twelve years. (Originally beaten by the Balmain Tigers on 26 June 1954 at Kogarah which was just before the beginning of the streak. It wasn’t until 31 July 1966, that they tasted defeat at Kogarah again, eventually losing 12-9 to the Western Suburbs Magpies).
In 1950, the Dragons began a permanent association with the ground. Around this time was also when St. George legend Norm Provan joined the club and he said of Kogarah:
|“||The qualities of the club from Kogarah are not easy for me to put into words... Saints are special. I will certainly never forget my years at Kogarah, and at the club across the Princes Highway. At St.George I found qualities that enriched my life - friendship, unswerving loyalty, fair play and healthy ambition, the learning to win, and to lose.||”|
The team was based at Jubilee Oval right up until the completion of the 1985 season. They then chose to abandon the ground and relocated to the Sydney Cricket Ground. The decision was one which they would come to dread. In 1985 St. George had been Club champions, 1st Grade Minor premiers, 1st Grade Runners-Up, Reserve Grade Premiers and Under-23s Premiers. In 1986 Saints missed the semi-finals in all 3 grades for the first time in 50 years. The fans of the club became angry at the club's decision and stayed away from the club in droves while the Dragons remained at the SCG for a further season.
In 1988 the opportunity came for the club to relocate again. Instead of moving back to Jubilee they decided to move to Belmore Oval. Finally, in 1988 it was decided that the Saints would move home to Jubilee in 1989 with a new stand to be constructed for the 1990 season.
The club yet again moved in the late 90's and explained to fans the decision was on the basis that Jubilee was too small to accommodate a proposed $30 million stadium complex to meet NRL requirements for playing venues. In a joint statement, Kogarah Council and St. George DRLFC stated that the scale of the proposed 20,000 seat stadium would exceed the size of Jubilee Oval and affect residents. The decision to leave Jubilee upset many of St George Illawarra's loyal supporters as the ground had so much history to it and in July 2000 many supporters held a rally in support of the ground.
St George Illawarra Dragons
The St George Illawarra Dragons, formed as the result of a merger between St George and the Illawarra Steelers in 1999, use Kogarah as one of their home grounds in the National Rugby League, along with the Steelers former home, WIN Stadium in Wollongong. The newly formed Dragons used Kogarah in the 1999 NRL season, before moving their games to the Sydney Football Stadium (SFS) in 2000.
From 2000 until 2002, after many loyal Dragons supporters held a rally and Information Night to persuade the club to move back to Jubilee Oval (while at the SFS, the team had continued using WIN Stadium), the club did so and would be yet again occupying the famous rugby league ground. During these 3 years that the Dragons did not play at Kogarah, there were talks with the club that they would play at the nearby St George Soccer Stadium, but plans fell through and the soccer stadium has since fallen into disrepair. The Dragons returned to Kogarah in 2003 after a high number of protests and rallies held by supporter group R2K (or Return to Kogarah).
Lights were installed at Kogarah in 2006, with the Dragons christening their first night game at the ground with an 8-1 win over the Parramatta Eels in Round 13 of the 2006 season. The game was played in driving rain, which many gave as the reason for a crowd of only 9,075 in attendance.
The club did not play at the ground in 2008 because of renovations of the south-western end grandstand being built. During this time, the Dragons played at ANZ Stadium. They returned to Kogarah in 2009, where they have remained ever since.
4 December 2011 marked the first time an A-League club played a first grade competition game at the venue, with Sydney FC playing Brisbane Roar FC. Sydney won 2-0, and this game itself would be remembered as the game the Roar lost its first match in the last 36 matches.
In 2014, the St George Saints got promoted to the NSW Premier League, and moved to this ground as their home-ground stadium. Also, Sydney FC played a few games at this ground in the W-League during their 2013/2014 season.
Stations near by:
|Sydney Trains||Carlton||T4 Eastern Suburbs & Illawarra Line|
The ground record attendance for Jubilee Oval was set in May 1975 when St. George took on South Sydney in front of 23,582 fans. In its modern form, the record attendance is 20,847 when the Dragons took on local rivals the Cronulla Sharks in March 2009.
- "Jubilee Oval". dragons.com.au. St. George Illawarra Dragons. Retrieved 9 May 2016.
- "Jubilee Oval". austadiums.com. Austadiums. Retrieved 13 November 2015.
- "Jubilee Oval - The history of Kogarah's iconic sports ground". Kogarah City Council. Retrieved 28 January 2013.
- Brad Walter and Steve Mascord (8 March 2004). "Broncos' teenage prodigy in the Hunt for a baptism of fire against the Warriors". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 1 January 2014.
- "OKI quits Jubilee".
- "WIN comes to Jubilee Oval".
- "UOW Jubilee Oval Announcement". www.dragons.com.au. 11 May 2016. Retrieved 11 May 2016.
- "Rugby League - Exhibition Match". The Sydney Morning Herald. 16 March 1936. Retrieved 28 January 2013.
- Lavicka laments another slow start, Football Federation Australia, 28 November 2011. Retrieved on 30 November 2011.