Moorabbin Oval

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Moorabbin Oval
RSEA Safety Park
Training drill in front of stand, St Kilda FC 01.jpg
St Kilda training in front of the G. G. Huggins Stand (which is on schedule to be demolished in 2017) before the 2009 AFL Grand Final
Former names Moorabbin Oval
Location 32-60 Linton Street, Moorabbin, Victoria
Coordinates 37°56′15″S 145°02′38″E / 37.9375°S 145.0439°E / -37.9375; 145.0439Coordinates: 37°56′15″S 145°02′38″E / 37.9375°S 145.0439°E / -37.9375; 145.0439
Owner St Kilda Saints Football Club Ltd (since 1964-5)
Operator St Kilda Saints Football Club Ltd
Surface Grass
Opened 1952
St Kilda Football Club (1965-) VFL/AFL (1965-1992).
Melbourne Reds, ABL (1994-1999).

Moorabbin Oval, also known by its sponsorship name of RSEA Safety Park, is an Australian Rules Football ground in the city of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia at Linton Street in the suburb of Moorabbin.

The ground was most notable as the home of the St Kilda Football Club in the Australian Football League, serving as its home ground for VFL/AFL matches from 1965 until 1992, and as its primary training and administrative base from 1965 until 2010.


In 1951, the growing City of Moorabbin committed to developing a fenced football venue which was up to Victorian Football Association standards to be used by the Moorabbin Football Club. The strong club had been admitted from the Federal District League to the VFA in 1951, and its continued admission was contingent on the council developing Moorabbin Oval for its use.[1] The venue became one of the highest quality venues in the Association, and was noted for having the largest playing surface in the Association, similar in size to the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

Starting from 1960, the Moorabbin Council worked actively to bring VFL football to the venue. After it was found that the VFL was unlikely to admit the Moorabbin Football Club as a new team,[2] the council began negotiating for existing VFL clubs, many of which were dissatisfied with their home grounds at the time, to move to Moorabbin. In 1963, both Richmond and Fitzroy were approached,[3] and then in early 1964, the council came to an agreement with the St Kilda Football Club. St Kilda relocated its training, playing and administrative base from the St Kilda Cricket Ground to Moorabbin Oval at the end of the 1964 season.[4]

The council invested a further £100,000 to bring the venue to VFL standards and expand its capacity to 50,000. The St Kilda Football Club signed a 75-year - £5,000 per year (initially) deal for the ground with an up front lump sum payment, under which it became ground manager, and committed to invest £120,000 in establishing a licensed social club and to invest £375,000 for ground improvements over the first 45 years of the deal (a period which expired at approximately the end of 2009). The Moorabbin Football Club, then the defending VFA premiers, supported the move and attempted an amalgamation with St Kilda, actions which resulted in its suspension from the VFA.[5] A new grandstand was finished before the 1965 VFL season. St Kilda FC also agreed to lease parkland belonging to the local council on the outer side of the ground outside the clubs property - so that if further spectator seating stand developments occurred there would be more room for the constructions.

The St Kilda Football Club completed its financial obligation to make ground improvements prior to the end of 2009, including redeveloping the G.G. Huggins Stand into the main training and administration base for the club when home games at Moorabbin ceased in 1992.[6] The 75-year deal precludes Moorabbin Oval from being sold until approximately 2039.

St Kilda Football Club[edit]

St Kilda Football Club's move to Moorabbin Oval was seen as highly successful. In its first season at the new ground the club played in front of capacity crowds. The Saints' first ever home game at Moorabbin attracted a record crowd of 51,370 against Collingwood in Round 1, 1965, a record that was never broken. When it was first used, Moorabbin Oval was the third largest ground by capacity in metropolitan Melbourne after the Melbourne Cricket Ground and Princes Park Football Ground; it was relegated to fourth place following the opening of VFL Park in 1970.

St Kilda ceased playing home games at Moorabbin Oval after 1992 and began playing home fixtures at Waverley Park, as part of the AFL's grounds rationalization strategy of the early 1990s; the club received $430,000 upfront and $120,000 per year for three years from the AFL as part of the change, which helped to clear some of the club's debt.[7] St Kilda's final home game for premiership points at Moorabbin Oval was the Round 20 match on 1 August 1992, an 18-point win over the Fitzroy Lions in front of 27,736.[8]

The St Kilda Football Club played 254 matches for premiership points at Moorabbin Oval between 1965 and 1992, with an average attendance of 21,232. In the late 1970s and early to mid 1980s, when St Kilda suffered form severe financial hardship and had generally weak results, the ground was often quite muddy due to ground management issues including security. Other organisations who did not own their home base or stadium took exception at St Kilda FCs "groundbreaking" deal to buy Moorabbin Oval in the 1960's with the 75 year payment deal and attempts to force St Kilda out of Moorabbin Oval by those who claimed to take offence at the club ownership of it were common - particularly after St Kilda won its first Premiership in 1966. [9]

St Kilda Football Club Match Record at Moorabbin Oval
Venue Played Won Lost Drawn Most Recent Match
Moorabbin Oval 254
1992 AFL Premiership Season Round 20
1965 to 1992

After home games ceased being played at Moorabbin Oval, the club maintained its training and administrative base at the ground. The ground was extensively renovated to provide training, administration and entertainment facilities within the Huggins Stand and a heritage museum in the Drake Stand. The G.G. Huggins Stand had three internal floors that contained player rooms, a fully equipped player gymnasium, football department meeting rooms, administration offices, a membership department, gaming room and bar, the Trevor Barker Room (a function room with a bar), club shop, trophy and memorabilia display areas and other facilities.

In 2007, the relationship between the club and the City of Kingston deteriorated, and St Kilda announced that it would move its primary administrative and training base away from Moorabbin. A new facility was built at Belvedere Park in Seaford, approximately 21 kilometers south of Moorabbin (called "Linen House Centre"); the development was a St Kilda Football Club development in conjunction with the Frankston City Council, the State Government Of Victoria and the AFL. St Kilda moved to the Seaford base after the 2010 season;[10] but, the club still manages Moorabbin Oval and used it as a retail, museum, entertainment and occasional training venue.[11] The move to Linen House Centre in Seaford has in turn allowed St Kilda FC to plan for and begin redevelopment of Moorabbin Oval as the clubs primary future base. Without the Seaford development the Saints would have had nowhere to train whilst Moorabbin Oval was redeveloped.

Redevelopment as RSEA Safety Park[edit]

RSEA Safety Park (Moorabbin Oval) is currently undergoing a two stage approximately 30 million dollar redevelopment for its owners the St Kilda Saints Football Club. Stage one is a two part development already underway with the demolishing of the old Drake and Huggins stands in progress.[12][13]

Stage one is expected to be completed before the start of the 2018 Premiership Season. Stage two is planned to be completed by the start of pre-season training for the 2019 Premiership season - with St Kilda FC currently attempting to raise the remaining funds for the completion of stage two - with stage one already fully funded, scheduled and in progress.

It will again become a training, entertainment, member and community base for the Saints and the primary community football ground in south-eastern Melbourne region from 2018. As part of the development deal the parkland outside the outer side of the oval [behind the old terraces that were on the outer side of the ground] is no longer leased by St Kilda FC and has been released back to the local council. It will serve as the primary home ground for the Sandringham Dragons, the Southern Football League, and as the administrative centre for football development in the south-east. As well as the main venue for a St Kilda FC womens team should the Saints be granted a club license in an expanded AFLW competition. [14]

Melbourne Reds[edit]

Moorabbin Oval was the home of the Melbourne Reds in the former Australian Baseball League from 1994 to 1999.

VFL/AFL Records[edit]

An estimated crowd of 10,000[15] packed into Moorabbin Oval to watch St Kilda Football Club train prior to the 2009 AFL Grand Final


Naming rights[edit]

  • RSEA Safety Park (Sponsorship deal with St Kilda Saints FC LTD 2017–present)[16]

In popular culture[edit]

An abandoned Moorabbin Oval was the site of a police targeting sniper in Season 1 Episode 3 of the Melbourne-based police drama Rush.


  1. ^ "Moorabbin Football Club - Info". Australian Retrieved 10 August 2013. 
  2. ^ Ron Carter (25 March 1964). "St. Kilda moving to Moorabbin next year". The Age. Melbourne, VIC. p. 25. 
  3. ^ Scot Palmer (10 October 1963). "Top VFA clubs in trouble". The Sun News-Pictorial. Melbourne, VIC. p. 62. 
  4. ^ Jack Dunn (25 March 1964). "Saints will move to Moorabbin in '65". The Sun News-Pictorial. Melbourne, VIC. p. 52. 
  5. ^ Peter Stone (4 April 1964). "V.F.A. suspends Moorabbin for season". The Age. Melbourne, VIC. p. 20. 
  6. ^ Rex Pullen (5 August 1964). "Saints given 75-yr. lease". The Sun News-Pictorial. Melbourne, VIC. p. 56. 
  7. ^ Patrick Smithers (14 July 1992). "Saints vote for move to Waverley". The Age. Melbourne, VIC. p. 40. 
  8. ^ "AFL Tables – St Kilda All Games – By Team". AFL Tables. Retrieved 10 December 2011. 
  9. ^ Glenn McFarlane (1 September 2016). "Danny Frawley looks back at Moorabbin's memorable moments". Herald Sun. Melbourne, VIC. Retrieved 2 September 2016. 
  10. ^ Matt Windley (3 January 2011). "Saints ready for life at Seaford training base". Herald Sun. Melbourne. Retrieved 14 December 2013. 
  11. ^ Paul Amy (20 March 2013). "Talks on multi-million dollar upgrade for St Kilda Football Club's spiritual Moorabbin home". Moorabbin Kingston Leader. Moorabbin, VIC. Retrieved 14 December 2013. 
  12. ^ "Demolishing begins at Moorabbin". St Kilda FC website. Retrieved 3 May 2017. 
  13. ^ "Moorabbin Oval". St Kilda Football Club Official Site. 4 April 2017. Retrieved 3 May 2017. 
  14. ^ Sommerville, Troels (5 May 2014). "Moorabbin Oval to get $8M Injection". Moorabbin Kingston Leader. 
  15. ^ "Huge crowds flock to training". St Kilda Football Club Official Site. 2009-09-22. Retrieved 2009-10-03. 
  16. ^

External links[edit]