Kensington Oval, Dunedin

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Kensington Oval
The Oval
Kensington Oval (formerly the South Dunedin Recreation Ground)
Ground information
Location Kensington, Dunedin, New Zealand
Establishment 1860 (as South Dunedin Recreation Ground)
Team information
Otago (1864–1878)
As of 3 November 2011
Source: Ground profile

The Kensington Oval, formerly known as the South Dunedin Recreation Ground, is a park and sports ground in Kensington, Dunedin, New Zealand.[1] It is also known as just The Oval, although this name has become less common in recent years due to the potential confusion with the University Oval in the north of the city.[2]

The Kensington Oval is officially regarded as the southern end of the city's Town Belt. The park, which is actually roughly triangular in shape, covers 9.25 hectares (22.9 acres).[1] It is bounded by Princes Street, the northern end of Anderson's Bay Road, and the Dunedin Southern Motorway. Its name dates from 22 March 1864, when it was decided to enclose the main cricket pitch within a formal oval.[1] From that time the former name rapidly fell out of use, and has been rarely used since the beginning of the twentieth century.

The first recorded first-class match cricket match was held on the ground in February 1864 when Otago played Canterbury in what was the first ever first-class match to be held in New Zealand. Otago played eight further first-class matches there, the last of which saw them play Canterbury in February 1878.[3] The condition of the playing surface was generally unsatisfactory, with old tree roots protruding from the ground and the pitch unpredictable and at times dangerous to batsmen.[4] In 1879 the Otago Cricket Association requested that the Dunedin City Council make improvements to the ground.[5] When the Council decided not to make improvements, and refused to restrict access to the ground to cricket only, the Association decided to find another venue to play at.[5] The enclosing bounds of the oval were removed in about 1899.

Dunedin's Boer War memorial, at the southern end of the Kensington Oval

Although representative matches are no longer played at the Kensington Oval, it is widely used for club, grade, and social cricket, and has two grass and three artificial wickets,[6] as well as a pavilion. It is also used for softball in summer, and for football and rugby union in winter.

The city's Boer War memorial, which stands at the northern corner of the Oval, was designed by Carlo Bergamini and erected in November 1906.[7][8]


  1. ^ a b c Herd, J., and Griffiths, G.J., (1980) Discovering Dunedin. Dunedin: John McIndoe. ISBN 0-86868-030-3. p. 90
  2. ^ "South Dunedin Recreation Ground". Retrieved 3 November 2011. 
  3. ^ "First-class Matches played on South Dunedin Recreation Ground". CricketArchive. Retrieved 3 November 2011. 
  4. ^ The Press, 15 December 1900, p. 21.
  5. ^ a b Ryan, Greg (2012). The Making of New Zealand Cricket: 1832-1914. New Zealand: Psychology Press. p. 280. ISBN 0714653543. 
  6. ^ Kensington Oval, Dunedin City Council website. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
  7. ^ Boer War Memorial 1906, Otago Sculpture Trail website, 17 November 2011. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
  8. ^ Otago South African War memorial in Dunedin, NZ (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), 15 July 2013. Retrieved 8 May 2015.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 45°53′15.42″S 170°29′53.36″E / 45.8876167°S 170.4981556°E / -45.8876167; 170.4981556