Venues of the 1956 Summer Olympics
For the 1956 Summer Olympics, a total of fourteen sports venues were used in Melbourne and three sports venues were used in Stockholm. The Stockholm events were done first in June due to Australia's strict quarantine laws on equestrianism while the Melbourne events took place from late November to early December.
|Broadmeadows||Cycling (road)||Not listed.|||
|Hockey Field||Field hockey||21,048|||
|Lake Wendouree||Canoeing, Rowing||14,300|||
|Melbourne Cricket Ground||Athletics, Field hockey (final), Football (final)||104,000|||
|Oaklands Hunt Club||Modern pentathlon (riding, running)||25,700|||
|Olympic Park Stadium||Football||40,000|||
|Port Phillip||Sailing||Not listed|||
|Royal Australian Air Force, Laverton Air Base||Shooting (shotgun)||Not listed|||
|Royal Exhibition Building||Basketball (final), Modern pentathlon (fencing), Weightlifting, Wrestling||3,500|||
|St Kilda Town Hall||Fencing||Not listed.|||
|Swimming/Diving Stadium||Diving, Modern pentathlon (swimming), Swimming, Water polo||6,000|||
|West Melbourne Stadium||Basketball, Boxing, Gymnastics||7,000|||
|Williamstown||Modern pentathlon (shooting), Shooting (pistol, rifle)||Not listed.|||
|Lill-Jansskogen||Equestrian (eventing)||Not listed.|||
|Olympic Stadium||Equestrian (dressage, eventing, jumping)||21,000|||
|Ulriksdal||Equestrian (eventing)||Not listed.|||
Before the Olympics
Stockholm hosted the Summer Olympics in 1912. Because of Australia's strict quarantine laws on horses, the International Olympic Committee in Athens in May 1954 selected the host of the 1912 Games to run the equestrian events. Lake Wendouree was first used as a rowing venue in 1864 though the lake itself was not dammed and converted from a swamp until 1869 following a drought.
The Cricket Ground was established in 1854 after two previous grounds in use were ruled unsuitable. Football was first played at the Cricket Ground in 1859 while the first international cricket match in Australia took place in 1863. Cycling races first took place in 1869 while the first Test Match took place in 1877. Night football took place in 1879 while the first scoreboard in the world was erected in 1881 at the Cricket Ground along with sightboards and a telephone. Australia's first athletics championships were held at the Cricket Ground in 1893 with Edwin Flack winning the one mile event. Flack would win the 800 m and 1500 m events at the 1896 Summer Olympics in Athens. Lacrosse made its debut at the Cricket Ground in 1907 when Australia played Canada. In 1914, a baseball exhibition took place between the American Major League Baseball teams New York Giants and Chicago White Sox. Radio was first broadcast at the Cricket Ground in 1924. The inaugural women's Australian athletics championships took place in 1930. In 1935, the first women's cricket test match took place at the Cricket Grounds. During World War II in 1942-45, the Grounds were used as staging areas for Allied troops. Support was given for the 1956 Summer Games in 1953.
The first zoo in Melbourne was established in 1861. A cycling track was constructed in 1896. The official site was dedicated in 1909. Motorsports events took place at the park during the 1920s and 1930s. During World War II in 1941-6, the speedway was part of the Allied War effort. Construction of the venues used for the 1956 Summer Games began in 1951.
The Royal Exhibition Building was completed in 1880. World's Fairs were held there in 1880 and in 1888. During the Great Influenza Epidemic of 1919, the Exhibition Building was commendeering for medical usage. By the 1940s, the building's condition had deteriorated to where it was referred as a "white elephant".
During the Olympics
Although cricket has not been part of an Olympic Games since 1900, the Cricket Ground was a versatile venue for the 1956 Games. The Cricket Ground hosted between 85,001 and 107,100 for the athletic events. Between 10,805 and 16,626 spectators attended the field hockey semifinals and medal matches. The football final had an attendance of 104,700 spectators where the Soviet Union defeated Yugoslavia 4-1.
The Olympic Park hosted aquatics, football, field hockey, and track cycling events during the 1956 Summer Games.
After the Olympics
The Queen Mother visited the Grounds in 1958 while Billy Graham hosted the greatest attendance of the Ground's history with 130,000 the following year. Its stands were expanded and renovated since the end of the 1956 Games that continued until the early 1990s. David Cassidy was the first musical act to perform at the Ground in 1974. In 1982, the manual scoreboard was replaced by an electronic scoreboard made by Mitsubishi. The 1982 scoreboard was replaced by a more advanced one in 1992. Another scoreboard, which was furnished by Sony, would be installed at the south part of the Ground in 1994. The Olympic Flame returned to the Ground on 30 July 2000, for the first time since the 1956 Games. For the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, the Cricket Ground served as host for several football preliminary matches. For the 2004 Summer Olympics, the flame returned to the ground again. The Cricket Ground served as the main venue for the 2006 Commonwealth Games.
In 1985, tennis debuted at the Olympic Park where it became a permanent venue for the Australian Open at Flinders Park. The park has expanded to include other sports and musical events. The World Aquatics Championships took place in Melbourne in 2007.
- 1956 Summer Olympics official report. p. 47. Accessed 25 October 2010.
- 1956 Summer Olympics official report. pp. 41-2. Accessed 25 October 2010.
- 1956 Summer Olympics official report. p. 42. Accessed 25 October 2010.
- 1956 Summer Olympics official report. p. 40. Accessed 25 October 2010.
- 1956 Summer Olympics official report. pp. 46-7. Accessed 25 October 2010.
- 1956 Summer Olympics official report. p. 46. Accessed 25 October 2010.
- 1956 Summer Olympics official report. p. 43. Accessed 25 October 2010.
- 1956 Summer Olympics official report. p. 44. Accessed 25 October 2010.
- 1956 Summer Olympics official report. p. 45. Accessed 25 October 2010.
- 1956 Summer Olympics equestrian official report. p. 96. Accessed 25 October 2010.
- 1956 Summer Olympics official equestrian report. p. 41. Accessed 25 October 2010. (Swedish)
- 1912 Summer Olympics official report. pp. 168-211. Accessed 26 October 2010.
- 1956 Summer Olympics official equestrian report. p. 18. Accessed 26 October 2010. (English) & (Swedish)
- History of Lake Wendouree. Accessed 26 October 2010.
- Early history of the Melbourne Cricket Grounds. Accessed 26 October 2010.
- Chronology of the Melbourne Cricket Grounds. Accessed 26 October 2010.
- Wallechinsky, David and Jaime Loucky (2008). The Complete Book of the Olympics: 2008 Edition. London: Aurum Press Limited. pp. 86, 96-7.
- Melbourne & Olympic Parks Tourism history. Accessed 26 October 2010.
- Overall history of the Royal Exhibition Building. Accessed 26 October 2010.
- Two World Fairs at the Royal Exhibition Building. Accessed 26 October 2010.
- 20th century history of the Royal Exhibition Building. Accessed 26 October 2010.
- Cricket Returns to Olympic Movement, SportingLife.com, May 11, 2010
- 2000 Summer Olympics official report. Volume 1. p. 393. Accessed 26 October 2010.
- World Heritage Site Listing of the Royal Exhibition Building. Accessed 26 October 2010.