Western Sydney Stadium
View of construction in May 2018
|Location||Parramatta, New South Wales, Australia|
|Public transit|| Parramatta|
|Field size||140 × 80 metres|
|Construction cost||$300 million|
Parramatta Eels (NRL) (2019–)
Wests Tigers (NRL) (2019-)
Western Sydney Wanderers (A-League) New South Wales Waratahs (Super Rugby) (2019–)
The Western Sydney Stadium (to be known commercially as Bankwest Stadium) is an under construction, rectangular field sports stadium in Parramatta, New South Wales, Australia. It replaces the demolished Parramatta Stadium. The stadium is scheduled to be open in mid 2019 with a 30,000 seat capacity. The stadium is owned and operated by the NSW Government, designed by Populous Architects and being built by Lendlease with a build cost budgeted at $300 million. The stadium will host games across the major rectangular field sports in Sydney.
The primary uses are National Rugby League matches for the Parramatta Eels and A-League soccer games of the Western Sydney Wanderers . Other significant tenants will include NRL team the Wests Tigers and Super Rugby matches for the New South Wales Waratahs while the knock down rebuild for the Sydney Football Stadium goes ahead. The stadium is scheduled to host it's fist match on 22 April 2019 when the Parramatta Eels host the Wests Tigers before an almost certain sell-out crowd.
The area the stadium is located on was used for leisure and horse racing in the British colony at Parramatta that was founded along with the harbour settlement of Sydney in 1788. Governor Charles FitzRoy approved the creation of a racecourse on the site in 1847, with a cricket field grown within the racetrack and opened in 1863. After numerous name changes the local cricket club settled on the name Central Cumberland Cricket Club, and from there the site gained the Cumberland Oval name.
Cumberland Oval was used variously for horse racing, cricket, athletics, rugby union, rugby league and motor sports. When in use for motor sports the site was named the Parramatta Speedway, holding events from 1930 through to 1959. When the Parramatta District Rugby League Club were admitted into the NSWRL Premiership in 1947 Cumberland Oval became the club's home ground. In 1981 after Parramatta won their first ever rugby league premiership supporters packed into the oval and proceeded to burn the grandstand to the ground, and shortly after a decision was made to build a modern stadium.
Parramatta Stadium was designed in 1984, built in 1985 and opened by Queen Elizabeth II on On 5 March 1986. The new rectangular stadium continued to host local, state and national sports events as well as concerts. It was converted into an all seater stadium in 2002, with a reduced capacity of 21,000. In 2012, with the success of the newly formed Western Sydney Wanderers, which included hosting a sell out crowd for the 2014 AFC Champions League Final, and the ongoing desire of the Parramatta Eels to replace the nearly 30 year old stadium, the NSW Government canvassed expansion options including an increase to capacity in the north and south ends, and a successive rebuild of all grandstands. In September 2015 the decision was made for a knock down rebuild of the stadium.
Parramatta Stadium's last A-League match was a semi-final between the Western Sydney Wanderers and Brisbane Roar. The Parramatta Eels hosted the final game of rugby league, defeating St George Illawarra 30-18, with Bevan French scoring three tries in a blowout scoreline.
Rebuild & design decision
In September 2015, the New South Wales Government announced that the stadium would be replaced with a new 30,000 seat venue on the same site.
Expressions of interest were requested in June 2016, with four shortlisted to bid:
- Populous and Lendlease
- Cox Architecture and John Holland
- Hassell and Brookfield Multiplex
- BNV and Laing O'Rourke
The contract was awarded to the Populous and Lendlease consortium in December 2016.
As a requirement of the expanded footprint of the stadium, the adjacent Parramatta War Memorial Pool was also closed and demolished. A small group of protesters disagreed with the decision, gaining a measure of local media coverage to promote their anti-stadium online petitions. A replacement for the pool was announced in March 2017, with the NSW Government confirming that a new aquatic centre would be built on the old Parramatta Golf Course site.
The key features of the announcement were a 10,000 increase in capacity from the existing stadium, featuring modern facilities, steep grandstands, integrated pedestrian and transport links, local landscaping and a premium field level members club. The first major installation of modern Safe standing in Australia was included in the design, with 3 bays totalling 1,000 capacity in the Red & Black Bloc active support area. It is also designed to have a LEED Gold Energy rating.
Demolition work began in early 2017 and was completed in February 2017. Site cleanup, excavation and preparatory ground work finished in August. Construction started with concrete foundations being laid down in September 2017, with the main stand complete by mid 2018. The first roof section was assembled and lifted into place at the South end of the ground on 12 February 2018, and complete by late 2018. The structure as a whole was complete in early 2019, with the final internal & landscaping work being completed prior to the opening.
The stadium will be hosting games for the three major football codes in New South Wales. The two major tenants are the Western Sydney Wanderers and the Parramatta Eels. The Wests Tigers will also be playing a small number of games at the stadium while the two other major stadiums in the city, the Sydney Football Stadium and Sydney Olympic Stadium were being refurbished. While no rugby union team was hosted at the stadium at closure, the NSW Waratahs will also play matches at the new stadium and it could host a team in an expanded National Rugby Championship, Shute Shield, rugby union test matches and any future Rugby World Cup or rugby sevens tournaments.
The dimensions of the pitch will match the international standards for football, rugby league and rugby union although for the latter the touch in-goal areas will not be the full size 22 metre length.
The stadium will be rated to host international matches across the sporting codes. These could include Socceroos (football) FIFA World Cup qualification and exhibition matches, Kangaroos (rugby league) and Wallabies (rugby union) test matches.
The stadium is set to open with a rugby league match between between the Parramatta Eels and the Wests Tigers on Easter Monday, 22 April 2019. The Western Sydney Wanderers will play their first game against English side Leeds United on Saturday 20 July 2019. The Rugby League International Federation will host a Rugby league nines international tournament involving 12 male and 4 female teams on the weekend of the 18th & 19 October 2019.
Parramatta railway station is serviced by trains of the North Shore, Northern & Western Line, Cumberland Line and Blue Mountains Line. The Parramatta River ferry route begins at Circular Quay in the Sydney CBD and includes stops along the river such as Darling Harbour, Meadowbank and Sydney Olympic Park, terminating at the Parramatta ferry wharf. The Parramatta Light Rail will also service the new stadium via the Prince Alfred Square stop. All three are located in the Parramatta CBD within a one kilometre, 15 minute walking distance to the stadium.
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