One of Western Australia’s best-loved pieces of turf has been made available to the community with the newly refurbished Subiaco Oval today officially opened to the public.
For the first time in decades, members of the general public will be able to access the oval, the original home of Western Australian football, following the demolition of the former grandstands and reinstatement of the historic playing surface.
Subiaco Oval, which saw its first game of football in 1908, was leased to the then Western Australian National Football League in 1937, becoming the West Australian Football Commission (WAFC) in 1989.
The last AFL game was played on the oval in 2017, prior to the opening of Perth’s 60,000-seat Optus Stadium.
The work at Subiaco Oval forms part of the Subi East Redevelopment project, which seeks to revitalise the 35-hectare area between the oval, the West Leederville train station, and the former Princess Margaret Hospital by creating a new gateway between Subiaco and the Perth central business district, accommodating more than 2,000 new dwellings.
Today’s opening of the oval to the public comes after access was provided last month to students at the adjacent Bob Hawke College for physical education and outdoor classes.
The much-loved oval has had its playing surface reinstated, together with the original player dugouts, 250 of the original wooden grandstand seats, and AFL-size goal posts.
A key feature of the oval as a new community asset are the heritage listed original Subiaco Oval entry gates, which have just seen the completion of restoration works to once again become a local landmark.
New flood lighting for night events has been installed and the surrounding area temporarily landscaped for the community to enjoy while master planning is under way to provide the road map for the future development of Subi East.
Other considerations include the Sandover Medal Walk, which will be reinstated once Master Planning is complete and a suitable location within the Subi East area is determined in consultation with the City of Subiaco, WAFC and key stakeholders.
Discussions on the long-term Shared User Agreement between the City, the West Australian Football Commission and Department of Education (Bob Hawke College) for use of the oval are being facilitated through the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage and are expected to be finalised soon.
Once the Shared User Agreement is finalised, management of the oval will be handed to the City of Subiaco who will handle formal booking requests from community or sporting groups. The temporarily landscaped surrounding area can be accessed by the public at any time.
As stated by Planning Minister Rita Saffioti:
“Today marks a significant milestone in the Subi East Redevelopment. So many Western Australians turned out to farewell the old Subi Oval in June last year, ahead of the demolition of the grandstands.
“We’re delighted to now be handing this much-loved piece of Perth’s history back to the community, less than a year later, so new generations of families and footy fans can get back on to the turf and have a kick with their family and friends.
“The refurbished Subiaco Oval will play an important role in the Subi East precinct as a fantastic community open space for locals and visitors to meet, connect and enjoy at the heart of what will be a vibrant new inner-city village.”