Developing Junction Oval

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By Sam Reale

 

After promising to contribute $25 million to the redevelopment of St Kilda’s iconic junction oval in late 2014, the Daniel Andrews State Government confirmed the funding in the recent Victorian State Budget.

In a major coup for cricket in Victoria, the government investment will also include:

  • $10 million for community cricket facilities and programs, from the Community Sports Infrastructure Fund
  • $10 million through Sports and Recreation Victoria’s Community Facilities Funding Program for new female change amenities in facilities across all sports
  • An $80 million boost over the next four years for Victorian major events

Cricket Victoria’s CEO Tony Dodemaide says, “This is a clear and welcome demonstration of the Government’s recognition of the importance of cricket to Victoria that will have an ongoing, long term impact.”

Mr Dodemaide went on to say in respect to Junction Oval, “The Victorian Cricket and Community Centre will deliver a desperately needed alternative first-class venue to the Melbourne Cricket Ground, while also providing a home for female cricket, Indigenous cricket, cricket for people of all abilities and a training centre for our regional players and coaches.”

“It will include the National Centre for Diversity through Cricket, building on Victoria’s leading role in program delivery for people of all cultural backgrounds.”

“The development will revitalise the entire precinct and deliver multiple benefits to the surrounding community, local clubs, schools and groups through access to new facilities and activities.”

The Andrews government had committed to the $25 million plan with Cricket Victoria adding $6 million and Cricket Australia adding $4 million to the project with a possible completion in 2017-2018.

St Kilda Cricket Club will still play their home games at the Junction Oval.

The Junction Oval has been in existence since 1852 and along with many state cricket matches, it has hosted many AFL/VFL matches. It has been the home ground of St Kilda, Fitzroy and South Melbourne Football clubs. Worthy of note, The Junction Oval Has hosted the VFL/AFL grand final 3 times, in 1898, 1899 and 1944, all won by the Fitzroy Football Club.

It has even hosted Boxing. The ‘Smokin’ Joe Frazier – Jimmy Ellis fight happened at the Junction Oval in 1975. Frazier was victorious.

With this redevelopment, will the community reap the benefits and revitalise the whole area as for mentioned? Time will only tell but certainly an exciting development in the Junction Oval’s rich history. I am sure a certain leg spinner from St Kilda who took over 700 wickets for Australia would be very pleased with this news.

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