Manuka Oval History

Manuka Oval Timeline

  • 1924 – First recorded sporting event at Manuka Circle Park when Canberra played Duntroon in an Australian Football match. Canberra won 7-9-51 to Duntroon’s 3-8-24.
  • 1925 – Concept for Manuka Oval approved by Parliament.
  • 1927 – First Soccer match held at Manuka Oval between the Federal Capital Territory and members of the HMS Renown.
  • 1927 – First Rugby League match held at Manuka Oval when Federal Rovers played West Queanbeyan.
  • 1929 – Manuka Circle Park was transformed into a sports ground a fence was built around the ground.
  • 1930 – First cricket match held at the Oval when Dr Neil Blue’s XI played the Federal Capital Territory.
  • 1937 – Caretaker’s Cottage constructed.
  • 1938 – New Zealand All Blacks play a Canberra representative side in August.
  • 1945 – National Sheepdog trials held for the first time at the ground.
  • 1947 – Boxing and Wrestling bouts held at the ground.
  • 1948 – Great Britain Rugby League side played local side Group 8.
  • 1954 – 16,000 schoolchildren attended Manuka Oval for the visit of Queen Elizabeth II.
  • 1959 – Exhibition Tennis Matches played at the ground which included Lew Hoad and Ken Rosewall.
  • 1959 – 10,000 attend the Billy Graham Crusade at the ground.
  • 1962 – The original Bradman Pavilion was opened by Sir Donald Bradman at the Prime Minister’s XI match.
  • 1979 – ACT Administration decided to develop Manuka Oval primarily for cricket.
  • 1983 – The Jack Fingleton Scoreboard was relocated from the MCG and erected at the ground.
  • 1987 – Sir Robert Menzies Stand built.
  • 1988 – First Women’s One Day International held at the ground – Australia v New Zealand at the 1988 World Cup.
  • 1989 – Turf practice wickets laid outside of the Oval.
  • 1992 – Bob Hawke Stand built.
  • 1992 – First One Day International held at the ground during the World Cup.
  • 1996 – ACT Brumbies play a Super 12 match at the venue
  • 1998 – First AFL Premiership Match held at the venue when North Melbourne played Port Adelaide.
  • 2000 – The new Sir Donald Bradman Stand was completed.
  • 2001 – Canberra Raiders play a NRL match at the ground.
  • 2012 – Floodlights installed at the ground.
  • 2013 – New playing surface installed with improved drainage and irrigation.
  • 2015 – WBBL and Big Bash Finals held at the ground.
  • 2018 – New Media Centre finished.
  • 2019 – First Test Match held at the ground.

Manuka Oval Trivia

  • Manuka Oval was originally called Blandfordia Recreation Reserve and then called Manuka Circle Park which was an open field.
  • Manuka Oval was only developed as an interim ground pending the development of a National Oval. This Oval was to be developed between Northbourne Avenue and Black Mountain, roughly around where the CSIRO and Barry Drive is now. Construction of the National Oval was started in October 1927 but the Great Depression put a hold on the development as well as many other pieces of construction in the capital. Construction restarted on a “National Sports Ground” in 1937 where members of the FCT Cricket Association and the visiting English side were to plant a tree to commemorate their visit. World War II then stopped the construction again and then the area was acquired by the fledgling Australian National University.
  • The Jack Fingleton Scoreboard at Manuka Oval was acquired from the Melbourne Cricket Ground in 1982 by the Department of the Capital Territory in 1982. The scoreboard was dedicated by the Governor-General, Sir Ninian Stephen on January 24, 1983 during a match between the ACT and the touring New Zealanders. The scoreboard was resurrected and transported to Manuka Oval for the cost of $110,000 after it was decommissioned at the Melbourne Cricket Ground following the installation of the first electronic scoreboard. It was originally built in 1907 and was initially located at the eastern end of the MCG at a total cost of 852 pounds. The scoreboard was dismantled in January 1982 and then transported to Canberra. The scoreboard has three floors, connected by a staircase and a number changing system featuring a handle driving a bicycle chain around a sprocket that turned over numbers on a fabric roll.
  • Manuka Oval has hosted 1 Test Match, 10 Men’s One Day Internationals including 4 World Cup Matches, 8 Women’s One Day Internationals including 1 World Cup Match, 2 Men’s Twenty20 Internationals, 14 Women’s T20 Internationals including 5 World Cup Matches, 11 First-Class Matches, 26 List A Matches, 21 Twenty20 Matches, 5 Youth Test Matches, 1 Youth ODI Match, 3 Women’s First-Class Matches, 41 Women’s List A Matches, and 39 Women’s Twenty20 Matches.
  • Manuka Oval is the 118th International Test Match Venue and the 11th Test Match Venue in Australia. The ACT is the final Australian state or territory to host a Test Match.
  • Manuka Oval is the 95th International Male ODI Venue and the 12th Male ODI Venue in Australia.
  • Manuka Oval is the 67th International Female ODI Venue and the 8th Female ODI Venue in Australia.
  • Manuka Oval is the 134th International Male T20 International Venue and the 11th Male T20I Venue in Australia.
  • The field size is 167.5m x 138.2m

Highest Manuka Oval Match Attendances

  1. PM’s XI v West Indies (22/1/1985)             15,807
  2. PM’s XI v West Indies (24/1/1984)             14,484
  3. PM’s XI v New Zealand (22/1/1986)          12,700
  4. PM’s XI v England (10/11/2006)                 11,859
  5. Big Bash League Final (28/1/2015)            11,837
  6. Thunder v Hurricanes (9/2/2019)              11,557
  7. Australia v West Indies (6/2/2013)            11,548
  8. Australia v Sri Lanka (2/2/2019)                 11,388
  9. Thunder v Renegades (24/1/2018)            11,319
  10. PM’s XI v India (28/1/2004)                         11,300
  11. PM’s XI v M.C.C. (6/2/1963)                        11,000
  12. Afghanistan v Bangladesh (18/2/2015)     10,972
  13. PM’s XI v England (14/1/2014)                    10,939
  14. Australia v India (20/1/2016)                      10,922
  15. PM’s XI v West Indies (12/12/1996)          10,843
  16. Australia v South Africa (19/11/2014)       10,583
  17. PM’s XI v West Indies (7/12/2000)             10,498
  18. PM’s XI v West Indies (18/2/1961)             10,000

Manuka Oval Curators

  1. 1930-1940 – Mr McFurland
  2. 1940-1948 – Bill Tickner
  3. 1948-1962 – Jack Plummer
  4. 1962-1984 – Jim Thompson
  5. 1984-1990 – Ron Winter
  6. 1990-1994 – Richard Winter
  7. 1994-2004 – Greg Brearley
  8. 2004-2008 – Marcus Pamplin
  9. 2008-2021 – Brad van Dam
  10. 2021-Current – Tom Fahey

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