Middle Park (stadium)

Middle Park (also known as the South Melbourne Hellas Soccer Stadium) was a soccer venue located in Middle Park, Victoria, Australia. Built in 1959, it was used by South Melbourne FC as a home ground from their inception in 1959, as well as by Melbourne Hakoah until their demise in the 1980s. The ground was demolished in 1994 as part of works for the Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit.[1] The ground held approximately 18,000 people, and consisted of a main stand with a capacity of 2,000, with open terracing around the rest of the ground.

Middle Park
MiddlePark.jpg
Former namesNone
LocationAlbert Park, Melbourne
OwnerVictorian Government
Capacity18,000, 2,000 seated
SurfaceGrass
Construction
Opened1959
Closed1994
Demolished1994
Tenants
Melbourne Hakoah
Melbourne Hungaria
South Melbourne FC
St Kilda SC

HistoryEdit

Soccer had been played in the Albert Park precinct since the 1880s.[2] In the early 1900s the ground was used occasionally by the original St Kilda Soccer Club.[3] In the 1950s, the site that would become Middle Park Stadium was designated as 'Oval No. 18'. During the 1950s, the site was used by South Melbourne United, and from 1957 by Melbourne Hakoah.[4] In addition, a cycling track had been built around the perimeter of the soccer field in the early 1950s. By the late 1950s however, the cycling groups had abandoned the track due to spectators and soccer players' studs damaging the track.[5]

The ground was a fully enclosed venue by 1960, and a grandstand built by South Melbourne Hellas and Melbourne Hakoah, partly with funds lent to it by the Albert Park management authority[6] was opened in the May 1961.[7] Further attempts to improve the venue were often met with hostility from local residents.[5]

Apart from South Melbourne and Hakoah, one other tenant, Melbourne Hungaria, used the venue between 1969 and 1980. Other clubs to use the venue included Heidelberg United in the 1977[8] and 1978[9] National Soccer League seasons, as well as Brunswick Juventus in the 1990[10] and 1991[11] Victorian Premier League seasons. Middle Park also hosted the grand finals of the 1992,[12] 1993[13] and 1994[14] Victorian Premier League seasons.

After the demolition of Middle Park, South Melbourne temporarily moved to Olympic Park Stadium until a new purpose built facility, Lakeside Stadium, was completed on the site of the former Lake Oval.[15]

Middle Park hosted two matches involving the Young Socceroos[16][17] and one 'B' international match involving the Australian men's national team, the Socceroos.[18]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Middle Park - Austadiums". www.austadiums.com.
  2. ^ "South of the Border - a South Melbourne Hellas blog: Roy Hay piece on Middle Park, as seen in Goal Weekly". 27 September 2010.
  3. ^ "Victorian Dockerty Cup 1934 Results".
  4. ^ "1957 Victorian Division One Season Results". www.ozfootball.net.
  5. ^ a b Jill Barnard (1996). People's Playground : a history of the Albert Park. Chandos Publishing. pp. 152–154. ISBN 0-9592793-6-9.
  6. ^ Jill Barnard (1996). People's Playground : a history of the Albert Park. Chandos Publishing. p. 152. ISBN 0-9592793-6-9.
  7. ^ "South of the Border - a South Melbourne Hellas blog: Lakeside Stadium artefact Wednesday - Middle Park plaque". 26 March 2014.
  8. ^ "1977 National Soccer League results".
  9. ^ "1978 National Soccer League results". www.ozfootball.net.
  10. ^ "1990 Victorian State League - Season Results". www.ozfootball.net.
  11. ^ "Victorian Premier League Results - 1991". www.ozfootball.net.
  12. ^ "1992 Victorian Premier League - 1992 Season Results". www.ozfootball.net.
  13. ^ "1993 Victorian Premier League - 1993 Season Results". www.ozfootball.net.
  14. ^ "1994 Victorian Premier League - 1994 Season Results". www.ozfootball.net.
  15. ^ "Lakeside Stadium - Austadiums". www.austadiums.com.
  16. ^ "Young Socceroo 1978 Matches".
  17. ^ "Young Socceroo 1993 Matches". www.ozfootball.net.
  18. ^ "Socceroo 1985 B Matches". www.ozfootball.net.

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 37°51′10″S 144°58′17″E / 37.852899°S 144.971337°E / -37.852899; 144.971337