The Historic Eastern Oval is located in Peel Street North and borders Ebden Street and Scott's Parade; its central location is perfect for a host of major events as it is within walking distance to many of the City of Ballarats significant points of interest, Bridge Mall Shopping Centre, Ballarat Railway Station, Ballarat Fine Art Gallery, Her Majesty's Theatre, Ballarat Mining Exchange, Ballarat Public Library and the Ballarat Town Hall to mention just a few.
The Eastern Oval is one of the City of Ballarats Main Ovals that has been used quite extensively especially during the drought conditions that the state experienced, most recently in seasons 2007, 2008 & 2009 it hosted over 280 games of football and netball, this is a staggering amount of foot traffic for the ground but it has stood the test of time with excellent management by the City of Ballarat.
The Eastern Oval has played host to many games of the Ballarat Football and Netball League senior and junior competition during the regular season as well as many BFL Finals games that include the Senior and Junior Football Grand Finals, Lightning Premierships, VCFL Interleague Games and Superules, the Venue has gained a reputation that, is now widely acclaimed as having one of the best football and netball court playing surfaces in country Victoria.
During the years there has been some memorable cricket played at the oval, and no one will ever forget the day in 1992 when in excess of 12,000 fans packed the ground to see England take on Sri Lanka in a World Cup game or when the Poms played the Vic's in a 4 day match with Dean Jones and Alan Lamb smashing the ball around the ground and over the ovals boundary's, the Eastern Oval has also hosted one day domestic and Melbourne Premier League games as well.
This ground is the discovery of WG Grace in the 1870's who considered it to be the most English ground in Australia; the W.G Grace Tree is a sight to behold as it towers at the end of the historic grandstand. The first cricket match at the Eastern Oval was held in 1853; the first football match in 1866. Current Australian Cricket captain Ricky Ponting has also had the honour of having a tree planted at the oval and whilst in its early stages is starting to grow and will be a talking point for many people who travel to the oval to take on its historic features.
The Eastern Oval that we enjoy today is a far cry from the terrible conditions that had plagued the oval before volunteers of the user groups had had enough of the poor conditions of the oval and so began the exhaustive task of developing the Master Plan and then lobbying the City of Ballarat and the then State Liberal Government to seek a resolution to the grounds deteriorating condition.
Many meetings with council officers, consultants and contractors were held on ways that we could all work together to secure the future of the ovals surface, the City of Ballarat and the Eastern Oval user groups all made financial commitments to the project but more money was needed and an election promise made by the then Labour opposition government who were duly elected which saw the dream become reality.
At the completion of the 2000 football season and for all of the 2001 season the Eastern Oval went through a major oval reconstruction development, this project cost in excess of $660,000 with the entire playing surface being reshaped, it included the removal of many tonnes of clay that was replaced with a sand based surface, the planting of two different types of grasses and the surface laser levelled, widened and lengthened has seen the outstanding playing surface that we have here today, it has proved to be an outstanding success with a terrific surface all year round.
Labor offers Ballarat grandstand funds Tue Nov 21 2006. (Media Release)
The Victorian Government is promising $500,000 to upgrade the historic grandstand at Ballarat's Eastern Oval. Improvements will be made to the change rooms and the administration area used by the Ballarat Cricket Association. Sports Minister Justin Madden says it will put the facility in a position to attract high profile cricket matches, including state and international games.
"It's a beautiful structure and whilst it is beautiful in appearance from the outside, it does need a bit of work inside and also to bring it up to scratch to have the right sort of events there at the comfort that players and officials expect these days," he said. "Not only do we keep a beautiful asset that's well known in Ballarat, but also make sure the creature comforts for players and officials alike is up to standard."
The club has been progressive in pursuing to improve the entire facilities of the Eastern Oval and after many years of lobbying in October 2007 we saw a total refurbishment of the Grandstand change rooms take place at an estimated cost of $450,000, the project was completed in March 2008 in readiness for the start of the 2008 football season.
The Eastern Oval will shortly see 2 projects commence, firstly a partnership between the East Point FNC and the Ballarat Cricket Association which secures the future of the BCA at Ballarats premier sporting oval where construction will begin on a $150,000 extension at the Haymes end of the Social Rooms which will become a sports administration centre housing administration offices for cricket and football as well as increasing the overall floor space of the building.
Secondly a project that sees a power upgrade with the erection of a lighting towers and lighting upgrades that will take place at a cost Estimated around $200,000, also obtained through funding by the VCFL area manager Brett Anderson is for safety netting to be installed behind the goals at the Peel St end, these are all due to take place during 2009.
State pledges money to Eastern Oval 26-08-2009. (Ballarat Courier)
Sport and Recreation Minister James Merlino announced yesterday the State Government would contribute $60,000 towards improving the lighting at the High Mountain Eastern Oval. The City of Ballarat has already allocated $170,000 in this year's budget for the project.
There are currently two light towers at the oval, which will be increased to four, with the lighting brought up to "AFL Australia standards".
East Point Football Netball Club president Alan Dennis said it would build on the previous improvements to the ground's surface and change rooms. "It means we've got the best training facilities possible so we can have night and twilight games here," he said. " Merlino said the funding, which came through the government's Country Football and Netball program, in improving the facilities would lead to increased participation in sport, and, in turn, help tackle the obesity problem.
Ballarat Mayor Judy Verlin was already anticipating next season's Ballarat Football League and said the council was committed to improving the city's sporting facilities. "It will be great to have night games as part of next year's fixtures," she said.
These Projects were finally completed in season 2010 and now the Eastern Oval can boast one of the best equipped venues within the City of Ballarat.
These projects will add to the list of the many projects and improvements that have successfully been undertaken over the past 10 years at the Eastern Oval Sporting Precinct.
- Eastern Oval Reconstruction and Resurfacing.
- Construction of new Netball Court.
- Construction of Female Changrooms, Disabled Toilet & Storeroom.
- Renovation of Bar & Kitchen
- Elevation & construction of Coaching & press box.
- Netball Shelter erected.
- Upgrade of Canteen.
- Grandstand Changeroom Upgrade
- BCA Administration Facility
- Ground Lighting completed.
All the projects have been funded in many various ways and organisations, Financial Contribution by the Club, Members and Sponsors, Donations & Bequests, funding from the City of Ballarat, BFL & VCFL with various Grants, State Government Major Projects and Facilities Grants and many individual people on the clubs committee have put in countless hours that cannot be understated.
The total costs of these projects in commercial terms are estimated at nearly $2.5 Million Dollars, but through the support of many people throughout the club we have been able to save a considerable amount of funds through the generous offers of in kind work, to those people who have contributed to the work we are forever grateful and thank you very much indeed.
The Eastern Oval is unique, it's a great spectator venue where you are always close to the action, it is a ground that has always had an atmosphere unlike any other in the City of Ballarat when you watch a sporting event, this gives us the pride and yes we are very biased that we believe this is the premier and most exciting venue for sport in the City of Ballarat.