By Wendy Parkin
The grandstand at Waverley Oval is up for a $12.4 million redevelopment. The Pavilion is home to the Eastern Suburbs Cricket Club (Waverley), primary school athletic carnivals, sports clubs and council staff who maintain the park. Waverley Mayor Ingrid Strewe said she would like to involve regular users and clubs in the design of the new building so that a purpose built facility is part of the planning process.
Several local clubs and schools use the oval for sporting activities such as cricket, netball, Rugby League, Rugby, soccer, baseball, athletics and survivor boot camp. The council will soon contact regular users, residents and the broader community to discuss their needs for the Pavilion. The amenities block in the south-west corner of the park will also be rebuilt.
Architectural briefs for the redevelopment will be advertised in late February when architects will be commissioned. Construction is expected to begin late next year.
Detailed structural assessments finalised in August last year indicated the building was no longer safe and recommended immediate closure for public safety reasons. The Pavilion was closed in September 2007. A second independent assessment came to the same conclusion: the building needed to be demolished and rebuilt. Mayor Stewe said she was disappointed the building could not be saved.
‘It’s a real shame but our technical advice and assessments gave us no other option,’ she said.
The council has made energy efficiency and sustainability a top priority in its design brief for the architects and the mayor has requested that bricks from the Pavilion be reused if possible. The design will also need to consider the Heritage listed Reservoirs and protect the surrounding mature trees.
Originally Waverley Park and surrounds was a Chinese market garden called Flagstaff Farm. Irrigation water was supplied from a pond near the present Pavilion. The community was initially reluctant to lose its fresh vegetables and fruit for a public park but permission to level the land for a cricket ground was granted in 1887. Waverley Cricket Club, now known as the Eastern Suburbs Cricket Club, was officially formed in August 1894. The austere dark brick grandstand with dressing sheds was built in 1938 and remodelled in 1951.