Hurstville Oval

Hurstville OvalThe original area of three hectares was made available to Hurstville Council at the beginning of the century. It was part of the MacMahon estate and is currently owned by the Department of Lands, with Hurstville Council as the trustee. It was considered a poor part of that estate having indifferent soil and a metre-deep watercourse running diagonally through it. The area was enclosed by a hardwood post-and-rail fence shortly after acquisition but little else was done. In August 1904, an attempt was made to beautify the area by planting trees - but these were subsequently allowed to die.

Four years later, a second attempt was made to improve the appearance under the direction of Aldermen E. Cheel and A. Blackshaw. They planted trees which survived. When the MacMahon estate was further subdivided, Council acquired another strip of land extending the park to Elizabeth Street.

At the time, there was no oval in the St George area suitable for cricket and other sports which require a large area of ground. Alderman Blackshaw was also the Honorary Secretary of the St George Cricket Association and a strong supporter of the suggestion that the park should be turned into a sporting oval.

The idea was accepted. The watercourse was piped and covered, the cost being met by local enthusiasts through concerts and other fund raising activities. After being surveyed, the land was levelled and filled as an oval at a cost of ₤230 ($460). With help from other residents, Alderman Blackshaw spent several weekends laying strips of couch grass over the new soil.

Finally the oval was accepted by the NSW Cricket Association. It was officially opened in September 1911 with a match between the St George District Cricket Club and an Australian Eleven team of near Test stature.

Between 1902 and 1923 the St George Cricket Association conducted all cricket competition in the district and a new association - George's River District - came into being in 1923 to conduct cricket in Penshurst, Mortdale and Oatley.

Initially, however, Hurstville Oval came under the jurisdiction of St George Cricket Association and came to be recognised as one of the best grounds in Sydney. Thanks to the efforts of the St George District Amateur Athletic Club, the oval was equipped with electric light in 1923 and it was used for evening athletics and cycling meetings.

The Pavilion was officially opened in January 1925 by the Mayor, Alderman W. Collier.

In 1950, the oval had the distinction of hosting an International Athletics Carnival when the British members of the British Empire Games Team made their only appearance in Australia. Hurstville's Mayor, Alderman MacPherson, extended a civic welcome.

The Players Pavilion at Hurstville Oval was opened by Mayor E.J Curlisa in October 1967.

Don Bradman was one of a number of cricketing greats who made their names at a club level at Hurstville Oval and then achieved national and international acclaim. Athletics and numerous other sports have flourished there with some of Australia's great runners, hockey players, cyclists, Rugby Union and Rugby League stars in action.