A ton of sporting achievements
The University of Adelaide is celebrating a 100-year milestone in sport and recreation.
On 11 July 1910, the then Governor of South Australia, Sir Day Bosanquet, officially opened the University Oval, the pavilion (known by many as the grandstand) and boat shed.
Today, the University's key sports facilities and grounds continue to play a major role in the physical health of students, staff and graduates, and in creating a sense of collegiality.
"Back in July 1910, the governor of the day said that sport was a powerful incentive to the formation of character, self respect, smartness of bearing and grace of manner," says Mike Daws, Executive Officer of the Adelaide University Sports Association.
"This philosophy has served students, staff and graduates of the University well over the decades, and this year we have an extra reason to celebrate the importance of sport to University life, thanks to the centenary of our grounds and facilities," Mr Daws says.
In July, the Sports Association will hold an event to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the opening of the oval, pavilion, boat shed and other grounds. The Association will also launch its Sports Facility Plan - a major blueprint for the future of university sports grounds and facilities for the next 10 years.
Like most major developments in the University's history, these facilities would not have been possible without the generosity of others.
Thirteen benefactors, including some of the great names in the University's history, each donated £100 to pay for the new pavilion, while a generous contribution of £750 from Mr Robert Barr Smith led to the construction of the boat shed. The Adelaide City Council leased the grounds to the University (this arrangement continues today) and many, including students themselves, volunteered their labour to prepare the sporting grounds.
For its time, the pavilion featured some modern conveniences such as electric lighting, as well as one dressing room dedicated to women.
The University Oval and pavilion are home to the University of Adelaide cricket and football clubs. Soccer is also played on those grounds. The football club is Australia's largest amateur senior Australian Rules football club and is one of the most decorated in the University's history. The cricket club also has an impressive and proud history and is one of the longest established clubs in South Australia. The University of Adelaide Boat Club, which has benefited from the use of the boat shed, has produced world champion rowers and Olympians in that time.
The University Oval now features state-of-the-art watering systems aimed at reducing water use, while the pavilion has undergone a major $750,000 renovation over the past year.
"The pavilion - or grandstand, as we know it - has been completely repainted in its original heritage colours," Mr Daws says. "The changerooms have been fully renovated, with new electrical wiring and systems, new washrooms and lockers. It's like a brand new facility."
Like the original facilities before it, the renovation of the pavilion has been made possible thanks to many individual benefactors as well as significant funding from the University itself.
Some work still needs to be done, such as a redevelopment of the "long room", the main clubroom overlooking the oval that was added onto the pavilion some years after its 1910 construction. The boat shed is also undergoing renovation. ■
STORY DAVID ELLIS