Manuka Oval

Manuka Oval
The Menzies, Bradman and Hawke stands (left to right)
Former names Manuka Circle Park (before enclosed)
Location Griffith, Australian Capital Territory
Coordinates 35°19′5″S 149°08′5″E / 35.31806°S 149.13472°E / -35.31806; 149.13472Coordinates: 35°19′5″S 149°08′5″E / 35.31806°S 149.13472°E / -35.31806; 149.13472
Owner ACT Government
Operator Territory Venues and Events
Capacity 16,000 (overall)[1]
13,550 (seated)[2]
12,000 (cricket) [3]
Record attendance 14,974 (2016, Greater Western Sydney v Richmond, AFL)
Field size 167.5 x 138.2 m
Surface Grass
Scoreboard Jack Fingleton Scoreboard
Broke ground 1926
Built 1929 (enclosed)
GWS Giants (AFL)
Eastlake Football Club (NEAFL)
ACT Comets (men's cricket)
ACT Meteors (women's cricket)
Ground information
End names
Pool End
Manuka End
International information
First ODI 10 March 1992:
 South Africa v  Zimbabwe
Last ODI 20 January 2016:
 Australia v  India
As of 21 January 2016
Source: Cricinfo

Manuka Oval is a sporting venue in Canberra, the capital of Australia. It is located in Griffith, in the area of that suburb known as Manuka. Manuka Oval has a seating capacity of 13,550 people and an overall capacity of 16,000 people, although this is lower for some sports depending on the configuration used.[1][2] The area on which the ground is situated has been used for sport since the early 20th century, but was only enclosed in 1929. It has since undergone several redevelopments, most recently beginning in 2011.

Currently, Manuka Oval is primarily used for cricket (during the summer months) and Australian rules football (during the winter months). The ground was previously also used for rugby league and rugby union matches, but there are now more suitable venues in Canberra for those sports. As a cricket ground, Manuka Oval is the home venue for the ACT Comets (men's) and the ACT Meteors (women's) teams, and has also hosted a number of international matches, including at the 1992 and 2015 World Cups. As an Australian rules football ground, Manuka Oval's primary tenant is the Eastlake Football Club, which plays in the North East Australian Football League (NEAFL). The ground has also hosted occasional home matches for teams in the Australian Football League (AFL), most notably the North Melbourne Football Club (from 1998 to 2006) and the Greater Western Sydney Giants (since 2012).


The oval was originally a park officially known as "Manuka Circle Park", however by the end of the 1920s it was known as Manuka Oval. The park and nearby shopping centre were named after the Leptospermum scoparium's Māori name, Manuka. There was a push for the park to become an enclosed oval starting in 1926 by various sports groups.[4] Work began on Manuka Oval to erect a fence, along with other improvements made in 1929. The field had previously been used to casually play rugby league and Australian rules football. The first cricket pitch was played on in April 1930. The Bradman Pavilion, the oval's main stand, was constructed in 1962 in honour of Sir Donald Bradman. The Robert Menzies Stand and the Bob Hawke Stand were constructed in 1987 and 1992 respectively and were named after the first two Australian Prime Ministers to bring international cricket teams to Canberra to play against the Prime Minister's XI.[5] In 2004, Manuka Oval celebrated the 75th anniversary of its formal establishment.

Manuka Oval will have a $4.3million upgrade starting from the second half of 2011, which includes 4,300 additional temporary seats for the venue, new media and corporate facilities, upgrades to the Hawke and Bradman stands' covering and upgrades to entry facilities.[6][7] Floodlights were installed at the ground in late 2012 to allow sport to be played at the venue at night, and were first used on 29 January 2013 for a day-night cricket match between the West Indies and the Prime Minister's XI.[8]

Sports played at the ground


The PM's XI is an annual cricket match at Manuka Oval. The curator's residence is on the right in the background.
2014 cricket match between Queanbeyan and Wests/UC

The first cricket match to be played at the oval was on Easter Monday, 13 April 1930.[4] The Prime Minister's XI is played at the oval annually, it was started by Robert Menzies in 1951 and there were six more matches up to 1965 in his term as Prime Minister, the match was brought back in 1984 by Bob Hawke and has been played annually since. In 1992, the ground hosted its first One Day International (ODI) match between South Africa and Zimbabwe as part of the 1992 Cricket World Cup, but otherwise remained largely unused for top level cricket.

The ground is home to the Canberra Comets, who played in the Mercantile Mutual Cup from the 1997–98 season to the 1999–2000 season; the team now plays in the Futures League.

Manuka Oval held its second ODI, and its first as part of a normal international tour, on 12 February 2008 between India and Sri Lanka in the Australian tri-series;[9] and it hosted its first international match featuring Australia on 6 February 2013, in which Australia defeated the West Indies by 39 runs.[10] Top level domestic cricket also returned to the ground from 2011-12, with the New South Wales Blues for three seasons playing a Sheffield Shield and Ryobi One Day Cup match each season;[7] and, the ground hosted the 2013/14 Sheffield Shield final, because the Sydney Cricket Ground was unavailable due to a Major League Baseball series.[11]

The venue sought to host its first Test match in the year 2013 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the city of Canberra, however the request was not granted.[12]

The ground hosted the final of the 2014–15 KFC T20 Big Bash on 28 January 2015.

ODIs hosted

Team (A) Team (B) Winner Margin Year
 South Africa  Zimbabwe  South Africa By 7 wickets 1992
 India  Sri Lanka  Sri Lanka By 8 wickets 2008
 Australia  West Indies  Australia By 39 runs 2013
 Australia  South Africa  Australia By 73 runs 2014
 Afghanistan  Bangladesh  Bangladesh By 105 runs 2015
 West Indies  Zimbabwe  West Indies By 73 runs 2015
 Ireland  South Africa  South Africa By 201 runs 2015
 Australia  India  Australia By 25 runs 2016

Australian rules football

Manuka Oval was the home ground of the Manuka Football Club, an Australian Capital Territory Football League club, from 1928 to 1991, when it merged with the Eastlake Football Club. The merged club, which retained the Eastlake name, continues to play home games at Manuka Oval, both in AFL Canberra competitions and in the North East Australian Football League (NEAFL).

The oval has served as an occasional venue for Australian Football League matches since 1998, and a permanent home venue since 2012.

Between 1998 and 2006, the North Melbourne Football Club, hosted a total of eighteen matches at the venue, playing three games per season from 2001 onwards. The ground record crowd was set in 2006 when 14,922 people came to watch the Kangaroos play the Sydney Swans.[13] Brent Harvey was the only player to have played all 18 AFL games featuring the Kangaroos played at Manuka Oval.

From 2007 until 2009, the Melbourne Demons and the Western Bulldogs each played a home match against the Sydney Swans at the venue; the Bulldogs continued this arrangement in 2010 and 2011.[14][15]

From 2012 onwards the newly established Greater Western Sydney Giants play three home-and-away matches and one pre-season match at the ground each year.[16] The club's first ever AFL win, against the Gold Coast Suns in Round 7, 2012, took place at this venue.[17] Manuka Oval also hosts the home matches of the Belconnen Magpies and Eastlake Demons in the North East Australian Football League competition as well as all eastern conference finals.

For three seasons beginning with the 2013 AFL season, Manuka Oval was branded as StarTrack Oval Canberra during Australian rules football matches.[18] The naming rights deal expired in early 2016.[19]

Rugby league

During the 1951 French rugby league tour of Australia and New Zealand, Les Chanticleers played a game at the oval against a Monaro side that attracted approximately 5,000 spectators. Manuka Oval hosted one National Rugby League game on 29 May 2001 with the Canberra Raiders moving their game to the ground because of a clash with the ACT Brumbies.[20]

Rugby union

The Canberra Kookaburras (rugby union) played their home games at Manuka Oval when they competed in the Sydney competition from 1995 until they were excluded from the competition in 2000. The Kookaburras rugby union team rejoined the top Sydney competition in 2004 as the Canberra Vikings however opted to play their home games at Viking Park instead. The Canberra Vikings did make a return to Manuka Oval in 2007 for the Australian Rugby Championship and played three of their four home games at the ground. The other game was played at Canberra Stadium. However the competition was scrapped by the Australian Rugby Union at the end of the year.[21]


Manuka Oval has also previously hosted boxing and wrestling.[22] In the inaugural year of the National Soccer League in 1977, Canberra City played its home games at Manuka Oval, but moved to the newly built Bruce Stadium in 1978. Hockey was also played at Manuka Oval until the National Hockey Centre was built.

Ground amenities

A two-storey curator's residence is attached to the oval. It was built in the 1930s in the style typically used by the Federal Capital Commission. The trees that circle the entire oval include cypress, poplar, oak and elm trees many of which were planted in the 1920s.[23] The oval's scoreboard, the Jack Fingleton Scoreboard, was originally located at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, dated to 1901, however as the Melbourne Cricket Ground installed a new electronic scoreboard at the ground in the early 1980s the scoreboard was relocated to Manuka oval. The scoreboard was named after Jack Fingleton, who had recently died at the time of installation at Manuka, who was an Australian opening batsman as well as a political correspondent in Canberra and prolific author.[24][25]

Attendance records

AFL attendance records

No. Date Teams Crowd
1 30 July 2016 Greater Western Sydney Giants v. Richmond Tigers 14,974
2 4 June 2006 North Melbourne Kangaroos v. Sydney Swans 14,922[26]
3 18 April 2004 North Melbourne Kangaroos v. Sydney Swans 14,891[27]
4 25 July 2015 Greater Western Sydney Giants v. Geelong Cats 14,667
5 27 May 2007 Western Bulldogs v. Sydney Swans 14,517
6 15 May 2010 Western Bulldogs v. Sydney Swans 14,308
7 25 May 2003 North Melbourne Kangaroos v. Sydney Swans 13,832
8 3 April 2016 Greater Western Sydney Giants v. Geelong Cats 13,656
9 3 August 2008 Western Bulldogs v. Sydney Swans 13,550
10 2 April 2005 North Melbourne Kangaroos v. Sydney Swans 13,481
Source: AFL Attendance Records Last updated on 30 July 2016


  1. 1 2 Manuka Oval – Austadiums. Retrieved 20 March 2016.
  2. 1 2 "Manuka Oval - Overview". Retrieved 24 October 2010.
  3. Manuka Oval Retrieved on 30 Nov, 2015
  4. 1 2 Mr D. Selth. "Manuka Oval". Cricket ACT. Retrieved 21 December 2007.
  5. "Manuka Oval, Canberra". England and Wales Cricket Board. Retrieved 16 July 2011.
  6. Anderson, Stephanie (29 April 2011). "Manuka Oval and Canberra Stadium get $6m spruce-up". The Canberra Times. Retrieved 29 April 2011.
  7. 1 2 "Investing in our sporting and event venues". Andrew Barr, MLA - Media Releases. ACT Government. 3 May 2011. Retrieved 3 May 2011.
  8. Gaskin, Lee (30 January 2013). "Manuka lights fantastic, and so was the atmosphere". The Canberra Times. Retrieved 28 April 2013.
  9. "Australia alter summer schedule to satisfy India". Cricinfo. 20 April 2007. Retrieved 19 April 2007.
  10. Luke Sheehan (4 February 2013). "ODI series moves to Canberra". Sportal. Retrieved 4 February 2013.
  11. Lee Gaskin (25 March 2014). "Manuka Oval given tick of approval after Sheffield Shield cricket final". Sydney Morning Herald. Sydney, NSW. Retrieved 17 May 2014.
  12. Chris Dutton (2 June 2011). "NSW support needed to attract Aussie cricket team: Barr". The Canberra Times. Retrieved 19 July 2011.
  13. Jean, David (5 June 2006). "Swans grab win from nowhere Out-pointed visitors storm home to leap over Kangas". The Canberra Times. Retrieved 6 November 2007.
  14. Merryn Sherwood and James Dampney (AAP) (30 October 2009). "AFL pursues ACT youngsters after missing Mills (Page 2)". The Canberra Times. Retrieved 22 December 2009.
  15. Gaskin, Lee (8 August 2010). "Bulldogs, Swans to return to Manuka". The Canberra Times. Retrieved 24 November 2010.
  16. "GWS-Canberra deal 'good value for money'". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 11 November 2010. Retrieved 24 November 2010.
  17. Giants stun Suns for first win, ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation), 12 May 2012
  18. "StarTrack secures naming rights of Manuka Oval". Prime Mover Magazine. 16 April 2013. Retrieved 28 April 2013.
  19. (18 February 2016). "Giant push for Manuka upgrade" – Austadiums. Retrieved 20 March 2016.
  20. "Both codes keen to avoid further clashes of fixtures". The Canberra Times. 29 May 2001. Retrieved 22 December 2009.
  21. Whyte, Julia (11 August 2007). "Return from exile". The Canberra Times. Retrieved 11 December 2007.
  22. "WRESTLING, BOXING AT MANUKA OVAL.". The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1954). ACT: National Library of Australia. 1 November 1947. p. 3. Retrieved 18 July 2011.
  23. "Manuka Oval ACT". Screenmakers Pty Ltd. Retrieved 4 May 2011.
  24. "Manuka Oval - History". Retrieved 14 January 2011.
  25. Growden, Greg (2008). Jack Fingleton : the man who stood up to Bradman. Crows Nest, New South Wales: Allen & Unwin. ISBN 978-1-74175-548-0.
  26. Cowley, Michael (5 June 2006). "Close shave a wake-up call: Hall". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 4 April 2012.
  27. Hinds, Richard (1 April 2005). "Kangaroos finding capital gains taxing". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 4 April 2012.

External links

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