Olympic Park transformation almost complete
The transformation of the site of Melbourne's Olympic Park is almost complete with the new MCG-sized training oval taking shape.
Turf was recently laid at the new venue in readiness for the Collingwood Football Club to relocate from the near-by Gosch's Paddock, to be right next door to the Westpac Centre - the club's indoor training and administration facility.
The Olympic Park Stadium which was previously situated at the site, was originally built as a warm-up track for the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games.
The 18,500-capacity venue was Melbourne's primary venue for rectangular sports and athletics for many years until the rectangular football codes moved next door to the new AAMI Park in 2010 and athletics to the redeveloped Lakeside Stadium at Albert Park in late 2011.
Demolition of the venue was completed in 2012 with the two grandstands that seated 11,000 spectators torn down, terracing removed and the iconic light towers replaced by new taller structures.
The athletics track, which ironically had only been replaced less than a year prior, and the soccer pitch, which was the first Australian pitch recognised by FIFA, were both ripped up and like the rest of the venue, consigned to history.
Collingwood Football Club will be the anchor tenant of the new Olympic Park Oval while the Melbourne Football Club will move from the fields beside AAMI Park to the Magpies current training ground at Gosch's Paddock. The ground is expected to be made available to the community with Melbourne's local footy leagues possibly using the venue.
The entire Olympic Park side has seen much change over the years since it was originally constructed in 1956. The velodrome built for the Olympics was demolished in 1972 while the original Olympic Park No. 2 oval was developed in the late 1980's to become Melbourne's premier greyhound venue and was closed in the mid-90's. Meanwhile the Olympic swimming pool become an entertainment venue (The Glasshouse) in 1983 used primarily for basketball and was developed in 2003 to become an elite indoor training facility - now known as the Westpac Centre.
Photos courtesy of collingwoodfc.com.au. View more images >>