The Melbourne Motordrome is a former stadium that was located at Olympic Park in Melbourne, hosting motorsport and Australian football. It was demolished in 1951 and replaced by the Melbourne Olympic Velodrome and Olympic Park No. 2 (Eastern Sportsground) - both of which have also since been demolished, and is now the site of AAMI Park.
The Motordrome was built on the site of one of the two Amateur Sports Grounds (Eastern), by Melbourne Carnivals Pty Ltd, and opened in November 1924. The stadium contained a grassed oval (which retained its original name) suitable for football, set inside a saucer-shaped concrete oval track suitable for motor racing, which was a third of a mile long and banked at a 46-degree angle. Initial plans were for the stadium to hold as many as 100,000 spectators, but ultimately it was built to accommodate 32,000.
In 1933, the ageing concrete surface of the motor racing track had become dangerous and was no longer suitable for the high powered vehicles which used it, so it was demolished and replaced with a dirt track. The removal of the concrete track created a natural embankment for spectators and the grandstand was also extended. The upgrade coincided with the Amateur Sports Grounds being renamed Olympic Park and the track itself was from then-on known as the Olympic Park Speedway. The venue met with the wrecking ball in 1946 and the grandstand was destroyed by fire in 1951. It was then that the site began a major transformation in preparation for the Melbourne 1956 Olympic Games, with the Velodrome and No. 2 Oval replacing the Speedway, while a new athletics and soccer venue (Olympic Park) was built on the western side, replacing the other old sports ground.
While primarily a motorsport venue, the Motordrome had a significant connection with Australian football during the 1920s and 1930s. The then-VFA played its finals matches at the ground in 1925, 1926 and 1927. The VFL had ambitions to control the venue given its location and capacity - there was a proposal for Richmond Football Club to relocate to the venue or for it to be used as a neutral venue for the league, and another proposal for it to be the base of a new club - all of which didn't eventuate. The only VFL premiership football ever played at the venue occurred during the early part of 1932, when Melbourne played three home matches there because the MCG was being resurfaced. It hosted a pre-season game under lights in 1935 between Richmond and South Melbourne in front of 25,000 fans, and hosted further exhibition games after the 1935 and 1936 seasons.
Olympic Park Speedway