Regarded by the local community and sporting industry as a venue which holds strong social, sporting, historic and economic value, North Sydney Oval is currently used for football, rugby league, rugby union, cricket as well as various one-off sporting and special events at the Function Centre.
North Sydney Oval is located in the south-west corner of St Leonards Park at the intersection of Miller and Ridge Streets, North Sydney.
The first cricket pitch was laid on 6 December 1867, making it one of the oldest cricket grounds in Australia.
The first structure built in 1879 was a simple pavilion overlooking the cricket ground. This was replaced by another pavilion which in turn was replaced by the Duncan Thompson Stand in 1929. At that time it was the largest suburban grandstand in the State.
The Oval had its first major renovation in 1931, when Alderman Blue claimed the pitch was 'like concrete' and serious injury, even death could occur if something wasn't done. In 1935 the timber fence was replaced by a high brick wall and a concrete terrace seating 1200 people was built.
Usage rates continued to increase and by 1976 North Sydney Oval was hosting seven full football matches each weekend from three different codes - Rugby League, Rugby Union and Australian Rules as well as the occasional game of soccer!
The ground still bore the 'concrete' tag until the late 1980s when drainage and irrigation systems were installed and the pitch was re-layed.
The Oval won a prestigious award for "Ground of the Year" in 1992.
Upgrades to the iconic North Sydney Oval commenced November 2015, through 2022.
In 2016, the historic oval received a portable drop-in cricket wicket, new irrigation lines and improved lighting.
The new lighting system allowed day-night games to be played at the Oval.
Designed for dual-purpose venues, the drop-in cricket wicket is prepared off the ground and then transported back into position for use - allowing for a better playing field. This technology enables the wicket to be produced in a controlled environment. North Sydney Oval first trialled the technology in 1998, when cricket wicket technology was in its early stages. Since then, the technology has improved substantially and is used by many premier sporting stadiums including ANZ Stadium (Sydney), Colonial Stadium (Melbourne) and the MCG.
In 2018 the historic Duncan Thompson Stand had new changing and medical rooms and anti-doping facilities that meet international standards. Plus CCTV in line with first grade sporting regulations to ensure the facility is suitable for all types of sport, local and international.
St Leonards Park cricket practice nets were upgraded in Dec 2019.
By 2020 upgrades included:
- bar, kiosk and merchandising facility improvements
- upgrading of player and officials change rooms and establishment of medical rooms and press facilities
- steel drainpipe and structural remediation work for McCartney, O'Reilly, Mollie Dive and Bob stands
- CCTV system installed
- refurbishment of media broadcasting facilities
- outdoor video screen
- improvements to the public announcement system
- outdoor video screen installation.
By 2022 further upgrades include:
- improve corporate facilities and Duncan Thompson Stand restoration/refurbishment
- review of seating requirements – new grandstand seating.