In 2010, Austadiums.com called the Adelaide Oval "one of the most picturesque Test cricket grounds in Australia, if not the world". In December 2009 South Australian Premier Mike Rann announced a $450 million government commitment to redevelop Adelaide Oval to enable AFL Football to be played there. In May 2011 Treasurer Kevin Foley announced an increase in government funding to $535 million. After the redevelopment, sports journalist Gerard Whateley described it as "the most perfect piece of modern architecture because it's a thoroughly contemporary stadium with all the character that it's had in the past".
1871 - The ground was established in 1871 after the formation of SACA. Among those responsible for the original construction were John Pickering (son of Hon. John Pickering) and Henry Sparks.
1877 - The first South Australian Football Association match (later renamed the SANFL) that took place on the ground was between Adelaide Football Club (1860–1893) and the Bankers (1877). Adelaide won the match 4 goals to 1.
1877 – The first first-class cricket match played at the ground between South Australia and Tasmania on 10 and 12 November 1877. South Australia was victorious, winning by an innings and 13 runs.
1878 – The first century (102 not out for North Adelaide against the Kent Club) was scored by John Hill on 30 January 1878. John was the father of the great Clem Hill.
1884 – The first Test match played at the Oval was held from 12–16 December 1884. England beat Australia by eight wickets. (Scorecard)
1894 – In 1894–95 Albert Trott collected 8/43 on debut against England, the best ever single-innings Test match figures at the ground.
1900 – The picket fence was put up surrounding the Oval (then with a cycling track) in 1900.
1911 – From 5–12 August 1911 the Australian Football Council Carnival was played at the ground, won by South Australia. The competing sides were SA, VFL, VFA, Western Australia, Tasmania and New South Wales.
1911 – The Adelaide Oval scoreboard, designed by architect Kenneth Milne, began service on 3 November 1911. The clock was added in 1912 and the windvane in the 1930s.
1931 – In 1931–32 Donald Bradman scored the highest score ever at the ground in Test Cricket, compiling 299* against South Africa. In the same game, Clarrie Grimmett collected fourteen wickets, the most ever taken in a Test match at the ground by a bowler.
1932 – In 1932–33, the Bodyline affair reached its lowest point at the ground when Bill Woodfull and Bert Oldfield were struck, and on the third day mounted police patrolled to keep the 50,962 spectators in order (a record crowd for cricket at the ground). The total attendance for the match was 174,351.
1990 – The Sir Donald Bradman stand was built in 1990 to replace the John Creswell stand and provided up to date facilities for spectators.
1991 – South Australia compiled the highest fourth innings winning total in Sheffield Shield history, reaching 6/506 (set 506 to win) against Queensland in 1991–92.
1992 – In 1992–93 the West Indies defeated Australia by one run in the fourth test of the Frank Worrell Trophy, when a bouncer by Courtney Walsh brushed Craig McDermott's glove to end a 40-run last-wicket partnership. It was the narrowest victory ever in Test cricket. (Scorecard)
1997 – Lights were constructed at the ground in 1997, allowing sport to be held at night. This was the subject of a lengthy dispute with the Adelaide City Council, due to environmental issues relating to the parklands area. The first towers erected were designed to retract into the ground; however one collapsed and they were replaced with permanent towers. The first cricket match under lights was a One Day International between South Africa and New Zealand on 6 December 1997. (Scorecard)
2006 – During the 2006/2007 Ashes series, many temporary stands were erected to cope with the demand for tickets. Stands were put between the Chappell stands and on the top of the hills. Australia beat England by 6 wickets on a remarkable last day. (Scorecard)
2009 – On 2 December 2009, the South Australian government announced it would commit funding to redevelop Adelaide Oval into a multi-purpose sports facility that would bring AFL football to central Adelaide. Announcing an agreement negotiated with SACA, SANFL and the AFL, Premier Mike Rann committed $450 million to the project. Making the announcement Mr Rann said that "Adelaide Oval is an icon of this city and this State. Rather than building yet another stadium at massive cost, the South Australian government will contribute significantly to this upgrade". Mr Rann also gave an undertaking that the historic Oval's key heritage features-including the century old scoreboard, Northern mound 'outer', open 'cathedral end' and Moreton Bay Fig trees would be retained in the redevelopment.
2009 The three original western stands were demolished in 2009 (George Giffen stand (1882), Sir Edwin Smith stand (1922), Mostyn Evan stand (1920s)).
2010 – In late 2010, the Western Grandstand with a seating capacity of 14,000, was completed.
2011 – In May 2011, following a vote by SACA members in favour of the redevelopment of the oval, the South Australian government increased its funding commitment to $535 million.
2011 – The first AFL game at the venue was played between Port Adelaide and Melbourne.
The oval dimensions were originally 190m x 125m, both unusually long and unusually narrow for an Australian cricket/football ground. The arrangement was highly favourable for batsmen who played square of the wicket, and heavily penalised bowlers who delivered the ball short or wide so that the batsman could play cut, hook or pull shots. Before the far ends in front of and behind the wicket were roped off, making the playing area shorter, it was not uncommon for batsmen to hit an all-run four or even occasionally a five.
Historically, the Adelaide Oval's integral pitch was generally very good for batting, and offering little assistance to bowlers until the last day of a match. Since the redevelopment in 2013, a drop-in pitch has been used at the venue.
The playing area is surrounded by a white picket fence and advertising billboards.
The Hill was created in 1898 with earth from the banks of the River Torrens.
The scoreboard was first used in 1911 and still shows its original Edwardian architecture.
The scoreboard is listed on the City of Adelaide Heritage Register, helping to maintain the charm of the ground.
With the 2011–2014 redevelopment completed, the oval dimensions changed to 183m x 134m, making it more suitable for Australian Rules Football, for which the playing field dimensions will be 167m x 124m.
In August 2008 the South Australian Cricket Association (SACA) announced that it had approved plans to redevelop the ground, involving expanding its capacity to 40,000. Development plans showed a reconfiguration of the playing surface and a remodelled western stand. The redevelopment would make the ground a viable option for hosting Australian Football League games as well as international soccer and rugby. The state and federal Governments each pledged $25m to the project, leaving the SACA to raise at least $45m. The SACA planned for the new stand to be ready in time for the 2010–11 Ashes series. The Western grandstands were torn down in June 2009 and a single Western stand was developed in its place ahead of the 2010-11 Ashes series. The new Western stand incorporates 14,000 individual seats and features improved shading conditions and amenities for SACA members.
In the lead up to the 2010 South Australian state election, the opposition Liberal Party announced that, if elected, it would build with a new stadium with a roof, located at Riverside West at the site of the state government's new hospital location. The incumbent Labor Party subsequently announced it would fund a $450 million upgrade and redevelopment of the whole of Adelaide Oval, rather than just the Western Grand Stand. Labor narrowly won re-election at the 2010 state election, resulting in its Adelaide Oval upgrade policy going ahead though eventually for a steeper $535 million, of which this deal included the State Government clearing the SACA's (South Australian Cricket Association) $85 million debt.
The Adelaide Oval Stadium Management Authority (AOSMA), a joint venture of SACA and the South Australian National Football League (SANFL), was registered as a company on 23 December 2009 following the re-announcement of the plan. The AOSMA has eight directors, four associated with SACA (Ian McLachlan-Chair, John Harnden, Creagh O’Connor & John Bannon) and four with SANFL (Leigh Whicker-CEO, Rod Payze, Philip Gallagher & Jamie Coppins).
However, in early-mid-2010, prior to the election, it became clear that $450m would be inadequate. Following the 2010 state election, SA Premier Mike Rann capped the State Government's commitment, saying: "It's $450 million – and not a penny more", and set a deadline for the parties to agree. In May, Treasurer Kevin Foley announced that "the Government's final offer to the SANFL and SACA for the redevelopment" was $535 million, and the deadline was extended to August 2010. Simultaneously, the SACA and the SANFL were in the process of negotiating an agreement that would enable Australian Rules Football (AFL) to use Adelaide Oval during the AFL season as their home ground. In August 2010, SANFL and SACA representatives signed letters of intent committing to the project, including the capped $535 million offer from the state government.
In early 2011, the AFL, SANFL, SACA, the SA Government and the Australian Government reached an agreement to upgrade Adelaide Oval. The SACA and the SANFL proposed, if SACA members vote yes on the upgrade in early May, that the whole Stadium will undergo redevelopment, except for the Northern Mound, the Moreton Bay Fig trees and the scoreboard, which will stay as it is because of it being under heritage listing. A two-thirds majority of SACA members were required to vote in favour of the proposed upgrade for it to ahead, with a successful vote resulting in the SANFL and AFL having control over the stadium for 7 months of the year and SACA having control for 5 months of the year.
SACA members had the choice of voting online on 28 April 2011 or attending in person an Extraordinary Meeting at the Adelaide Showgrounds on 2 May 2011. At 6pm, 28 April 2011, It was announced that 60% of SACA members that voted online voted yes, 15% short of the Majority vote needed for the upgrade to go ahead. At 10.15pm, on 2 May 2011, at the Adelaide Showgrounds, the final result was announced. 80.37% of total votes cast were in favour of Adelaide Oval being redeveloped, resulting in the upgrade and stadium reconfiguration being approved. The upgrade commenced in April 2012, and was finished in time for the 2014 AFL season.
All stands of the Oval were redeveloped and upgraded except for the already rebuilt Western grandstand (SACA and SANFL members only stand), the Northern Mound, the Historic Scoreboard and the Moreton Bay fig trees. The Northern Mound, the Moreton Bay fig trees and the Scoreboard are all heritage listed and will likely never be demolished unless damaged beyond repair.
SACA members vote Concerns redevelopment of Adelaide Oval†
† Note that a 75% threshold was required in order for approval to be granted
Adelaide Oval hosts the following major sporting events:
International cricket — Test and One Day International. Adelaide Oval hosts some of the many exciting events in the cricketing calendar — including the annual Australia Day One Day International on 26 January (replacing a traditional Australia Day test) and every 4 years, one of the 5 Ashes test matches against England. The tests are now normally held in early December and is a clash between Australia and the international touring team of that particular season. In 2011, Adelaide Oval held its first Twenty20 International between Australia and England, a match which England won by 1 wicket.The Adelaide Oval was the host of the first ever day/night Test match, when Australia played New Zealand on the 27th of November 2015.
Rugby league – In 1991, the NSWRL came to Adelaide Oval when the St. George Dragons played the Balmain Tigers on a cold and wet Friday night under temporary lights in the first of five games that the Dragons would play at the oval over the next five years. That game, with the Dragons winning 16–2, set a rugby league record crowd for the ground when 28,884 people attended, and was in fact the highest minor round attendance for the 1991 NSWRL season (beaten only by four of the six Finals series games including the Grand Final). In 1997 Adelaide got its own side in the much vaunted (but short lived) Super League competition with the Adelaide Rams. Their first home game attracted their record crowd when 27,435 saw the Rams defeat SL's other new team, the Hunter Mariners 10–8. However, after disputes over money (and dwindling crowds due to poor on-field results) they left the ground in 1998 and moved to Hindmarsh Stadium. In the 2010 and 2011National Rugby League seasons, Sydney club the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs played home games at the Oval against the Melbourne Storm. The Bulldogs had intended to make Adelaide Oval their second "home" (the club plays its home games at Sydney's Olympic Stadium), but the plan was abandoned after 2010. On November 20, 2016, it was announced that the Sydney Roosters will take on the Melbourne Storm sometime in the 2017 NRL season meaning that top level Rugby league will return to Adelaide for the first time in six years.
The Rolling Stones were due to play a concert at the Adelaide Oval on 22 March 2014. This would have been the first major event at the fully redeveloped venue, but it was postponed due to the death of lead singer Mick Jagger's girlfriend L'Wren Scott in New York on 17 March. The rescheduled concert took place on 25 October 2014.
The first senior league Australian rules football match was played on Adelaide Oval in 1877 between the original Adelaide club and the Bankers club. The records below cover senior Australian rules football at Adelaide Oval. These records include the South Australian league football (known as the South Australian Football Association and South Australian Football League and the South Australian National Football League) from 1877 when the first premiership matches were held at the ground till the end of the 1990 SANFL season, the last year that the competition was the highest level of Australian rules football in South Australia. In 1991 the newly created Adelaide Crows entered the Australian Football League subsequently playing the highest level of football in the state. Port Adelaide would join the Australian Football League in 1997.
^Rann caps State Government's commitmentArchived 1 December 2010 at the Wayback Machine., Advertiser, 7 April 2010: SA Premier Mike Rann has capped the State Government's commitment to any redevelopment of Adelaide Oval for AFL football at $450 million. "It's $450 million – and not a penny more", said Mr Rann today ruling out the government underwriting any cost over-runs at Adelaide Oval.