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Melbourne Cricket Ground
Wikipedia | Google | Google Images | FlickrThe Melbourne Cricket Ground (also known as MCG or, among locals, ‘The G’) is one of the Australia’s greatest sports stadiums. Home to the Melbourne Cricket Club, it is located in Yarra Park, within easy walking distance from the Central Business District of Melbourne, Victoria. In Australia, the place is associated with some of the greatest moments in the sporting history of the country. The stadium dates back to 1853, which was when the Melbourne Cricket Club was granted a new sporting field at the Government Paddock. Since that date, the ground has been the site for many major events and has a history to rival any of the world’s great sporting stadiums.
The stadium is where Test cricket was first played and the home of Australian Rules Football. During the 1956 Olympics, it was the main stadium; it hosted the opening and closing ceremonies of the Commonwealth Games in 2006; and it hosted the 1992 Cricket World Cup. Other sports that are played there are soccer and rugby.
Besides sports, the ground has also been the stage for large music concerts by world-class bands and superstars such as U2, Madonna; The Rolling Stones, The Police; and Michael Jackson. Even Pope John Paul II, when visiting the city in 1986, held a massive mass there. Suffice to say that a lot of history has been written at Melbourne Cricket Ground.
The total capacity of the stadium is slightly more than 100,000, which makes it the eleventh-largest stadium in the world. It is, however, the largest stadium in Australia and in the southern hemisphere. Additionally, it is also the world’s largest cricket stadium and has the highest light towers of any sporting ground in the world.
The Melbourne Cricket Ground is listed on the Victorian Heritage Register and an Australian National Heritage Site.
HistoryThe Melbourne Cricket Club was founded in 1838 and, after playing at various grounds around the city, was granted a new ground in 1853. The first grandstand was built out of wood in 1854. It was a stand for members only. In 1861 the first public grandstand was constructed, capable of holding 6,000 spectators. As early as 1881, the ground was considered to be the finest cricket venue in the world. This was also when the original wooden members grandstand was replaced by a brick stand. At the turn of the century, the stadium’s capacity was 9,000 and the ground was lit by electric lights.
In the early 20th century more stands were built and by the 1920s the capacity was 20,000. The first colored-video scoreboard in Australia was added to the stadium in 1982. In 1985, the light towers were built, which now allowed for nighttime football and day-long cricket games.
Historic stands such as the 1928 Members Stand, 1956 Olympic Stand and 1968 Ponsford Stand were demolished in 2003-2005 and replaced by entirely new structures. This was done in preparation of the 2006 Commonwealth Games. This redevelopment made it a stadium with one large unbroken stand and improved its capacity to more than 100,000.
The first Australian first-class cricket game between Victoria and New South Wales took place at Melbourne Cricket Ground in 1856. On New Year’s Day 1862, the first cricket match between an English and Australian team took place, and in December 1866 it was the location of the first match between an Aboriginal team and a Melbourne Cricket Club team. The first test match between Australia and England began on March 15, 1877.
Australian Rules Football was born at Melbourne Cricket Ground when the cricket player, Tom Wills invented the game in order to keep fit in winter. He became the most influential sportsman of his time and in the mid-19th century captained both the Melbourne Cricket Club and the Melbourne Football Club.
Visiting Melbourne Cricket ClubThe MCG lies within walking distance from central Melbourne, but can also be reached by tram or bus. When there isn’t a sports game going on, there still are two major attractions.
Guided Melbourne Cricket Ground Tours take visitors behind the scenes. Tours include the Ponsford Stand, player’s changing rooms, Long Room, City Terrace , and a walk on the grass. Tours take place practically every day of the year, except on major holidays, and last about 75 minutes.
The National Sports Museum is Australia’s premier sports museum. It houses the Olympic Museum, Sport Australia Hall of Fame, and Australian Cricket Hall of Fame.
Tickets to either a tour of the MCG or the National Sports Museum are A$50 ($41) for families, A$20 ($16) for adults, A$10 ($8.20) for children and A$15 ($12) for groups of more than twenty persons. A combined ticket to both attractions costs A$70 ($57) for families, A$30 ($25) for adults, A$15 ($12) for children and A$23 ($18) for groups larger than twenty.
Similar LandmarksMelbourne is Australia’s sports capital and has a few other major venues. Rod Laver Arena is the central stadium of the Australian Open Tennis Championship and Flemington Racecourse is home to the annual Melbourne Cup horse race.
Other legendary sports stadiums elsewhere on the planet are Maracana in Rio de Janeiro, Wembley in London, Camp Nou in Barcelona and Fenway Park in Boston.
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Author: bramreusen. Last updated: Mar 09, 2015