A History of Rugby in Victoria

researched & written by Ron Grainger

EXHIBITION OVAL MATCHES

One little known venue for several Rugby games in the late ‘twenties was the Exhibition Oval. Long used for various sports and festivals, notably cycling and (more controversially) motor cycling. The Exhibition Trustees early in 1928 again invited tenders for the use of the Oval on Saturdays and while not perhaps an ideal Rugby ground (costs included the cartage of goal posts) the VRU saw it as an appropriately enclosed venue for the match between Victoria and the All Blacks, the latter returning home that year from their South African tour. Unfortunately, the added expense of bringing them by rail from Adelaide, where they had been stranded by a shipping strike, roughly equalled the final loss on the match held there on 29 September.

Next year, the Hawkesbury College met the expenses of their visit to Melbourne and the team was billeted by VRU clubs and members. Their game against Kiwis at the Exhibition Oval on Monday 24 June was watched by a crowd of some 600. Kiwis, that year’s premiers, with seven State players, were not to disappoint in losing to the exceptionally strong visitors.

The final use of Exhibition Oval for a representative Rugby game was a few weeks later, on 13 July, when an Australian XV met the All Blacks who were ‘superior in the scrums and the straight running of their backs’ and ‘who received a great ovation from the large number of New Zealand sailors present.’

By 1930 the VRU had been able to secure the use of other grounds for Rugby, not least the MCG for the match against Great Britain. This was no doubt fortuitous as in the same year an old statute had been revived which precluded the Trustees from charging entry to the Carlton Gardens, which were then given over to passive recreation and were made freely accessible to the public.

https://i1.wp.com/www.thecollectormm.com.au/private/ExhibitionAerial.jpg

Royal Exhibition Buildings and former Oval

 

Research & content Ron Grainger

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

 

 

Advertisements

Information

This entry was posted on October 4, 2014 by in History, RUGBY in VICTORIA.