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Perth Oval

Author

City of Vincent

Place Number

02992
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Location

27 Bulwer St Perth

Location Details

Other Name(s)

Loton Park
Members Equity Stadium, NIB Stadium

Local Government

Vincent

Region

Metropolitan

Construction Date

Constructed from 1904

Demolition Year

N/A

Statutory Heritage Listings

Type Status Date Documents More information
Heritage List Adopted
State Register Permanent 02 Sep 1998 Register Entry
Assessment Documentation
Heritage Council

Other Heritage Listings and Surveys

Type Status Date Grading/Management More information
Category Description
Municipal Inventory Adopted 13 Nov 1995 Category A

Category A

Conservation Essential

Statement of Significance

Perth Oval (fmr Loton Park) occupies the site of a former lake and market garden, before it was offered to the City of Perth, by William Loton, for use as a public recreation area. Established during the 1900s Perth Oval has been one of the long term premier sporting venues in metropolitan Perth, until the advent of more specialised sporting venues from the mid 1980s, including interstate football matches and cricket games. More latterly it has been the home of Perth Glory soccer team. Perth Oval entry gates are one of the state’s finest examples of the Interwar Mediterranean style for recreational purposes. The mature trees of the perimeter planting are representative of the ’Paradise’ landscape style of planting that is characteristic of public parks and gardens established in Perth at the turn of the century.

Physical Description

Perth Oval contains the oval/playing field, grandstand, entrance gates and extensive plantings of Moreton Bay fig trees, Norfolk Island pines and Cabbage palms. Within the perimeter of the Perth Oval is the Loton Park Tennis Club pavilion and courts. The entry gates have recently been refurbished and are handsome examples of the Interwar Mediterranean style. The original grandstand was replaced with a new grandstand in the Postwar International style in the mid 1950s. These days Perth Oval is the home of Perth Glory soccer club and this activity has introduced a different relationship between the terraces and grandstand with the playing surface. Mature trees are a feature of Perth Oval. Opposite Dilhorn, the former home of William Thornley Loton. Loton Park Tennis Club occupies the north-east corner of the Perth Oval streetblock. Grandstand replaced in the mid 1950s. The place is undergoing redevelopment in 2003 to provide a new rectangular field, new grandstand, refurbishment of existing grandstand and other works including landscaping.

History

Perth Oval was established on Swan Location 114, on a piece of reclaimed land that had originally been the site of Stone's Lake. It was originally an Aboriginal camp site and was used by the European settlers for market gardening after it was drained. William Thorley Loton purchased the land from Edward Barron in 1884. It became known as Loton's paddock because it was where Loton grazed his carriage horses. The 1897 PWD City of Perth & Suburbs sewerage plans indicated four sheds or small buildings in the north-west of the site, which may have been stables. Loton's home, 'Dilhorn', was across the road at No. 2 Bulwer Street) and overlooked the area. On 31 October 1904 Loton sold the land to the City of Perth for ₤8,500 on the proviso that it was used as a public recreation area and named 'Loton Park'. In 1906 it was adopted by the East Perth Football Club as its home ground. Australian Rules football began to be played more widely in WA in the 1880s and gained momentum with the arrival of many men from Victoria during the gold rushes in the 1990s. The East Perth Football Club began with the formation of the Union Football Club in 1902. It started in the Third Rate Association (Australian Rules) and then progressed to the First Rate Association in 1904. Such was the team's success that they were promoted to the Western Australian Football Association (WAFA) as the East Perth Football Club. Their home ground was Wellington Square until they moved to 'Loton Park' in 1910, that same year that it became officially known as Perth Oval. From 1911 to 1922, the club operated an open air picture theatre in the summer months, in the area near the present entrance gates. This raised funds for the club as well as for charitable causes. In 1913-14, four tennis courts, a bowling green and a croquet lawn were laid out, and in 1916, the Loton Park Tennis Club was established. Impressive new entrance gates to the oval were constructed in 1932, possibly by sustenance workers and an extra entry was added in 1969. In 1948 alterations were made to the ladies' toilets and in 1950 to the gents' toilets, and again in 1957 and 1969. The original timber grandstand was removed to Bayswater in 1955 and a new grandstand designed in 1956 by Forbes & Fitzhardinge. It was built by W. Fairweather on the western side of the oval following the re-orientation of the ground from east-west to north-south. The new grandstand was opened by Lord Mayor Harry Howard on 9 June 1956, the jubilee year of the club's move to Perth Oval. Extensions to the grandstand were carried out in 1966. These were designed by Oldham, Boas Ednie-Brown and included changes to the club rooms and a bar extension. Various other improvements have been made to the facilities over the years, including further renovations to the bar (1971), alterations to the change rooms (1974), oval seating (1977), covered terraced seating (1978) and in 2001 the gates and ticket boxes underwent conservation and restoration work under the guidance of architects Considine & Griffiths. Perth Oval was used as a military depot for a short period in 1943 and was later the scene of victory celebrations for the end of World War II. Other groups that called the ground home over the years were a lawn bowls club, the West Perth Football Club and the North Perth District Cricket Club). The City of Perth also hired the ground out on an average of 10 times per year to various sporting bodies and others looking for this type of venue. During the time that the East Perth Football Club resided at Perth Oval, the legend developed that if Charlie's Tree bloomed the team would win the Premiership that year. This tree got its name from Charlie Chandler, a very keen supporter who noticed that the tree only bloomed in those years and in fact, it was proven right 12 out of 14 times between 1956 and 1972. In more recent times it did not prove to be so accurate. The West Australian Football Commission leased the oval in 1982 as well as the Leederville and Lathlain ovals and in the late 1980s it was used by the West Coast Eagles for evening training. It was muted as a possibility for development as Perth's premier football ground in 1992 and plans were drawn up. However, Subiaco Oval was chosen instead. With the subdivision of the City of Perth into four separate local government authorities in 1994/5, it came under the jurisdiction of the newly-formed Town of Vincent. Various other groups such as the Perth Glory Soccer Club and Aspire Fitness have since used the grounds as well as the promoters of large-scale concerts, staging performers such as Luciano Pavarotti and Rod Stewart. A sub-lease was negotiated between the Town of Vincent, East Perth Football Club and the privately-owned Perth Glory Soccer Club in July 1996 to enable Perth Glory to train and hold their games there. The team played their first game in the National Soccer League in October 1996 at Perth Oval and in 2000 floodlights were installed, enabling evening games to be played. In 2003 after a sponsorship deal, it was named Members Equity Stadium. When East Perth's tenancy finished in 2004, the club moved its headquarters to Leederville Oval, which they then shared with the Subiaco Football Club. Perth Oval was then revamped as a multi-purpose stadium with a new rectangular field, a new grandstand plus the refurbishment of the existing grandstand and other works including landscaping. In 2005 a further upgrade was planned to make the ground suitable for Super 14 rugby but this was put on hold and had not been carried out by 2008.

Integrity/Authenticity

Medium to High

State Heritage Office library entries

Library Id Title Medium Year Of Publication
9889 Perth Oval Heritage Study {Cons'n Plan} 2011
7942 Archival record Perth Oval Perth W.A. Archival Record 2003
7814 A fairer Athens and a freer Rome: historic public gardens in Perth, WA. Journal article 1982
4199 Perth Oval East Perth Conservation Plan Heritage Study {Cons'n Plan} 1999

Place Type

Individual Building or Group

Uses

Epoch General Specific
Original Use SOCIAL\RECREATIONAL Grandstand
Present Use SOCIAL\RECREATIONAL Other Sports Building
Original Use SOCIAL\RECREATIONAL Other Sports Building

Architectural Styles

Style
Inter-War Mediterranean
Post-War International

Construction Materials

Type General Specific
Wall BRICK Common Brick

Historic Themes

General Specific
SOCIAL & CIVIC ACTIVITIES Sport, recreation & entertainment

Creation Date

21 Mar 1997

Publish place record online (inHerit):

Approved

Last Update

04 Jan 2018

Disclaimer

This information is provided voluntarily as a public service. The information provided is made available in good faith and is derived from sources believed to be reliable and accurate. However, the information is provided solely on the basis that readers will be responsible for making their own assessment of the matters discussed herein and are advised to verify all relevant representations, statements and information.