Media Releases 2011
Huge celebration planned for Victoria Park's re-opening
18 November 2011
Melbourne icon Victoria Park will enter a new era as a major community recreation space at a massive celebration event in early December.
Yarra Mayor Alison Clarke said hundreds of local residents and people from across Melbourne were expected to attend the official re-opening of the Abbotsford ground on Sunday 4 December.
Cr Clarke said the event would celebrate the completion of a $7.2 million redevelopment - funded by the Australian Government and Council - of the former homeground of the Collingwood Football Club.
She said two public plazas have been created, stands have been refurbished and perimeter walls removed or reduced to open up the heritage-listed facility.
“Victoria Park is coming alive again with activity, providing much-needed open space in the inner-city for people to walk their dogs, jog, play sport or have a barbecue,” Cr Clarke said.
“The revitalisation of this ground has been more than a decade in the making after the Collingwood Football Club played its last game at Victoria Park in 1999,” she said.
“Many Melbournians will have strong memories of attending football games at Victoria Park, as it was a place where emotions often ran high.
“With this redevelopment, we have held on to what is cherished about Victoria Park so that people can soak up the atmosphere while enjoying new public parkland and refurbished facilities.
“In many ways, we are returning Victoria Park to its original purpose as in 1878 the ground was designated by its then owner as a place of ‘public resort and recreation’.”
Cr Clarke said the Collingwood Football Club’s links with the site would continue, with the ground hosting home games of the Collingwood Football Club’s VFL team in 2012 and the Collingwood Football Club Foundation creating a community hub in the ground’s former Social Club building.
She said the Council had also commissioned five public artworks at the ground, all of which pay tribute to the site’s unique history in Victorian cultural life.
A community choir singing a medley of AFL team songs in different languages will be among the host of activities at the community celebration on Sunday 4 December, from 1pm-5pm.
Hosted by Greg Champion and Jeff Richardson from the Coodabeen Champions, the event will also involve local primary school children competing in Aboriginal traditional games, a mass dance inspired by the movements of AFL umpires and a performance by Mike Brady.
There will be a round robin of sporting activities for children and families, a Collingwood Football Club memorabilia display including Premiership Cups, local community stalls offering food and other goods, and celebrations for the International Day of People with Disability. People will have an opportunity to discuss the park’s new public artworks with the artists who created them.
Get there by:
With parking limited near Victoria Park, people attending the event are encouraged to get there by train, bus or bike. The Victoria Park train station is on the Hurstbridge and Epping train lines, while the following bus lines stop at or near Victoria Park station:
Bus 200 (City-Bulleen)
Bus 201 (City-Doncaster Shopping Centre via Belmore Road)
Bus 207 (City-Donvale)
Bus 246 (Elsternwick – La Trobe University)
There will also be bike parking facilities at the event.
Here is more information about some of celebration activities:
Aboriginal traditional games
Boys and girls aged 7-9 years old are learning how to play Aboriginal traditional games so they can compete at the event for medals and the inaugural Aboriginal Traditional Games trophy. The children, from three primary schools in Yarra and an Aboriginal team, are learning spear throwing, boomerang throwing, message stick relay races, Marngrook and more. All games have a message and will teach kids about Aboriginal culture.
Project Partner: Melbourne Aboriginal Youth Sport and Recreation (MAYSAR)
Funding Partner: Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs
A core group of 62 Go-Go dancers will perform a choreographed dance based on the movements of AFL umpires. The umpire moves will include all the standard signals such as dropping the ball, in the back and the blood rule. Ten other dance groups are involved in the project and will perform their own choreographed dances before joining in with the umpire dance. These groups include: Vietnamese dragon dancers, line dancers, belly dancers, Bollywood dancers, hip hop dancers, African dancers and more.
Master Choreographer: Gabi Barton
Project Partner: Multicultural Arts Victoria
Community choir sings a medley of AFL team songs in different languages
An arrangement of AFL Team Songs in different languages will be sung by four Melbourne singers (Ajak Kwai, Kylie Auldist, Carl Pannuzzo, Oliver Mann) and a choir of up to 80 voices. The choir will include members of the Many Moons Choir, High Street Bells and Mini Melbourne Millennium Chorus. With the support of The Boite and Yarra Community Music, the medley will take four bars of all AFL team songs and translate them into languages spoken in Yarra including Vietnamese, Mandarin, Arabic, Dinka, Italian, Greek and Wurundjeri.
Arrangement of AFL Team songs: Biddy Connor
Funding partner: Harold Mitchell Foundation
A selection of footballs will be presented as part of the memorabilia display. These balls will have been transformed into original works of art by women from the Loving Threads Sewing Circle. These women come from different cultural backgrounds and work in a variety of craft styles. The balls will be crocheted, beaded, knitted and appliquéd by women who bring their own unique slant to the traditional sphere - making their mark.
Funding Partner: Bendigo Bank Community Bank
For more information about Victoria Park’s transformation and the overall community celebration event, contact Ainslie Gowan, Communications Coordinator, on 9205 5177 / 0400 933 700 or at Ainslie.Gowan@yarracity.vic.gov.au
For more information on various components of the celebration event, contact the Project Coordinators as below:
Aboriginal traditional games -
Jason Tamiru on 0423 050 391 or at Tamiru@bigpond.com
Umpire dance -
Carla Yamine on 0425 706 915 or at Carla@carlayamine.com.au
Community choir -
Biddy Connor on 0412 258 162 or at email@example.com
Marion Crooke on 0434 835 810 - firstname.lastname@example.org
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