In May, the City of Melbourne provided support for the proposed redevelopment of Punt Road Oval, including the demolition of the historic Jack Dyer Stand. While the stand is currently protected by a Heritage Overlay, Councillors cited reports provided by Richmond Football Club which they believe demonstrate that retention or relocation is not viable if the club’s ongoing use of the ground is to be maintained.
The National Trust has expressed concerns that these documents have not been made publicly available, and continues to call for a redevelopment option which enables the retention or relocation of the Jack Dyer Stand.
Council’s decision will be taken into account by the Minister for Planning, who is currently considering the redevelopment plans. The National Trust has also made a formal submission as part of this process.
The Jack Dyer Stand, which dates to 1914, embodies the enduring connection of the Richmond Cricket Club and Richmond Football Club with the Punt Road Oval, and has architectural significance as an example of an early twentieth-century grandstand at a major sporting venue.
The National Trust broadly supports the intention of the proposed redevelopment of Punt Road Oval to enable the ongoing use of the ground by Richmond Football Club, and provide additional facilities and capacity to support the use of the ground by the AFLW, which will ensure the continuation of the site’s historic use supporting Australian Rules Football. But this should not be at the expense of the Jack Dyer Stand, which is an integral part of the ground’s history and identity.
The issue continues to highlight the tension that can arise between the conservation of heritage fabric and the social value of ongoing use, which has played out at many sporting grounds including the Melbourne Cricket Ground and Flemington Racecourse.