Warrandyte Recreation Reserve and its Facilities
(A Short History)
What a fabulous facility that the four sporting clubs that make up Warrandyte Sporting Group share at Warrandyte Reserve.
The current facilities, opened in 2014, came about due to the vision and energy of local sporting club members, the not insignificant support of Manningham City Council, State Member for Warrandyte, Ryan Smith MP, great financial support of the Warrandyte Community Bank and substantial funds input by clubs and local community.
The magnificence of the rooms that benefit our local netball, senior and junior football and cricket clubs is there for all to see, but there has been many changes and developments at the Taroona Avenue site going back to the early gold rush history of our wonderful town.
1855 – 1909
The first cricket match on the current site of Warrandyte Reserve is generally regarded as having been played in early 1855. The football club moved there in 1909 where a timber, tin and canvass shed with dirt floor was built with materials from the nearby South Caledonia gold mine.
Below are some images of “The White House” that was on the grounds and was at one stage a Tea Rooms.
1939 – 1954
Little is known of subsequent improvements, if any, but tragedy struck Warrandyte in January 1939 when the Black Friday bushfires tore through the town leaving a shocking trail of death and destruction. Among the many casualties were the recreation reserve pavilion and toilets, burnt to the ground. Irreplaceable football and cricket records and memorabilia went with them.
The Reserve Committee acted quickly, engaging a local builder Alec Edwards to put up a weatherboard shed at a cost of 80 pounds. It had a dividing wall and the “traditional” dirt floor. While still without power, a stormwater tank supplied water to the facility.
The shed was spruced up following WWII and, in 1950, a breakthrough was achieved when electricity was connected and a floodlight installed to help with football training. The reserve trustees supplied timber for the floor, which was laid by the members, and a concrete floor was put down in the toilets. What luxury!
Another grant of 15 pounds 3 shillings and 2 pence allowed the installation of a shower room and a kerosene heater to provide hot water.
1954 saw the pavilion lined and subsequent extensions included a desperately needed canteen being available for the 1956 football season.
1957 – 1975
Tragedy struck again in 1957 when the pavilion mysteriously burnt to the ground. Undaunted, and with the assistance of another Lands Department grant and the services of Alec Edwards, the shell of a new pavilion (including Showers) was erected at a cost of 1240 pounds. Members again pitched in to line the walls and ceiling as they did with the erection of a scoreboard in 1967.
The trustees of the Reserve Committee handed over responsibility for the management of the reserve to the local council (Doncaster & Templestowe) in 1969 which facilitated considerable improvements including the addition of a canteen and kitchen. Volunteer labour from tradesman members allowed the dollar to stretch further and the extended facility was officially opened in 1973.
1975 saw all drainage hooked up to the adjacent senior citizens centre and concrete terracing was laid in front of the canteen by members.
1979 – 2014
1979 saw a meeting convened by the football and cricket clubs to pursue the idea of an upgraded sports and social club. The Warrandyte Sports and Social Club was formed; a rust deed ratified and debenture members canvassed with the view to securing 200 members at $100 each. Imminent State Government elections elicited promised grants matched by local council grants split between both clubs and a refurbishment grant of $20,000. The $100 debenture figure was nearing its target and “buy a brick” was the catch-cry with holders’ names being displayed in the clubrooms – currently via electronic means on the TV screens in rotation with other honour boards. Plans were approved and tender awarded that saw the $115,000 construction project commence in 1987 and opened the following year.
Very proud members now had changing and spectator facilities that were the envy of many a visiting club; little did they know that less than 30 years later, these rooms would be demolished and replaced by our current magnificent multi-use rooms.
The latest addition to facilities at the reserve was the 2017 replacement of the manually operated scoreboard with an electronic board and digital screen – again with substantial financial assistance from the Warrandyte Community Bank.
No doubt the current facilities are second to none albeit that further enhancements will be pursued by the Warrandyte Sporting Group in future for the benefit of all members of the Warrandyte community and its sporting clubs.