The Melbourne Cricket Grounds is the place for footy (Australian Rules Football) and Cricket matches. Footy games are held from late March to late September and cricket contests fill the next 6 months. Footy is in season here right now and it is huge. There are 18 teams across this Aussie-land, with 9 or 10 of those teams being in the greater Melbourne area. Did I mention that this game is huge? On Saturdays and Sundays tens of thousands of people, young and old, men and women can be seen wearing scarves of their favorite teams’ colors. The Melbourne Cricket Grounds is the home field for 3 of the Melbourne teams, so this morning I took a guided tour of this amazing facility.
You may be wondering why it is called the Melbourne Cricket Grounds and not the Melbourne Footy Grounds. That is because it has a much longer history as a site for cricket than footy. Footy contests used to be played in several stadiums around the cricket grounds, but have been demolished over the years as the Melbourne Cricket Grounds, or the “G”, has been expanded to include the fans from the old stadium. The first “G” was build in 1853 and it has seen many remodels and upgrades so that today it is a very modern-looking and first rate stadium. The “G” was the main stadium when Melbourne hosted the 1956 Olympics.
My tour consisted of 9 other interested people, all from AU, and a tour guide who is a member of the Melbourne Cricket Club, the governing body of the “G”. She told us that as soon as babies are born here in Australia, the grandparents frequently pay $110 AU to have that child’s name put on the waiting list to join the Melbourne Cricket Club. The current wait to get in is about 22 years! She has been a member since 1991 and now pays $609 a year and can attend any event that is held in the “G” and sit in the seats reserved for members! Such a deal!
The “G” went through its latest renovation/expansion in the early years of the 21st century and that coincided with a series of drought years for this area, so the roof was designed to collect rain water and save it in huge tanks under the grass on the stadium. This water is used to water the grass in and outside of the stadium as well as for flushing the toilets in the stadium. The roof also contains solar panels and our guide was proud to say that the “G” was able to give power back to the grid.
In the photos of the “G” you may see some equipment on one side of the turf. At first I thought it was some sort of irrigation system, but no, it is a series of “grow” lights that move across the grass that is always in the shade caused by the height of the stadium!
You may be able to tell that I was completely captivated by this tour! I can hardly wait to go to a footy game, now that I am armed with all this knowledge about the venue! I guess I had better read up on the rules of footy so I can have a better understanding of the game and know when and when not to cheer!
Attached to the “G” is the National Sports Museum, so I did a quick tour of that. I didn’t know most of the names associated with the different sports, but some were familiar.
Because it was a beautiful fall day, I walked to and from the “G” and had to hurry home to get some lunch before my knitting group at 2 PM. This being my second time with this group, they seemed glad to see me back and I met several new people.
My friend, Pam, asked me about prices here in Melbourne and I can say that generally they are a good bit higher than at home. About the only thing that is cheaper is apples because it is apple season here now. I can get reasonably priced produce if I go to a farmer’s market and there are several in my area. Milk is about $3.99 for 2 liters~Danny Wegman has spoiled me with his everyday low price on milk! Today I bought gas and paid about $6.00/gal (Jim did the math for us, since I bought it in liters and paid with AU dollars).
Tomorrow we are heading out for a weekend trip on the Great Ocean Road, along the southern coast of Australia, just west of Melbourne. It should be spectacular!
More photos from today: