Canberra Stadium
Canberra Stadium (originally known as Bruce Stadium) is a facility primarily used for rugby league and rugby union games, located adjacent to the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra, the capital of Australia. Bruce is the Canberra suburb where the stadium is located, and in turn Bruce was named after Stanley Bruce, Australian Prime Minister 1923”“1929.

Constructed in 1977 for the Pacific Conference Games, it also was the venue for the 4th IAAF World Cup in Athletics. At the latter meet, the fastest 400m for women, was recorded by East German Marita Koch, and also the 4x100m women's relay by East Germany ”“ times that still stand today. In the late 1980s the running track was removed and re-located to the warm up stadium at the AIS site and in 1990 the Canberra Raiders Rugby league team started playing their home games at Bruce in 1990 after they became more successful. The removal of the track meant that Australian rules football, more specifically the Australian Football League (AFL), could now be played at the ground and in 1995 the first AFL match for premiership points was contested between the West Coast Eagles and Fitzroy. The were also a number of pre-season AFL games played at the venue, mostly featuring the Sydney Swans. Also around this time, as an experiment, a cricket pitch was placed in the centre of the ground, and a day/night 1 day cricket match was played between 2 local teams before a small crowd. Regular cricket matches on the ground did not eventuate. Further renovations occurred in 1997 in preparation for staging soccer matches as part of the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, which also in turn shrank the size of the playing field preventing any future Australian rules football games being played on the field. The final cost of the renovations was more than seven times what was originally anticipated by the territory government of the time, and the subsequent controversy ended the career of then Chief Minister Kate Carnell. During the lead-up, on 28 May 2000, unseasonal snow fell during a match between the Raiders and the Wests Tigers, the only such event in National Rugby League history, with the snow causing frost damage to the turf intended for the Olympic football tournament. Olympic soccer in 2000 has initiated a stadium facelift converting the playing surface from oval to rectangular and bringing the crowd closer to the action. The only downside to this revamp is the stadium can no longer host AFL games. It is now an all-seater rectangular stadium with two main grandstands on either side of the playing field. In 2009 there was a A-League bid from Canberra that, if successful would have seen a team play at the stadium starting with the 2010”“11 season. However, the league chose to award second teams to (Western) Sydney and Melbourne. Ultimately, the second Sydney team never took the field due to financial issues.

The stadium is currently owned by the Australian Government through the Australian Sports Commission and leased to the Australian Capital Territory Government. While the current lease is due to expire in 2010, the ACT Government is seeking ownership of the stadium through a land transfer with the Australian Government.

Seating and Capacity
Capacity is a nominal all-seated 25,011, the largest crowd being 28,753 for the 2004 Super 12 Final. The main grandstand is named after Canberra Raiders and Australian rugby league player Mal Meninga, and a statue of another Raiders and Australian league representative Laurie Daley adorns the main grandstand entrance. The eastern grandstand was named the Gregan/Larkham Grandstand on 28 April 2007, after Brumbies and Australia rugby union greats George Gregan and Stephen Larkham. Both ended their international careers after the 2007 Rugby World Cup as the two most-capped players in Wallabies history (at that time), with Gregan at a world-record 139 and Larkham at 102.

Crowd Records
Rugby union
  • 28,753 ”“ 2004 Super 12 Final, ACT Brumbies vs Canterbury Crusaders
Rugby league
  • 26,476 ”“ 2010 NRL season Semi finals, Canberra Raiders vs Wests Tigers
  • 20,032 ”“ Asian Cup Qualifier, Australia vs Kuwait

Possible Replacement
Whilst the stadium suits the needs of its two current primary tennants, as of 2011 it will be the second-smallest Super Rugby stadium (behind the Western Force's nib Stadium), and only a medium-sized NRL venue. The stadium itself is approaching 35 years old, and despite modernizations over the years is lacking in certain amenities for fans ”“ especially under cover seating. Additionally, Australia had bid for the 2022 FIFA World Cup and Canberra Stadium does not meet the necessary criterion to host matches. As such, the ACT Government launched a study examining the upgrading or replacing of Canberra Stadium, with options ranging from increasing capacity and enclosing the current facility, to completely re-configuring the current stadium to an oval for cricket and Australian rules football and building a state of the art rectangular facility next door. Citing costs of building multiple facilities as an issue, ACT Sports Minister Andrew Barr indicated his preference would be a 'super stadium' built with World Cup standard facilities and capacity, reducible to around 30,000 seats after the event. Such a facility would have to incorporate movable seating in order to accommodate all of the major Australian sporting codes. The official bid for the 2022 world cup indicated that the 'super stadium' plan was unlikely and the original plan of a new rectangular stadium built next door to the current stadium, with the existing facility re-configured for oval field sports, was considered to be the likely outcome.

Other Notable Events
  • Super 12 Rugby union Final 2000, 2001, 2004
  • Four group matches from the 2003 Rugby World Cup were also played at the stadium.
  • In 1990, the stadium hosted an International Rules match (a combination of Gaelic football and Australian rules football) between Ireland and Australia.
  • In 1995, the AFL's ailing Fitzroy Football Club played one home game against the West Coast Eagles at the venue.
  • A day night cricket match between 2 local clubs was played in the mid-1990s.
  • The 2 nd leg of the 1996 OFC Nations Cup Final
  • Kanga Cup International Youth Soccer Tournament.
  • The 2008 Pacific Schools Games
  • One Group Match from the 2008 Rugby League World Cup was also played at the stadium.


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Building Activity

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