WACA Ground

The WACA (pronounced /ˈwækə/) is a sports stadium in Perth, Western Australia. WACA are the initials of its owners and operators, the Western Australian Cricket Association.

The WACA ground has been the "home" of cricket in Western Australia since the early 1890s. The first Test match was played at the ground in 1970. The WACA has also been the home ground of the state of Western Australia's domestic cricket team, currently known as the Western Warriors. The women's cricket team known as the Western Fury plays in the Women's National Cricket League.

The pitch at the WACA was regarded as one of the quickest and bounciest in the world. These characteristics, in combination with the afternoon sea-breezes which regularly pass the ground (the Fremantle Doctor), have historically made the ground an attractive place for pace and swing bowlers.

Throughout its history, the ground has also been used for a range of other sports, including athletics carnivals, Australian rules football, baseball, soccer, rugby league, rugby union, international rules football. However, recent years have seen most of these activities relocated to other venues. It has also been used for major rock concerts.

Early history

William Henry Wise, a gardener who came to WA from England in 1880, laid the first turf wicket at the WACA. Wise was personal gardener to Sir George Shenton, of Crawley. In addition to his work at the WACA Ground, he laid the first Tennis Court on the Esplanade Perth W.A.

The Western Australian Cricket Association was officially established on 25 November 1885 under the Presidency of JCH James. In 1893, the WACA ground was officially opened, occupying a site of old swamp land to the east of the city. The Association has freehold title to the ground. Originally the title was for 29 acres (117,000 m²). However, part was sold to the Trotting Association in the early 1920s.

The first match played on the turf wickets took place in February 1894. However, difficulties encountered in transporting teams to Western Australia meant that the ground was not part of Australia's main cricket community for many years. Even with the building of a transcontinental railway, the trip from the eastern states still took several days. It took the introduction of scheduled flights to Western Australia to make the WACA readily accessible to interstate or overseas teams.

James Gardiner, president of the WACA for three terms between 1897 and 1924, proposed the adoption of 'electorate' cricket (as it was first known) whereby teams were established on a district basis for competition. He also inaugurated Country Week cricket, during which country teams compete against each other. In 1907, the WACA ground was under threat of being controlled by the Perth City Council to recover debts. Gardiner led the bid to save the ground and secured a government loan. Further financial difficulties led Gardiner to again raise funds and donations with a cricket match by the Australian XI team in 1912.

Ground developments

In 1895 the first grandstand was built at the WACA Ground, seating 500 people and incorporating dressing rooms, a dining room, bathrooms, members’ rooms and bars.

In 1931 the Farley Stand was opened, named after W.J. Farley, the Association President from 1915-1916 to 1916-17 and Secretary from 1917-1918 to 1928-1929.

In the 1960s the Players Pavilion was built to provide facilities for the players and the WACA administration. Seating was later added to provide extra seating for the WACA's inaugural Test Match in 1970.

In 1954 the scoreboard was built, a donation from the North West Murchison Cricket Association.

In 1970 the Test Stand was opened, to celebrate the first Test Match to be played at the WACA. It was later renamed the Inverarity Stand, after Western Australian, South Australian and Australian player John Inverarity.

From 1984 to 1988 the WACA underwent major renovations, including a complete resurfacing of the ground and the construction of new terracing and seating in the outer. Also built were the three tiered Prindiville grandstand and two tiered Lillee-Marsh grandstand, which increased the ground's seating capacity. Six large light towers were also installed in 1986 at a cost of $4.2 million, allowing for night time sports such as day-night cricket matches to be played at the ground. An icon of the WACA, the floodlights are 70 metres high and cost $600 per hour to run.

These redevelopments also made the venue an attractive venue for sports other than cricket, and it was during the late 1980s and early 1990s that the ground saw its greatest use as a multi-sports venue. From 1987 to 2000, the ground was used by the West Coast Eagles, and from 1995 by the Fremantle Dockers, both Perth-based AFL teams. 72 AFL matches were held at the ground during this time. From 1995 to 1997 the WACA also served as the home ground for the Western Reds rugby league team. In the late 1990s the ground played host to the Perth Heat in the former Australian Baseball League (1989-1999).

However, for various reasons these sports moved away from the WACA (in the case of night football, to Subiaco Oval), and as a consequence the WACA was again redeveloped in 2002. This redevelopment resulted in much improved facilities for both players and spectators. The capacity of the ground was reduced to around 20,000 and the dimensions of the playing arena were also decreased by a total of 31 metres at the eastern and western boundaries, meaning Australian rules football can no longer be played at the ground. The use of temporary stands boosts the ground's capacity to 24,500.

Proposed development

On 13 April 2007 the Western Australian Cricket Association announced a $250m redevelopment of the stadium. Seating capacity will be increased, and residential and commercial buildings will be built in the surrounding areas. The project will be done in partnership with Ascot Capital Limited with a three to four year time frame.

WACA members gave final approval for the project in July 2010 and construction is expected to commence in March 2011.

Memorable events at the WACA
  • Donald Bradman played at the ground for the first time and attracted a crowd in excess of 20,000 in 1932.
  • South Australia's Barry Richards compiled 356 against Western Australia in 1970/1971, the 6th highest score in Sheffield Shield history.
  • Australia's Greg Chappell scored 108 on Test debut versus England, batting at 7, on 13 December 1970. Brian Luckhurst, Ian Redpath and John Edrich also scored centuries in the draw (Scorecard).
  • On 24 February 1973, The Rolling Stones performed at the WACA during their 1973 Pacific Tour.
  • Doug Walters hit a century in a session against England in 1974, where he hit Bob Willis for six from the last ball of the day (Scorecard).
  • The "miracle match" in 1976/1977 (semi final of the Gillette Cup domestic one day competition), in which Western Australia were bowled out by Queensland for 77, only to then restrict Queensland to 62. WA then narrowly won the final against Victoria. (Scorecard)
  • Australian batsman Tony Mann scored 108 against India as nightwatchman in 1977/1978. This is only one of five centuries by a nightwatchman in Test match cricket (Scorecard).
  • Australian Andrew Hilditch was dismissed handled the ball against Pakistan in March 1979. Pakistani batsman Sikander Bakht had been Mankaded by Alan Hurst earlier in the same day to end the Pakistan second innings. Whilst at the non-striker's end, Hilditch interrupted a throw from mid-on and passed the ball to the bowler Sarfraz Nawaz, who appealed. Strictly speaking, Hilditch had broken the law and the umpire was correct to rule him out. But the appeal was against the spirit of cricket and was viewed as gamesmanship. It is the only handled the ball dismissal to occur at the non-striker's end (Scorecard).
  • England's only Test win at the ground came during the World Series Cricket split in 1978/1979, when David Gower scored 102. Rodney Hogg took ten wickets for Australia (Scorecard).
  • In December 1979, on the second day of the Test Match between Australia and England, Dennis Lillee emerged onto the field carrying not the traditional willow bat, but a cricket bat made from aluminium, known as a ComBat. After four deliveries and three runs, England captain Mike Brearley complained it was damaging the ball. Play was held up for ten minutes as the umpires persuaded Lillee to change to a piece of willow (Video). In the same match, Ian Botham took 11 for 176, including 6 for 78 and 5 for 98, which were his best figures against Australia (Scorecard).
  • On 9 December 1980 the first one-day international match was played at the ground, between India and New Zealand, which India won by 5 runs (Scorecard).
  • Described by Wisden Cricketers' Almanack as "one of the most undignified incidents in Test history", the clash between Lillee and Pakistani batsman Javed Miandad in 1981, in which Lillee and Miandad collided with each other, after which the bowler turned and kicked Miandad from behind. Miandad lifted his bat above his head as if to strike Lillee and Lillee backed off. The umpire Tony Crafter stepped in to separate the two. Lillee was fined and suspended for two matches - (Video, Scorecard).
  • Australian bowler Terry Alderman suffered a serious shoulder injury in 1982/1983 while tackling an English ground invader. Greg Chappell led his team off the ground for 14 minutes and 26 arrests were made (Scorecard).
  • In 1984 the record one day cricket match crowd at WACA Ground of 27,057 was recorded, for the game contested by Australia and the West Indies.(Scorecard).
  • The Benson & Hedges Perth Challenge, a one-off One Day International tournament, was held in late December 1986 and early January 1987 to help celebrate Australia's defence of the America's Cup yachting competition. Australia, England, Pakistan and the West Indies were the competitors, with England winning the tournament (Scorecards).
  • Merv Hughes took a hat trick in the Test against the West Indies in 1988/1989, and went on to take 8-87 in the innings. He ended up with 13-217 for the match, the most wickets taken at the ground in a Test match. In the same Test, Australian tail-end batsman Geoff Lawson had his jaw broken by a Curtly Ambrose bouncer (Scorecard).
  • New Zealander Mark Greatbatch scored 146 not out off 485 balls against Australia in November 1989. The match was drawn. Greatbatch was at the crease for almost 11 hours (over two days) and saved New Zealand from defeat (Scorecard).
  • Geoff Marsh scored 355* for Western Australia v South Australia in December 1989. This is the highest ever individual score at the ground by a West Australian. It is also the 28th highest score in first class history, and the 10th highest by an Australian. During this innings Marsh shared a 1st wicket partnership of 431 with Mike Veletta, the highest ever first wicket partnership for Western Australia in interstate cricket.
  • Steve Waugh and Mark Waugh put on a record Australian first class partnership of 464*, Western Australia v New South Wales, 1990.
  • In 1990/1991, Craig McDermott recorded career-best figures of 8 for 97 against England, and collected 11 victims for the match (Scorecard).
  • On 30 January 1993, Curtly Ambrose had a stunning spell of 7-1 (eventually 7/25) as Australia crashed from 3-85 to 119 all out (Scorecard).
  • The largest crowd at the WACA of 34,317 attended to see the AFL Preliminary Final between the West Coast Eagles and the Melbourne Football Club, 24 September 1994.
  • Australia's Mark Waugh lofted a delivery from New Zealand spinner Daniel Vettori onto the roof of the Lillee-Marsh stand at the southern end of the ground in 1997/1998 (Scorecard).
  • In 1999 the Perth Glory played in National Soccer League finals at the WACA.
  • The Western Warriors defeated the Queensland Bulls in the final of the 1999/2000 Australian one day domestic competition. WA batted first and made 301. Queensland then raced to 1/202 in the 30th over, only to collapse to be all out for 256 in the 46th over.
  • On 1 December 2000, Australia's Glenn McGrath took a Test hat-trick, dismissing the West Indian batsmen Sherwin Campbell, Brian Lara, and captain Jimmy Adams, taking his 300th Test wicket in the process (Lara), after publicly announcing that he would like Lara to be his 300th scalp (Scorecard).
  • The Western Warriors defeated KwaZulu-Natal in the Champions Cup one-day tournament in 2000/2001.
  • Shane Warne scored his highest Test score of 99 against New Zealand, 2 December 2001 (Scorecard).
  • Australia's Matthew Hayden scored a then Test-record 380 against Zimbabwe in 2003. During the second session of the second day, he and Adam Gilchrist both scored a century in a session. Australia ended declaring its innings at 735-6, the highest ever team total compiled at the ground in Tests (Scorecard).
  • In 2004, at the age of 34, Glenn McGrath took eight wickets for 24 runs against Pakistan, his best Test bowling figures, the second-best ever by an Australian, and the best ever Test bowling figures at the WACA (Scorecard).
  • On 8 May 2004, KISS kicked off their Rock the Nation Tour at the WACA.
  • On 12 January 2005, the WACA hosted Australia's first Twenty20 match, played between the Western Warriors and the Victorian Bushrangers. It drew a sellout crowd of 20,700 - the largest seen at the ground for many years.
  • Chris Rogers and Marcus North put on a record domestic third wicket partnership of 459, Western Australia v Victoria, in October 2006. Rogers' score of 279 was the second highest ever by a West Australian, behind the 355* that Geoff Marsh scored at the same ground in December 1989.
  • Australian wicket keeper Adam Gilchrist hit the second fastest hundred in Test Match history, off 57 balls, in the 3rd Ashes Test match, in December 2006. This was just one more ball than the record set by Viv Richards in 1985/1986. It eclipsed the previous Australian record of a hundred off 67 balls set by Jack Gregory at Johannesburg in 1921-1922. Gilchrist did not score a run from seven of his first nine deliveries.
  • The WACA hosted its first Twenty20 International match on 11 December 2007. Australia defeated New Zealand by 55 runs (Scorecard).
  • India defeated Australia by 72 runs to end Australia's record-equaling Test match winning streak of 16 consecutive wins, in January 2008 (Scorecard).
  • South Africa defeated Australia by six wickets in a Test match in December 2008, achieving the second highest successful run chase in Test history when they reached the victory target of 414 late in the second session on the final day, for the loss of just four wickets. In the match, Australian fast bowler Mitchell Johnson became the first left-arm paceman to take eight wickets in a Test innings with figures of 8/61 in South Africa's first innings (Scorecard).
  • During a one day international between Australia and Pakistan in January 2010, Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi was captured by television cameras making two solid biting motions into the ball. The field umpires were notified of the incident by third umpire Rod Tucker. The match referree later imposed the maximum two-match penalty on Afridi who pleaded guilty to a charge of ball tampering. In the same game, Pakistan player Khalid Latif was crash-tackled to the ground by a spectator who had run onto the ground to reach the cricketer, later leading to intense scrutiny of the WACA's security measures.

Building Activity

  • OpenBuildings
    OpenBuildings added a digital reference
    about 5 years ago via OpenBuildings.com