New life for Sandover walk
A new Sandover Medal Walk at Subiaco Oval could be announced as early as this weekend after preliminary work started this week at the former home of WA football.
The names of the 93 Sandover medallists dating back to inaugural winners Tom Outridge and Cyril Hoft in 1921 will be etched into a concrete pathway that will circle the historic ground. The first few metres of the pathway have been laid behind the goals at the western end where the three-tier stand once dominated the ground.
Virtually all Subiaco Oval’s historic stands and buildings have been demolished apart from the small section of seating and a dug-out on the northern side. Football’s move to Optus Stadium has left the ground vacant with it mainly used by dog-walkers and students at the adjacent Bob Hawke College.
But LED lights have been installed which provide significantly better illumination than WAFL grounds at Fremantle and Leederville, allowing the East Fremantle colts to train there recently. Apartment towers will eventually be developed on the northern fringes of the ground while the WA Football Commission has an allocation of land on the southern side where it could build a new administrative facility.
Development WA is overseeing the ground redevelopment, including the recognition of football’s heritage at Subiaco.
The Sandover Medal Walk is the central part of the history project despite strong opposition from numerous former winners who would prefer to have their exploits recognised at Optus Stadium.
“The reinterpretation will see the details of each Sandover Medal winner etched into the new concrete path that will encircle Subiaco Oval and will be delivered as part of the upcoming Subi East Stage 1 works,” the Development WA website says.
“As the historic home of WA football, it is important that the Subiaco Oval’s strong football heritage is rightfully celebrated at Subi East.”
The previous Sandover pavers that were laid at Roberts Road and Haydn Bunton Drive have been salvaged and may be used in another display or given to the families of the winners.
Some of the soft pavers are in poor condition after being damaged by heavy pedestrian traffic outside the former Roberts Road gates.
What is happening to the Sandover Medal Walk?
As the historic home of WA football, it is important that the Subiaco Oval’s strong football heritage is rightfully celebrated at Subi East. As part of the demolition works of the Subiaco Oval stadium, the Sandover Medal Walk pavers were carefully removed and placed into storage prior to the demolition of the Subiaco Oval grandstands, however many of the pavers were in a fragile condition and unsuitable to be reinstalled.
As such, a new reinterpretation of the Sandover Medal Walk has been designed in consultation with the Western Australian Football Commission. The reinterpretation will see the details of each Sandover Medal winner etched into the new concrete path that will encircle Subiaco Oval and will be delivered as part of the upcoming Subi East Stage 1 works.
The old pavers will be given back to the Western Australian Football Commission for distribution back to winners or their families. Further to this the landscaping and public realm around Subiaco Oval will celebrate the football heritage of the oval through signage, public art, a timeline around the oval and spectator facilities north of the oval.
How else will football heritage be celebrated at Subiaco Oval?
As well as restoration works to the Subiaco Oval entry gates and a new Sandover Medal Walk, the landscaping and public realm around Subiaco Oval will celebrate the football heritage of the Oval through signage, public art, a timeline around the Oval and spectator facilities north of the Oval, including the 250 retained grandstand seats.