Manuka Oval has a rich and diverse history dating back to the 1920s, when Manuka Circle Park was an open field. It played an important part in the early life of the city of Canberra. Its history is filled with a host of events including tennis matches, sheepdog trials, athletic carnivals and military celebrations. The Manuka Oval precinct retains much of its original tree plantings from that time, and the now large mature specimens of cypress, poplar, oak and elm trees encircle the sports ground, giving it a unique charm.
The first cricket match was played here in 1930. The Bradman Pavilion, the oval's main stand, was constructed in the early 1960s in honour of legendary Australian cricketer, Sir Donald Bradman, who played at the oval. In the early 1980s the original scoreboard from the Melbourne Cricket Ground was installed at Manuka Oval after the MCG installed the first electronic scoreboard in Australia.
The two grandstands were named after two Prime Ministers, Sir Robert Menzies and Bob Hawke, who started the tradition of bringing international cricket teams to Canberra to play against the Prime Minister's XI. Today the annual Prime Minister's XI cricket match is one of the highlights on the venue's event calendar, with the ground often exceeding its 13,550 person capacity.
The ground hosted its first One Day International match between South Africa and Zimbabwe as part of the 1992 Cricket World Cup.
Manuka Oval also plays host to AFL games in winter and is home to the Greater Western Sydney Giants football club. The venue is currently called StarTrack Oval during the AFL football season under a naming rights sponsorship agreement.
A recent installation of light towers now enables Manuka Oval to host night-time cricket and football matches and events. A permanent giant video screen and additional seating were also installed during the venue's most recent upgrade.
From the oval, the tower of St Christopher's Cathedral and Red Hill are the only visible features outside the ground. On site, the original two-storey curator's cottage and the Lord's Taverners garden are other another historic landmarks.
Take the opportunity to visit Australia's Parliament House which is just 10 minutes away from the stadium. Tours are free and take place several times a day, seven days a week. Tour places are limited and allocated on a first-come first-served basis.
Canberra's many other attractions include national museums and galleries. There are magnificent open parks and spaces to get back to nature around Lake Burley Griffin. There are also a number of cycle paths around the city which lead to Manuka Oval.
Manuka Oval is located at Manuka Circle and is easily reached by bus or taxi from the Canberra city centre. Canberra's well ordered roads also make it an easy self-drive destination if you choose to hire a car.