The Brisbane Cricket Ground at Woolloongabba
by Warwick Torrens

Ground:Brisbane Cricket Ground, Woolloongabba, Brisbane

DateLine: 24th November 2005


The National Trust and Bendigo Bank, Queensland Icons for 2005 included another item of Queensland cricket, the Brisbane Cricket Ground at Woolloongabba. It is now over 110 years since the site was first granted for the establishment of a cricket ground. It was ready for play by December 1896 when a match was played between the Parliament and the Press.


Perhaps ready for play is a bit of an over statement for there was still much work to be done and it would be late October 1897 before a match of importance was played on the ground. The second round match between Woolloongabba and Nundah is the first A grade game of the newly commenced Electorate competition to be played on the ground, commencing on 23rd October 1897. On the first day Woolloongabba sent Nundah packing for just 58 runs and had replied with no wickets for 84 by stumps. For Woolloongabba Thomas Byrne captured four wickets for 26 and William Hoare, the only other bowler used, finished with six for 30.


There was no play on the second day, 30th October, due to the ground being too wet. On the third day, 6th November, Woolloongabba reached two wickets for 329. The openers, Norman Foster with 78 and Bill Bradley with 164 began with 182 runs for the first wicket. Hoare then joined Bradley as a further 142 runs were added before Bradley left. Bradley is thus credited with the first century on the Brisbane Cricket Ground though Sid Donahoo had already reached three figures twice in Electorate A grade cricket, but on other grounds.


On 26th November 1897 there commenced a three day match between the touring England team captained by AE Stoddart, and Thirteen of Queensland and New South Wales. The Englishmen ran up a huge total of 636 with Archie MacLaren scoring 181 and Norman Druce providing 126 of a fifth wicket partnership of 252. The home side had replied with eight wickets for 316 when the game ended.


It is a great pity that the previously mentioned match was not recognised as a first class game for a match played between eleven of Victoria and a combined thirteen of New South Wales, South Australia and Tasmania in 1873 is so recognised. The first match ranked first class was played at the Brisbane Cricket Ground was between the Englishmen and a combined team of Queensland and Victoria, commencing on 19th February 1898. On the first day the Englishmen managed five wickets for 133 before rain ended play. Not only did rain end play for the day, it also ended the match for there was no play on the remaining two scheduled days.


The ground continued to stage first class matches played in Queensland though for some years after world war 1 it shared with the Brisbane Exhibition Ground. From 1926-27 to 1930-31 all Sheffield Shield matches were played at the Exhibition Ground though the game against Victoria at the end of January of 1931 was scheduled to be played at the Brisbane Cricket Ground. Continuous rain caused the match to be abandoned without even the toss taking place. The first Sheffield Shield match was played between Queensland and New South Wales in 1931-32 and the first Test match later in the same season when South Africa played Australia. The ground staged the first ever tie in a Test match and was also the scene of QueenslandÂ’s first win of the Sheffield Shield. And there is much more.


Many changes have been made to the ground that continues to this day to be the main cricket venue in Queensland. In two years time the Brisbane Cricket Ground will stage its fiftieth Test match.


(Article: Copyright © 2005 Warwick Torrens (email:


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