New-look showgrounds on show as preparations start
The Victorian public today were given the first sneak preview of the completed $108 million Royal Melbourne Showgrounds redevelopment.
The Agriculture Minister, Bob Cameron, joined about 500 residents and the Member for Essendon, Judy Maddigan, to look at the finished project for the first time.
“Today marks the final milestone of the project – the end of construction and a new beginning for the Showgrounds precinct as a year round event venue,” Mr Cameron said.
“The first event for the revamped show grounds is the 2006 Royal Melbourne Show which opens in less than four weeks on 21 September.
“The Showgrounds have an exciting new look and feel and I am sure all Victorians will be delighted and proud of the transformation when they experience the new venue first-hand at this year’s show.
“The Bracks Government has breathed new life into the Royal Melbourne Showgrounds and secured the future of the Show.
“I congratulate all those who were involved in completing the transformation which has been delivered in time for the 2006 Show.”
Mr Cameron said the Melbourne Showgrounds had linked the country and city throughout its history.
“The redevelopment will ensure the Showgrounds continues play this role, while also providing a first-class venue to promote, showcase and advance Victoria’s agricultural sector,” he said.
“Without this investment, the Show’s future was at risk. Provincial Victoria’s home in Melbourne now has a bright future.”
Mr Cameron said the project had restored the best of the old, and delivered brand new facilities – including the stunning new Grand Pavilion or Big Top, that is set to become a landmark feature of Melbourne’s skyline.
The new buildings and facilities include:
A 8,000-square meter Grand Pavilion, a new landmark building for the Showgrounds and Melbourne,
A new 10,000-square meter Exhibition Pavilion, which can house livestock,
A new 4,300-seat outdoor arena, capable of holding two horse competition rings,
A Grand Boulevard linking the grassy spaces and events areas, and
The new headquarters for the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria.Heritage buildings that have been renovated and restored as part of the redevelopment include:
Centenary Hall, an art-deco hall built in 1934 and now restored to its original condition,
The heritage-listed Public Grandstand, built in 1915 with new seating,
Pie in the Sky, the heritage-listed and popular meeting point which was built in 1977.The redevelopment is a Joint Venture between the Victorian Government and the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria and is being delivered by PPP Solutions, comprising Multiplex Infrastructure and Babcock & Brown. Construction started in early 2005.
For this years event only, vacant land next to the show grounds site will be used to host the Royal Melbourne Show
Mr Cameron said the Victorian Government’s $108 million investment in the redevelopment had created jobs and opportunities for suppliers and contractors as well as better event facilities for all Victorians.
“The redevelopment of the Royal Melbourne Showgrounds is part of the Victorian Government’s record $12.6 billion investment in infrastructure across the State,” Mr Lenders said.
The 2006 Royal Melbourne Show opens on 21 September and runs until 1 October 2006.