|Belmore Sports Ground, as it was renamed, was officially
opened on March 31, 1968 and provided Canterbury with a rectangular shaped ground,
conducive for watching Rugby League. Until then, the ground was oval in shape, and
it had been shared with cricket. It was officially known as Belmore Oval. The
ground first began to take shape back in 1920, two years before the Canterbury junior
league was formed. Steps were taken to acquire park sites at Belmore and one of them
was an area which is now Belmore-Campsie Park. It was opened in April 1921. The park
covered an area of 22 acres, which included the oval, children's playground and bowling
The first cricket wicket was laid in 1922 and
the oval was fenced in 1931. However, the only Rugby League played on the ground was
at junior level. When Canterbury was accepted into the grade competition in 1935,
the Belmore complex was the ideal and obvious venue for home matches. In fact, the
league made it a stipulation that the club had to have a first class, enclosed ground
before they could be admitted to the premiership.
But Belmore wasn't ready in 1935, and the league allowed
Canterbury in on the proviso that they would have the ground prepared and ready by
1936. Training for the 1935 team was held on an old cow paddock called McMahon's
Paddock. During 1935 the club, with help from its patron, Alderman S.E. Parry, the
then mayor of Canterbury, purchased the old Smoko Members Stand at the northern end of the
Sydney Cricket Ground. It was transported piece by piece to Belmore and erected on
the western side of the ground ready for the official opening on March 14, 1936. It
was named the Parry Pavilion.
Like most major grounds in Sydney, Belmore was basically a
cricket oval with a football field in the middle. In England it was rare for
football clubs and cricket to share one ground. Thus, most of the football grounds
were rectangular in shape and brought spectators considerably closer to the action.
Such was Canterbury's intention, and in 1968, the ground went from Belmore Oval to Belmore
On a pre-season night match that year more than 20,000
spectators watched Canterbury play Western Suburbs. The highest attendance at
Belmore Oval was 16,413 when Canterbury played Wests in 1967. However the ground was
left without a grandstand when reconstruction was completed in 1968. The old Parry
Pavilion was unusable since the club had built up the area along the western side of the
ground, thereby blocking the view from the old stand.
The first stage of the new look ground cost $200,000 -
Canterbury Football Club, Canterbury League Club, and the NSW Rugby League sharing the
cost of $100,000 and the council matching them dollar for dollar. The second
stage was the building of a major new stand, and improvement in amenities. This
stage was completed in 1980, significantly a premiership year for the Bulldogs.
The new stand, financed by sponsorship money from Rothmans,
Tooth and Co and Amatil as well as an interest free loan of $150,000 from the NSW Rugby
League, and a bank loan repaid by the Canterbury League Club, was named the Stewart
Stand. It ran almost the length of the field and cost $1.8 million. The late
Frank Stewart was a former player, club president (1952-1961), co-patron and a member of
parliament, a man who was held in high esteem in the area.
Text reproduced from the Official Bulldogs Website