HISTORY OF RESERVE STREET OVAL
Reserve Street Oval ~1950s looking south west towards primary school
The earliest known reference to the town reserve was in the Morwell Advertiser (Morwell Vic 1888-1954) on Friday the 21st of November 1919, whereby it notes that a working bee was started for the purpose of preparing a recreation ground.
Messers A. Ross and Wade had kindly lent their horse, which greatly assisted with the clearing. The men “worked like Trojans”, and the ladies provided afternoon tea. Some of the woman not liking seeing the men do all the work lent a helping hand, and a few of them brought axes to assist with the clearing. It was only a year later that the local footy team was formed, and cricket a few years later. Prior to this Football had been played on the “big bend of the Latrobe” on a farm as early as 1905.
Various sports used the oval, including a soccer team that was formed in 1923 because of the influx of migrants which included a lot of Scottish folk. Tennis courts were built on the edge of Main Street in Brown Coal Mine, but were later moved to the current position in 1929 because of the encroachment of the open cut.
After the slip, a Nissen Hut was installed in the north-west corner of the reserve along Reserve Street, to serve businesses that were directly effected. This hut is still there to this day, and with several modern upgrades in recent years, now encompasses the Junior Football and Cricket clubrooms.
Prior to this the old picture theatre and town hall was located where the pool grounds currently reside at the end of the school driveway. These rooms were used for changing also. At other times players would change over at the Billiard Room which was in the camp near where the museum is today.
Then after this, the old Marriage quarters from the West Camp was later relocated to the south west corner of the reserve where the cricket nets are currently situated.The school driveway with the relocated Marriage Quarters changerooms to the right.
After 1982 this building was destroyed by fire and a new building was sourced. It was the old St Kieren’s library and was relocated behind the hall and tennis courts for the club rooms. This building was used until 2014 when the hall upgrade was complete.
What many don’t know is that the oval never used to have a level playing surface. The east side of the oval used to drop off towards High Road, making it very hard for players to see their team mates from one side of the oval to the other. The then Citizen Military Forces (Army Reserves) brought in truckload after truckload of overburden to level off the oval. At this time the oval was widened, and the goal posts were relocated from almost east-west, to how they are today.
Reserve Street oval today looking north
With kind assistance from Alec McGregor, Ron De Carli, and
The Old Brown Coal Mine – Kath Ringin – ISBN 0 9588501 0 0
For more detail on local history contact The Old Brown Coal Mine Museum