Contact Us (03) 6397 7303

Players Tick of Approval for Longford Recreation Ground Upgrade

Posted on October 28, 2021

Players Tick of Approval for Longford Recreation Ground Upgrade

Football and cricket players are already benefiting from the $2.9M revamp of the Longford Recreation Ground.

The ground’s new facilities were officially opened by Northern Midlands Council Mayor Mary Knowles OAM 15 October, but football players and game officials have been benefiting for almost two years.

Mayor Knowles said the redevelopment of the rundown stadium was much needed to meet modern standards and the growing needs of the community.

“These upgrades benefit all players and the umpires but particularly female players and officials who previously did not have separate facilities,” Mayor Knowles said.

President of the Longford ‘Tigers’ Football Club David Blair said the new facilities had made a huge difference for everyone.

“Having separate changerooms, showers and toilets has really made a difference, particularly for women and girls, and there is a noticeable improvement in attitudes of players and visitors about the club and facilities,” he said.

Mr Blair said in addition to the footy and cricket clubs, the grounds and facilities were also used by junior athletics, a number of schools, for private parties and other functions and as seminar and training facilities for businesses such as Taswater and the council.

“During footy season the recreation ground and its facilities are used seven days a week. It is easily the most used ground in the Northern Midlands municipality,” Mr Blair said.

Mayor Knowles said council was committed to promoting the health and well-being of Northern Midlands residents through the provision of sport and recreation facilities and programs that promote participation in physical activity.

The upgrade created two home and two visitors changerooms with separate enclosed toilets and shower facilities for each changerooms and two umpire changerooms, also with their own amenities, to the rear of the stadium.

Importantly, the grounds and facilities now meet the AFL’s national regional competition standards for players and umpires.

The entrance to the grounds and the carpark also received a major facelift.

Mayor Knowles said council had decided against an earlier plan to scrap the old Mulga stand – which honours Fred ‘Mulga’ Davies - a Carlton champion and premiership player who transferred to Tasmania to become a player-coach for Longford in 1952, lifting the Longford Tigers to three regional and one state premierships – due to strong feedback from the community for its retention.

She said a study in 2016 identified the urgent need to renovate the stadium changerooms, toilets and showers, and the development of new umpire changerooms. The facility’s inability to meet the needs of female sport participants was also identified by an AFL Tasmania Facility Audit in 2017.

“At the time there was only one changeroom and toilet and shower facilities were directly accessed off the changeroom and included just two partitioned toilet pans, one three-man urinal, and five showers for the home teams.

“Visiting teams and umpires had to share a changeroom comprised of a large open, low-ceiling room with basic toilets and showers in a building at the rear of the aging Mulga stand which is totally unacceptable.

Mayor Knowles said the facilities had been clearly inadequate and not at all welcoming for female players and officials.

“Female membership is undergoing rapid growth with more than 70 playing members in underage and junior football competitions,” she said.

The Longford Recreation Ground is owned by council and is used primarily by the Longford ‘Tigers’ Football Club and junior football club for games and training during the winter season and by the Longford ‘Tigers’ Cricket Club for games and training in summer which together have close to 400 playing members.

The stadium and its facilities are also used regularly for numerous social events and receptions.

The modernisation of the facilities was funded through a Sport and Recreation Tasmania grant of $80,000, and a Levelling the Playing Field Grant of $233,409.