Newcastle footballers score multimillion-dollar grandstand upgrade

15 May 2023

City of Newcastle is kicking goals for football fans and players visiting Hamilton South’s Darling Street Oval, with work commencing on a major redevelopment of the grandstand and amenities.

Demolition of the existing grandstand commences this week as part of a project worth more than $3 million, which is being funded by City of Newcastle, Newcastle Olympic Football Club (NOFC) and the State and Federal Governments.

The joint investment will deliver a new grandstand for NOFC's passionate spectators with female-friendly changerooms and improved disability access, as well as the refurbishment of existing amenities and a new formal off-street carpark.

Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the upgrade of the grandstand, which will seat more than 300 football fans, will address an ever-growing demand for the ‘world game’.

"City of Newcastle is committed to investing in premium-level facilities that will not only benefit our local football talent but allow Newcastle to attract even more sporting events," Cr Nelmes said.

"This project will deliver female-friendly changerooms to better cater for the growing participation of girls and women in football at both a local and national level.

"It will also ensure the spectator facilities meet the needs of all community members, with accessible parking spaces, new shared footpaths and amenities that will enhance the comfort and experience for people with a disability visiting Hamilton South's Darling Street Oval."

Amenities for people with a disability will be included on both levels of the building, while a lift will ensure the facility is fully accessible. The new grandstand will also include a community space and designated accessibility area on the upper floor for spectating.

Councillor Peta Winney-Baartz said the project works supports a key action in CN's 10-year Strategic Sports Plan (2020) to provide a sportsground designated for staging NPL and WPL football games.

"We have worked collaboratively with NOFC to bring their long-held ambitions for the sportsground to life with a design that complies with NPL standards whilst ensuring Darling Street Oval can cater for a host of football training and fixtures all year-round including schools, juniors, social, premier women, and men's football," Cr Winney-Baartz said.

NOFC President George Sofianos said as a club that is approaching its 50th anniversary in 2026, its facilities have experienced a dramatic increase in usage from their 480 players and visiting teams.

“Newcastle Olympic has long been one of the powerhouse clubs in Northern NSW, but with the introduction of a comprehensive Women’s Football program in 2020, our club has been elevated further,” Mr Sofianos said.

“This new facility, and the upgrades to existing amenities, means that Darling Street Oval will be one of the few football facilities in the area with four changerooms and match official rooms, all of which are female friendly.

“In addition, it will be a more accessible facility, providing a more inclusive and enhanced football experience for all players, staff and spectators.

“Together with grants from the State and Federal Governments and a large contribution from the members of Newcastle Olympic, we are proud to have forged a strong partnership with the City of Newcastle who are a significant contributor to the project."