GEMBROOK COCKATOO FOOTBALL CLUB
HISTORY OF THE GROUNDS
The first ground a Gembrook team played on was a paddock at "Silver Wells", a property owned by John and Jane Ure on Ure Rd. The ground was not flat and came with a scattering of old tree stumps that the players had to accommodate.
In 1913, a four and a half acre site located next to the primary school was purchased and clearing of the land commenced. Volunteers used bullock teams dragging chains and plenty of burning off to achieve a suitable playing area.
Playing at this ground began in the 1920's. The grandstand was built around this time, and remained until the late 1960's until it was pulled down.
The land at the present site was purchased sometime in the 1950's. Once again volunteer labour, using bulldozers, ploughs and graders, shaped the sloping site into a plateau with a level-playing surface. A crop of potatoes was planted, and when this was harvested, the grass was sown. Finally, a single story brick building was constructed for the change rooms. The Italian community raised 500 over one weekend to build the cyclone boundary fence for the oval, and also to help fund the toilet block. This was a remarkable effort from a small community such as Gembrook.
The first game was played on the new ground in 1965.
In 1976, the pavilion was renovated and extended, again using volunteer labour. The social rooms, timekeeper's box and scoreboard were added. Dave Marriott designed the scoreboard, which is still in use today. In 1995, the hardworking ladies of the social club were able to fund the building of a new kitchen/ canteen area. 1996 saw the installation of the cool room and the creation of the foyer area and a new front entrance. In 2005, part of the old toilet block has been converted into a gym for the use of the players.
The ground itself has had drainage problems over the years and has been resurfaced twice. In 1997, the club moved to the old Pakenham ground in John St. for a season while the ground was again dug up. This time, a more efficient drainage system was installed and the ground now boasts the best and most reliable surface in the Yarra Valley. This has allowed the club to successfully host many finals over the years.
Compiled by Lesley Licciardi 2005