stories, photos, anecdotes….. sharing the past
Today Pioneer Oval is the home of the Parkes Spacemen – the Shire’s representative team in Country Rugby League (CRL) Group 11. However the land known as Pioneer Oval has had name changes and indeed many uses for other sports and recreational activities. History Parkes continues to look at the people and events relating to Pioneer Memorial Oval.
1970s The Sky’s The Limit
The 1970s would bring in a different era for Pioneer Memorial Oval. While there were no international teams touring Parkes, there was still plenty of reasons for Parkes Shire residents to rejoice. Further improvements were made to the facilities, including council authorising the purchase of aerial photos from a grand final to help promote Parkes. There was another grant received from the Minister of Sport for floodlighting – $8,000 in 1976 (Parkes Municipal Council Meeting Minutes 15.03.1976), and a first for Pioneer Oval with one year approval for advertising space on the fencing (Parkes Municipal Council Meeting Minutes 17.05.1976)
Continuing the many uses of Pioneer Memorial Oval, here are photographs of the Parkes High School Athletics Carnival of 1971. Source: Parkes Champion Post Wednesday June 23, 1971
1971 Caltex Knock Out was hosted at Pioneer Memorial Oval. Parkes Champion Post 5 July 1971 article includes Western Division Rugby League officials praising the efforts of Parkes in hosting the competition.
1980s The Superstars return to Parkes
The previous decade seemed bereft of international superstars running on Pioneer Memorial Oval’s turf, especially in comparison with the 1950s and 1960s. By the end of the 80s, the superstars were returning to entertain those who attended Pioneer Memorial Oval.
1984 was a big year for Pioneer Oval with grand finals being played for rugby league and rugby union. Parkes Boars reserves were runners up but the Spacemen won both first grade and reserve grade in rugby league.
Rugby union being played at Pioneer oval. Source: Parkes Champion Post Friday September 7, 1984
The decade’s highlight for residents of the Parkes shire was the upcoming Panasonic Cup game between rugby league heavyweights Canberra Raiders and Brisbane Broncos. A crowd of 10,000 turned up to watch two teams full of international superstars of rugby league ply their trade on local soil.
Report on the huge crowd at the big game. Source: Parkes Champion Post Friday March 3, 1989
To Be Continued…. Next Post the final part of the history of People’s Park/Pioneer Memorial Oval 1990s to 2015