History Parkes

stories, photos, anecdotes….. sharing the past

Pioneer Memorial Oval – 1970s and 1980s

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)

Council Minutes Aerial Photo 1971

Parkes Municipal Council Meeting Minutes 5th October, 1971

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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

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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.

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Front page of Parkes Champion Post Friday September 14, 1984. Parkes’ claim as a sport-obsessed town is highlighted by the report on soccer and baseball being hosted in the shire.

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Popular sports commentator Bernie Wright. The media centre at Pioneer Oval was named in his honour. Source: Parkes Champion Post Friday September 14, 1984

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Bernie Wright, popular sports commentator, is commemorated with the media facilities at Pioneer Memorial Oval. Photograph by Dan Fredericks (Parkes Shire Library)

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Rugby union being played at Pioneer oval. Source: Parkes Champion Post Friday September 7, 1984

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Photos from Parkes Boars Reserve Grade Grand Final runners up. Source: Parkes Champion Post Wednesday September 12, 1984

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Mecca of rugby league in Group 11, Pioneer Memorial Oval. Source: Parkes Champion Post Wednesday September 19, 1984. Aerial photographs of grand finals at Pioneer Oval were a regular occurrence from the 1970s onwards.

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Parkes Champion Post Wednesday October 7, 1987 detailing the importance of the tournament and how Parkes was selected as hosts.

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Parkes Champion Post Wednesday October 18, 1987 reporting on the success of Parkes in hosting the Under 13s Soccer titles at Pioneer Memorial Oval.

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.

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Preparing Pioneer for a peerless presentation. Hours of volunteer work were included to get Pioneer Oval ready for its Panasonic Cup hosting debut. Parkes Champion Post Wednesday March 1, 1989

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Parkes Champion Post Wednesday March 1 1989 special on Panasonic Cup match Canberra Raiders vs Brisbane Broncos

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Parkes Champion Post Wednesday March 1 1989 special on Panasonic Cup match Canberra Raiders vs Brisbane Broncos

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Parkes Champion Post Wednesday March 1 1989 special on Panasonic Cup match Canberra Raiders vs Brisbane Broncos

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Parkes Champion Post Wednesday March 1 1989 special on Panasonic Cup match Canberra Raiders vs Brisbane Broncos

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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

 

 

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