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Olympic Park

Olympic Park is situated in the heart of Melbourne's sports and entertainment precinct, adjacent to the Melbourne Sports & Entertainment Centre and the Melbourne Cricket Ground. In the 1840s the area formed part of the (Royal) Botanic Gardens and later became the original site of Melbourne's Zoological Gardens. However, the low-lying area, prone to flooding, was too damp and the Zoo was moved to its present site at Royal Park in 1862. The site then came under the supervision of Melbourne's combined Friendly Societies and was used for outdoor functions, including picnics to raise funds for hospitals and public institutions. By the turn of the century the site was known as the Friendly Society Gardens and Amateur Sports Ground, hosting tennis and early women's cricket. In 1909 the State Government declared the area a 'site for the recreation, convenience and amusement of the people and as a children's playground'. The site was transformed for the 1956 Olympic Games and facilities brought up to world standard with the addition of two stadiums, a velodrome and a swimming pool. At the Games these facilities accommodated hockey, soccer, athletics, swimming and diving. Today, Olympic Park Stadium is used as an athletics track and concert venue accommodating up to 18 500 people.

Katherine Sheedy