I am a freelance writer, fortunate enough to live near Byron Bay, one of Australia's most beautiful regions. My writing - for newspapers, magazines, online and for business - lives at vivienne pearson.com
Published March 24th 2018
Not just for sports fans - Adelaide Oval tour
Not being the biggest sports fan, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I totally enjoyed a tour of the Adelaide Oval.
The tour is about sport but it is also about history, architecture, events, Adelaide and Australia. The tour captures a real sense of occasion - all the way from the introductory video, shown on a huge screen, to the opportunity to go in and see the inner workings of the historic scoreboard.
Adelaide Oval is accessible via the footbridge from the city - Credit Vivienne Pearson
The tour takes around 1.5 hours and involves a lot of walking. As the Oval is used for more than just sport - I visited during the pack up from an Ed Sheeran concert - you'll see slightly different things with each tour.
In summer, there is more focus on cricket and in winter, there is a greater AFL component to the tour.
The tour guides, all volunteers, know the Oval in great detail and are knowledgeable, friendly, helpful and great at sharing inside info. I was taken around by Colleen, who added a personal touch by including a story about her connection to a footballer of old.
The Adelaide Oval was built in 1871 and is named differently to other Australian sports stadiums in that it is neither a 'Cricket Ground' (like the MCG, SCG etc), nor carries a sponsor name (like Ethiad Stadium etc). This is because it was built with funds donated by an English gentleman who wanted it named after 'The Oval' in Sussex.
The Oval was renovated in the years leading up to 2014 - partly with the aim of making it the new home of AFL in Adelaide. A superb job of combining the old and new was achieved, with the old, manual scoreboard, retained in active use and art deco features combined with modern sports stadium architecture.
Architectural blend of old and new - credit Vivienne Pearson
* Finding out that one of Adelaide's top restaurants is located in the stadium (Hill of Grace)
And, the ultimate highlight was going inside the heritage listed wood and corrugated iron scoreboard. Offering a summary of an entire game (not just the current score), it is hand operated via levers, pulleys and slip-in letters.
Our guide demonstrates the inner workings of the historic scoreboard - Credit Vivienne Pearson