After an absence lasting more than a decade the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs have returned home to where it all began nearly 80 years ago – Belmore in Sydney’s Inner West.
Federal Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese, along with local Federal MP Tony Burke, Bulldogs Chairman Ray Dib and Canterbury Mayor Brian Robson, were today on hand to see the first professional game to be played at the ground since 1998, a trial match against the Roosters.
“The opening of this new chapter in the history of one of league’s great teams at the very place where in 1935 its story began, follows a multimillion redevelopment largely funded as part of the Federal Labor Government’s highly successful Economic Stimulus Plan,” said Mr Albanese.
“The upgrade and refurbishment of Belmore – which is also the home to the Sydney Olympic Football Club and a training venue for local schools and community clubs – is another great example of what we achieved with economic stimulus.
“It not only kept Australians in jobs and Australia out of recession during what was the biggest global economic downturn since the Great Depression, it has also left a legacy of new and refurbished community facilities in towns and cities around the country. Indeed, Belmore is just one of 729 sportsgrounds to have benefitted.”
Mr Burke said he was proud to be part of a Government that recognises how important the restoration of grounds like Belmore is to local communities
“I was a fan on the hill when the Bulldogs last played at Belmore in 1998 and I’m proud to head back to that hill to see them return home. Today the Bulldogs are saying they are as proud of our local area as we are of them,” said Mr Burke.
Managed by Canterbury City Council, the redevelopment of Belmore created around 40 jobs during construction and involved:
- Building new training facilities including a gym as well as additional office space;
- Refurbishing the change rooms and other amenities;
- Converting the old function room into a multifunctional community facility;
- Refurbishing and extending the amenities block servicing Peter Moore Field which is used by local community sporting groups.