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Newcastle footballers score multi-million-dollar grandstand upgrade 

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City of Newcastle (CN) is about to kick goals for football fans and players visiting Hamilton South’s Darling Street Oval.

Work will start on a major redevelopment of the grandstand and amenities. 

Demolition of the existing facility begins this week as part of a project worth more than $3 million, which is being funded by CN, Newcastle Olympic Football Club (NOFC) and the state and federal governments. 

The joint investment will deliver a new grandstand for passionate spectators with female-friendly changerooms and improved disability access, as well as the refurbishment of existing amenities and a formal off-street carpark. 

NOFC president George Sofianos welcomed the news.

“As a club that is approaching its 50th anniversary in 2026, our facilities have experienced a dramatic increase in usage from our 480 players and visiting teams,” he said.

“Newcastle Olympic has long been one of the powerhouses in Northern NSW.

“But, with the introduction of a comprehensive women’s football program in 2020, our club has been elevated further.

“This new facility, and the upgrades to existing amenities, means that Darling Street Oval will be one of the few football facilities in the area with four changerooms and match official rooms, all of which are female-friendly. 

“In addition, it will be more accessible, providing a more inclusive and enhanced experience for all players, staff and spectators. 

“We’re proud to have forged a strong partnership with council, who is a significant contributor to the project.”

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the upgrade of the grandstand, which will seat more than 300 football fans, would address an ever-growing demand for the “world game”.

“City of Newcastle is committed to investing in premium-level facilities that will not only benefit our local football talent but allow Newcastle to attract even more sporting events,” she added.

“This project will deliver female-friendly changerooms to better cater for the growing participation of girls and women in football at both a local and national level.  

“It will also ensure the spectator facilities meet the needs of all community members, with accessible parking spaces, new shared footpaths and amenities that will enhance the comfort and experience for people with a disability visiting Hamilton South’s Darling Street Oval.”

Amenities for people with a disability will be included on both levels of the building, while a lift will ensure the facility is fully accessible.

The new grandstand will include a community space and designated accessibility area on the upper floor for spectating, too.

Councillor Peta Winney-Baartz said the project works supported a key action in CN’s 10-year Strategic Sports Plan (2020) to provide a sportsground designated for staging NPL and WPL football games.  

“We have worked collaboratively with NOFC to bring their long-held ambitions for the sportsground to life with a design that complies with NPL standards while ensuring Darling Street Oval can cater for a host of football training and fixtures all year-round including schools, juniors, social, premier women, and men’s football,” she stated.

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