Location :

Footscray, VIC

Client :

Maribyrnong City Council

Year :


Sector :

SyntheticTurf | Hockey

The Footscray Hockey Club is one of Australia’s largest and most successful hockey clubs having been established in late 1934. The club has had several different homes over the years, and moved to McIvor Reserve in 1994.

The move in 1994 included the construction of a new pavilion and a sand based synthetic grass pitch located to the east of the pavilion. Later in 2000, a FIH compliant wet pitch was constructed to the west of the pavilion.

Both pitches were constructed over highly reactive clays that, if not addressed appropriately during the design, could result in pavement failure and movement at the surface. Unfortunately the pavement design for the sand-based pitch did not address appropriately the subgrade conditions and movement was noticeable.

In 2018, SPORTENG documented remedial works to be carried out to address some of the areas that had been significantly impacted by ground movement. Subsequently, SPORTENG was engaged to undertake the design for the full remediation works for the pitch to address the subgrade issues that were impacting the performance and safety of the playing surface.


The subgrade was the biggest challenge for the project. Prior to the full reconstruction works being completed, the existing Field of Play had been greatly impacted from pavement heaving and rock floaters coming to the surface, both due to the reactive clay subgrade. The design had to ensure the subgrade was adequately remediated and prevent future movement at the surface.

The existing site constraints also had to be considered as it was a very tight site. With pavilion and practice pitch on one side, title boundaries on two sides and a carpark on the other meant the 3D design for the pitch had to create seamless interfaces with these elements.


A detailed geotechnical investigation was carried out to determine the condition of the existing subgrade for the pitch. Not surprisingly the results came back as highly reactive. Working closely with our geotechnical engineer we specified a subgrade remediation consisting of stabilising the existing material with lime and cement and the inclusion of a geocomposite membrane to provide further protection.

Overlying the subgrade remediation layer, we included the re-use of site won granular fill. This prevented the material to be disposed off-site and removed the need to import material to the site. This subsequently improved the carbon footprint of the construction works.

A concrete upstand was included around the perimeter of the pitch. Not only did this house the perimeter fence posts, but plays an integral part in training by having a hard edge for the players to hit balls against. To ensure seamless tie-ins with the existing perimeter elements and levels the upstand height varied.


The new pitch obtained FIH certification and the club has been very happy with the final outcome. The facility will now be able to host high level hockey tournaments that they had lost due to the unplayable nature of the previous pitch.