Location :

Melbourne, VIC

Client :

Carlton Football Club

Year :


Sector :

Natural Turf | AFL

In 1897, Ikon Park was first used by the Carlton Football Club with the first stand built in 1913. By 2005 it ceased to be used for AFL home and away games with the last game played there in May 2005. In June 2006 funding was obtained to redevelop the site as an elite training facility.

In 2015, the park was renamed Ikon Park, and was considered for hosting the inaugural match of the new AFL Women’s competition in 2017. However, the existing ground was in poor condition and not suitable for elite sport.


The existing Ikon Park natural turf oval had significant issues; no subsurface drainage, poor irrigation system, and a playing surface profile that retained water rather than being free draining. Due to the constraints of the existing surrounding grandstands, the oval also had a substantial fall from end to end.

During winter the club lost days where they couldn’t train on the oval due to the poor draining of the profile following rain or storms. The club's brief was to ensure the oval could be prepared to a high quality all year round, for use by the men’s AFL team training and the women’s training and match day games.


Initially SPORTENG arranged for geotechnical and environmental testing of the existing playing surface profile and underlying substrate. The outcome of these tests was not favorable with the substrate being classified as a low level contaminate. The non-contaminated growing medium was designed to be stripped and disposed of off-site, however the contaminated substrate material was too costly to dispose of, and was retained under a cut to fill bulk earthworks to improve the surface grading.

To further minimise excavation into the contaminated substrate, flat drainage lines laid across the prepared subgrade were installed within the drainage gravel blanket.

The playing surface profile consisted of a perched water table to improve the long-term performance of the turf surface and irrigation system.


In February 2017, the ground successfully hosted the inaugural match of the 2017 AFL Women’s competition and due to its success, has attracted funding for further development of the facilities to make it the home of Women’s AFL in Victoria.


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