Location :

Ballarat, VIC

Client :

Ballarat Grammar School

Year :


Sector :

Natural Turf | Cricket | AFL | Athletics Track | Soccer

With a massive 22,000sqm, Ballarat Grammar School were extremely fortunate to have had such a large area of land to dedicate to their Fields of Play.

While the area had been used for sport and play for many years, it had a significant fall across it, and performed badly during the winter months due to the poor infiltration rate of the growing medium. SPORTENG were engaged to invigorate the site and to maximise its potential to cater to a number of different sports.


Challenges arose from the grade across the site, which had a greater than three meters fall from end-to-end. SPORTENG’s first task was to redesign the site to include a fall of less than one meter, which involved excavating and disposing of over 7,000m3 of soil - a significant amount!


Due to the levelling of the playing surface, an amphitheatre-like space was created to the west of the oval, where SPORTENG designed terraced seating using large sandstone blocks, creating a welcoming place for students to gather or watch their peers play.


With the removal of the access path that cut through the original site, the SPORTENG design produced a large natural turf Field of Play surface that could accommodate several sports including cricket with natural turf cricket wickets, AFL, athletics, and space for two soccer fields.


To aid with reducing water usage, SPORTENG designed a perched water table profile. Not only does the perched water table helps to readily store water within the profile which reduces water use through the irrigation network, but it also supports deep root growth.


Additionally, the profile was supported with a fully automated irrigation system, and a network of Megaflo subsurface drainage within the drainage gravel layer to help water move efficiently through the profile and into the perimeter collector drains. This comprehensive approach supported healthy turf growth will enabling an all-weather use of the Field of Play, addressing previous challenges.


As the temperatures in Ballarat during the winter months can become quite low, SPORTENG recommended the establishment the playing surface with a warm season grass which was then overseeded with ryegrass.


Unfortunately, the turf was laid later than expected due to wet weather during construction, which delayed first use of the grounds. However, all parties agreed on the importance of establishing resilient turf to ensure the longevity so the usability of the ground was delayed to ensure the turf was fully established.

Aerial view of an oval natural turf Field of Play


The Field of Play at Ballarat Grammar has breathed new life into an area that was not performing to its full potential and is now the centrepiece of the school’s sport program.


Furthermore, the area is greatly improved aesthetically, being seen from the main road, it is a great example of the facilities valued by a school of this calibre.