The Melbourne Cricket Ground
The Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), also known simply as “The G”, is an Australian sports stadium located in Yarra Park, Melbourne, Victoria. Home to the Melbourne Cricket Club, it is the 10th-largest stadium in the world, the largest in Australia, the largest in the Southern Hemisphere, the largest cricket ground by capacity, and has the tallest light towers of any sporting venue. The MCG is within walking distance of the city centre and is served by the Richmond railway station, Richmond, and the Jolimont railway station, East Melbourne. It is part of the Melbourne Sports and Entertainment Precinct.
Since it was built in 1853, the MCG has been in a state of almost constant renewal. It served as the centrepiece stadium of the 1956 Summer Olympics, the 2006 Commonwealth Games and two Cricket World Cups: 1992 and 2015. It is also famous for its role in the development of international cricket; it was the venue for both the first Test match and the first One Day International, played between Australia and England in 1877 and 1971 respectively. The annual Boxing Day Test is one of the MCG’s most popular events. Referred to as “the spiritual home of Australian rules football” for its strong association with the sport since it was codified in 1859, it hosts Australian Football League (AFL) matches in the winter, with at least one game held there in most (if not all) rounds of the premiership season. The stadium fills to capacity for the AFL Grand Final.
Home to the National Sports Museum, the MCG has hosted other major sporting events, including international rules football matches between Australia and Ireland, international rugby union matches, State of Origin (rugby league) games, and FIFA World Cup qualifiers. Concerts and other cultural events are also held at the venue, with the record attendance standing at around 130,000 for a Billy Graham evangelistic crusade in 1959. Grandstand redevelopments and occupational health and safety legislation have limited the maximum seating capacity to approximately 95,000 with an additional 5,000 standing room capacity, bringing the total capacity to 100,024.
The MCG is listed on the Victorian Heritage Register and was included on the Australian National Heritage List in 2005. Journalist Greg Baum called it “a shrine, a citadel, a landmark, a totem” that “symbolises Melbourne to the world”.