Trekardo Park has been the “home” of soccer in Ballarat for more than three decades.
This is all about to change.
While it will remain in use, as of next season it will no longer be soccer’s number one ground in the city.
For the first time since 1978 for that title will belong to Ballarat Regional Soccer Facility, in the development phase at Morshead Park.
As part of this change, the Ballarat Red Devils will relocate from Trekardo Park to the new multi-million dollar facility.
The Reds will publicly farewell Trekardo Park on Saturday.
They meet Sydenham Park in a Football Federation Victoria state league two match in what will their last home game at the ground.
Almost 400 players will have played there for the Reds when the final whistle sounds.
Trekardo Park, which is named in honour of former Ballarat mayor John Henry Trekardo (1937-38) was developed on the site of a former quarry and rubbish tip in the early 1970s.
Then located at Llanberris, Ballarat Soccer Club applied Ballarat City Council in 1972 to move to a newly released area at the corner of Pleasant and Latrobe streets.
One of the main reasons for the move was the opportunity to have bigger pitch and scope for expansion.
Only juniors matches were initially played on a lumpy, hilly Trekardo Park.
A report in the The Courier in June, 1976, read: “Ballarat City Council has praised the infant Ballarat Soccer Club for its initiative in promoting soccer and planning for the future.”
It went on to say: “The city in particular praised the club for planning to build a $20,000 clubhouse at Trekardo Park and undertaking to raise the finances itself”.
The Red Devils fully paid for the building in its own right, everybody at the club chipping in – anyone who could move a wheelbarrow, dig a hole or lay a brick was there to help.
The clubrooms were opened in June, 1978. Eight years later they were extended.
The hill on the Pleasant Street side of the ground has been one of the most popular viewing areas. Many supporters have watched games from the same spot year after year.
It was constructed in 1982 when the pitch was re-surfaced – largely made up of rocks “the size of golf balls” which were pushed off the playing area during this development.
The pitch did not have a perimeter fence until 1990 and then two years later a small covered area was built on the hill.
What a year 1992 was.
The Reds went through the championship winning the season unbeaten.The next major project at the Trekardo Park was undertaken in 2006, when for the first time a fence around the reserve allowed Ballarat Red Devils to charge spectators for admission.
Ballarat Red Devils have given blood, sweat and tears on and off the field at Trekardo Park.
That time is about to end. Duncan Smith will continue his Trekardo Park reflections in The Courier tomorrow, looking at the teams, players and matches that shaped the history of the Ballarat Red Devils at the ground.