Vision for Henson Park ready and waiting for NSW Government funding

Tuesday 19 April 2022

The NSW Government’s Multi-Sport Community Facility Fund 2021-22 grants will be announced in May and Inner West Council is supporting AFL NSW/ACT and Newtown Jets’ grant application to upgrade Henson Park to a multi-sport venue capable of hosting all levels of female competition.

Henson Park and Leichhardt Oval are not just jewels of the inner west but iconic grounds for sport fans across Sydney. Despite their hallowed status, neither ground has received a cent from the NSW Government since they were elected in 2011.

With Anthony Albanese recently committing $2.5 million to bolster the Henson Park precinct and its broadcasting capacities, the NSW grant funding would be used to create female-friendly change rooms and to upgrade lighting, spectator amenity and facilities.

Inner West Mayor Darcy Byrne said, “It’s great to see two sporting codes come together to work on ways to establish world-class sporting facilities in the heart of the Inner West,”

“We are pleased to support both rugby league and AFL who have been working in partnership for a number of years to achieve the proposed upgrades for all sports fans and the broader community.

“If the Jets and AFL are successful with the grant application, our shared vision for Henson Park will go a long way towards being realised. We are committed to increase participation of local girls and women in organised sport, so they can enjoy all the health and social benefits,” Mayor Byrne said.

Sydney Swans CEO Tom Harley said, “Henson Park is an iconic Sydney venue in Sydney Swans heartland and we’re excited by the prospect of our inaugural AFLW team playing games there later this year.

“The proposed upgrades to amenities will ensure Henson Park stamps itself as an elite home for the Sydney Swans AFLW team, as well as providing an excellent pathway and community facility”.

“This is an important development for women’s sport and the community more broadly, and we are fully supportive of the proposal.”

Stuart McCarthy, CEO of the Newtown Jets said, “It’s fantastic that Henson Park, already home to Newtown Jets, will also become an AFLW hub.

We recognise that Henson Park needs female friendly change rooms, improved public amenities and lighting, and broadcast facilities to allow the ground to be used by the Jets and the Swans into the future.”

Tiffany Robertson, Head of AFL NSW/ACT said, “The project will upgrade the iconic Henson Park to a universally inclusive multi-sport venue capable of hosting all levels of female competition from community through to elite.

“The existing changerooms in the King George V Grandstand and current amenities do not meet community standards”.

“For Henson Park to retain its iconic status and host regular community, AFLW and Rugby League matches, we need compliant and modern facilities for all participants, officials and spectators.

“The proposed upgrades have been designed for flexible use as well as a new media and broadcast building. Put simply, the project will benefit all users” Ms Robertson said.

If the grant is successful, Henson Park will host up to eight AFLW games each year, greatly increasing the amount of women’s sport hosted at the venue.

Last year, Council spent $2.85m upgrading Henson Park with works that included:

• Returfing and new subsoil to suit elite standard sport
• Install a stormwater harvesting and treatment system to reduce the use of town water for irrigation
• Install new field drainage system, including recycling of water
• Upgrade irrigation system
• Renew wiring to sports light poles

For further information please contact Jonny Browne 0411 549 580 or Jonny.Browne@innerwest.nsw.gov.au

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Page last updated: 26 Apr 2022