As far back as 2009, Hobart City Council recognised its prized stadium was tired and the oval's surface was not meeting the evolving requirements of today's games. Ground closures had increased from previous seasons, and expectation from users regarding the quality of the playing surface had grown substantially. It was decided by Council to reconstruct the North Hobart Oval's playing surface to offer a high performance, sand-based field that could handle all types of inclement weather.
North Hobart Oval is in a central residential suburb of Hobart, and is recognised as having one of the best atmospheres for watching sport. It started its existence as Hobart Town Brickfields in 1844 before becoming a convict women's housing site, an immigration depot, and a facility for invalids, before eventually closing in 1882. At this time the land became a rubbish dump until it was acquired for the construction of a football stadium in 1921. The first official match at the new stadium took place on 6 May 1922.
The oval is currently used for Australian Rules Football during the winter months, and due to the previously poor drainage system, required significant renovation at the end of each season, meaning it was not used for much of the summer months. As well as providing a surface for Australian Rules Football, the reconstruction project was developed to encourage other codes of sport to this wonderful venue.
Hobart City Council awarded the works to a local ground construction company, Total Turf Care, in 2013, who installed the drainage, irrigation and all-profile works to Council specifications. Total Turf Care also enlisted designer David Hughes from Water Dynamics to provide an irrigation plan that incorporated the need for water efficiency, to meet the challenges arising from the increasing cost of providing water for irrigation.
Components of the new irrigation system include Hunter Industries' I40 stainless steel rotors, ICV solenoid irrigation control valves (fitted with Accu-Sync for pressure regulation to prevent misting and overspray), ACC decoder controller (reporting to IMMS central control) and a Hunter ET Weather Station. The I40 rotors have a range of up to 23.2 metres and precipitation rates of about 15mm/hour. The ACC decoder controller reports to a Hunter Irrigation Management and Monitoring software (IMMS) Central control. The IMMS is a PC-based software package.
A key component of the project was to provide the ability for Hobart City Council staff to retrieve as much data back through reporting from IMMS water usage and the ET station picking up the micro climate at the stadium, to monitor the sustainability of the oval. According to the Council, the result of the project was an efficient system that had exceeded all expectations regarding water savings and data outputs. There was also increased flexibility to inject fertilisers into the irrigation system, which minimised machinery impacting the surface and saved on resources, time and money.
It was expected that ground closures would be reduced as a result of the project and user experience would be improved. Feedback from users to date had been overwhelmingly positive.
For more information on the irrigation range from Hunter Industries visit www.hunterindustries.com