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King George Park

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Since the opening of the ground in 1915, the Union Cricket Club has called King George Park its home. This ground is seen as one of the major assets of the club with modern clubrooms over looking the playing fields boasting views of the harbour and historical area. With three grass covered banks leading up to the clubrooms and fantastic viewing areas from anywhere on the ground. Former New Zealand Representative Lance Cairns, upon visiting the ground, remarked that it was one of prettiest grounds he had been to.

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Origins

Reports from the Waitakian in 1912, the Waitaki Boys High School magazine, lament about the lack of quality grounds to play sport on. The county council, with plants struggling to grow in the thick clay soil, decided to convert the Botanical Gardens site to a playing field called Coronation Park to celebrate the recent accession of King George V, this was changed before its opening to King George Park. Union celebrated the opening of its new home with a 201 run victory against the 'Oamaru's.

The Pavilion

When the club took over the pavilion it was in a poor state of repair.

The pavilion has undergone many changes, now it is one of the most up to date clubrooms around.

In the 1930's the building was partly damaged by fire, a young boy had run away from home and was living in the pavilion, he apparently knocked over candles that set the place on fire, the club lost all the gear, practice mats, nets, mowers etc. none of which were insured.

In the late 1950's work was done to upgrade and enlarge the lounge. Part of the east internal wall was removed to extend the lounge into the existing store room, and a toilet put in the south west corner of the building with an external door, which meant that it was a long way to the toilet from the lounge. The whole building was then painted.

Major alterations and additions were carried out in 1973-74 under the control of Julian ( Andy) Anderson, 3 metres was added to entire south wall which included men's and women's toilets, showers, and changing room. The east end store room was converted to a small changing room ( for the opposition) and a scorers room, later to become a pool room. The lounge was extended by partially removing the west wall of the lounge to accommodate the kitchen and bar into the existing changing room. More room was gained by extending the lounge over the existing front porch, with new glass doors and large windows facing the park. The roofing was replaced, the outside walls plastered and the whole place painted, Most of the work was done by voluntary labour, and the council paying for the materials which cost about $4500.00

The renovated pavilion was opened by the club Patroness and Mayoress Mrs Valerie Laney.

1993/94 was the year that the next major work was carried out on the pavilion, three metres was added to the east wall of the building to join up with the previous additions. This included a new larger dressing room and two store rooms. The small dressing room was removed and this area is now the kitchen and bar, the entrance door was shifted, the remaining parts of the internal partitions removed this meant that a new steel latice beam was required to support the ceiling an roof . New aluminium windows and doors were fitted, A flash new kitchen and bar, new lighting new wall and ceiling linings, drapes and carpet, once again inside and out was painted to finish off the renovations.

The club employed two carpenters under the supervision of Andy Anderson. These two were employed under the Governments Task Force Green programme, which meant that their wages were subsidised by the govt. Once again the council paid for most of the additions and renovations, then later transferred the ownership of the building to the Union Cricket Club Inc.

For the centenary celebrations the bar area was upgraded with new carpet, new bar and painted.

The Playing Field

Over the years the viewing area's and playing field have undergone many changes. Photos from the 1930's indicate the hill leading up to the pavilion was covered with wooden seating. Since then the hill has been changed to three terraces and the wooden seats removed with trees planted to the north and on the bank to the west of the ground. In the last couple of years the trees on the bank to the west of the ground have been trimed back due to some of the branches streaching over the boundary.

Thanks to the efforts from some very talent club members over the years, King George Park regularly provides the best wicket blocks in the region. It is because of the layout of the ground and the excellent wickets that Union has played host to the English Women's team and on a number of occasions the Otago Volts. Other sports have also made use of KGP with rugby using it for senior club rugby in the period up to 1939 and Waitaki Boys High School playing some interschools on the ground. Recent years have seen a local soccer club base themselves at the ground.

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Key: CR = Clubrooms, N = Nets

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