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The Cumberland Oval site has been Parramatta’s major outdoor sports and recreation venue since 1847. Cumberland Oval was a site of great sporting historical significance.

The site was first used for horse racing. Cumberland Surf Club built a Grandstand around 1850 and successive stands were built up until the final one in 1936.

Cricket was first played on the site in the 1860’s and continues to this day on a pitch adjoining the Stadium site. Central Cumberland was one of the first cricket clubs to form in Australia and in 1862 the club obtained permission to build a cricket ground on the site where Parramatta Stadium now stands. The first match was played on Cumberland Oval in March 1863. The oval was surrounded by a post and two-rail fence constructed by the players. In the 1880’s and 90’s English touring teams accepted invitations to play on Cumberland Oval.

Rugby Union was played on Cumberland Oval continuously from 1879 and Rugby League since 1909. Rugby Union was played on Cumberland Oval for many years before Rugby League located to the venue. Three union players who first blossomed at Cumberland Oval and then became international league stars were Arthur Clues, Ken Kearney and Ray Price.

Cumberland Oval was the centre for many sports in the Depression days of the 1930’s and 40’s. Sir Jack Brabham, the great grand prix driver and winner of three world championships began his career at Cumberland Oval as a speedway racer in midget cars.

Betty Cuthbert, golden girl of the 1956 Olympics, ran there in school sports. Many other sports, including boxing and speedway have also used the site.

Parramatta District Rugby League Club was formed on 4 December 1946 and played their first game on 12 April 1947. A crowd of about 6000 turned out for the Eels first competition game against Newtown at Cumberland Oval. Cumberland Oval was to remain their home for many years until the last match was played on 30 August 1981 against Manly.

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