Richmond’s Jack Dyer Stand Lost

June 2023

The City of Melbourne has voted to recommend to the Minister for Planning that Richmond Football Club be allowed to demolish the historic Jack Dyer Stand on the Punt Road Oval.


The stand was built in 1913 and opened by the Labor Prime Minister Andrew Fisher on 6 June 1914 before a match between Richmond and South Melbourne. In 1927 it was extended, and in 1998 renamed after the Richmond Football Club’s legendary player Jack Dyer, known as “Captain Blood”. The stand is a rare surviving example of an Edwardian-era grandstand, the earliest surviving building on the site and largely intact. It is of great significance as the only surviving symbol of the Richmond Football Club’s presence at the Punt Road Oval and as a tangible witness to the heroic period of Aussie Rules.

The Richmond Football Club ground in 1949 showing the iconic stand. (Photo: National Trust)


The Richmond Football Club is planning to extend the size of the oval in a redevelopment that would require the demolition of the 100-year-old Jack Dyer Stand, along with the adjoining 1984-built administration building. The redevelopment involved building a new complex that would include a grandstand accommodating 1800 spectators, a dedicated space for traditional owners, and a multi-level car park underneath. The Club has said that it is committed to staying at the Punt Road Oval, its traditional home, but that in order to do so it needs to invest in upgraded facilities. In particular the oval needs to be reconfigured and reoriented to the dimensions of the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Amongst other things, this was required in order to obtain space for a full oval on which its women’s AFLW team could play. This upgrading unfortunately requires the demolition of the Jack Dyer Stand.

However, a viable alternative had been offered by the Club’s consultants that did not involve the demolition of the stand, obtaining the required space by demolishing the 1984 Swinburne Centre, which is a blot on the landscape. This meant that there was a win-win solution, in which a beautiful, historic stand would be preserved and given a new lease on life while a peculiarly egregious building would disappear, thus improving the landscape.


The RHSV, along with the East Melbourne Group, opposed the demolition of the historic stand. Dr Charles Sowerwine, chair of the RHSV’s Heritage Committee, in a statement on 17 June 2022 said: “The arguments about costs, structural deficiencies, and non-compliance issues are commonly invoked to destroy heritage buildings. The costs of rectification are invariably inflated and the costs of building the new are invariably minimised. In this case, there is no reason to suppose that there was any irremediable problem posed. Yet the City of Melbourne is prepared to sacrifice this landmark to Victoria’s cultural history simply to save money for the Club”.

The Jack Dyer Stand in 2019. (Photo: Wikipedia)



City of Melbourne officers initially recommended protecting the Jack Dyer Stand and demolishing the Swinburne Centre. But there were then discussions with the Club which led to the officers’ either changing their minds or being overruled. As a result, Councillors voted unanimously for demolition, even those who profess concern for heritage. In a meeting of the Future Melbourne Committee on 3 May 2022, the City of Melbourne voted to recommend to the Minister for Planning that Richmond Football Club be allowed to demolish the historic Jack Dyer Stand on the Punt Road Oval. Even though an alternative solution was available, this landmark is now likely to be demolished and a piece of the soul of Melbourne lost forever.


The Jack Dyer Stand is unfortunately not listed on the Victorian Heritage Register, which would have given it a certain amount of protection, and following the City of Melbourne’s decision, the Executive Director of Heritage Victoria decided not to recommend it for listing. The RHSV at that stage felt that the chances of saving the stand were slim. However activist Adam Ford (known on social media as “The Bloodied Wombat”) took up the challenge and applied to the Heritage Council to have the Executive Director’s recommendation to not list the stand reversed. The RHSV supported his efforts by making its own submission to the Heritage Council in January 2023. Unfortunately, these efforts were unsuccessful. The Heritage Council again concluded that the Punt Road Oval and the Jack Dyer Stand were not places of cultural heritage significance and recommended against their inclusion in the Victorian Heritage Register.


To read the RHSV’s submission of 2nd May 2022 to the Future of Melbourne Committee  click here.

To read the RHSV’s statement of 21st June 2022 click here

To read the RHSV’s submission of 29 January 2023 to the Heritage Council click here.

An article in June’s Inner City News can be read here (scroll to P6)