Suncorp Stadium is one of the most beloved sporting grounds in Brisbane, Queensland and let’s face it, the world! But do you know the history of the Stadium?
From military parades and annual circuses to a world-renowned sports and live music venue – the site has seen all sorts of visitors over the years.
Checkout the history below!
The North Brisbane Burial grounds were established to service the Moreton Bay Penal Settlement. During this time the population was growing with free settlers coming to the area culminating with the opening of the Toowong cemetery in 1875.
At this point, most burials ceased at the location and the site became surrounded by densely populated areas.
The Burial grounds became redundant and with more locals in the area, the decision was made to create a public space for the community. This recreation ground would be in place to serve the surrounding populated suburbs. In 1914 Lang Park was born.
During the First World War, the then named Lang Park was used as a parade ground.
Carnivals, Athletics and the Circus!
From the 1920’s to the 1950’s the site hosted athletics carnivals, soccer matches, cycling events and even the great Wirths’ Circus. Carley the elephant was a crowd favourite with the circus drawing huge crowds during its annual visit.
Whilst the local community enjoyed the annual visit, the field didn’t! It’s a good thing we don’t allow elephants in the stadium now!
The Queensland Rugby League and the ‘74 Floods!
In 1957, the Queensland Rugby League came to the site and was headquartered here. From this point onwards, the quaint suburban ground began to grow. Construction of the Frank Burke Stand commenced in 1962.
The 1974 floods impacted the Stadium like much of the surrounding suburbs and Brisbane as a whole. It wouldn’t be the last time the Stadium had to deal with the impacts of flooding!
State of Origin and Suncorp-Metway
The 1980’s saw the birth of State of Origin football with the now Immortal Arthur Beetson leading the Queensland side onto the field for the first ever State of Origin match. Chris Close was named man of the match while the Maroons went on to win 20-10 in front of over 33,000 people.
In 1994 more renovations on the Stadium occurred with the Western Stand replacing the Frank Burke Stand and the renaming of the venue to Suncorp-Metway Stadium. The 90’s saw many battles between the Mighty Maroons and NSW Blues and in 1999 the popularity of the venue meant that more upgrades were needed.
In 1999 the Queensland Government announced plans to undertake a $280 million redevelopment of the venue.
Suncorp Stadium – A World Class Venue!
The newly redeveloped Suncorp Stadium reopened in 2003 in time for the first game back between the Brisbane Broncos and the Newcastle Knights on June 1st. While the Broncos lost the match that day, the crowd of over 46,000 were treated to a brand-new venue and world-class experience to match.
Later that year, Suncorp Stadium was on the World Stage with the venue hosting 9 matches of the Rugby World Cup.
This global flavour continued in 2006 when British Pop Star Robbie Williams held the first concert at the Stadium since its reopening playing to two full house shows! Later in the decade in 2008, another World Cup, this time for Rugby League was hosted at the venue with both the Semi-Final and Grand-Final played at Suncorp Stadium.
More floods and record attendances
The 2010’s began a little rough with the 2011 floods effecting the Stadium. While the images of the flood levels were hard to comprehend, the ground staff and venue team pulled together to ensure Suncorp was open again that very same year!
Despite the closures caused by the floods, by 2013 the total number of attendees since the Stadium reopened in 2003 passed the 10 million mark.
Another World event occurred at the Stadium in 2015 – this time for Soccer – with Suncorp Stadium hosting 7 games during the AFC Asian Cup. Later that year, more records at the Stadium fell with a Stadium capacity record of 52,500 fans attending State of Origin 3 to witness a 52-6 record breaking win for the mighty Maroons.
In 2017, the Stadium saw further upgrades with the installation of new ‘Super Screens’ at both the Caxton and Milton St ends. The screens were in place to see first ever boxing event at Suncorp Stadium when Jeff Horn took on Manny Pacquiao for the WBO Welterweight Championship. Horn won the match in front of a crowd of 51,026 fans.
2020 and Beyond…
While every year throughout the venue’s history has been unique, 2020 at Suncorp Stadium has looked a little different. From an epic Queen + Adam Lambert performance in the rain that many called the Stadium’s ‘Best Ever Concert’ to NRL games being played without crowds – the Stadium has remained ready and waiting for live events and fans with the field looking better than ever!
With the NRL returning and Super Rugby AU starting again soon, we know that live events – even if they look a little different right now – will eventually return bigger and better than ever before. And what better place to be when they do return than Brisbane’s own, Suncorp Stadium?
The team at Suncorp Stadium asked their patrons to sound off on what their best Suncorp Performances have been. You can check out a list of these top concerts here.