Revamp of Brens Pavilion kicks goals for community
A much-anticipated revamp of Brens Pavilion at Royal Park has officially been completed, providing much-needed boost for local sports clubs.
The upgraded facility, located between Melbourne Zoo and Royal Parade, has been transformed into a modern space, boasting cutting-edge amenities including eight gender-neutral and accessible changerooms, toilets and showers, and two dedicated umpire changerooms.
Other features include a new first-aid room, and significant improvements to the kitchen and social spaces.
The redevelopment, made possible thanks to a $2.5 million state government contribution from the Community Sports Infrastructure Stimulus Program, also prioritises inclusivity, ensuring the pavilion is accessible to all members of the community.
This includes allowing the capacity for women’s sport to expand, with home clubs Melbourne University Rugby Football Club, University High School–Victoria University Amateur Football Club, and Parkville District Cricket Club preparing to introduce new teams.
Lord Mayor Sally Capp toured the facilities after announcing the grand opening of the upgraded pavilion on September 13, during which she emphasised the positive impact it would have on the community.
“Our grassroots sporting clubs have seen women excel in sports, find new communities, and improve their health and wellbeing. We’re delivering the space they need to be match ready with another new pavilion on the ground,” she said.
Sporting clubs have been using temporary facilities since works to redevelop the pavilion began in early 2022.
University High School–Victoria University Amateur Football Club’s Tony Boyce said they were excited to have a modern centre to use.
“Having a space for our women’s team to get changed and shower makes it more appealing for them to spend more time at the venue before and after games which is amazing for our club culture and connection,” he said.
We now have a facility that we’re proud to call home and to host visitors. The future is exciting in knowing the City of Melbourne really supports women’s and men’s sports.
Mr Boyce added the club was thrilled it could now offer first rate facilities tailored to all genders “which is something we never have had”, noting they hoped to add a second women’s football team next year.
Melbourne University Rugby Football Club director and general manager Lotu Aiuta said the redevelopment represented “a significant milestone”, particularly for attracting more female players.
“Our aim is not only to develop exceptional players but to help everyone leave as a better version of themselves and these facilities have already transformed our club both on and off the field – providing an environment that cultivates personal development and builds successful teams,” he said.
“For the first time, our women’s team has access to dedicated spaces for post-game showers, private areas, and a true sense of belonging within Victoria’s oldest rugby club. This upgrade represents a significant milestone, fostering a welcoming environment for all members.”
“We are now set to field two women’s teams and address the demand for numerous sevens teams that we struggled to accommodate in the past.”
Cr Capp said as Melbourne was Australia’s sporting capital, excitement for women’s sport was growing with more than 100,000 women playing sport in Melbourne this winter alone.
“We’ve upgraded Brens Pavilion to give our local clubs the facilities they deserve, while catering for the immense demand in community sport – especially from women and girls,” she said. •