The Home of the Matildas Opens Marking a Historic Moment for Australian Football
July 4, 2023
The Home of the Matildas’ brand new elite training facility is set to welcome players after it was officially opened by Steve Dimopoulos, Victorian Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events on Monday 3rd July at the La Trobe University Sports Park in Bundoora, Victoria.
The $57 million facility is one of the first and largest football-specific infrastructure projects in Australia’s history and a significant accomplishment for the sport in the country, supported and embraced by the Victorian Government and Federal Government.
The facility provides a world-class elite training environment that is for the CommBank Matildas’ exclusive use whenever they are in camp and is also the permanent home for Football Victoria’s administration and representative teams for women and men of all ages; providing year-round access for young juniors, youth and elite teams with training and match facilities for the entire Victorian football community.
La Trobe University students will also benefit from the partnership with access to many of the facilities, as well as student placements and research studies providing real-life training and benefits to all athletes and officials around high-performance training and recovery, sports science education and research.
The Home of the Matildas will deliver an experience unparalleled in Australian football and has been designed with the aspiration of becoming the finest female-focused facility in Asia, a living testament to Football Victoria’s goal of achieving gender equity in football by 2027.
As the Principal Design Consultant, Populous created a modern, centralised, gender neutral, facility to support a ‘Football for All’ venue for players and officials of the ‘World Game’.
Populous senior principal Belinda Goh said the intersection of universal design principles and designing for equity were used to deliver the project vision and unite a football organisation into a new home.
“Working together with a range of stakeholders over the life of the project, we designed and delivered solutions for equitable access and universal spaces for a flexible age group from young children to elite.
“Populous brought our deep understanding of the current and future needs of an elite training facility to the project.
“The mixed-use, flexible design shows that women’s teams don’t necessarily need different, stand-alone facilities, rather a commitment to equitable access. It becomes more efficient and affordable in the long-term if a ‘designing for all’ approach is adopted.
“The Home of the Matildas offers an equal playing field for females in sport as officials, fans and players while fostering a deep sense of connection to our nation’s best women’s team,” Goh said.
Key design elements include gender neutral facilities, flexible spaces, increased privacy as well as collaboration spaces for various lifestyle phases of parenthood, education, to work and training.
Populous associate principal and project architect on the Matildas Taryn McQueen said new possibilities are created for the professional sports eco-system when a commitment to equitable design and operation of facilities are brought together.
“Understanding the benefits of greater inclusion by the stakeholders supports greater sustainability for the code through wider participation from community to elite, as well as new opportunities for sponsors and fans of the game to engage, often providing additional revenue streams.
“This facility has been designed to flex up and down, from smaller community style events and programs, university activities, talented player programs right through to major match day events and tournaments.
“Ultimately, designing for everyone means greater opportunities for use more often, helping to future-proof the facility,” McQueen said.
Opened in time for the venue to be a team base camp during the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia and New Zealand 2023™, the facility will officially host the Jamaican Women’s National Football Team.
It will then be available for use by the Australian women’s team in the preparation for future tournaments and is equally capable of hosting training camps for elite women’s and men’s representative teams across all age groups, including the Young Matildas, Olyroos and Socceroos.
The CommBank Matildas are one of the first elite national women’s teams in Australia to have a dedicated homebase with locker room facilities and amenities designed for their exclusive use.
“Golden tones and deep greens that identify with the club’s colours energise the space with a team spirit that is guaranteed to motivate them for a win, every time. The use of the national team colours is also intended to inspire younger players,” McQueen said.
Football Victoria will also be relocating to the brand new, state of the art offices at the precinct, bringing the football and administrative operations of the organisation together at a singular venue for the very first time.
The facility will provide a world-class training facility and a home that celebrates and recognises the pinnacle of women’s football in Australia and provides a global benchmark that will enable the world game for women.
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