The Poplar Road Athletics Track was built 1936 and used by the Victorian Women’s Amateur Athletic Association until the 1970s.
The track was located in the Melbourne suburb of Parksville and was often referred to as the Royal Park venue.
The track was a cinders surface – the first ever laid in Australia – and was the only cinders track in Australia until the early 1950s, when a cinders track was laid at ES Marks in Sydney.
The Women’s Dressing Pavilion at the venue was completed in 1937. The pavilion was part of a general program of sporting infrastructure improvements in Melbourne parks. The Women’s Dressing Pavilion at Poplar Oval is of historical significance as one of the first sporting facilities designed in Victoria for the use of women.
The distance across the diameter of the oval was a suitable distance for hurdles and a high jump pit. The facilities were ready for the Australian Women’s Championships in December 1937 which were the also selection trials for the Empire Games to be held in Sydney in February 1938. Three thousand people attended the Championships in Melbourne and many commented on the quality of the facilities made available. As a contemporary account noted, before the construction of the pavilion and the athletics oval “women athletes of Melbourne” were using a “dog-coursing track” to train on and compete.