What is the redevelopment of Mission Whitten Oval?

The Western Bulldogs Football Club is undergoing a revolutionary re-imagining of its traditional home, Mission Whitten Oval, and the broader Whitten Oval precinct. The Club recognises itself as part of a much larger community and holds the vision of developing a destination location for the Whitten Oval precinct with an emphasis on family values and sporting camaraderie, while respecting the heritage and history of the precinct.
A redeveloped Whitten Oval precinct will become the centrepiece of Melbourne’s west, a home for both a professional sporting club and a common place for the community.
An expanded Mission Whitten Oval provides an opportunity to create a community hub with a mix of football, community, residential and retail facilities that will make the site a destination of the western suburbs.

What will the redevelopment include, and will it happen all at once?
The redevelopment will be undertaken in a number of stages.  Stage 1 was completed in 2019 and included the newly refurbished AFLW changerooms under the John Gent Stand, and the installation of a brand-new scoreboard at the Geelong Road end.

Stage 2, which is currently underway, will include:

  • Upgrade of the Mission Whitten Oval playing surface.
  • An increase of the spectator capacity of the Mission Whitten Oval.
  • Enhancement to the spectator amenities at the venue and improvement of the experience of people visiting the precinct.
  • Broadcast quality lighting upgrade.
  • Rebuilding of the Whitten Stand with upgrades to the administration and football department facilities and the creation of a new Bulldogs museum.
  • New function facilities, including a 400-person function space overlooking the Mission Whitten Oval and city skyline
  • Dedicated community spaces for the programs run by the Western Bulldogs Community Foundation, including the creation of a Women’s Health and Leadership Hub.
  • Construction of a new 50m x 35m multi-purpose indoor training facility.

When will the redevelopment be completed?
The entire Mission Whitten Oval redevelopment is expected to be completed in 2024.

How is the Club funding the redevelopment?
The Club has been grateful for the strong support of both the State and Federal Governments, who have committed significant funding towards the project.
The redevelopment project has also been supported by the AFL.
The Club is responsible for raising the remaining funds required over the course of the project.

Who is delivering the project?
The design team consists of:

  • Architect: Populous;
  • Structural, Civil and Services Engineering: Aurecon;
  • Landscape Architect: Urbis;
  • Indigenous Design Consultant: Greenshoot Consulting/Greenaway Architecture
  • Access Consultant: Morris Goding;
  • Fire Engineer: Omnii;
  • Audio-Visual Consultant: Mott McDonald

The project is being managed by Duo Projects, with quantity surveying by RLB.
The Bulldogs have engaged Australian-owned and renowned construction company ADCO Constructions as the main works builder of the project.

Will items of historical significance around the facility be preserved during demolition?
Through the planning process for the redevelopment, it has been a strong focus of the Club to recognise and honour our heritage, and our past greats, in different aspects of the new facility. 
The Club has been able to salvage some items of historical significance from the old building, which it aims to integrate into the redevelopment.
Given the age, condition and potential health and safety concerns associated with some areas within the precinct, many items were not able to be maintained and re-used.
However, the Club is committed to paying homage to its past throughout the updated facility.

What happened to the seats in the EJ Whitten Stand, and those who had plaques on them?
The Club has completed a salvage process for the seats in the Whitten Stand to the full extent possible. The Club intends to utilise some of these within the redeveloped building to help recognise and preserve the Club’s heritage, and it is investigating opportunities for fundraising.
The Club has communicated directly with each of the existing owners of the seat plaques in the Whitten Stand with its plans to honour their important contribution in the new Whitten Stand.

Will the AFL, AFLW, VFL and VFLW programs still operate from Mission Whitten Oval during the Redevelopment?
The four football programs will continue to be delivered from Mission Whitten Oval for the entire period of the redevelopment.
However, while the oval refurbishment works are underway the football programs will also utilise an upgraded, elite quality, MCG-sized oval at Skinner Reserve, the facility recently jointly upgraded by the Club and Maribyrnong Council.

Will the Bulldogs Shop and Barkers Café continue to operate during the redevelopment?
The Bulldogs Shop will continue to operate in a temporarily smaller capacity until the new shop in the Whitten Stand is available.
Barkers Café will continue to operate throughout the redevelopment.

Will Mission Whitten Oval remain accessible to the public?
Yes, Mission Whitten Oval will continue to remain open to the public. However, for the safety of the community some areas of the precinct will be inaccessible during the construction activity.
The Club is also meeting regularly with Maribyrnong Council and local residents to keep them updated on the progress of the project and impacts.

How will the Club recognise the traditional owners of the land on which the Mission Whitten Oval precinct sits?
The Club has undergone significant research into the lands on which Mission Whitten Oval is situated – the traditional lands of the Woi Wurrung and Boon Wurrung language groups of the Kulin Nation.  It has undertaken a comprehensive historical mapping exercise with the assistance of Greenshoot Consulting and engaged regularly with the Traditional Owners throughout this process.
This detailed work has resulted in indigenous design elements being incorporated throughout the design to recognise the importance of this land to the Traditional Owners.

Could AFL games be played at Mission Whitten Oval in the future?
Mission Whitten Oval’s principal football use will be for AFLW, VFLW and VFL games.

Does the redevelopment impact the Club’s arrangement in Ballarat?
The Bulldogs have a strong partnership with the City of Ballarat and the State Government, and a commitment to play AFL matches at Mars Stadium until at least 2024.  It also runs several community programs in Ballarat, has an office presence in the heart of the city and has Ballarat as an important hub for the Club’s Next Generation Academy.  The partnership with the region is a long-term strategic focus for the Club, as it aims to grow its footprint and community connection in the western corridor of Victoria.

Does the project include any environmentally sustainable design initiatives?
Yes.  The Club has formed an official partnership with the Sports Environment Alliance to assist in the development sustainable building practices, to ensure the redevelopment is completed in an environmentally conscious way.  The Club is focussed on recognising its environmental impact and work towards reducing its footprint

Does the updated facility consider people with a disability?
All design of the new facilities have been undertaken through a Universal Design lens to ensure that the facilities provide equitable access for people of all abilities.
This will include full access around the precinct and facilities, dedicated accessible seating, parents’ room, changing places facility and gender-neutral facilities.

Where can I find more information?
For any questions regarding the Mission Whitten Oval redevelopment, email redevelopment@westernbulldogs.com.au