Compiled for OzSportsHistory by Brian Membrey


The Playgrounds of Melbourne

The 1956 Melbourne Olympics programme was spread over sixteen calendar days, with no competition scheduled for the two Sundays, although one rowing event at Ballarat had to be postponed because of bad weather on the previous Saturday and special permission was given for it to be held the following day.

(To keep locals entertained, there were two free open-air concerts performed by the Victorian Symphony Orchestra given at the Botanical Gardens given on the Sundays.

Twelve of the fourteen remaining days where dedicated to competition with the Opening and Closing Ceremony days, although the latter also included the Gold Medal match in football.  

Thirteen venues were used, along with three long-distance road races :


Cycling (Road Race)  

Exhibition Buildings

Basketball (Qualifying and Finals)

Modern Pentathlon (Fencing)



Lake Wendouree, Ballarat


Canoeing and Kayaking

Laverton (R.A.A.F. Base)

Shooting (Clay Pigeon)

Main Stadium (M C G)

Opening ceremony  

Track and Field

Australian Rules Football (Demonstration)

Baseball (Demonstration)

Hockey (Final)

Football (Semi-Finals, Final)

Closing Ceremony

Oaklands Hunt Club

Modern Pentathlon (Riding)

Modern Pentathlon (Cross-country Run)

Olympic Park

Football (Qualifying, No. 1 Arena)

Hockey  (Qualifying and semi-finals, No. 2 Arena)

Cycling (Velodrome)

Olympic Pool

Modern Pentathlon (Swimming)



Water Polo

Port Phillip Bay


St  Kilda Town Hall


West Melbourne Stadium



Williamstown Rifle Range

Modern Pentathlon (Shooting)

Shooting (Pistol and Rifle)

Non-stadium events

20 km Walk : M.C.G., Richmond, South Yarra

Marathon : M.C.G., St. Kilda Road, Dandenong Road to Clayton and return.

50 km Walk : Same route as the Marathon, but extended to Springvale.

Foy and Gibson’s store, corner of Bourke and Swanston streets welcomes visitors to Melbourne

The building had another odd connection to the Melbourne Olympics - it was constructed by a well-known Collingwood builder, Ernest A Watts, who was later selected as the contractor for the short-lived plans for the main stadium at Princes Park

Two key venues for the Games - top the Velodrome and the steeply banked stand overlooking an equally banked track

Below : Two Melbourne icons - the Olympic Pool, the first to be built on the cantilever principal with no internal supports blocking spectators views, complete, of, course an outbound Swan Street tram!

Broadmeadows The Exhibition Buildings The Exhibition Buildings Shooting in the West The M.C.G. (Main Stadium) The M.C.G. (Main Stadium) The Olympic Park Complex The Olympic Park Complex Port Phillip Bay St. Kilda Town Hall West Melbourne Stadium Shooting in the West The Road Runners

Proposed Sites That Never Happened!

The Showgrounds

The Glaciarium

Princes Park

Fawkner Park

West Parkville

… and sundry others

And the Free Training Centre

The Beaurepaire Centre

The Glaciarium Princes Park The Beaurepaire Centre

Due to Australian Quarantine restrictions, the Equestrian events were held in Stockholm, Sweden in June at the Stockholm Olympic Stadium, originally designed and built  as a venue for the 1912 Olympic Games.   

Manningham Reserve, Parkville And Others ...