Gloucester Senior Rugby League Club gets traction on spectator and canteen upgrade

Frank Compton (secretary), Craig Murray (coach) and Kenneth White (president) stand on the future spectator mound. Photo Rodney Summerville.
Frank Compton (secretary), Craig Murray (coach) and Kenneth White (president) stand on the future spectator mound. Photo Rodney Summerville.

Gloucester's rugby league season didn't happen this season, but there's still been plenty of action at Bert Gallagher Oval.

After four and a half years of working toward an upgrade to the grounds, the Gloucester Senior Rugby League Club is happy to see some progress.

According to long term club member Rodney Summerville, the development application for a spectator mound and a permanent canteen was approved by council about four years ago. However, the club opted to delay construction while waiting to see if a new grandstand would be built.

In October 2018, member for Upper Hunter Michael Johnsen announced $655,500 of Stronger Country Community funding for the grandstand project. As the preference was for the grandstand to be built before the spectator mound and canteen were installed, the club waited.

Then COVID hit. In June, after much deliberation, the club decided to not to proceed with their season.

"The restrictions meant we weren't able to have spectators and the canteen and barbecue are how we make our money. Plus, we didn't want to ask businesses to sponsor us given what was happening, so we decided to not go ahead," Rodney explained.

Although it was sad news for the club and its supporters, it made way for the planned upgrades to go ahead.

So far, the spectator mound has had a kick start thanks to Anglican Care's donation of dirt that was taken from the site of the new nursing home.

The hope now is to have everything finished in time for the April 2021 seaon kick off. With the ground improvements, the club is looking to return to the field with a fresh new energy, and hopefully, a few new players.

"The field isn't just for the club. It benefits the community for things like Carols By Candlelight," Rodney explained.

"And when it's finished we'll be able to apply to host major events including the country under 16 and 18 championships."

Gloucester sits in a good location as a halfway spot for teams to travel.

Rodney said hosting such a high profile event would be a boost for the town as well as the code.