Albert park.
Albert park. Contributed by Gympie Library

Albert Park: Jewel in our crown

IT HAS survived floods, welcomed royalty and played host to some of the best sports people in the world.

Since 1935, Albert Park has been the jewel in Gympie's sporting crown.

Like with any story worth telling, Albert Park's history is colourful.

In September 1929, Mr MCW Gray was two weeks into the initial cut to shape the park.

Using a Fordson tractor and grader, as well as a semi-rotary scoop, Gray and two contractors went about clearing the land on the aptly named river road.

They found the going tough due to a dry spell of weather. Their equipment struggled against the dry earth.

There was no cohesion in the soil which powdered up when disturbed.

Fast forward to 1950 and on June 28, the flagship ground hosted its first international rugby league with a visiting Great Britain international side. During this period, Gympie council received the plans to put in a gymnasium.

The council obtained a loan of 688 pounds to erect the facility but was offered a subsidy of 812 pounds by the treasury.

In 1955, the ground hosted another international rugby league match with France making their way to the gold city.

New Zealand teams followed in 1963, 1967 and 1978 respectively, cementing Albert Park's importance on the Australian sporting landscape.

In December 1960, the now lush grass of Albert Park's main field hosted a touring West Indies cricket team.

The visitors played Queensland country in a two-day match with bowlers from both sides proving the difference.

On the first day of play, Queensland collapsed for just 87 runs in the first innings and were out classed by their international rivals who replied with 272.

Albert Park still plays a vital role in Gympie's sporting framework and is set to undergo an overhaul under a council master plan in the near future.

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