A WACA tour in Perth, Australia

Stuart Forster visits the Western Australian Cricket Association for a WACA tour in Perth, Australia.

The Western Australian Cricket Association, known throughout the cricketing world simply as the WACA, is one of globe’s great sporting venues. Australia regained the Ashes here, by beating England in the third Test of the 2013-14 series. Yet you don’t necessarily have to attend a match to enter the famous Perth ground.

Disclosure: Some of the links below, marked with a (£), are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

Tours of the WACA take place twice daily, at 10.00am and 3.00pm, from Monday to Friday (on non match days). The tours last about 90 minutes. They provide an opportunity to gain an overview of cricketing history in Western Australia, to peek into key rooms around the ground and even to walk out onto the famous oval. You’re then free to visit the compact but fascinating WACA Museum.

Interested in cricket? You may enjoy Graeme’s Swann’s The Ashes (£):

A tour of the WACA

I joined a tour in which three people participated. The small group helped forge a sense of this being a special ‘behind the scenes’ tour. It was also an atmosphere conducive to asking questions.

The history of the WACA can be traced back to the late nineteenth century, when almost 30 acres of then swampy land, down by the Swan River, was granted to the state’s cricket association. I was surprised to learn that, despite the ground’s fearsome reputation for Australian success, it was first used as a Test venue in 1970. Relatively recently, all things considered; it was simply too far from the cities “out east”. Stumps commemorating all of the Test matches played at the WACA, autographed by players from both teams, can be seen within the Stump Lounge of the Inverarity Stand (named after John Inverarity).

These days the WACA hosts fixtures across a number of levels and formats of cricket, including state level Sheffield Shield matches, one day internationals, Tests and Twenty20 Big Bash League games.

Bradman and Perth Tests

Sir Donald Bradman, I learned on the tour, pushed for Test matches to be held in Perth, which explains why he had a room named after him. The Bradman Room, in the Lillee-Marsh Stand, is named in honour of the Don, who, of course, was from New South Wales.

One of the highlights for any cricket fan has to be seeing the WACA’s spacious, modern changing rooms. The Perth Scorchers had been at home for a Big Bash League Twenty20 match the night before I visited and the lockers were still decorated with the names of players plus the franchise logo. It provided an opportunity to pull on a helmet and pose for a few pictures.

Fast Tests and quick bowling

The WACA has been the venue for four of the ten fastest Test cricket centuries. Standing out on the lush grass of the oval, I quite fancied having a go with a bat and could imagine myself hitting one over long off for six. Of course it’s always easier to think that without having the eyes of a capacity crowd on you. Also, the reality of having to face one of Mitchell Johnson’s bouncing 150 km/ph deliveries might make me reassess the challenge involved in doing just that.

Like too many Englishmen during the third Ashes Test, I returned to the pavilion after a brief sojourn out in the middle (£):

Further information

See the Western Australian Cricket Association website for information about WACA Museum and Ground Tours, including prices and departure times.

Browse books about Australian cricket: Link to books on cricket’s history and cricket in Australia on Amazon (£).

Learn more about things to do and see in the city on the Visit Perth and Western Australia websites.

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