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The RNA Showgrounds Is Set to Get a Temporary 20,000-Person Stadium While the Gabba Is Rebuilt

The Bowen Hills site's main arena has been earmarked for both AFL and cricket to use when the Gabba is out of action.
By Sarah Ward
December 01, 2023
By Sarah Ward
December 01, 2023

One of the biggest questions in Brisbane now has an answer. That query: where will the sports that are usually played at the Gabba move to when the stadium is completely demolished and rebuilt for the 2032 Brisbane Olympics? The response, as announced by the Queensland Government on Friday, December 1, 2023: the RNA Showgrounds.

The Bowen Hills location's main arena has been earmarked as the site for a temporary 20,000-person stadium for both AFL and cricket to use from the start of the 2025–26 cricket season, as tearing the Brisbane Cricket Ground down and building the Gabba 2.0 will begin in 2026. This will require a $137-million upgrade, including a temporary grandstand at Machinery Hill and a permanent seating bowl, the latter of which will also benefit the Ekka.

The RNA Showgrounds, JRA_WestyQld2 via Wikimedia Commons

"The Palaszczuk Government has worked closely with cricket and the AFL to find the best alternative venue for teams, spectators and the community while the Gabba is out of action. Upgrading the RNA main arena means keeping the big games in Brisbane and supporting the visitor economy while delivering an Ekka legacy for uniting city and country," said Queensland Sport Minister Stirling Hinchliffe.

"I want to thank the Lord Mayor for his public backing of an upgrade to the historic main arena at the RNA Showgrounds to retain the economic benefits of sport and jobs here in Brisbane."

The Gabba, Your Next Kid via Wikipedia Commons

The RNA Showgrounds plan has been chosen after a review of options in southeast Queensland, given that the Gabba will be out of action until 2030. The Queensland Government's announcement also mentions that it was cost-effective choice; however, only $45.7 million of that funding is set to come from the government. It is asking for the rest of the $91 million to be provided by not only the Brisbane City Council and the RNA, but the primary tenants, who'll be forced to make the move, even though teams such as the Brisbane Lions, Brisbane Heat and Queensland Bulls will only  berelocating because there'll be no Gabba to play at due to the Olympics-focused rebuild.

Work on the RNA Showgrounds will need to begin in 2024 to meet the timeline. After the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the venue's seating will sit at 12,000.

As for the new Gabba, it'll be part of a new Woolloongabba precinct that the Queensland Government hopes that people will enjoy regardless of whether there's a game on, complete with more dining and retail options, plus open spaces to hang out in.

Artists' impression of the redeveloped Gabba

For more information about the plans for RNA Showgrounds, head to the Queensland Government website.

Top image: Queensland Government.

Published on December 01, 2023 by Sarah Ward
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