The WACA /ˈwækə/ is a sports stadium in Perth, Western Australia. The stadiums name derives from the initials of its owners and operators, the WACA has been Western Australias home of cricket since the early 1890s, with Test cricket played at the ground since the 1970–71 season. The ground is the venue of Western Australias first-class cricket team, the Western Warriors, and a Womens National Cricket League side. The Perth Scorchers, a Big Bash League franchise, also play at the ground, the pitch at the WACA is regarded as one of the quickest and bounciest in the world. These characteristics, in combination with the afternoon sea-breezes which regularly pass the ground, have made the ground an attractive place for pace. The outfield is exceptionally fast, contributing to the ground seeing some very fast scoring – as of February 2016, however, recent years have seen most of these activities relocated to other venues. It has also used for major rock concerts. William Henry Wise, a gardener who came to WA from England in 1880, Wise was personal gardener to Sir George Shenton, of Crawley. In addition to his work at the WACA Ground, he laid the first tennis court on the Perth Esplanade, the Western Australian Cricket Association was officially established on 25 November 1885 under the Presidency of JCH James. In 1893, the WACA ground was opened, occupying a site of old swamp land to the east of the city. The Association has a 999-year lease over the land, the long term of the lease means that, effectively, the Association has freehold title. Originally, the title covered 29 acres, and took in what is now Gloucester Park, however, the latter part of the land was divested to the Trotting Association in the early 1920s. In a curious twist, between 1977 and 1979, World Series Cricket matches were played at Gloucester Park because the Kerry Packer-led organisation was not granted access to the WACA, the first match played on the turf wickets took place in February 1894. However, difficulties encountered in transporting teams to Western Australia meant that the ground was not part of Australias main cricket community for many years, even with the building of a transcontinental railway, the trip from the eastern states still took several days. It took the introduction of scheduled flights to Western Australia to make the WACA readily accessible to interstate or overseas teams. James Gardiner, president of the WACA for three terms between 1897 and 1924, proposed the adoption of electorate cricket whereby teams were established on a basis for competition. He also inaugurated Country Week cricket, during which teams compete against each other. In 1907, the WACA ground was under threat of being controlled by the Perth City Council to recover debts, Gardiner led the bid to save the ground and secured a government loan
Image: 3rd Test, Perth, 15Dec 2006
An early coloured image of the Association ground in about 1910, looking north, with a large crowd watching a game in progress. Note the original 1890s stand is evidently packed.
The WACA scoreboard at its opening in December 1953