Western Sydney Stadium, commercially known as Bankwest Stadium, is a multi-purpose rectangular stadium located in Parramatta, within the Greater Western Sydney region, approximately 24km west of Sydney City Centre. It replaced the demolished Parramatta Stadium. The stadium opened in April 2019. It has a 30,000 seat capacity. The stadium is owned by the NSW Government, operated by VenuesLive, designed by Populous Architects and built by Lendlease with a build cost of $360 million.
The area on which the stadium is located was used for leisure and horse racing in the British colony at Parramatta that was founded along with the harbor settlement of Sydney in 1788. Governor Charles FitzRoy approved the creation of a racecourse on the site in 1847, with a cricket field-grown within the racetrack and opened in 1863. After numerous name changes the local cricket club settled on the name Central Cumberland Cricket Club, and from there the site gained the Cumberland Oval name.
Parramatta Stadium was designed in 1984, built-in 1985 and opened by Queen Elizabeth II on On 5 March 1986. The new rectangular stadium continued to host local, state and national sports events as well as concerts. It was converted into an all seater stadium in 2002, with a reduced capacity of 21,000. In 2012, with the success of the newly formed Western Sydney Wanderers, which included hosting a sell out crowd for the 2014 AFC Champions League Final.
Rebuild and design decision
In September 2015, the New South Wales Government announced that the stadium would be replaced with a new 30,000 seat venue on the same site. Expressions of interest were requested in June 2016, with four shortlisted to bid. The four groups were Populous & Lendlease, Cox Architecture & John Holland, Hassell & Brookfield Multiplex and lastly, BVN & Laing O’Rourke. The contract was awarded to the Populous and Lendlease consortium in December 2016.
As a requirement of the expanded footprint of the stadium, the adjacent Parramatta War Memorial Pool was also closed and demolished. A small group of protesters disagreed with the decision, gaining a measure of local media coverage to promote their anti-stadium online petitions. A replacement for the pool was announced in March 2017, with the NSW Government confirming that a new aquatic centre would be built on the old Parramatta Golf Course site.
The key features of the stadium are a 10,000 increase in capacity from the old stadium, a major increase in corporate facilities, steep grandstands, integrated pedestrian and transport links, local landscaping, a premium field level members club and a high quality public address system. The first major installation of modern safe standing in Australia is included in the design, with 3 bays totalling 1,000 capacity in the Red & Black Bloc active support area, using an interchange system that allows regular seating to be installed during the winter rugby code season before being swapped for the summer A-League season for the Wanderers.
Demolition work began in early 2017 and was completed in February 2017. Site cleanup, excavation and preparatory ground work finished in August. Construction started with concrete foundations being laid down in September 2017, with the main stand complete by mid 2018. The first roof section was assembled and lifted into place at the South end of the ground on 12 February 2018, and complete by late 2018.
The stadium’s main purpose is hosting games for the three major football codes in New South Wales. The two major tenants are the Western Sydney Wanderers and the Parramatta Eels. The Wanderers will be hosting 13 A-League 2019–20 regular season games, any FFA Cup home games from the Quarter Final stage and Asian Champions League in future seasons if they qualify. The Parramatta Eels hosted 10 games at the stadium in the 2019 regular season, along with potential finals series games.
Rugby league: The stadium opened with a rugby league match between the Parramatta Eels and the Wests Tigers on Easter Monday, 22 April 2019. Eels halfback Mitchell Moses scored the first try, conversion and field goal in the stadium at NRL level. Parramatta won the game 51–6 in front of a sell-out crowd of 29,047 The first official try to be scored at the ground was when Bevan French scored for the Wentworthville Magpies against Western Suburbs in the Canterbury Cup NSW game which was played before the main game.
The first soccer game held at the new stadium was on 20 July 2019 when Western Sydney Wanderers hosted English side Leeds United. The game was attended by 24,419 which Leeds won 2–1. Leeds player Mateusz Bogusz scored the first goal at the ground, Kwame Yeboah scored the first goal for the Wanderers at their home stadium while Pablo Hernández scored the winning goal in the dying seconds of the match. The game was praised for its good atmosphere as both groups of supporters sang and cheered through the 90 minutes.
The New South Wales Waratahs hosted the first match of rugby union at the venue against the South African team the Sharks on 27 April 2019 in the Super Rugby competition. The Waratahs lost 15–23 in front of a crowd of 10,605. The Wallabies played host to Samoa on 7 September 2019 in which the Wallabies won 34–15 in front of 16,091.