ABOUT / ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​HISTORY


Photos through the years


Carisbrook was acquired as part of a large block of land by the Presbyterian Church Board during the earliest days of the settlement of Otago.

For most of the faithful patrons at Otago rugby H.Q. the origin of the name Carisbrook is something of a mystery, but it is certain that Carisbrook owed part of it's origins to a stream.

James Macandrew settled in Dunedinin 1851. He came from Scotland, and he and his wife had find memories of their honeymoon on the Isle of wight, so named their estate at Montecillo, Carisbrook after the castle. (The castle on the Isle of Wight was actually spelt Carisbrooke)

The stream that flowed down the hill from the Montecillo thus become Carisbrook Creek as it meandered down the Glen to cross the area that was knownas Carisbrook.

The Carisbrook Cricket Club was formed in 1874 and it's founders included James Rattray and Henry Rose, so it is possible that they were among those responsible for the famous name when the club took Carisbrook as it's headquarters in the late 1870's. Thus the ground which is famous throughout the sporting world took it's name from the Carisbrook Cricket Club rather than the cricket club taking it's name from the ground as is sometimes thought. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

The Carisbrook Ground Company was formed in 1881 with the stated purpose of preparing, fencing and draining the ground for use as a cricket ground and for other sports. They also intended to contruct a pavilion.

For the first five years the cricket club struggled to meet their aims but the lease charges of 200 guineas became too much for them so in 1886 the Pirates Football Club was invited to share the use of the ground in the winter.

The first important sporting event played on Carisbrook was a cricket match between Otago and a touring Tasmanian side on Februrary 1st, 1884. The ground was described as heavy and the match was now low scoring.

For many years Carisbrook hosted a variety of activities, including a gilbert & Sullivan opera, band recitals, race meetings and gymkhanas. Most of these activities were held in an effort to raise money for ground development but the effort became increasingly defficult for the ground company. And so at an extraordinary general meeting on June 27th, 1907, it was decided that their interests in the lease of Carisbrook should be sold to the Otago Rugby Football Union.

After further improvements, 1908 saw the first international rugby match on Carisbrook between Otago and the touring Anglo-Welsh team. The match was won by Otago 9-6. In the same year the first test match between New Zealand and the Anglo-Welsh team took place on Carisbrook, resulting in a win to New Zealand 32-5.

This ended the era of the South Dunedin Caledonian Ground as Otago's main rugby ground, although the ORFU continued to use the Caledonian Ground up until they allowed the lease to expire in 1913. Rugby was last played  the 'Cale' in 1984 when the NZ Barbarians played an Otago XV. In 1999 the Caledonian Ground was swallowed up by a commercial development and the Dunedin City Council re-contructed the third Caledonian ground in Dunedin history aogan Park in 2001.

From the early years on, Carisbrook has played host to all the great rugby teams of the world. At the same time the ORFU has continued to make the ground available for other sporting activities These have included cricket, lawn tennis, hockey, soccer, athletics, baseball, massed gymnastics, marching and band displays.

From the first days of their occupation of Carisbrook, the ORFU has poured money into the ground, improving it year by year. The first major stand, built in 1914, was extended in 1921 before the visit of the first Springboks and again around 1930. In 1937 the first Henry Rose Stand was built from the profits of the 1936 Ranfurly Shield season and this lasted until 1965 when it was replaced in a larger form. The uncovered stands at both ends of the ground were completed in time for hte visit of the 1959 Lions and that at the Neville Stred was roofed over shortly afterwards. The groundsman's cottage was also built in 1937.

The ORFU purchased the freehold of Carisbrook from the Presbyterian Chruch Board of Property in 1969 and in 1983/84 embarked on what was hoped to be the final solution to the drainage prems which have plagued the ground since its earliest days.

In 1991/92 far reaching decisions were  be Management Committee to completely upgrade the facilities at Otago Rugby H.Q. Accordingly, the old Main Staind was replaced, and a new turnstile system  introduced.

in 1993/94 a modern complex incorporating corporate suites and large seating lounges was built on the north eastern side behind the terraces, and in 1996 the Union called for submissions from interested s for the reconstruction of the terraces, the upgrading of ancillary facilities and the installation of lights.

In September 1997 work commenced on the redevelopment of the Terraces, and was completed in June 1998 in time for the NZ v England Test Match. At the same time, lights also were brought into operation, making Carisbrook one of the most up to date grounds in New Zealand and the time.

The demands of professional rugby in the 21st century and demographics have recently re in Carisbrook being downgraded to a Category B Test Match venue, but a vigoroous campaign was mounted to either return the ground to its previous preeminent status among New Zealand arenas or to shift to a new, more modern venue. As of now (2011), a new roofed stadium has been constructed in Dunedin near Logan Park, and Carisbrook has been sold to the Dunedin City Council for $7.1 million, thus relieving the ORFU of a crushing debt.