The two-hour expedition begins with a short walk past the old ivy-clad Members Stand and then a brief ride via the service lift onto the roof of the Western Stand. Once clamped onto the metal guide rail, climbers follow their team leader onto a narrow walkway that snakes its way across the curving roof. There are fine views across to North Adelaide, the Adelaide Hills and the Park Lands.
While RoofClimb is primarily a celebration of the architectural genius behind the new-look $575 million arena – climbers learn about the special construction methods and materials used to create the Riverbank and Eastern stands – the tour also provides an insight into the history of Adelaide, and the cultural importance of this ground.
The Adelaide Oval is a combination of the old and the new. The new grandstands and the playing surface feature the very latest in modern technology – for example, underground sensors monitor the condition of the grass precisely on computer. At the same time authorities have retained three important parts of the oval’s heritage: the old wooden scoreboard, the Moreton Bay figs and the Northern Mound.
Even people born and raised in South Australia are likely to learn something about the Adelaide Oval as they clamber over its sensuously curved roofs – such as the fact that the Northern Mound was constructed from soil dredged from the Torrens and that the Moreton Bay figs were first planted to block the view of non-paying spectators who once gathered on the slopes of Pennington Gardens, to the north, to watch the cricket for free.