30 years since last game at Windy Hill

Next Tuesday, the 10th, is 30 years since Essendon’s last senior game at Windy Hill - a 45 point win against Brisbane.

I was a few weeks off turning 6, so my recollection of games at Windy Hill doesn’t really exist beyond knowing that my parents took me along to some.

I was wondering if anyone here went to that game and have any memories of it?
It wasn’t broadcast and the crowd was only 12,970. From what I can gather, it wasn’t really known that it was to be the last game there?

There’s other threads about memories of Windy Hill and I don’t want this to be one of those, I’m more curious about that particular game, the decision to leave Windy Hill, and how fans felt at the time about leaving Windy Hill without a proper farewell.


I would have been there but the unfortunate thing is that we didn’t know it was going to be the last game at WH at the time. A such, I have no recollection of the game at all.

From memory, the switch to the MCG came during the offseason and we never got to have a WH farewell game which I am sure would have drawn more than 12k if we’d known the significance of the event.


The final match played at Windy Hill occurred in Round 21 1991 when Essendon played the (then named) Brisbane Bears in front of 19,010 people who saw Essendon win by 45 points (23.19.157 to 17. 10.112). Little was known then that this was to the final senior VFL/AFL match played at the venue. Later in September that year, the Essendon Football club announced that the club would move to the Melbourne Cricket Ground for home matches from 1992 onwards.


The game wasn’t even televised, so there’s little to no footage at all, which is sad. I guess the whole getting rid of the suburban grounds and consolidating every Melb based team to play at the major venues was necessary for the competition to survive but the game has lost some character and there is a homogeneous feeling to it in the sense that there is no home ground advantage that Melb based teams have with one another. In another time playing Essendon at Windy Hill, Collingwood at Victoria Park, Carlton at Princes Park would’ve been like playing Liverpool at Anfield or Man U at Old Trafford. Unfortunately I didn’t get to any games at Windy Hill when we were still playing out there, I bet it would’ve been a great experience, especially in the mid-80s with that 84-85 team!


It was.


I’m not so sure about this. It took away a little more of the clubs’ power bases but given TV pours in so much money now, the location is less of a drama financially. I mean clubs play at Ballarat now!

I played little league that day. I remember we had a girl in the team as well which back then was pretty much unheard of. Can’t really remember much else though apart from getting a seat. A few rounds before, if not the round before, I think they had to get in the channel 7 helicopter to dry out the mud in the center square.

Pretty sure that 91 was also when the outer wing (W. R. Crichton Shelter) had seats installed from the old southern stand. A few years later when that stand was demolished a mates dad had a few rows of them for the local footy club and I wanted to take a row back home as a commemoration, but dad wouldn’t let me haha.

Would’ve been nice to get a send off in hindsight but as a kid you’re not really thinking about that stuff, I just remember 92 rolling around and all of a sudden the MCG was now our home. I also played little league that game. I remember the shiny new great southern stand and getting smashed by the lions.


IIRC back then most weren’t, even highlights packages would just cut to a handfull of games each weekend/sunday.

As part of Heritage Round those clubs that still have their old ground should play a game. One game every two years wouldn’t hurt would it?


Anyone got any pictures or footage of what the now removed grandstands and scoreboards at Windy Hill looked like? I was born end of 93 so I never saw any of it except the Showers Stand. Really sad so much history has happened there and now it’s so ran down.

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Windy Hill would require an enormous facilities upgrade for that to be possible.


I would have been there, except for the fact I chose to leave the country after Kollingwood’s flag the year before.
Was a bloody surprise to find out when I returned.

So many great memories of Windy Hill.

This one from 1983 is special:

The actual ‘event’ happened just before the video cut back to the players involved.


I know it’s a fantasy but I wish it were possible. I would’ve loved to have seen a match there. I saw some as a kid at FARK CARLTON’s ground (not involving them thankfully) and I enjoyed that type of atmosphere. Would be fun if teams could go back to playing home games at their respective venues. Even if Essendon had more of a presence at Windy Hill. Anyway, a fantasy…


It’s fine to be nostalgic about the old suburban grounds, but let’s not forget they were hard to get to, they had no parking and they were mostly standing room.

My memories from a kid were driving around for ages trying to find a park on the surrounding streets, followed by a quick run to the ground to not miss the start, only to find if my dad didn’t put me on his shoulders I could not see ■■■■. Then after the game we’d go back to the car which now had a parking ticket. Good times.


Agree we do not want to get too romantic about the past, but surely some sad game v Gold Coast or GWS could be moved to Windy Hill? We are using the ground for reserves and women’s matches. @Paul_Cousins is the upgrade really that hard from VFL/VFLW when matches in Darwin and Ballarat get a go? Imagine the merch you could sell!

At least Windy Hill has both the tram and train nearby, but I do recall my parents saying that it was chaotic in Essendon/Moonee Ponds anytime there was a match.

Can’t speak for Darwin but Ballarat’s facilities are outstanding for a regional ground, Windy Hill is one of my favourite places on earth but the facilities aren’t in the same universe as Ballarat. One set of extremely old public toilets, stands that are showing a lot of age, visitors rooms that need a significant upgrade and so on.
At some point Windy Hill will get redeveloped and that sort of thing will be more possible, but for now the couple of hundred/thousand that the VFL/W get is about the limit unfortunately.
The other thing about Windy Hill is that playing surface itself is very very small, likely too small for AFL footy.


Thanks Paul, I will cling onto this part of your post and try to find ways around the rest.


In terms of the playing surface, it’s shorter than the SCG and a lot narrower. Great venue for VFL footy though, enjoy heading there when a game is on, especially as I live across the road from it!