Holden Centre

The Holden Centre serves as a centre of excellence for professional organisations and elite athletes.

The venue was originally built to host the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games’ swimming, diving and water polo competitions.

The Holden Centre, as it is now known, has fulfilled a variety of purposes and is now the training and administration base of the Collingwood Magpies football and netball clubs.

Construction

A competition was held in 1952 to establish a design team to construct the Olympic Pool.

On Christmas Eve of the same year, architects Kevin Borland, Peter McIntyre, John and Phyllis Murphy and engineer Bill Irwin were announced as the winners.

Peter McIntyre's inspiration was essentially the competition requiring the most economic building.

Construction commenced in October 1954 and was only made possible through the most modern building materials and engineering technology of the time.

1956 Olympic Games

Come the much anticipated Olympic swimming competition and the heroes for Australia were Dawn Fraser, Lorraine Crapp and Murray Rose.

All up, the Aussies won eight gold, four silver and two bronze in the pool.

Westpac Centre

Olympic Pool architects

Melbourne Sports & Entertainment Centre

As plans to refurbish the Olympic Pool building drew media attention in 1981, Chairman of the National Trust, Rodney Davidson, was quoted as saying the building was “of the greatest importance architecturally and historically".

The Olympic Pool was replaced by a parquetry floor in 1983, and the 7,200 seat venue (below) became the city's primary entertainment facility.

Following the $10.5 million renovation, the Melbourne Sports & Entertainment Centre known as 'The Glasshouse', hosted international entertainers the calibre of Elton John and legendary band Queen.

The diverse array of events at MSEC included concerts, family shows, gymnastics, World Indoor Cricket Championships, boxing and BMX Championships.

The first NBL game at The Glasshouse was a double header on 4 April 1984. St Kilda defeated Nunawading and Geelong beat Coburg.

The Centre became synonymous with Victorian basketball and the NBL's boom period.

By 1987 four Victorian clubs called The Glasshouse home and by 1990-91 nearly 60 games were played there per season.

In fact, such was the popularity, as the decade progressed games were increasingly transferred across the road to Rod Laver Arena.

The venue hosted its final match 5 June 1998 (North Melbourne v Perth), after an NBL record of 343 games. This figure included Championship deciders in 1984, 1988, 1989, and 1994, as well as all-star games in 1988, 1989 and 1991.

Holden Centre Renovation

In 2002 the heritage listed Olympic Pool was returned to its original shape, with a $20 million refurbishment overseen by one of the original architects Peter McIntyre.

Its restoration reflected key elements of its original award winning plans.

The new facilities, used by Collingwood Football Club and Victorian Institute of Sport, included administration offices, theatrette, exhibition space, world class gymnasium, 25m lap pool and hydrotherapy spa.

A magnificent $25 million addition to the Holden Centre was opened in 2015, making superb new training and community facilities available for high-performance athletes and grass-roots level leisure and sports initiatives alike.

50 years after its design, the Olympic Swimming pool was Victorian Heritage listed, being the last remaining stadium structure from the 1956 Olympic Games and architecturally significant as an early example of pre-tensioned steel framed construction.

Glasshouse
North Melbourne Giants