Pop superstar Elton John to open Townsville stadium

North Queenslanders are counting down the days until the opening of their new sports and entertainment venue.

Townsville’s long-awaited stadium will be ‘opened’ by global pop superstar Elton John in February.

The 25,000-seat venue was built at a cost of $290 million and is located adjacent to Townsville’s CBD.

It will become the home venue for North Queensland Cowboys games with the team moving from its home base of 25 years in the suburb of Kirwan, 15km west of the CBD.

However, the Cowboys will play second fiddle to Sir Elton, who will have the honour of being the first major attraction at the stadium on 29 February when he performs as part of his world Farewell Yellow Brick Road world tour.

The Cowboys will take centre stage for the first time on 13 March when they host the Brisbane Broncos in an NRL season opener.

Minister for Housing and Public Works Mick de Brenni said excitement was building ahead of the stadium’s opening.

 “It’s not often that a stadium is built, so it’s no wonder the anticipation is growing ahead of the opening of the Queensland Country Bank Stadium, our new home of sport, entertainment, community and corporate events in North Queensland,” Mr de Brenni said.

 “As a Queenslander I’m very proud of this piece of community-owned infrastructure, but the most pride is felt by those that literally built it with their own hands, with more than one million construction hours and 480 local businesses involved – and they all deserve to be congratulated.

 “It is arguably the most attractive stadium in the world, and well worth a visit to one of the series of upcoming events.”

Townsville stadium 2

Fans have the chance to tour the stadium during a special Open Day on 22 February.

 “The Open Day will be everyone’s chance to check out the unique stadium design, find your seats, experience the players’ change rooms, and see what the corporate facilities are like without costing you a cent,” Mr de Brenni said.

Townsville Enterprise CEO Patricia O'Callaghan said the stadium would be a lasting symbol of what could be achieved when a community rallied together.

“It is a tangible, real investment into North Queensland that has been designed by the best, built by the best, will be home to the best, and will entertain the best,” Ms O’Callaghan said.

“Not only will the stadium serve as the new home to our North Queensland Cowboys, but it also provides the catalyst for further investments into Townsville’s CBD.”

While the Cowboys will be the primary tenant, there are plans for the stadium to host other sporting and community events.

This year it is already scheduled to host the North Queensland Games Opening Ceremony on 9 April. The North Queensland Games are held every two years and this year will attract more than 3600 athletes who will compete in more than 40 different sports from April 10-13.

Another feature of the venue will be a statue honouring Cowboys and Queensland rugby league great Johnathan Thurston at the stadium’s northern entry plaza. The life-size bronze statue by Townsville artist Jane Hawkins will capture the moment Thurston kicked the field goal which won the Cowboys their 2015 NRL premiership.

Visit the Stadiums Queensland web site for more information.

Key facts:

  • More than 480 local businesses engaged in the construction supply chain, supporting 750 full-time jobs.
  • The venue will provide around 800 jobs during a major event.
  • It features a pandanus-leaf inspired roof, specially designed to withstand North Queensland’s extreme weather.
  • The 9100 square metres of special-purpose, durable PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene) fabric on roof and kites is weather, fire and UV resistant. Its smooth Teflon coating  allows it to be washed by rain, reducing the need for cleaning.
  • Experts at James Cook University’s Cyclone Testing Station have done extensive wind-load testing to make sure the roof can withstand the North Queensland environment.
  • The stadium has 2km of beer lines and 17 food and beverage outlets on the main concourse level.
  • The 200 square metre scoreboard features 365mm-square LED panels.
  • The ground will have 11,000 square metres of specialised ‘ready-to-play’ turf, which combines natural grass as the playing surface with a mesh product within the profile of the turf, similar to systems at the Melbourne Cricket Ground and Sydney’s Bankwest Stadium.

Story Ray Andersen