ABOUT THE GROUNDZ
To enrich our community
To provide a dynamic community space which facilitates social belonging and engagement
Established in 1856, and the first Dapto Show was held on 28th January 1857.
Dapto showground is one of the few remaining freehold (privately held) showgrounds in greater New South Wales, and is owned and operated by Dapto A&H Society Ltd.
The showground site has provided an asset in the heart of Dapto for over 165 years, far surpassing its original purpose.
Dapto A&H Society is responsible for all costs and liabilities associated with operating the showground i.e., repairs and maintenance, insurances, rates, utilities, equipment etc. The Society must therefore generate enough income to cover its costs and to ensure the ongoing sustainability of the company. As a company limited by guarantee and non- profit organisation any surplus (profit) must be reinvested towards the organisation's purposes.
Our mission is to enrich our community, and vision is to provide a dynamic community space which facilitates social belonging and engagement.
Due to Dapto’s rapidly growing population, and ever-changing needs, the Society, through its strategic planning activities, is focused on increasing the usability and the site to ensure its ongoing enjoyment for many generations to come.
Dapto has a rich Aboriginal heritage along with its local farming history and is located in the Wollongong LGA (local government area), approximately 16km south of the town centre.
The population of greater Dapto is approximately 23,000, with a higher proportion of children and young people when compared to the Wollongong LGA. The West Dapto Urban Release Area is one of the most significant new greenfield housing areas outside the Sydney Metro area and is expected to house over 55,000 people over the next fifty years.
The showground site is located on the Princes Hwy, walking distance to public transport and only five hundred metres from the M1 Motorway entrance.
The town centre offers medical centres, Dapto Mall, Ribbonwood Centre (local Library), cafes and restaurants, churches and Dapto heated pool to name a few.
TOWN CENTRE PLAN
Wollongong City Council developed the Dapto Town Centre Plan 2017 - 2027 in partnership with various local stakeholders. The project provided strategic guidance for the future of the Dapto Town Centre for residents, businesses, community groups, Council, and State Government agencies.
Some key findings identified impacting Dapto included busy town centre i.e., indoor activities, traffic dominated town centre, streets lack comfort, pleasant atmosphere/experiences, compromised walking environment and underutilised town square.
The strategies and guides to help create a unique and welcoming town centre for Dapto include spaces for recreation, laneways to offer pedestrian connections, high-quality buildings and improved streetscape, local history and heritage recognised through art and design elements.
In 2020, Dapto A&H Society undertook community consultation which included an independent public survey completed by Illawarra Regional Information Survey (IRIS), market research, member survey, stakeholder and public survey, forums, and meetings.
The Society also engaged other key stakeholders, neighbouring and local businesses, schools, Wollongong City Council, and local MPs at various stages of the process.
The feedback and responses received indicated that more than 80% of respondents surveyed as part of the consultation process stated they would regularly visit “the Groundz” if it offered; a cinema; an indoor and outdoor family eatery; a café precinct; live music and concerts; restaurants and wine bars; and a large outdoor children’s playground and parklands.
Following this, Dapto A&H Society considered the long-term use of the site through a comprehensive options assessment and developed a vision in line with what the community wants.
The bold draft vision will allow for greater community utilisation, participation, and enjoyment. Current tenants, stakeholders, and clubs will form part of the revamped site.
VISION FOR THE SITE
The vision for the site is inspired by various landmark projects and directly ties into the rich agricultural heritage of the site. It includes several zones/precincts to create a family-friendly civic to be enjoyed by the young and old.
With a multipurpose field, indoor and outdoor recreational offerings, vibrant hospitality precinct, outdoor children’s playground, and surrounding pathways, parklands, and landscaping.
Old buildings will be retained to ensure an appropriate mix of old and new to keep traditional elements.
Design elements & influences.
Think: old style country feels with a modern twist. Vintage styling that provides a sense of nostalgia, timelessness, and adventure.
Greenery, Connectivity, Authentic, Playful, Fresh.
- Landscaped space to unwind, and leafy gardens
- Outdoor seating and shade options
- Linked with signs, shady pathways, and soft lighting
- Family & pet friendly
- Wifi and charging stations
- Parking & drop off zones
The economic benefit will also be significant, with early estimates indicating more than 500 jobs will be generated if the future draft vision is realised.
Current tenants, stakeholders and clubs will form part of the revamped Groundz site.
Take a look at The Groundz document.