Inside the Adelaide Oval scoreboard


Photos and words by Mark ‘Swish’ Schwerdt

The return of elite footy to the Adelaide Oval is a bonus for scoreboard lovers, for there are not many scoreboards like this classic century-old structure. It has survived not only the ravages of time but the advances of the Oval’s recent multi-million dollar re-development.

The highlight of a 90 minute tour of the Adelaide Oval is the ten-minute visit into the gizzards of the historic scoreboard.


The scoreboard resembles the insides of a large garden shed found at the back of a pre-WW2 home in Dudley Park, complete with 1963 Frigidaire festooned with a “DRINKS $1 EACH” sign scrawled in texta and the attendants fearing a visit from the Workcover inspector.

Frank Scott worked on the scoreboard for over 25 years. He was a stalwart at the Ingle Farm Football Club when I knew him in the late 70s /early 80s.

“It’s a fantastic little building,” he told ABC Radio back in 2008.”It gets hot and it’s got its disadvantages, but the advantages far outweigh them.”

Frank admits feeling a little nervous when the electronic scoreboard was erected next to the original building, but now thinks they make a good pair.

“We did think it was going to be the end of an era, but thankfully it wasn’t.”

For cricket matches, there are three-to four  operators with separate tasks for the batting, bowling and fielding, with a flurry of activity at the fall of wickets.

The scores are controlled by hand using a series of rollers controlled by cogs and bicycle chains.

We didn’t open the fridge with the “DRINKS $1 EACH” sign, but since there is no air-conditioning in the box, I expect that it was kept full at all times.

The scoreboard is a tribute to simplicity and ingenuity. May it stand for the next hundred years.



Frank Scott interview

Scoreboard Pressure’s visit in 2011

The Lee Hazlewood Scoreboard

Parts of this story were first published on The Footy Almanac.

View from inside the scoreboard.
View from inside the scoreboard.

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