The Western Oval miniature replica (part 1)

Photos courtesy of artist David Hourigan

David Hourigan is a Melbourne artist who, of late, has become known for his finely-detailed miniature replicas of street scenes: old shop fronts, rubbish bins, an iconic donut stand near Footscray Station, The Tote Hotel in Collingwood, even the Ghostbusters firehouse in New York City.

And, now, the Western Oval scoreboard in Footscray when it displayed a record score in 1978. (And before it was known as Whitten Oval.)

David has kindly taken us behind the scenes of his latest creation.

This replica scoreboard was made mostly from plastic. The frame, doors, windows and Olympic Tyres sign are all made from plastic card. The corrugated iron is made from foil BBQ trays. There’s a bit of balsa wood on the back steps and front counters, but otherwise it’s all plastic and foil.

The scale is around 1:40. When I first started making miniatures I was very conscious of scale, but now I work more to a final dimension. The maximum size I work to is 40cm wide – any larger and is started to get unwieldy and too large to display easily. So this limitation rather determines what the final scale will randomly be.

This project took about six weeks in total. I try to not calculate the actual hours, as even I might decide it’s a bit obsessive if I knew how many hours went into each miniature!


The Whitten Oval scoreboard was a commissioned piece. A woman approached me to make this as a 60th birthday gift for her husband who was there at Whitten Oval on the day in 1978.

They have shown it to a friend whose father used to be the groundskeeper at Whitten Oval, and the friend said that as a child she used to borrow his keys and go and play inside the scoreboard building.

Apparently the back wooden door is exactly as she remembers it, which is lucky as there was some educated guesswork involved on the back face of the building. I couldn’t find any period photos of the reverse, so I had to take a punt based on photos of similar scoreboards from that era on the Scoreboard Pressure website. Turns out I guessed close to the truth!

I spent ages going through this website to get references for my project. I loved the specific shots of the ground, especially the ones inside the scoreboard. Plus I trawled through a LOT of the posts on similar scoreboards, to get a feel for a typical wood and corrugated iron scoreboard from that era.

We’ll run more pics next week. Meanwhile, take a look at David’s Instagram account plus his website and his YouTube channel.

David Hourigan and his latest creation. A certain form of scoreboard pressure.




One comment

  1. Excellent work! Footscray had the most colourful scoreboard of all the VFL suburban grounds. Definitely one worth making a scale model of. Well done!

    Sent from my iPhone


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