The MCG, truly one of the world's greatest sporting venues, was built back in 1853 when the Melbourne Cricket Club had to find new digs because Australia’s first steam train was coming through the oval. The Melbourne Cricket Ground has been a juggernaut ever since – the first-ever cricket Test match was played here in 1877, the 1956 Olympic Games were staged here and, on the last Saturday in September every year, the biggest show in Australian sport, the AFL Grand Final, descends on the 'G' to pack it to the rafters with 100,000 screaming sports fans (the attendance record remains 121,000 for the 1970 grand final between Carlton and Collingwood).
But the 'G' is much more than merely a coliseum for sporting warriors. Many huge music concerts have been staged here and the G-man himself (aka God) deigned to visit in the form of Pope John Paul, who held mass at the MCG on a visit to Melbourne in 1986.
Today, with the recent redevelopment of the northern side of the stadium (the venue's biggest redux in 150 years), the ground holds 100,000 people and is home turf for the Victorian Bushrangers and Melbourne Stars cricket teams. Four AFL teams play regular home matches at the MCG – Melbourne, Richmond, Collingwood and Hawthorn.
MCG tours operate on non-match days, accessing the stands, the coaches boxes, the famous Long Room, players change rooms and onto the hallowed turf itself when available. Bookings are not essential for individuals and small groups. The guided tours depart regularly from inside Gate 3 between 10am and 3pm, last about 75 minutes and cost $20 (adults), $16 (concession), $10 (children) and $50 (Family).
The MCG is also home to the National Sports Museum, Australia’s largest multi-sports tourist attraction.