In 1850 William Clarke established a house, vineyard and garden on the site bounded by The Parade, Osmond Terrace, Beulah Road, & Sydenham Road. In 1896 the land was bought by Mr Thomas Verco who offered to sell seven acres to the Kensington & Norwood Corporation for use as a recreation ground by the residents of Norwood. Ratepayers rejected this offer twice and a private company, the East Torrens Recreation Ground Company Limited was formed to lease and develop the land.
The Norwood Oval became a shared recreational ground primarily for the Norwood Football Club and the East Torrens Cricket Club.
These gentlemen were the prime instigators and developers of the oval: (L-R): Sir E.T. Smith K.C.M.G., A.W. Piper, J.Darling Jnr. M.P., Jas. Hall J.P., J.H. Mattingly J.P., W.O. Whitridge and Dr. A.E. Shepherd in front.
1901 Norwood Oval opens
Vines were removed, the oval was formed and fenced and change rooms constructed.
Norwood Oval was the club’s fourth home ground, after the East Parklands (1878 to 1881 now the CBC Oval on Bartels Road) Kensington Oval (1882 to 1897) and the Jubilee Oval (1898 to 1900) The first football match on the oval was played on Saturday, 4th May between Norwood and the new affiliated SAFA club Sturt with Norwood winning 10.11 to Sturt 5.8
In 1902, a permanent grandstand was built in the north-western pocket (now part of the RSL Clubrooms).
1905 Lease transferred to Council
The East Torrens Recreation Ground Company Limited transferred its lease of the oval to the Norwood & Kensington Corporation with the provision that the Council maintained the area as a recreation ground for the general public.
1906 Official opening
The official opening of the oval and grandstand by the Council was on March 14th and attended by the Governor, Sir Alexander Hore-Ruthven, Local government dignitaries, prominent citizens and the districts school children.
1909 The Parade entrance
The original entrance to the oval was from Osmond Terrace through the Norwood Primary School, but when the new electric tramline from the city came along the Parade, a new Parade entrance was formed and opened on May 1st.
1910 Deeds of freehold
Thanks to the donation of 2,000 by Sir Edwin T. Smith on his 80th birthday, the Council was presented with the freehold title to Norwood Oval. He was a generous patron of the Norwood Football Club from its foundations in 1878. Sir Edwin T. Smith (“the grand old man of Norwood”) died on Christmas Day, 1919 aged 88.