The fully air-conditioned 13-storey complex will have a main arena with a seating capacity for 3,500 people
HONG KONG, Aug. 23, 2020: “A new indoor stadium fit for a Queen,” ran a South China Morning Post headline on May 4, 1975. “Community leaders and the Government are pooling resources to build a 3,700-seat indoor stadium and sports centre to commemorate the Queen’s visit to Hongkong,” the story continued.
“The 12-storey complex, costing an estimated $27 million, is to be built on a 2,910 sq metre site at Morrison Hill between Oi Kwan Road and Queen’s Road East,” reported the Post on August 15, 1976.
The foundation stone for the stadium was laid by the acting governor, Denys Roberts, on December 21, 1977. Construction of the Queen Elizabeth Stadium, as it would be known, began in March 1978.
By 1979, costs had swelled and the building had gained a storey. “The $47 million Queen Elizabeth Stadium in Morrison Hill – one of the finest and most modern indoor sport complexes in Southeast Asia – will be opened in May,” the Post reported, on December 2.
“The fully air-conditioned 13-storey complex will have a main arena with a seating capacity for 3,500 people. Highly versatile in design, this stadium will be used for local and international sports events, stage shows, concerts, exhibitions and conventions.”
The official opening, on August 27, 1980, was not without incident. “As the Governor, Sir Murray MacLehose, and other guests packed the arena for the opening of the Queen Elizabeth Stadium yesterday, firemen outside were busy dousing a car in flames,” reported the Post the next day. It was put out “within 15 minutes – and no one inside the stadium was even aware of the drama”.
Addressing the audience of more than 2,000, MacLehose said of the stadium: “It is the finest yet, with seating for 3,600 and a versatility that spans all the way from full-scale exhibitions, ballet and opera, to basketball and ping pong […] A veritable power-house of sport.”