The area at the top of Russell Road, was a natural dam that overflowed during heavy rains, damaging properties and streets lower down towards the sea. During drier periods the area turned into a swamp causing a nuisance for the encroaching suburbs.
In July 1896 the Town Council agreed to a request from the Port Elizabeth Amateur Athletic and Cycling Club to convert the area into a cycling track. In July 1899 the foundation stone was laid. The Club leased the grounds and the grand stand which was paid for by both the Council and the Club.
In 1908 the Club closed and the Municipality took over the maintenance of the Oval. The Club was resuscitated in 1911.
In later years (about 1930’s), the grounds served as gravel racetrack for motorcycles before the stadium was upgraded to the current state of cycle and athletics stadium.
Part of the swamp area was incorporated as a park in Bingley Street across from the Westbourne Oval.