Former quarry site to be part of new Aussie suburb

As previously reported by Quarry, mining company Sibelco Australia sold the 163ha Lilydale site to Melbourne developer Intrapac Property for approximately $40 million in 2016.

The Lilydale Plan Cave Hill quarry – which had been producing quick lime, hydrated lime and other associated products for 135 years – ceased quarrying operations in 2015 before its resource had been depleted, due to flat economic and market conditions.

{{image2-a:r-w:200}}The site includes undisturbed land and large areas of overburden, as well as a quarry pit approximately 120 metres deep.

The original plans for the site, which were released in June 2013, anticipated an establishment of up to 2500 new residences, retail outlets and community facilities focused around large, central parkland.

According to reports, developer Intrapac plans to fill the quarry and compact the soil, an endeavour estimated to cost millions of dollars and “years to complete”.

Commenting on the intricacies of building on top of a quarry, Intrapac CEO Max Shifman said the quarry pit only accounts for 15 per cent of the site – or 25ha.

"Living on the quarry itself is not a problem," Shifman told The Age.

"We'll be filling it with very high standards of geotechnical monitoring, compaction and engineering, to make sure that it can be built on."

The quarry will then be transformed into open space and eventually house up to 9000 residents, Intrapac Property managing director David Payes noted.

“Melbourne identified this as one of the 20 key redevelopment sites in metropolitan Melbourne," Payes said, adding, “There needs to be a lot of open space [as] we're trying to create a great community."

The Lilydale Quarry project is expected to be completed within 15 to 20 years.

Historic ownership

It is likely that a parcel of the property will be preserved under the Victorian Heritage Register. This parcel includes former dairy and bacon factories and lime pot kilns.

The limestone quarry itself also has a fascinating history. David Mitchell, a Scot who emigrated to Australia in 1852 and became a successful builder and property owner, opened the quarry in 1878. Mitchell was responsible for building numerous, enduring Melbourne landmarks such as the Royal Exhibition Building, St Patrick’s Cathedral and the Scots Church in Collins Street.

Mitchell was also the father of Helen Porter Mitchell – more famously known around the globe as the operatic soprano Dame Nellie Melba.

The Mitchell family owned the 163ha Lilydale property for around 100 years.

More reading
Developer to transform former quarry into housing
Buyer sought for quarry ahead of redevelopment
Quarry to close early due to ‘flat’ market

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