Clearance works have commenced to transform an inactive Victorian limestone quarry into a multipurpose facility for community events, as well as a native plant creek gully.
In recent weeks the Warrnambool Community Garden (WCG) organisation has been removing vegetation at the quarry, which has lain dormant since the 1970s, in preparation for earthworks to create an amphitheatre for performances, markets and community events.
It is part of a larger site that WCG has been developing and cultivating in the southern coastal town of Warrnambool since 2007. The land is Crown-owned and managed by the Warrnambool City Council (WCC), which leases it to WCG.
The quarry rehabilitation project has been in the pipeline for several years and is largely being funded by a $194,000 grant as part of the Victorian Government’s Pick My Project Initiative. This month it also received $10,000 from Federal MP for Wannon Dan Tehan for weed control.
“The quarry floor will be shaped into an amphitheatre, with a flat floor about 24m in diameter, and then on roughly three sides of that there will be a mound that will rise to create a seating area for another eight metres,” project co-ordinator Bruce Campbell said.
Visitors will be able to admire the ancient geology of the quarry wall that was once part of the seabed of the Warrnambool coast, now 1.4km away.
The development will also feature a gully on its southern edge, a viewing platform and a path around the quarry perimeter. Campbell said the group had plans to plant 4000 native, drought-resistant florae around the site, partly funded by a WCC grant.
“We have also engaged a water engineer who has worked out how we manage two sources of stormwater that flow into the quarry,” Campbell said. “One of these will be used to create a creek running down a gully and the other source will probably be captured at a high point in the site and used for irrigation purposes.”
Campbell hoped the project will be complete in time for the Fire in the Hole event, which celebrates the winter solstice, in late June 2020.