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Quarry given new life as part of arts project


A quarry in the Otway Ranges in Victoria has been given a second lease on life, as a location for creative arts projects and events.

The abandoned quarry, which has an existing rehabilitation plan in place that is in line with government regulation, has been proposed to fulfil a different purpose with its rehabilitation by a Melbourne based couple.

The site is a 86,000 square metre Arkose Sandstone quarry, located within the Colac Otway Shire Council.

The Quarry has been in operation since the late 19th century as a source for local stone to use in road and rail building and as of 2014 has been abandoned.

With the quarry remaining under licence and currently going through rehabilitation, Joseph Norster and partner Millie Cattlin have worked together to rehabilitate and transform the site into a permanent installation called “The Quarry”.

Speaking on the vision for the future of the installation and other projects, Norster said that the quarry was an ideal place for a creative program where rehabilitation would be the core interest of the area and of future projects.

“The quarry is a site for the development of experiments in building and architecture, creative practices, education and technology,” Norster said.

Norster and Cattlin has proposed an alternative rehabilitation plan for the quarry, that instead of blocking site drainage and allowing the pit to fill with water, the site would be left open to people, improve the health of the landscape and establish temporary pavilions to facilitate events.

An aerial view of the Quarry constructed from seperate aerial images taken by drone on April 18, 2018.

The Quarry Project, is one of four sites to share in the quarry transformation grants recently awarded by the Victorian state government to inspire innovative plans to rehabilitate sites.

The other grants are with regards to currently operating quarries, with the Woolert Quarry end use masterplan and Montrose Quarry – end use feasibility assessment grants awarded to Boral resources and the Boggy Creek Biodiversity Corridor grant awarded to Burdett Sands.

The grants are designed to assist quarry operators by providing opportunities to develop and test ideas and options for repurposing the land after quarrying stops, that fulfil the following criteria:

  • provide ongoing local community access and critical local services (e.g. power generation, water management);
  • generate employment opportunities (e.g. residential construction);
  • have a direct and tangible positive impact on surrounding land and property values; and/or
  • improve the overall liveability of an area (e.g. open space/recreation).

The plan behind The Quarry project highlights the importance of rehabilitation and how quarries can look to creating value and use for the community once they no longer have material within.

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