Authors: Gerner, M; Southwood, JM; Buckley, J


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Gerner, M, Southwood, JM & Buckley, J 2011, 'Beneficial and award-winning re-use of a quarry site – landform design for sustainable closure', in AB Fourie, M Tibbett & A Beersing (eds), Mine Closure 2011: Proceedings of the Sixth International Conference on Mine Closure, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 523-531,

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The shortage of available land for housing within established urban areas is a challenging contemporary issue. This paper examines the strategic need and opportunity to return degraded land to higher order end land uses and the obstacles presented by the planning system when remediation and rehabilitation is involved. The opportunity to overcome these obstacles is exemplified by the rehabilitation of a former clay quarry and brick manufacturing plant in Melbourne, Australia. Over 50 years ago, when Austral Bricks opened a quarry and brick manufacturing operation at Scoresby, east of Melbourne, the site was over an hour away from the nearest residential area. Now, the 58 ha site sits within a growing urban community. Many such legacy sites have been identified as potential opportunities for contributing to the supply of urban residential land to meet growing demands. In reality, conversion of former industrial land can be challenging and requires an integrated approach to be successful. After ceasing operation at Scoresby, Austral Bricks envisaged rehabilitating the site for residential use, a transformation that would create a beneficial opportunity to meet growing demand for new and affordable housing. In 2004, Austral Bricks asked Golder Associates Pty Ltd (Golder) to create and implement a strategy to transform the quarry site by re-creating a natural landform suitable for development as a premier new residential neighbourhood incorporating natural habitat and high environmental standards. The strategy would include filling the quarry pits and remediating on-site waste. In developing a sustainable solution, Golder worked closely with the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) to gain permission to reuse over 1,000,000 m3 of site-derived waste (predominately soil and bricks) as engineered fill in the quarry pits. Remediating on-site waste eliminated transportation costs and allowed the project to move away from the traditional method of battering the sides of the pits which would have rendered them of little use to the community for a considerable time. The integrated approach included town and environmental planning, geotechnical engineering, environmental remediation engineering, community consultation and ecology. In late 2009, the project received the Victorian Department of Primary Industries ‘Strzelecki Award’, which recognised ‘overall excellence and innovation in sustainable earth resource development in a large resource development operation’. The project also received a Commendation from the Planning Institute of Australia for sustainable development. Environmental, social and economic drivers for post-mine planning end uses are not exclusive to existing urban areas. As our urban centres expand, populations demand a wide range of amenities and facilities within easy reach. Typically this has been assumed to be a return to some sort of ‘natural’ landform or naturalistic state. However, post mine end uses offer a wider range of opportunities that can contribute to improved quality of life, including passive and active recreational facilities and infrastructure including food, water and energy provision.

Australian Standard AS3798 (2007) Guidelines on Earthworks for Commercial and Residential Development.
NearMap Pty Ltd (2011) Photomaps – Aerial Photograph – Austral Bricks Scoresby Quarry, viewed 29 April 2011, .

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