Quarries

Approximate locations and the list is incomplete

Quarry Workers (Unknown Quarry) Photo 02
Quarry Workers (Unknown Quarry) Photo 02
Boral Quarry Duke St (Sun Adv 495) 1988 Photo 01.JPG
Duke St Quarry West Side North of Surrey
Duke St Quarry West Side North of Surrey
Duke St Quarry West Side North of Surrey
Quarry Duke St West Side Redevelopment 2021 Photo 04.JPG

Sunshine & it's surrounding district are situated on the world's third largest flows of basaltic lava "Blue Stone". This stone is relative close to the surface and was of good depth and quality with little factures.

 

It did not take long for the early settlers to recognized the importance of this natural resource. The settlers turned the quarrying industry into one of the largest in the area.

 

In the early days the stone around the Footscray & Yarraville areas were used as ballast for the returning ships to England.

 

Soon the demand for stone increased as it was also being used for buildings and their foundations, bridge construction, road & railway ballast. The loose rocks were being used to form the dry stone walls that marked the local property boundaries and paddocks. The stone could be be used in the rough, chiseled to form a smooth face or a combination of the two.

Many local Shire Councils owned and operated their own quarries due to the huge demand for stone in their road construction activities.

Some of the uses of this stone can still been seen in the local district including the Braybrook & Keilor Hotels, Opies Farm Shed, the buildings at Pipe Makers Park & the St. Augustines Church. It can also be found being used as pitches in kerb & channel in road construction or as the drainage channel in the lanes at the rear of the houses. Today these pitches are being repurposed in many landscape gardens in the district.

Quarrying was a dangerous industry and over the years of them operating there were many accidents ranging from minor injuries to far more serious ones including some fatal incidents.

Over the years these quarries employed many men of the local district including during the 1930's depression where the Shire Council used the quarries to provide some work for the unemployed men.

 

From the time the quarries started to operate there was always tension between the operators and the local residents and Council. These complaints ranged from noise and dust complaints, complaints about the damage to the local roads that was caused by heavy trucks and smell and litter complaints when the quarries were turned into land fill sites. These complaints featured regularly at the Council's meetings. 

Today many of these quarries sites have been closed and in some cases have been repurposed including turning them into land fill sites, shopping centre sites, housing estates, and sporting ovals and parks. One more unusual use of the Albion Quarry was when the rock band AC/DC filmed their video clip "Jailbreak" there.

Even today some of these quarries are hitting the news headlines. Some are causing environmental issues to the local community and others there are tension between the residents and the future plans of the quarries by their owners. With today's construction project and with the stone being so close to the surface can add considerable excavation costs.

The depth of the stone can still be seen at a number of disused quarry faces situated at Duke St, Highpoint Shopping Centre & Keilor Park Drive.

Some of the Quarries dotted around the district are as follows but there were also many small family operated quarries in the area and many of them have been turned in Council reserves.

 

Annandale Rd, Keilor - Hanson Quarry. An active quarry in the district.

Ardoyne St, Sunshine - Now the Arthur Beachley sporting reserve.

Ballarat Rd, Albion - Albion Quarry. Operated by the Wales Family. Sir George Wales later became the Lord Mayor of Melbourne. Largest stone quarry in Victoria. Several houses on site, one rented to spaller, Daniel Hall and his family of eight children. There were multiple holes on the site and when closed they were turned into Council land fill sites. The larger hole once the land filled was completed was turned into a methane gas electricity generation station "Energy Park". That venture failed and is now sitting vacant.

Bunting Rd, Brooklyn - Multiple quarries, now the Highfield Quarries.

Duke St - On Munro's 12 arce site at Duke St corner of Gloucester St chosen and bought by the Braybrook Shire Council in 1927. Now a residential housing estate and with a recent large unit complex being completed.

Duke St - McGrath's Quarry on the west side of Duke St between Surrey St & St. Andrews Dr. For many years a park was proposed but now is under residential redevelopment.

Fraser St, Sunshine - Small local quarry hole. Backfilled and now a block of units.

Glengala Rd, Sunshine - John O'Connor Quarry. Now a housing estate.

Glengala Rd, Sunshine - Council Stone Quarry. Now a housing estate.

Green Gully Rd, Kealba - Former sand & soil quarry. Now planted out with trees.

Keilor Park Drive, Keilor - Three small disused quarry holes overlooking the Maribyrnong River.

Market Rd, Sunshine -  Federal & Stanley Quarries (now Associated Quarries).

McCrae Blvd, Keilor Downs - Former quarry, now sporting fields, dog training venue, playground and planted out many trees.

McIntyre Rd - At top end of Anderson Rd, two quarries, Victorian Railway's own quarry and a Shire owned and operated quarry.

McKechnie St, St. Albans - St. Albans Quarry. Two quarry holes. The one on the west side of McKenchnie St is now a sporting field and the one on the east side is now a residential development.

Old Geelong Rd, Brooklyn - Now the Tullamarine Land Fill site.

Parramount Rd, Tottenham - Now a factory storage area.

Riding Boundary Rd, Ravenhall - Deer Park Quarry. This is one of the few large operating quarries in the district with future plans of being turned into a land fill site.

Rosamond Rd Cnr of Raleigh Rd, Maribyrnong - Small local quarry. Now housing.

Rosamond Rd & Van Ness Ave, Maribyrnong - Maribyrnong Quarry with multiple holes. The larger hole was the City of Essendon Quarry and it is now the site of the Highpoint Shopping Centre. The smaller one is now Maribyrnong College Sports Fields.

Service St, Sunshine - Roberts Quarry. Owned and operated by William "Bill" Thomas Roberts. The site is now the Sunshine Plaza.

South Rd, Braybrook - Located midway between Ashley & Duke St on the south side. Started by David Govan and after his death continued on by his son William George Govan. Now a housing estate.

Sunshine Rd, Tottenham - Commonwealth Quarries. Disused and turned into the Tottenham Hotel site but now is Australia Light Foundation site.

Sunshine Rd, Tottenham - Footscray City Council Quarry. Now an industrial site.

Wright St, Sunshine - Bennett & Barrie Quarry. Now a housing estate.

Other quarries - Lords, Accord, Raleigh's Quarry, one in Devonshire Rd, Melbourne, Star, Devon, Braybrook, Riverside and Mayfield.

Note: This list including the locations in Google Maps (Approximate locations) is not complete and only intends to show the user that the area was at various stages dotted with quarries. The user should carry out their own research to confirm their sites of interest.

Ref: When The Whistle Blew, A Social History of The Town of Sunshine 1920 - 1950, Prue McGoldrick

Ref: Quarry and Stone, Gary Vines.

Photos: S&DHS