Old Warrnambool quarry to breathe new life

UNIQUE: An artist impression of the amphitheater that could be established at the old Warrnambool Community Garden Quarry if funding is secured.
UNIQUE: An artist impression of the amphitheater that could be established at the old Warrnambool Community Garden Quarry if funding is secured.

After spending years in silence, an old Warrnambool quarry could be transformed into a unique outdoor music and performance venue. 

The Warrnambool Community Garden is seeking funding for a project that will convert the old Albert Park Quarry into an amphitheater to be used for regular community events, markets, music and performances.  

Project coordinator Geoff Rollinson said the community group had always intended to give the old quarry a new life.

“As the community garden develops around the quarry, an amphitheater was always going to be a next stage consideration,” he said. 

“This is very unique to this region because it is not only in the centre of town but also right in the middle of the garden site.

“When you walk into the quarry it goes from being windy Warrnambool to being a very calm and serene environment. The sheltered space will allow people to enjoy outdoor activities in a beautiful community garden.” 

The project will also include a rainforest gully walk, native garden and a vaulted viewing platform, where people can walk out and see the inside of the quarry face.

Mr Rollinson said people could also marvel at the ancient geology of the quarry wall that was once the seabed of the Warrnambool coast, now 1.4 kilometres away.

VISION: The master plan for the Warrnambool Community Garden includes an amphitheatre, labyrinth, ponds and walking tracks.

VISION: The master plan for the Warrnambool Community Garden includes an amphitheatre, labyrinth, ponds and walking tracks.

“There are so many unique experiences that this project has to offer,” he said.

 “Even just walking up through a rainforest gully in the middle of Warrnambool is an unparalleled experience.”

The Warrnambool Community Garden has applied for funding through the state government’s Pick My Project initiative, which offers communities a share of $30 million to create their top three eligible projects.

Projects with the most votes will share in the $30 million funding, with between $20,000 and $200,000 available for each project idea. Mr Rollinson said the funding initiative came at the perfect time. 

“This is a major project and the cost of rehabilitation is quite significant, so Pick My Project is a perfect funding opportunity as it is pretty rare that a funding opportunity of up to $200,000 arises,” he said.

“We’ve had this idea in the pipeline for four to five years. We had a landscape architect put together a plan some six months ago so we are essentially shovel ready.

Voting for Pick My Project opens August 13 and closes September 17.