Altona Explosives Reserve (Former)

Location

Queen Street ALTONA, HOBSONS BAY CITY

File Number

L10000

Level

State

Statement of Significance

The former Explosives Reserve at Altona is of State, Regional and Local significance for its:

Geomorphological importance in the analysis of recent sea level changes containing the last remnants of coastal sand ridges;
Flora and fauna, particularly as habitat of the Altona Skipper Butterfly;
Evidence of Aboriginal occupation; and
Association with explosives storage, transport and testing from late last century to 1962.

(1) Geomorphology.

An area comprising part of the former Explosives Reserve and the adjacent golf course have been assigned a State Significance rating (Rosengren 1986, 1988). It encloses the last remnants of sand ridges which are important in the analysis of sea level changes over the last few thousand years. Their elevation suggests they were formed at a time when the sea level was up to 3m above its present level. Radiocarbon dating of shell material has given ages of 5000 to 6000 years. Rosengren refers to the site as one of the few mapped and radiocarbon dated localities on the Port Phillip Bay coast.

(2) Flora and Fauna

Parts of the site are of Local Significance for flora and fauna.
According to a report by the Department of Natural Resources and Environment (1997), the area of saltmarsh on the subject site has survived only because of the high boundary fence surrounding the site, and its size would not be classified as sustainable or viable without the level of protection it presently receives by way of the high fence. Departmental officers considered that, although the site is of potential value to the Orange Bellied Parrot and provides habitat for the Altona Skipper Butterfly, it would not be viable if the remainder of the site were to be developed.

(3) Historical

(3.1) Archaeological.

Investigations carried out by consultants for the Department of Treasury and Finance in 1995 and 1996 (du Cros 1995, 1996) resulted in the recording of 6 artefact sites within the Reserve. There were no scarred trees, hearths, hearth stones, bone remains or shell scatters recorded.

The consultants did not suggest a level of significance and implied that the prerogative to do so lay with the Wurundjeri representatives. The area of the artefact sites should be of at least Regional Significance.

(3.2) European History

There are several historic features relating to its former use as the explosives reserve which are still present on the site. These include a house built in approximately 1897 and other minor remnants from the magazine, earth mounds, explosive testing shelter and tramway lines. The historical attributes of the site are of Regional Significance.

LOCATION OF PLACE

Queen Street, Altona. Bounded by Queen Street to the north, the Laverton Creek Drainage Reserve and Channel to the west and south, and the Doug Grant Reserve to the east.

Classified: 17/03/1998

Group

Landscape - Cultural

Category

Other - Landscape - Cultural