Cairnlea is situated on the site of the former Albion Explosives Factory, a Commonwealth Department of Defence facility that operated from the early 1940s until the 1980s.
Development Victoria (then VicUrban) entered into an agreement with the Department of Defence to remediate the site, and deliver housing and open space. Cairnlea has been successfully transformed with 3,100 residential lots with almost a third of the suburb devoted to public open space and grassland reserves.
The final stage of Cairnlea begins in 2020
3,100 residential lots
160,000kL potable water saved
- An extensive storm water harvesting and recycling scheme, with the potential to save up to 160,000 kilolitres of potable water per year
- Regenerated streams and creek systems that support increased bird and aquatic life
- Remnant grasslands integrated into the design of the estate
- Boardwalks, parklands and picnic areas
- Sports grounds
- Cycling and walking tracks
Innovation and awards
Cairnlea received the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects Land Management in Landscape Architecture award in 2008.
The Cairnlea redevelopment demonstrates how an environmentally degraded site can be transformed via land management techniques, and regenerated into a new residential development.
Cairnlea was also the site of the Ecohome project, a collaboration between VicUrban, RMIT and Metricon Homes, which aimed to demonstrate the application of environmental principles for individual home owners.
The Cairnlea master plan was developed in the late 1990s and the undeveloped land bordered by Cairnlea Drive, Ballarat Road and the Western Ring Road was initially planned to be a Business Precinct.
This master plan was revised in 2013—14 and in response to community feedback, the plan was updated to provide more land for new homes.
In September 2016, the Minister for Planning approved Amendment C120 to the Brimbank Planning Scheme, which rezoned the land for residential use, public open spaces and a small area to facilitate commercial uses.
To prepare for the future community, Development Victoria is undertaking soil analysis of the site to ensure it's suitable for residential use.
All remediation works will be completed to the same high standards achieved during the delivery of the existing Cairnlea estate. All Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requirements will be strictly adhered to.
The existing trees on the site are also being monitored following an arborist report which found some mature Sugar Gum trees on this site are a hazard. They will be progressively removed if they become a risk.
Development Victoria intends to replace any trees removed with more appropriate tree species to create improved landscape reserves and green corridors.
The site is bordered by the M80, Ballarat Road and Cairnlea Drive.
Who to contact about this project
To join the Cairnlea project mailing list, email your details to
firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1800 783 668.
Community Engagement update - May 2020
Engaging with the community
In April 2020 you let us know your views and aspirations for the new neighbhourhood through a survey. Your feedback – along with a range of technical investigations – is now being collated to help inform preliminary designs for the site. To register for updates email email@example.com or call 1800 783 668.
A project fact sheet was distributed to the local community: