Development Victoria

Unlocking the western suburbs


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. 

Today Cairnlea has been successfully developed with 3100 residential lots with almost a third of the suburb devoted to public open space and grassland reserves. The community features:

  • Boardwalks
  • Parklands
  • Picnic areas
  • Sports grounds
  • Cycling and walking tracks 

Future development – The final stage of Cairnlea commencing soon  

Development Victoria is leading the redevelopment of the final stage of Cairnlea, a 40ha site which sits adjacent to Cairnlea Drive and Ballarat Road. 

Development Victoria is planning to regenerate the site into a new residential community with a diverse range of housing, set amongst a network of creatively designed open spaces and neighbourhood services. 

In early 2020, we will be engaging with the community to explore views and aspirations for the new community. Planned community engagement activities will be advertised in local newspapers, on this website and via email.  

To register for the Cairnlea project mailing list email your details to or call the dedicated project contact number 1800 783 668. 

Background on the final stage of Cairnlea

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 shown as a Business Precinct for many years. This work was revisited 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, rezoned the land for residential use, with a small commercial area on the corner of Ballarat Road and Cairnlea Drive, and public open space. View the amendment here.

To prepare for the future community, Development Victoria is undertaking soil analysis of the site to determine the extent of works required to ensure the site is suitable for residential use. 

Any remediation works required will be completed to the same high standards achieved during the delivery of the existing Cairnlea estate, to ensure that  all Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requirements are 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 are being monitored and will be progressively removed as they become a risk. Development Victoria intends to replace these trees with more appropriate tree species set within improved landscape reserves and green corridors.

Innovation and awards

Cairnlea received the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects Land Management in Landscape Architecture award in 2008. Cairnlea demonstrates how an environmentally degraded site can be transformed through the successful integration of land management techniques and regenerated into a new residential development. The estate features:

  • An extensive storm water harvesting and recycling scheme which was designed with the potential to save up to 160,000 kilolitres of potable water a year;
  • Regenerated streams and creek systems which have encouraged increased bird and aquatic life;
  • Remnant grasslands integrated into the design of the estate.

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.