Sparking waterways and the protection of endangered species are highlights of a huge infill estate.
From munitions to municipality. Such is the lifecycle of land formerly known as the Albion site, a mere 17km west or 20 minutes off-peak drive from the CBD.
The former Albion site became open grassland after European settlement but later, from 1939 to the mid 1980s, it was a defence manufacturing site.
However, VicUrban has transformed it into a $500 million Cairnlea estate that has married housing with quality open spaces, sporting ovals, walking and bicycle tracks, preserved grasslands, wetlands, lakes and ponds.
By year 2011 Cairnlea will have 3000 residential blocks and be home to more than 10000 people - just a little under the population of a long-established suburb like Fawkner (population 11,654). It covers a vast 460 hectares over an area 2km by 2.5km on prime land bounded by Station St, the Western Highway and the Western Ring Rd.
Some 130ha have been set aside for public open space. Part of that process has seen two endangered species (the plains rice flower and the striped legless lizard) have reserves and management plans set up for their preservation.
For more information you can visit the Cairnlea Residents Association Inc. website: http://www.cairnlea.net
Kororoit Creek is located on the Southern border of the suburb and Jones Creek on the Northern Border. The creeks have been home to healthy populations of native reptiles for thousands of years, including Tiger snake, Eastern Blue-tongued Lizard and Eastern brown snake. Unfortunately due to development over the past 20 years, these species are now rarely seen in the area.
Due to development of lakes and wetlands, species of frogs have reclaimed the area. The Eastern Banjo Frog, Common Eastern Froglet and even the now endangered Growling Grass Frog have been seen and heard in the new wetlands and in Kororoit Creek. Some species of birds are also returning to the creeks and lakes.