Moreland values the network of bluestone laneways as a community asset which is an important part of Merri-bek's heritage and urban character.

In 2013, Council resolved to maintain Moreland's bluestone laneways and develop the ‘Moreland: a Bluestone City’ policy.

Council Resolution on 11 September 2013

A broad community consultation was undertaken in July 2013 in which 428 comments were received, with 90 per cent of comments in favour of protecting the historic bluestone laneways.

Following this consultation, Council resolved the following at its meeting on 11 September 2013.

Our 67.2 kilometres network of bluestone laneways, kerbs and channels is the longest in Australia and is integral to Merri-bek's heritage values and urban character. The Burra Charter and its accompanying guidelines are considered the best practice standard for cultural heritage management in Australia.

Council has a unique opportunity to be a leader in delivering water sensitive outcomes to the management of laneways and to enhance its already proud achievements in environmental excellence. Council has adopted a long-term perspective on the value of our built and cultural assets and factored in the whole lifecycle costs and carbon emissions to laneway reinstatement and maintenance.

Moreland City Council also affirms its commitment to part 1A-3C(e) of the Local Government Charter to ensure that services and facilities provided by the Council are accessible and equitable, as well as Council's Access and Inclusion Policy 2010-14 that 'Council recognises that often people can be disabled by the environment that exists around them. That can be an inaccessible built environment that does not allow a person using a mobility aid to move about freely'.

Council resolved:

  1. To amend sections of the Rights of Way Strategy 2011 and related policies regarding the reconstruction and repair of bluestone laneways in order to maintain the entire bluestone laneways network in the municipality of Merri-bek and establish appropriate specifications for the laying procedures. Council will reconstruct or repair bluestone laneways as required, like for like, using bluestones and taking into consideration the principles of the Burra Charter.

  2. During reconstruction of a bluestone laneway:

    1. All bluestone footpath crossovers (including current bluestone footpaths and other footpaths intersected by a bluestone laneway) will include a continuous smooth accessible pathway that is compliant with the disability discrimination act (DDA) and Australian Standards for Design for Access and Mobility (AS 1428.1-2009).
    2. Reconstruction of a bluestone laneway that is the only path of access to a new or existing development will include a continuous smooth accessible path of travel that is DDA and AS1428.1 compliant.
    3. A trial will be conducted to assess costs and preferred methods for the provision of a continuous smooth path of access along reconstructed bluestone laneways that is DDA and AS1428.1 compliant.
    4. Council is to receive a report reviewing costs and methods trialled during the 12 month period from September 2013 to September 2014 to assess the feasibility and viability of the trialled bluestone reconstruction methods during that period.
  3. To extend the laneway reconstruction program timeframe to cover any additional costs and to reallocate, from other programs, funds for the works within the current capital program budget. To investigate cost saving options such as bulk tendering or training of an in-house team to undertake reconstruction of bluestone laneways.

  4. To undertake a range of trials to determine the most appropriate reconstruction method, provided it is permeable and unbound, such as crushed rock or sand, for the reconstruction of bluestone lanes and to produce explicit laying specifications, and maintain any historical pattern present during the reconstruction of bluestone laneways.

  5. To develop a policy entitled ‘Moreland: a Bluestone City’ to recognise the historic and cultural significance of bluestones across the municipality and to provide in-principle support for preserving bluestones in kerb and channel reconstructions, giving preference to bluestones in future paving options and to recognise and celebrate our historic and iconic bluestone buildings, bridges and foundations.

  6. To develop a policy for the reinstatement of bluestone pitchers for the future reconstruction of laneways, where these have been removed, with priority given to laneways in heritage areas.

  7. To apply Council’s Carbon Emissions Policy and the principles of our Zero Carbon Merri-bek program to the maintenance of laneways.

  8. To refer to the budget process funds required to undertake a study and policy for the protection of the entire bluestone laneway network, bluestone buildings, bridges and foundations by application of a heritage overlay to ensure that any work that occurs on them, both private and public requires a planning permit.

  9. To thank the members of the Bluestones Working Group, the Save Merri-bek’s Bluestones Action Group, Merri-bek Disability Advisory Committee and the community for their contribution to policy discussions and for their extensive submissions to Council.

  10. Prepare a report back to council about invigorating Merri-bek’s Heritage and Cultural Significance Advisory Committee by formalising its membership and scope for identifying, protecting, celebrating and promoting Merri-bek-wide cultural assets.

Download Council reports

Council report DCI50/13 Results of Community Consultation on Bluestone Laneways (DOC 410Kb)


Community Reference Group

In August 2014, Council resolved to form a Bluestone Laneways Community Reference Group. Council sought community volunteers to join the Reference Group, and nominations closed on 20 October 2014.

This group provided advice to Council on the best ways to replace and repair bluestone laneways to ensure the final outcome is in line with community expectations.

Bluestone Laneway Construction Trials

Trials have been undertaken in some laneways in the south of the municipality, testing different porous reconstruction methods.

The locations of the trials were as follows:

  • Reynard Lane - Gordon Street to Bruce Street
  • Melville Lane - Melville Road to Cornwall Street
  • Wraith Street
  • Moore Lane - East Street to Nicholson Street
  • Rear of 160 Merri-bek Road

The outcome of the trials was reported to Council at the 9 December 2015 Council meeting, with the endorsement of Council for a construction method utilising a porous concrete base.

Council report DCI51/15 Bluestone Laneways Construction Trials (DOC 112Kb)


Resolutions status report

For a progress report on the resolutions from the Council report DCI50/13 download the Status of Resolutions report updated December 2015 (PDF 314Kb)

Further information

For further information contact Manager Capital Works Planning and Delivery on 9240 1111.