This bluestone wall is of regional historical and architectural significance as the earliest physical evidence of the several gunpowder and explosives magazines which once existed in the Melbourne area. (Criterion A3) Its date of 1858 makes it contemporary with the gold rush period when explosives were imported and used in large quantities for the first time in the colony and the Victorian government created a system of bonded storage magazines to control the importation, distribution and collection of duties. As such it represents an important phase in the colony's history. (Criterion A4)
Gunpowder is no longer manufactured or stored in quantity in Victoria. The technology of explosives storage changed completely with the introduction of dynamite in the late 19th century. (Criterion B2)
This is one of only a small number of places which demonstrate the role of gunpowder during the gold rushes and the oldest such site related to its direct importation. (Criterion D2) The surviving bluestone structure is a very early surviving example of the construction form in Footscray. (Criterion E1) The structure is of technical and architectural significance as it demonstrates the special forms of building design, such as the heavy buttressed walls which were part of nineteenth century magazine design. (Criterion F1)
Australian Heritage Commission (AHC) criteria
The Australian Heritage Commission criteria consist of a set of eight criteria which cover social, aesthetic, scientific, and historic values. Each criterion has sub-criteria written specifically for cultural or natural values. The relevant criteria are:
A.3 richness and diversity of cultural features
A.4 demonstrates well the course and pattern of history, important historic events
D.2 good example of type
E.1 aesthetic importance to the community or cultural group
A bluestone wall with large buttresses is visible from Lyons Street. Only one wall appears to survive of what was apparently the perimeter wall of the magazine. The remainder was demolished in c. 1972 and what is left has been incorporated into the Safcol canning factory which occupies the old Mowling's site (0224).
The Lyons Street Drain, formerly Billy Button Creek, runs in a bluestone lined channel with grassed verges between the magazine wall and Lyons Street, discharging to the Maribyrnong River. A tramway once connected from the east end of the magazine to a small dock on the river just north of the drain outlet. Remnants of old wharf timbers can be seen in the vicinity, but these probably date to a later period.
Creation date(s): 1858 -1878 Heritage Significanceregional Map (Melway) 42 D7 Boundary description The extent of the surviving bluestone walls at the east end of Lyons Street. Local Government Area: City of Maribyrnong Ownership Type Private