I've kept this blog, on and off, since 2006. In 2015 I used it to chart daily encounters, images, thoughts and feelings about volcanic basalt/bluestone in Melbourne and Victoria, especially in the first part of the year. I plan to write a book provisionally titled Bluestone: An Emotional History, about human uses of and feelings for bluestone. But I am also working on quite a few other projects and a big grant application, especially now I am on research leave. I'm working mostly from home, then, for six months, and will need online sociability for company!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

My Year with Bluestone: Water and Gabions

No, I didn't know what a "gabion" was either, but I took these photos along the Merri Creek, and then needed to know what I was dealing with.

A gabion (Italian for cage) is filled with rocks or other substance, used as a retaining wall, often allowing water to flow through, and designed to be flexible as the land may move. This informative Landscaping Network site says the method is both very ancient (originally made from woven willow wattle, like a giant basket) and ecologically desirable as they can use recycled concrete or other material, like this jumble of mostly bluestone. Here are some lovely ones made with glass.

The website also stressed they don't need skilled labour, unlike dry stone walls or the more precisely constructed bluestone walls used in building. I need to go back to the Creek when it is raining to see water flowing through these gabions, but the same day I took these photos, there was just water flowing down this much more formal bluestone wall. You can hear the roar of traffic on Heidelberg Rd overhead but also the sweet sounds of birds singing after rain: my emotional history will try and capture the atmospherics of bluestone. In this case, it's the rattle of storm water and the delicate glint of water against the dark stone:



flipsockgrrl said...

The gabions at the University Square carpark allow for air circulation from the underground levels - the rocks diffuse the breeze so that it doesn't blow pedestrians away. Architectural drawings are available (requires UoM login).

Stephanie Trigg said...

Brilliant! Right under my very nose. I'm having trouble logging in but I might nip over later and take a photo. So good for air as well as water. Are they bluestone? Can't remember, but I think they might be.


Anonymous said...

I used to build gabions when working in development projects in West Africa. They hold back runoff during summer storms, preventing erosion in gullies - which is where you put them. Permeability mean excess runoff goes down-slope, rather than backing up and then overspilling.