Faculty of Education and Arts

Susan Walter

CRCAH doctoral candidate


Malmsbury bluestone and quarries: finding holes in history and heritage


Thesis research includes both a historical and geological study of former bluestone quarries and the structures created from the stone extracted. With a key research question being why was Malmsbury bluestone often described as being "famous" or the "standard of excellence", the current work is designed to determine if there are any specific characteristics which can distinguish the Malmsbury stone from other forms of bluestone. From the field work undertaken, core samples will be subjected to thin-slice analysis, chemical composition, and compressive strength tests. With a view to finding a non-destructive or low-impact means of accurately identifying a "fingerprint" for Malmsbury bluestone, the Magnetic Susceptibility of Malmsbury bluestone in quarries and buildings will also be measured. Given that Malmsbury bluestone was in use well before the development of standard geological testing of rocks and building stones, the thesis is also examining the history of the people who worked to identify, extract and work the stone to create the total pool of structures created with it, the skills and technology used and developed in the industry, and the economic impact of the industry on the town, in order to ask why these aspects of historic buildings stones and labour history are missing from the majority of history and heritage studies.


A little of Limerick: an account of the Hickey, Scanlan and Baggott families of Cobden and Camperdown. John and Susan Walter, Tomorrows Graphics, 1999
Gold'n Greens: a history of the Chinese of Malmsbury and district. Malmsbury Historical Society Inc., 2010
Hence hope beams on us: 150th anniversary of Malmsbury Borough Council. Malmsbury Historical Society Inc., 2011
The elongated dog kennel: 150th anniversary of Malmsbury Mechanics' Institute. Malmsbury Historical Society Inc., 2012 

Book chapters

"How did Drummond and Burke get their names?" and "Lest we Forget Him" in By Kangaroo Hill: Drummond and beyond – collected stories, Patricia Mudford, Drover's Dog Publishing, 2015

Conference papers

"Malmsbury Bluestone – foundations in Australian history and heritage" paper presented at Australian Historical Association conference, Sydney NSW, July 2015

Research presentations

FedUni research conference 2014 – presentation
FedUni research conference 2013 – poster
Malmsbury Historical Society 2013 – presentation on current research