Press Release

Cate@thesmelter: Press Release

Point Henry becomes a world-class centre for innovation

From 2016, the Point Henry Alcoa Smelter site is set to become an art and science gallery.

The project is backed by reclusive multi-billionaire, Richard Cranberry, who has a long term interest in the arts and business and personal links to the Geelong area.

The centre at CATE will include a number of exhibition spaces, and working art and technology studios, utilising the former Alcoa plant buildings with an iconic new entrance building incorporating transport hub for light rail from Geelong, and a station on the new Avalon-Bellarine Peninsula Rail link.

In a coup for Geelong, Richard Cranberry, who usually shuns any sort of press exposure, will launch his new project CATE@thesmelter at an gala event at Deakin’s Waterfront Campus Project Space from 6-8pm on Friday, October 17th.


The original push for CATE@thesmelter was the Jim Cousens’ 2002 proposal for a branch of The Guggenheim Museum to be centred in Geelong.

With the closure of the Alcoa in late 2014, the Point Henry site becomes available. The initial funds from Richard Cranberry will purchase the area of Point Henry owned by Alcoa Australia. The remaining area of the 575 hectare site (the pier and surrounding wetlands) is to be transferred from to the CATE Foundation for management.

From early 2015 the transformation of existing infrastructure begins. Talks are underway with McGlashan Everist Architects, whose adaptive reuse of the 1934 woolstores for Deakin University is an exemplar of industrial building renovation. The deep water pier will become allow docking of the largest cruise ships, with a marina development on the northern side supporting smaller vessels.

The surrounding wetlands and farmland

After an ecological and archaeological survey, building on work already begun by Alcoa Australia, the surrounding wetlands will be restored to natural flora and fauna, with walking trails and facilities for visitors. Support is being sought from various local and national environmental bodies[1] for this. It is expected that this work will extend to the area abutting Corio Bay to the west, where salt pans are no longer in use to harvest salt. A small area of farmland will become a market garden, supplying CATE’s restaurants and food outlets with fresh, organic produce.

Transport and transformation

The new Victorian Government[2] has a mandate to improve public transport, education and the public health system.

Priority transport projects include rail links to Tullamarine and Avalon Airports and the Bellarine Peninsula via a tunnel from Avalon Beach to Point Henry. Major funding to Geelong supports the fast light rail from Geelong Station to Point Henry, with links to all towns on the Bellarine Peninsula, allowing fast, cheap transport for this growing community. The former Ford car plants at Geelong and Broadmeadows will produce rolling stock for these projects.

Helen Lyth

Press officer

cate press release (pdf file)

[1] The Geelong Environment Council, Landcare, Geelong Field Naturalists, National Trust, Wadawurrung Traditional Owners

[2] Following the 2014 state election a new party, the Green Conservative Socialist Party took government. This newly formed party consists of a large number of former members of the Labor, Liberal and Green parties, who have agreed to its platform of positive reforms based on conservation of the environment, consensus decision making and a removal of all negative electioneering practises. With a huge majority in both houses, reforms are now allowing for a massive investment in new public transport infrastructure, enhancement of public education and health facilities.


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