New Bush Telegraph Independent Stories since 1987

A Little History - Collingwood Beach

September 13, 2016

In 1978, Collingwood’s foreshore owners were planting trees.  Following a series of 1974/5 storms, some two thousand five hundred trees are reported to have been planted.  The storms attacked what had been left by the developers’ bulldozing – a fragile fragment of the dunal system.  The resulting damage to property was severe.  Ceilings collapsed on houses as windblown sand billowed in under eaves.  Reserves eroded.  Drift sand closed roads.  A local remembers seeing seaweed on Elizabeth Drive and it does not seem surprising that, despite the report of real estate values dropping dramatically (cautionary note to current owners), some people sold.  Plaques along the present cycleway show the engagement of Vincentia’s community in the rehabilitation work being done.

By 1986, success could literally be measured.  Collingwood Beach, which had been assessed as having an average width of 17m in 1975, had increased to 40m.  Also reported are the consequences of further storms and high winds.  In ’86 most sand drift caused by wind had been slowed by vegetation along the dunes and dropped in front of dune paddocks.  (Note: property values are reported to have increased significantly.)

An unrelated report (probably early ’90s) reveals that, by then, hard-learned lessons of leaving well enough alone were no longer shared along the Beach.  Responsible residents were calling for a public meeting to discuss the new threat of neighbourly (?) vandalism.  In the years since that call, a regime of cutting down, lopping and poisoning of dunal vegetation has become established along parts of Collingwood’s foreshore.  Construction of a cycleway brought to a wider public the evidence of its destructive insistence on a nonexistent right to clear the way for a private view.  A brief experiment with screening was tried by SCC but, with punitive measures difficult to enforce, little else has been done.  It seems to have been easier (if, admittedly, more urgent) to deal with the ruin resulting from weather than to deal with the actions of view obsessives.

In the effort now being undertaken by SCC to persuade persons unknown (“unknown” in the sense of “ . . . a reward has been offered for . . . ”) to cease and desist causing damage, Council seems to have come down on the side of the wrong threat.  Collingwood Beach is one of the three vulnerable coastal areas subject to the longer term considerations of Council’s consultants, Royal Haskoning DHV, in the preparation of a coastal erosion remediation project.  The other areas are Callala and Mollymook.  Consultants DHV note that NSW coastal legislation is being progressively reviewed and updated in light of predicted sea level rise and its implications for coastal hazards.  In its reporting, potential risks and associated remedial costs for both public and private property are assessed by DHV within time frames which could include present lifetimes.

Putting aside the puzzling question of ‘why employ consultants?’ it’s clear that for Council, the future, like the past, is another country and they did/will do things differently there.  For the immediate present an absurdly regulated, truncated, restricted density, species-deficient municipal garden – Burwood by the Beach – is to be imposed on one of the few sections of mature and healthy banksias left along the dunal barrier.  Designed for public viewing, to demonstrate the new landscape, it will stand as a floral tribute to the triumph of hope over experience.  (Note:  apologies to Burwood.)

If you liked this article help us to plant trees in its honour. The New Bush Telegraph practices community journalism and plants a tree for every article published, although we hope to plant a whole lot more trees than just one. You can contribute as little as $5. 


This article is in the following category/ies:

  • Categories

  • Archives

    Join us

    For only $20 (per annum, $10 concession) you can become a member of The New Bush Telegraph Incorporated. Membership to an incorporated association shows your support and gives you voting rights at annual general meetings, access to volunteer opportunities and special member events.

    Subscribe to our newsletter
    Keep up to date with all the news from The New Bush Telegraph and be notified of new articles when they are published. It’s the best way to stay in touch and never miss out on those important local issues. You can unsubscribe at any time.
    * indicates required

    Donate to the New Bush Telegraph

    The New Bush Telegraph is a not-for-profit community initiative.

    Support us to grow and reach our goals by considering making a donation.



    #125 Spring 2019#120 Winter 2018#109 Spring 2015#108 Winter 2015#107 Autumn 2015#106 Winter 2010#105 Late Spring 2009#104 Winter 2009#103 Autumn 2009#102 Summer 2008#101 Winter / Spring 2008#100 Late Autumn 2008#99 Late Summer  2008#98 Summer 2007#97 Spring 2007#96 Winter 2007#95 Autumn 2007
    New Bush Telegraph - Independent Publishing Since 1987
    Privacy PolicyTerms & Conditions
    Copyright © New Bush Telegraph Incorporated ABN: 42106732072
    linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram