Coastal Archaeology

I am currently reading a fantastic new book by Billy Griffiths entitled Deep Time Dreaming: Uncovering Ancient Australia. It has been described by Tim Flannery as “the freshest, most important book about our past in years”, and by the historian Mark McKenna as a book “that marks the emergence of a powerful new literary voice and shifts our understanding of the nation’s past”. Read More

Climate Change Adaptation in Australia - A Loss of Momentum

Over the past 10 years there have been a range of initiatives by federal and state governments that aim to improve the nation’s capacity to meet the challenges of climate change. Considerable attention has been directed at reducing emissions, or climate change mitigation, especially at a federal level. Efforts to respond to impacts of climate change, or climate change adaptation, have been the subject of less public debate although the focus of research and planning by governments, academic institutions and some businesses. It appears that the appetite for continuing such efforts is dwindling. This does not bode well for the nation’s future. Read More


Each summer we are privileged in Sydney to have a community program termed Summerama. This is coordinated by the Sydney Coastal Councils Group (SCCG) and involves programs run by ten councils from Northern Beaches to Sutherland and by the SCCG itself. The programs aim to reacquaint people of all ages with marine and coastal treasures across a diverse array of activities. Read More

King tides and extreme events

This Summer has been awash with extreme ocean water levels reaching positions rarely seen in the past along the NSW coastline. On two occasions the tide gauge at Fort Denison reached levels only exceeded three times since the more accurate self-recording tide gauge was installed there in 1916. Such events raise questions as to why these summer king tides resulted in exceptionally high water level events, whether similar events will occur more frequently in the future, and what are the long-term consequences. Read More

Coastal Geomorphology 101

Any course in coastal geomorphology today would be vastly different to what I experienced in 1959 at Sydney University. It was a year of great change in subject matter not just for me as a student but also for our lecturer, Trevor Langford-Smith. Read More

Bruce Thom Blog - Speaking Truth to Power

In the summer edition of The Monthly, in an article on the former President of the Australian Human Rights Commission, Professor Gillian Triggs, the comment was made on how little the work she had devoted most of her life to –academic research—mattered in the public realm. Read More

National Surfing Reserves

On 2 December, 2017, there was a dedication ceremony to constitute Bondi as a National Surfing Reserve (NSR). As the headline in the Wentworth Courier stated: “It’s official: Bondi is iconic”. The article went on to say the ceremony will justify this status as Australia’s most visited beach. Bondi is the 20th Australian beach to be declared a surfing reserve recognising the pioneering role it has played in the development of surfing in our country. Read More


Beachrock is a hard sedimentary formation consisting of beach sediments which have been lithified through the precipitation of carbonate cements. They commonly crop out on the modern beach and point to the complex interaction of groundwater and seawater at the shoreline. Read More