The Mighty Ord

When I left the Coastal Studies Institute (CSI) at Louisiana State University in 1967, I never thought I would work on another project with that group. It was a pleasant surprise to receive an invite in early 1971 to join Don Wright in a study of the Ord River estuary. Read More

The right to bath on the beach

Australian’s today believe they have a public right to access and use the beach. That includes the right to swim and surf. It has not always been so. Doug Booth, the historian, has written a wonderful account of steps taken to enjoy the ocean waters (Australian Beach Cultures: the History of Sun, Sand and Surf, 2001). More recently, Caroline Ford in her book, Sydney Beaches, A History (2014, Chapters 1 and 2), has further explored the story of how Sydney residents and councils managed to change the rules around bathing in the sea. Read More

Foreshore land grants in eastern Sydney

I must first declare a personal land interest in this blog. The house where I have lived in Rose Bay and our current dwelling in Vaucluse, in eastern Sydney, were both the subject of 19th century land grants that have links to foreshore private and later public use. Read More

Victorian Coastal Monitoring Program

I recently attended a meeting of the Advisory Board of the new Victorian Coastal Monitoring Program (VCMP).This program was established last year as a partnership between the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) and Deakin and Melbourne universities Read More

Future national need for a healthy environment

Since the mid-1980s, it has become increasingly established that climate change will impact the lives of Australians, on the economy and the health of environmental assets. The interconnected functioning of natural processes requires us to look beyond the settler view of exploitation of nature. To do this we must somehow enshrine in law, such as through a Charter of Rights for Nature, the protection and restoration of valued natural assets vital to the nation’s long-term wellbeing. Read More


I recently attended the 18th Biennial Australian New Zealand Geomorphology Group conference in delightful Inverloch in the south Gippsland region of Victoria. This conference is held at a place in either Australia or New Zealand where there are exciting geomorphic features. Inverloch was no exception. It was a privilege to be invited this time to give the key note on “Public Policy and the Law: the influence of geomorphology”. I dedicated this talk to the late John Chappell. His wife, Helen, was at the conference dinner and spoke about John with great feeling; I was asked to give the response on behalf of the Group, another tremendous privilege to honour this great man. Read More


It is very interesting to follow Coastal Zone Management initiatives in other countries. I have been following developments in India during 2018 and in late December their federal government introduced a national regulation which deserves our further attention. It appears possible in India for the federal government to provide direction to all state governments and agencies. At this stage I am not clear as to how effective will be the implementation of this new regulation. If the Indian government is allowing the increased development of coastal areas of high populations density to encourage economic development, then many Indians may well have a front row seat to experience "enjoying the beauty of the mighty seas " when it is brought to their door by sea level rise. Read More

Sydney Harbour Sea Fog - Summer of 2018/2019

Sea fog has been a regular occurrence this summer in Sydney Harbour. To hear fog horns sounding in the middle of the day is a rare experience. From our verandah we can see the fog as it rolls through the Heads into Middle Harbour. It seems to stall and bulge up as a mound still attached to the sea surface. We saw this on 17 December and again last Friday. The fog then expands down the Harbour and over the cliffs into Vaucluse along the lines of our local valley and streets. Later in the afternoon it dissipates. Read More


During this past year, I have had the opportunity of working once again with Don Wright, formerly a colleague at Sydney University now based in Florida. Don and colleagues have been involved in producing collaborative reports in the USA through the Coastal Environmental Research Committee of the Southeastern Universities Research Association (SURA). Read More