Endangered Dunes, Tennyson

My Council Election Profile

**Note, since this post was issued, I was approached to answer specific questions. The answers are here: https://charlierobinson.wordpress.com/2014/10/19/election-questions-from-the-tennyson-dunes-group/

This week I was asked to comment about the endangered dunes located at Tennyson. Note: these are not in my Ward, but in the greater City of Charles Sturt Council area. Growing up with a love for the beach it is an obvious statement that I love sand and beach dunes, want to see them as part of our ongoing coastal life and get involved in making sure this remains a reality. It’s not just for the Tennyson dunes, I remember many holidays running through sand hills across the state, making games in and about the area or simply sitting in peace and playing my flute (I’m sure the little dune animals thought I was crazy). I’d love to see proper sand dunes along our whole coastline… who wouldn’t? That could be considered a romantic notion in today’s world of progress and urban development. But what is progress? Simply bulldozing everything? Haven’t we learnt from the many examples where we have taken too much away and not played nicely with the environment?

Progress to me means (in these instances) working with our natural elements for a better or smarter outcome that is in keeping with the environmental surrounds.

Progress is also about preserving some of our better areas for prosperity; like heritage buildings and generating a history to be proud of. I don’t personally like the idea that we knock everything over and start again; it would be good to see some original landmarks, buildings and natural landscape. But I digress. I turned to WIKI for the facts about Sand dunes:

“In physical geography, a dune is a hill of sand built by either wind or water flow. Dunes occur in different forms and sizes, formed by interaction with the flow of air or water. Most kinds of dunes are longer on the windward side where the sand is pushed up the dune and have a shorter “slip face” in the lee of the wind. The valley or trough between dunes is called a slack. A “dune field” is an area covered by extensive sand dunes. Large dune fields are known as ergs. Some coastal areas have one or more sets of dunes running parallel to the shoreline directly inland from the beach. In most cases the dunes are important in protecting the land against potential ravages by storm waves from the sea. Although the most widely distributed dunes are those associated with coastal regions, the largest complexes of dunes are found inland in dry regions and associated with ancient lake or sea beds. Ref: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dune#Sand_dune_systems

I then looked back on my professional life, specifically when I was on the National Broadband Network project during community consultation down south, and the research and understanding we went into, to appreciate the Aldinga Scrub area. This area of preservation and conservation is pristine scrubland, protected by the residents of the area quite passionately. It is my personal opinion after reading, listening and reviewing documents online in regards to the Tennyson Sand dunes, that we should encourage our state leaders to embrace this area as an area of conservation. Or even a National Park. The main concerned community live in Semaphore Park & West Lakes Shore and are “standing up for the protection of their endangered dunes, which connect biodiversity with Tennyson Dunes.” They are called WEDGE. In reality we should all be concerned.

Their website is here: http://www.wedgesa.net.au/

They have a petition you can sign if you feel passionate or simply inspired to help. They say on their website:

“Our existing coast park is maintained by council and in recent droughts the irrigation has been removed. Native grass cover over the sand still supports pedestrians of all ages, bikes, prams and even electric wheel chairs. These wild endangered dunes form a vital northern corridor through to the Tennyson Dunes system and support an important ecosystem which is critical for the movement of native animals throughout the last 4.5kms of metropolitan coastal dunes. Our community deserves a path for bikes, but this should not be at the expense of our precious dunes. There are workable alternatives available as downloads from this site (note: their site is from the link above) which deliver a win, win for the whole community and preserves our unique coastal dunes for future generations.”

I appreciate the group don’t mind the idea of a natural bike setting and for people to be able to use it. However, I’d still push back and say “can’t we just avoid the whole area and peddle our bikes around another way?“. Overall, it sounds like there’s been lots of debate. I’m sure there will be more. Most excellent video you can watch that explains in more detail.

3 thoughts on “Endangered Dunes, Tennyson

  1. In 1976 I lay down in front of bulldozers to try to save those Tennyson Sand Dunes. You can probably find the news articles in the old Advertiser. They saved Estcourt House but a big chunk of dune was destroyed so that people like Lynn and Anthony Schultz [Duck Inn, The Garage etc] could build beachside mansions. The little shopping centre in that space couldn’t find tenants for years which I thought was an ironic reflection on the “anti”-development feeling of the locals. If Council wants to wreck more of the precarious dune area by imposing hard surfaces and disturbing the vegetation, then you must defend it! As you say, people who cycle can use the existing paths and roads while walkers can wend their more gentle way through the sand.


  2. I do not really consider myself an environmentalist, however, I do have the memory of what the nearby coastline did actually look, feel and perform like during my years growing up at Semaphore Park and it would be a tragedy to see the remaining dunes affected by anything that could harm them. In themselves they probably offer only a very small refuge to what is left of the native flora and fauna that probably was abundant during the earlier , pre development days of the entire coastline.

    I recall the dunes from Semaphore right through to Grange being rather vast and certainly much higher (or maybe I was just shorter). It was an area that held great fascination to myself and friends and was an area we probably respected for what it was. No One I knew was really happy to see them shrink away in the back of trucks.

    Sand drift is a major issue on our coastline and although I am no expert, can see plainly that it had become a greater problem with the reduction in coastal dunes.

    Not one person will be adversely affected if they remain, but our future generations most certainly will if they are damaged. Shared paths, I believe should remain on the inner edges and not through the dune system – Beach access can be possible in selected areas only


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