Monday, 4 September 2017

1967: When Collaroy's unit blocks faced collapse

Above: The Sydney Morning Herald published an aerial shot of the storm swells threatening properties at Collaroy on the front page of the September 7, 1967 edition of the paper.

Source: Anon. 1967. "Beaches Ruined: Battle to save esplanade, homes". The Sun, September 5, 3.

For many of us, we remember the devastation at Collaroy Beach last year when 10 homes faced collapse at Collaroy when the beachfront was eroded heavily during a storm.

Fifty years ago, homes and unit blocks along the beachfront were threatened with collapse when similar conditions affected the beach over several weeks in August and September of 1967

The worst affected dwellings were just south of Ramsay Street. This included the Flightdeck and Shipmates apartment buildings. The foundations were exposed leading to the risk of collapse.
One nearby home nearly fell into the sea. Fifty years and many storms later, its still standing.


Source: Anon. 1967. "Fight to Save Homes". The Daily Mirror, September 6, 5.

The battle against nature was won


Source: Anon. 1967. "The Beach Battle Won: Rock Wall Holds". The Sun, September 7, 2.

People were being warned back then about the loss of beachfront properties which could have occurred within a lifetime e.g. fifty years. The beachfront homes are still standing today. However, with natural processes, the Collaroy area will eventually succumb to the sea. 

Source: Harrison, T. 1967. "Professor says... All this Will Go! But don't panic, it may take centuries". The Sun, September 7, 4. 

The properties in the affected area in 1967 eventually saw a rock seawall placed in front of their dwellings. This has prevented further erosion and any loss of property. However, it stopped at Ramsay Street. The worst affected properties in last years super storm were located to the immediate north of the street.

Is it worth spending a fortune on beachfront property? Some are prepared to fork out the money, but they do so knowing that the next storm could see their home washed out to sea.

Fortuantely, we have learnt in Sydney and NSW that building right on the foredune of a beach is not good in protecting a beach, but also the damage it can cause to buildings in the event of erosion. Highrise buildings are no longer permitted in beachfront areas that are vulnerable to beach erosion along with restrictions in housing development?

But what about homes built before the laws? One can still build, but bear the risks that the next major storm can bring.

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