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   Jul 06

Out and about in Griffith | Photos

City Park was a hive of activity on the weekend as youngsters made the most of the sun. Pictures: Wendy Simpkin
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Out and about in Griffith | Photos Murray Tasker enjoys the sun at the soccer.

Shanelle Brace and Tarryn Simpkin are dressed as super heroes.

Nate, 3, Mace, 7, and Judith Phillips watch the soccer on Saturday.

Christian Dalleset, 7, enjoys a spot of fishing at Lake Wyangan.

These Griffith residents are all dressed up for a super hero-themed birthday party.

Rina Cannon, Carmen Favaro, Jenni De Mamiel, Teresa Vitucci, Maria Vitucci, 10, Robbie Vitucci, 18 months, and Rachael Whitworth at the junior soccer.

Peter and Colleen Treverrow enjoy the soccer at Ted Scobie Oval.

Peter and Collen Treverrow enjoy the soccer at Ted Scobie Oval.

Havan Beale, 1, has fun at City Park with her grandmother Rhonda Beale.

Nate, 3, and Mace Phillips, 7, are all smiles.

Havan Beale, 1, chases bubbles at City Park.

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   Jul 06

Eaglehawk rules in clash at Kennington

IN FORM: Cameron Milward kicks in Eaglehawk’s win against South Bendigo at Harry Trott Oval. Picture: GLENN DANIELS EAGLEHAWK was able to pick its way through South Bendigo’s defence often enough to score a 70-point victory in Sunday’s Bendigo Football League clash in Kennington.
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In a contest where South Bendigo won plenty of contests, it was Eaglehawk’s well-drilled defence and efficiency in attack that proved to be decisive factors.

The inside 50m tally was just in favour of the Hawks, but their ability to capitalise was far superior.

Too often the Bloods passes to attack were intercepted, too wide or fell short of a team-mate.

South Bendigo’s desperation and workrate could not be faulted, but an Eaglehawk defence led by Glenn Daly and Josh Ryan was able to clear often and with ease.

At the other end of the ground, Hawks’ full-forward Matt Gretgrix kicked a match-high five goals and had four team-mates chip in with two apiece.

Multiple goalkickers included Blake Natoli in his senior debut.

Hawks’ coach Luke Monaghan unearthed more midfield options throughout the second half after Brodie Collins, back, and Brodie Filo, stomach, had been injured.

Filo did play on, but his impact was limited.

The Hawks had Jarrod Findlay win plenty of the footy across midfield and up forward, while Daly, Ryan, Cameron Milward, Ben McPhee and Tyler Miles played key roles.

Bloods’ captain Aaron Connaughton inspired team-mates with his attack on the contest and accurate disposal.

Young guns Matt Chisari and Jake Connaughton won plenty of the footy at stoppages or were involved in passages of play from half-back to attack.

The Bloods’ play was a marked improvement on its previous clash at Golden Square.

Victorious coach Luke Monaghan said South’s defensive mindset and “numbers back” did make it difficult to score.

A major plus for the Borough was it’s show of depth as it made five changes from the previous round because of injury.

“Competition for places is starting to heat up,” he said.

Ruckman Jack Lawton did well in his first senior game, while Josh Ryan and Lachlan Ryan worked hard all game.

“Tackles were well up, which was a good sign when we in control for most of the game,” Monaghan said of positives from the match.

“There’s no doubt about workrate and willingness to compete.

“We just need to sharpen up our skills.”

Eaglehawk plays at Kangaroo Flat, and South Bendigo heads to Kynetonwhen the Bendigo FNL season resumes on July 18.

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   Jul 06

McMahon’s Tigers sizzle in big Toohey Trophy victory

STAR PERFORMER: Springbank forward Paul McMahon (right) and Gordon’s Luke Gunnell jostle for position on Saturday. McMahon was named best on ground for his nine-goal effort. Picture: Kate Healy. Story: John McGregor.
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SPRINGBANK humbled one-week ladder leader Gordon with a 91-point smacking on Saturday.

The Tigers pounced early and were never headed, withgrit and determination dictatingplay.

A modest 11-point lead at the first change suddenly blew out to a 43-point margin by half time.That seven-goal quarter by the GJ Gardner Tigers saw sharpshooter Paul McMahon kick three in six minutes as the Springbank midfield ran amok.

McMahon wasn’t done yet. He booted a further six majors for a total of nine forthe day and was awarded the Moorabool Medal for best on ground.

North Ballarat-listed player Nick Couch kicked three handy goals on his way back to fitness, with Roosters’ coach Gerard FitzGerald on hand tocheckout hisprogress.

It was a slick showing by Springbank and players like Brock Freeman threw himself into the fray. Hetook it up to Eagles ruckman Luke Gunnell. Lots of drive came from Matt Tyler, Joel Maher andSimon Quinlan.Ben Quinlan, Matt Raworth, Gerard Clifford and Jaymes Gorman flew the flag for the home side.

Springbank coach Terry Simpson believed the team’s efforts were consistent across the board andpointed out that winning the Jimmy Toohey Memorial Trophy had special meaning forboth clubs.

“It’s nice to get one back,” he said.

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   Dec 21

Season over for Storey

No place to go for Andrew Storey, who was double and triple-teamed by the Rebels on Friday night. Photo courtesy of Noel RowsellBASKETBALL
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THE season is over for Andrew Storey.

Storey’s powerful run of the form in the 2015 GMP Ultimate Basketball League (UBL) Young Guns competition came to a halt on Friday night.

Storey’s Glebe Magic team entered the elimination semi-final as slight favourite but was overpowered 92-74 by the Hoopdreamz Rebels.

Former Highlander Storey finished with another double-double of 19 points and 15 boards.

However, he has now missed reaching a UBL grand final in two successive campaigns – firstly with the Magic senior team and now in the Young Guns series.

The Rebels looked slightly overawed at the start of the game but powered to the lead in the second term with a 26-10 run.

The Magic could not recover, eventually falling by 28 points.

The Sydney City Cobras were favourites in the second semi-final against Hoops Academy and overcame a lethargic start to also power home to a runaway win.

Sydney’s 75-45 victory puts the Cobras through to face the Rebels in Friday night’s grand final.

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   Dec 21

Gene Fairbanks heads to Bowral

Well-known rugby player Gene Fairbanks runs through drills with Bowral’s Tim Lewis, Manu Feilovai and Dave Whetton. Photo suppliedRUGBY UNION
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AUSTRALIAN rugby union star Gene Fairbanks visited Bowral last Tuesday night.

Fairbanks coached the Bowral Blacks first and second grade teams for a training session at Eridge Park.

Bowral head coach Paul Frean said Fairbanks’ session was motivating and he shared his knowledge on footwork, body height and accuracy.

“At the end of the day, Gene said it comes down to attitude at training and on game day,” Frean said.

“It’s about working hard and holding each other accountable leads to stronger and stronger performances – then rugby gets to be even more fun.”

Fairbanks plays for the Kintetsu Liners in Japan.

He previously played for the ACT Brumbies, Queensland Reds and Western Force in the Super Rugby competition.

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   Dec 21

No plan for future farming, Chesters says

Prime Minister Tony Abbott pleases the crowd by eating a scone at the launch of the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper in the state’s south west on Saturday.THE Abbott government’s Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper does not have a plan to move away from subsidising Australian farming and does not planfor future technology, Member for Bendigo Lisa Chesters says.
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Prime Minister Tony Abbott released the paper during a visit to the state’s south west on Saturday, including tax incentives to farmers and an $11.4 million boost to the ACCC to“strengthen competition” in supply chains.

The government claims there are $4 billion worth of new commitments, but the opposition saysit can only account for less than $1 billion.

Lisa Chesters, secretary of Labor’s Country Caucus,said the paper speaks of a“romantic, out of touch” vision of farming in Australia.

“It just deals with the here and now, not the long-term future of farming,” she said.

“The first issue farmers raise with me is access to the internet, and how if they had access to fast internet it would be a great boost to their farm business, but there’s no mention of a plan in the White Paper.

“If you want to move away from subsidising agriculture and becoming self-sufficient, then short-term measures aren’t going to cut it.”

The funding to the ACCC would help it to detect breaches of the Competition and Consumer Act that affects farmers and small businesses in rural areas.

Its functions are likely to target the big supermarkets and those at the top of the supply chain.

Farmers will also be able to tap into changes to the Farm Management Deposit, allowing them to double their FMDs to $800,000 from July 2016.

Tax breaks for on-farm infrastructure –announced in the 2015 budget –were also included in the White Paper.

The National Farmers Federation welcomed the measures, but Ms Chesters said the White Paper was a missed opportunity.

“We need to be looking at how we can partner with local farmers through vertical planning,” she said.

“Kagome tomatoes at Echuca is a great example of a partnership with local farmers to help them grow and produce food –these are the sorts of things we should be supporting.

“There are a lot of fluffy words in the White Paper, but it’s a serious lack of long-term vision.”

Ms Chesters said Labor’s Country Caucus was consulting with industry stakeholders, young farmers and food producers to form agricultural policies to take to next year’s federal election.

The federal government had promised to release the White Paper within 12 months of the last election.

Victorian leader of the Nationals Peter Walsh welcomed the release, stating the ideas in the paper would help the state “remain at the forefront of innovation and productivity”.

“I’m pleased to see that accessing premium export markets is one of the five priority areas of the White Paper, and that there is investment earmarked for breaking down technical barriers and improving biosecurity,” he said.

“The significant investment in research and development will also help Victorian farmers to maintain their competitiveness in the world market.”

Water infrastructure also featured heavily in the document, adding another $300 million to the National Water Infrastructure Fund and a further $50 million to look into sites for new dams.

The federal government would commit $450 million to the construction of new water infrastructure.

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   Dec 21

Muslim leaders urged to boycott Eid dinners held by AFP in 2015

A community rally earlier in 2015 to protest against Islamphobia. Photo: Joosep MartinsonMuslim community members are urging their leaders, imams and representatives to boycott Ramadan dinners being held this year by the Australian Federal Police.
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A group called Concerned Muslims Australia has started a petition on change.org and encouraged all Muslims to stay away from the annual events in Sydney and Melbourne this month.

In the petition, the organisers say: “We refuse to be treated like a national security threat and call on you to recognise such events as attempts by the government to paint a false picture of co-operation between it and the community. We thus call upon you to take the only action befitting as a response, and to refuse in principle to sit with the government while it continues to treat Muslims in the most underhanded way possible.”

Nearly 500 people have already signed the petition, with some commenting that their reason for joining is that the AFP “stab us in the back and then invite us for dinner”.

Another comment read “it is incredulous that the same agencies that harass, discriminate and target the Muslim community would expect it to break bread with them. Not only incredible but disingenuous in the extreme.”

The online petition outlined six points of contention, including that the Australian Government during the past 12 months had “executed a concerted and prolonged campaign of anti-Muslim hysteria, pulling out all stops to demonise, marginalise and victimise the Muslim community. Under the pretext of international developments and a supposed impending domestic threat, many tranches of counter-terrorism legislation have been passed that ostensibly target Muslims specifically”.

It said federal and state governments and their agencies, including the AFP and ASIO, have been a key in targeting the Muslim community and were used to execute phoney raids that have often amounted to nothing.

“Where specific threats have been prevented, the raids have been dramatised beyond any reasonable measure to reinforce the notion of a Muslim threat via media and ministers/departments’ public commentary,” the petition says.

It also cites concerns over investigations into matters such as the death of Numan Haider in Melbourne that remain shrouded in mystery, police brutality against Muslims and the creation of an Islamophobic atmosphere directly resulting from the actions of police and government agencies.

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   Dec 21

The Breakfast Clubbing: Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard sent to detention

ABC runs a short parody of the Killing Season, featuring former leaders Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard. Photo: ABC Detention break-out attempt in The Breakfast Clubbing. Photo: ABC TV
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Former PM Julia Gillard as shown in the spoof. Photo: ABC TV

Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard have thrashed out their differences in detention – in an episode of The Breakfast Clubbing.

Both star in a reconstruction of The Breakfast Club with snippets from their Killing Season interviews dubbed over the 80s cult classic, in a clip shown on ABC TV’s Insiders on Sunday.

Video editor Huw Parkinson constructed the two-minute satire where the pair argue about the leadership coup and dance to rad 80s music.

The video quickly took off online, trending under the Insiders hashtag. Killing Season miscreants sent to detention with The Breakfast Club http://t.co/[email protected]— Mark Scott (@mscott) July 5, 2015Best thing I’ve seen on #insiders ever. #breakfastclub— GirlBug (@GirlBug) July 4, 2015Well that’s Breakfast Club ruined. #insiders— Calvin von Blitzen (@StBlitzen) July 4, 2015

Gillard, in the role of Claire Standish, says: “I just wanted to get on with the job, but I think in Kevin’s view in particular, he preferred to do business that way.”

Rudd replaces rebel John Bender and speaks about his disgust and resentment towards the so called “faceless men” during the parliamentary killing season of 2010.

“That is the most creative reconstruction of a political memory I’ve ever heard… Julia Gillard marches in and launches a leadership coup,” Rudd says.

Gillard retorts: ” My view was Kevin wasn’t in the shape to fight a campaign.

The end is clear: No amount of pondering will help either to admit the error of their ways.

Fairfax Media

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   Nov 21

Bowral Blacks secure tight win

Charlie Hamilton-Fox has success in the line out during a recent game. Photo by Mindy HindmarshRUGBY UNION
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THE Bowral Blacks secured its third win of 2015 on Saturday.

The Blacks first grade team recorded a 29-27 victory over the Campbelltown Harlequins in Campbelltown.

The lead changed hands several team and both teams finished with four tries.

In the end, the boot of Peter Kroarkerd made the difference with Bowral nailing an extra conversion.

Tim Lewis scored two tries for Bowral and Charlie Hamilton-Fox and Michael Bach scored a try apiece.

Bowral was very committed in defence and at the breakdown.

The structures worked well with improvement still to come and in the set pieces.

Next week, the Blacks play Kiama at Eridge Park.

This will be another tough game as Kiama sits in third place on the Illawarra Rugby Union ladder.

Kiama beat Bowral comfortably in the first round, but the Blacks will hope for an improved effort.

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   Nov 21

Shipard returns for games

GAME TIME: Soccer star Sally Shipard officially launches the 2015 Eastern University Games at the MTC. Picture: Les SmithSOCCER star Sally Shipard opened the Eastern Uni Games under a flood of lights on Sunday.
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Ms Shipard – a Matilda’s player who was forced to retire due to injury – urged students to enjoy the atmosphere of the five-day competition.The Wagga-raised athlete said the uni games showcased some of the best aspects of sport – including team spirit.

“At the end of the day – just enjoy everything about it and see the positives of sport,” she said.

Ms Shipard was involved in the general proceedings of the ceremony but was unable to stay to watch the tournament due to World Cup commitments.

“The Uni Games is part of the dynamic of uni life,” Ms Shipard said.”Although I never competed in them, it give students a break from their work.”

As well as opening the games, Ms Shipard is currently involved in mentoring programs and commentary panels.

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   Nov 21

Chris Waller’s confidence building before Brazen Beau’s July Cup swansong

Confident: Brazen Beau will contest the July Cup at Newmarket on Sunday, Australian time, with Chris Waller’s confidence growing. Photo: Vince CaligiuriChris Waller’s first European adventure has fuelled an air of confidence in the leading Australian trainer despite admitting to knowing little about Brazen Beau’s July Cup opposition before his swansong on Sunday morning (AEST).
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Waller jetted out for the United Kingdom to oversee the final days of Brazen Beau’s preparation on Sunday, content the stallion-in-waiting’s drama-filled Diamond Jubilee effort proved he needs to tinker little with the script.

“I gained a lot of confidence rather than learnt a lot,” Waller said after Brazen Beau raced solo on the grandstand side under Craig Williams before being collared in the final strides of the Diamond Jubilee at Royal Ascot.

“Without getting ahead of ourselves, we got it right without winning. I think the key is not to change too much. We’ve got him in a good position. If we were five lengths off the pace then we would have needed to change something.

“We’re just in a maintenance sort of role now. It’s probably easier two weeks between runs, but this is three weeks. We do need to do a little bit of work with him. You’re over there with one horse so you’ve just got to do everything you can times two.”

Bookmakers have taken no risks with Brazen Beau in the July Cup, with Ladbrokes installing him a $3.60 top pick for a fairytale finish to his racing days.

Commonwealth Cup hero Muhaarar ($4.20) – which heads up the trifecta from that Royal Ascot race likely to press on to the July Cup – is the only danger to Brazen Beau’s favouritism.

And Waller, while acknowledging he was largely in the dark about the rest of the July Cup field, acknowledged the weight scale would make it difficult for his dual group 1 winner at Newmarket.

“I didn’t know anything about [the opposition] in the Diamond Jubilee,” Waller said. “All I know is there is a couple that came out of that [Royal Ascot] meeting in the Commonwealth Cup that will be competitive.

“They’re three-year-olds and we’re a three-year-old, but they get a weight allowance and we don’t [because of Brazen Beau’s rivals being bred to northern hemisphere time]. It is hard and that was the same as the other day.

“But it’s on a different level … the international racing. I don’t feel the pressure of Australia, but it’s a good thing to know you are representing Australia and you do feel proud performing. To be able to win at that level for Australia would be very special.”

Godolphin’s retained rider James Doyle has already partnered Brazen Beau in a couple of gallops after the Diamond Jubilee and is expected to be aboard when the sprinter has a look around Newmarket this week before the July Cup.

“He’s been on him twice and he has been really happy with him both times, not only the way he’s worked but the way he’s felt,” Waller said. “He’s a world-class rider and he knows the track as well as anybody. It’s one less thing for me to worry about.”

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   Nov 21

Time right for Timeless Prince to take on Ramornie

Contender: Timeless Prince will contest the Ramornie Handicap at Grafton on Wednesday, Tony Newing has always believed Timeless Prince would one day win a stakes race – he just knows it will have to be in conditions to suit.
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“I always thought if he would win a stakes race it would be on a wet track,” the Gosford trainer said. “I do think he will win a stakes – it won’t be a great one – but it will be good enough for us to take.”

If it happens to be the $150,000 listed Ramornie Handicap at Grafton on Wednesday, then Newing will be even more ecstatic. Timeless Prince’s June Stakes success on a Randwick bog a fortnight ago convinced Newing to alter plans to include the Ramornie, which is likely to lose some of its lustre with Dothraki, Brook Road and former champion Howmuchdoyouloveme all running over the weekend.

“He’s done everything right this horse and he has nothing to prove to us so we’re going to have a throw at the stumps and see where we finish up,” Newing said.

“He could have filled 12 boxes that would have been empty otherwise. We’ve got a syndication company that have come on board and they bought five yearlings the other day and mentioned to me, ‘if we didn’t see Timeless Prince racing we wouldn’t have approached you’. That’s a huge thing for me.”

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   Nov 21

Gold Coast beach erosion plan: Is the plan on the right track?

Gold Coast beach erosion Photo: Supplied Durban seawall protection Photo: Robin Candy
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The Gold Coast has a plan for management of beach erosion. Photo: Wes Palmer\

Relaxing before the storm – Surfer’s Paradise beach Photo: Peter Braig

As the 2015 summer storm season approaches, has the Gold Coast City Council got the right plan in place to protect the beaches luring the 11.5 million tourists, residents and investors to Australia’s playground each year?

Two years ago – in June 2013 after three years of storms – Gold Coast City Council launched its “Three-Point Plan for Coastal Protection”, part of its high-profile 10-year Ocean Beaches Strategy.

The “Three-Point Plan” promised $30 million over two years until June 2015 to build a mix of new seawalls and dredging sand from locations off the beach to re-nourish Gold Coast beaches.

In a nutshell it wanted to bring forward two to three decades of beach protection work; with $15 million from the Gold Coast City Council and $15 million from the previous State Government.  However, the state government never provided money to the plan.

Why is preventing beach erosion on the Gold Coast important?

The Gold Coast is susceptible to rising sea levels, a 2014 Climate Council of Australia report “Counting the Costs – Climate Change and Coastal Flooding” found.

The study by Professor Will Steffen, Dr John Hunter and Professor Lesley Hughes was a collation of previous research.

“A 2009 study by the Department of Climate Change (DCC) estimated that there are 2,300 residential buildings located within 50 metres of sandy coast and 4,750 within 110 metres,” the report found.

“This exposes between 4,000 and 8,000 private dwellings to the impacts of coastal flooding if sea levels were to rise by 1.1 metres, whilst a five-metre rise would flood most of the developed area.”

Alarmist perhaps, but that is largely why the Gold Coast City Council’s Three Point Plan was bought forward.

It is the latest approach to protecting Gold Coast beaches after eight savage storms in January-July 1967 smashed Gold Coast beaches and prompted a seawall construction project called the “A-line.”

The Gold Coast’s “A-Line” is effectively a line on a map of the Gold Coast where the worst beach erosion got to in 1967 and where a 16-metre deep seawall was built in the 1970s and 1980s.

June 2013 – Inside The Gold Coast’s two-year, ‘Three Point’ beach protection plan

The 2013 two-year plan suffered an early setback when the previous State Government refused to contribute $15 million to the plan.

Gold Coast City Council however pushed ahead with a revised series of projects.

The Gold Coast City Council decided this was the way ahead:

1. Public Seawall Construction

2. Northern Gold Coast Shoreline Project

3. Burleigh to Kurrawa Shoreline Project

Overall the plan is to add to the existing A-Line seawall and allow the new seawall to be covered by dunes of sand and vegetation and only exposed by erosion during bad weather.

In summary that meant building new seawalls at Miami, Palm Beach, Broadbeach, Main Beach, Currumbin, Tugun and Surfers Paradise in two projects.

It also means progressively “re-nourishing” beaches from Burleigh, Miami, Nobby Beach, Mermaid, Kurrawa, the Gold Coast Seaway and Broadbeach from off-coast sand “banks” which receive sand from the shore in good weather.

The next step is the Palm Beach Shoreline project, which has irritated some residents and surfers.

June 2015 – two years on – what has been achieved?

Over the past two years the Gold Coast has built additional public seawalls at Broadbeach (850m), Main Beach (350m), at North Kirra (1465m) and along the southern stretch of Bilinga Beach (1240m).

Over the past two years the Gold Coast City Council’s teams have checked the condition of the existing 16-metre deep, six-metre wide seawall – the A-Line.

“Investigative peel backs earlier this year exposed small sections of existing seawalls in order to determine the condition of the structures,” a spokesman said.

At some stage in the past car bodies, concrete chunks, logs and rocks were dumped to try to save homes.

Almost four kilometres of this A-line has been certified as operating successfully by engineers, which the Council says is saving the city $15 million.

“Not having to reconstruct 3.9km of seawall has saved the City approximately $15 million,” the spokesman said.

Where are they working now?

The new section is a 125-metre seawall being built at Palm Beach near 27th Avenue and the Esplanade at a cost of $1.1 million.

“The works are scheduled for completion in September 2015 and are being carried out by the City’s construction team,” the spokesman said.

Gold Coast’s future works for the next two years

Main Beach, Narrowneck, North Burleigh, Northcliffe and Surfers Paradise.

This link details how the seawalls are designed and built at Broadbeach; and at Palm Beach; where there has been delays – with some residents questioning how much they should be contributing.

The project will not be finished until August or September 2015.

What do the experts say?

Peter Nielson is a Professor in Coastal Engineering at the University of Queensland and believes while the strategy overall is good, a number of questions need to be asked.

Professor Nielsen said questions remained over the quality of the Gold Coast’s original boulder seawall, the A-Line.

“It is under the sand in most cases,” Professor Nielsen said.

“And parts of that are considered to be properly designed and constructed, and there are other parts that are not,” he said.

He said it needed to be further examined by Gold Coast authorities.

“There is some concerns that it hasn’t and won’t be up to the job – in some areas where it has been privately constructed – whenever there has been a bad storm.”

Palm and Mermaid beaches are the main areas of concern, he said.

In some cases residents built seawalls at their own expense to protect their ocean-front properties, in some cases Gold Coast City Council build the seawalls using levies from ratepayers.

“But that is definitely something that is needed and needed fairly urgently, I think.”

Professor Nielson said the beach nourishment plans were working well but he had concerns about the artificial reef and beach at Narrowneck on the Coast’s north.

“The Narrowneck bank was meant to have a sheltering effect on the beach behind it, providing a surfing locality,” he said.

“But it never really worked in most people’s opinion.”

Professor Nielsen said he asked six months ago for more information about the proposed new artificial reef – built from boulders – off Palm Beach.

Gold Coast City Council proposes $16.9 million be spent on what is called the Palm Beach Shore Project, but that also needed a 50-per-cent subsidy from the Queensland Government.

“But I am not sure where that is heading at the moment because of costs and some safety concerns,” he said.

“I think it was quite questionable about whether it was going to provide value for money,” Professor Nielsen said.

“And also, there were concerns about safety about construction and people could hurt themselves while they were surfing and get thrown onto the rocks.”

Professor Rodger Tomlinson – who has advised Gold Coast City Council on its plan – said within constraints – the Gold Coast’s three-point plan was working.

He said the lack of state government money meant changes from the start.

“So the project in the way it was conceived as a ‘Let’s get in there full-on and get lots of things done straight away’ hasn’t happened,” Professor Tomlinson said.

“But the framework is driving what activities that are going on within the city,” he said.

Professor Tomlinson said it was not appropriate to yet measure the success of the project because it was scaled back without the state government funding.

“The people are definitely seeing the work that is going on with the seawalls,” he said.

“They city has a very active beach dune revegetation program, looking after the dunes.

“So all the good things are happening and they are ongoing.”

Would interlocking concrete blocks provide a better seawall protection than boulders or geotextile bags?

Several private companies have proposed a range of large interlocking bricks be used on the Gold Coast instead of big boulders or geo-textile bags.

Professor Tomlinson said only the Narrowneck reef (2000) and a groyne at Kirra (1980s) were built using geotextile bags and both were now covered with sand.

He believes the bags – a Gold Coast initiative – suit the natural cycle of sand flowing out to offshore sandbanks during bad weather and returning to the beach in good weather.

Professor Tomlinson said large boulders are used because they are easily accessible and cheap.

“But as we move into an era where it is harder to get big rocks, other techniques are being considered,” he said.

“And certainly around the world concrete devices and similar things are being considered.”

Patrick Johnson is a South African businessman – now living in New South Wales – who wants to introduce a system of interlocking brick walls used on South Africa beaches to the Gold Coast.

Patrick Johnson founded a company called Australian Coastal Seawalls and has recently had Manly’s Hydraulic Laboratories, a division of the New South Wales public works department, test his seawalls.

Patrick Johnson has twice approached Gold Coast City Council for a trial.

“Manly Hydraulic Laboratories said this product would withstand a 1 in 100-year event and in a catastrophic event it would not suffer more than one per cent damage,” Mr Johnson said.

“They are interlocking concrete blocks specifically designed to stop erosion,” he said.

“They capture sand, and they line the back of beaches.”

Mr Johnson said the concrete blocks, can be dyed to match the surroundings and said the walls are angled back to capture the sand in the water.

“The overall wall is angled back at a 65-degree angle and the water follows the line of least resistance, so the wave baring sand runs up the wall and the water subsequently drains back to the ocean, but the sand is captured in the blocks.”

He said sections of his interlocking block walls did not tumble from the seawall in heavy swells like boulders.

“It requires very little maintenance and because the blocks interlock they don’t tumble in big surf,” he said.

“Then they have to replenish. We don’t have to do that.”

Professor Tomlinson acknowledged boulders did get dislodged during storms and said there was nothing “fundamentally wrong” with interlocking concrete barriers if they were designed properly.

“It is just the Gold Coast City Council’s current policy is to continue to use rock,” he said.

“No-one has a particular thing against concrete block units.

“It is just that in the current situation on the Gold Coast 99.9 per cent of the seawall are built out of rock, so we want to continue building out of rock.”

“To suddenly put concrete in there might look a bit different, if it got exposed.”

Patrick Johnson said he has had two meetings with Gold Coast City Council staff but wants the chance to press his case with councillors.

Mr Johnson believes his system carried similar costs – around $1 million per kilometre – as the Gold Coast’s seawall program when ongoing maintenance was taken in to account.

Beach erosion experts say these interlocking walls are designed to be “in front” of the sand dunes, not covered by sand.

Patrick Johnson says his interlocking block walls are designed to be either buried or used in front to retain land.

“They can be buried, completely buried,” he said.

“It can be either or, as the situation demands.”

Professor Peter Nielsen said interlocking brick walls could be more popular on the Gold Coast if natural rock boulders were not readily available to the Gold Coast.

“That would be one reason for doing it, otherwise I think the economics of it would rule it out,” he said.

“They can be designed to be equally good. So I would say the difference is in the economics.”

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This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.