It is hard to believe that only 10 years ago on 18 February, 2010, around 180 coastal wonks gathered in Adelaide to discuss “developing a national coastal adaptation agenda”. It was a Forum sponsored by the then Australian Government’s Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency (DCCEE). A subsequent report of the Forum was released by the Department. But how times have changed? Read More


There is a need for the Commonwealth to rethink mechanisms for supporting the states in disaster management through the establishment of a climate change adaptation action arm within the Defence portfolio. A model is offered based on the US Army Corps of Engineers. Read More

Coastal Devastation

To begin a new year with such grief and sadness is not what we expect. Yet the past two weeks have been traumatic for many coastal communities in NSW, Victoria and South Australia. What has been happening is a continuation of fire storms that commenced in spring in southern Queensland and northern NSW and progressively moved to southern regions—was this not to be expected? Read More

Parsley Bay in the Summer

We live in the glorious eastern suburbs of Sydney overlooking Parsley Bay, on the outer end of Sydney Harbour. This funnel-shaped re-entrant offers one of those delightful out-of-the way spots enjoyed by those privileged to live nearby and weekend visitors. Read More

The whereabouts of climate change adaptation

Since the late 1980s climate change adaptation has received limited consideration by the Australian Government. Mitigation continues to dominate the national discourse. Addressing adaptation challenges of the “new normal” climate conditions as foreseen years ago by climate change scientists demands greater national attention. Recent changes to the machinery of government in Canberra does not instil confidence that these challenges will be met by collaborative action to minimise risk and harm to Australian communities and environmental conditions. Read More

Australian Coastal Systems: A New Book from Andy Short

Recently I received a copy of a book written by Andy Short entitled Australian Coastal Systems: Beaches, Barriers and Compartments (2019, Springer, Coastal Reference Library 32). It has been produced as a two-volume set containing 1241 pages, 550 figures and over 1000 references. The work is dedicated to all who have worked and published on the Australian coast. Read More

28th Annual NSW Coastal Conference - Terrigal, 2019

This year the NSW Coastal Conference was held at Terrigal and hosted by the Central Coast Council. In its 28th year, these conferences are always held at a location outside of Sydney. It is a testimony to the interest by local councils in running these gatherings of our coastal “family”. Read More

Coastal Incidents

Since I started wandering around beaches, cliffs, swamps and waterways just on 60 years ago, I have encountered any number of incidents that are memorable. The thrill of field work and the opportunity to visit and learn about different coastal environments has been a great privilege. I wish to thank all who have encouraged and participated in these studies and especially those who put their trust in me and put up with my idiosyncrasies. But at times there have been occasions when things got a little tricky, and in the world of the contemporary university I ask whether or not certain risks should have been allowed. Read More

Coastal morphostratigraphy: two papers from Denmark

Many years ago I was introduced to the concept of morphostratigraphy. By using a combination of landform mapping, drilling and where possible dating, constructing conceptual models of depositional history involving an appreciation of facies and morphological types is possible. Recently, Tom Oliver kindly drew my attention to two papers involving the evolution of coastal sand barriers on the North Sea coast in Denmark - from my perspective they constitute morphostratigraphic research par excellence and demonstrate that it is possible to be more specific about the way future changes in wave climate, sea level and sediment supply will influence coastal behaviour in different sediment compartments. Read More