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Each summer we are privileged in Sydney to have a community program termed Summerama. This is coordinated by the Sydney Coastal Councils Group (SCCG) and involves programs run by ten councils from Northern Beaches to Sutherland and by the SCCG itself. The programs aim to reacquaint people of all ages with marine and coastal treasures across a diverse array of activities. Each year there is a mix of science, skills, exploration and fun. Staff from SCCG and councils and volunteers offer their services during January to help Sydneysiders and others learn more about their coast. For instance, I was fascinated to hear this year that SCCG hosted a Long Reef rock pool tour for Mandarin speakers.

I am very appreciative of the work undertaken by SCCG in coordinating these mostly council-based activities. SCCG is a remarkable organisation with a very small staff which over the years has offered all sorts of support to local communities and especially to council officers. It saddens me that from time to time these efforts have not been fully appreciated by some councillors. I struggle to understand the reasons for this although it is great to see in action those councillors at meetings of the SCCG taking a strong stand on its continuing role. I have been an Honorary Member for several years and it has always been a pleasure to participate in SCCG programs.

For the last few years Randwick Council has invited me to take part in one of its numerous Summerama activities. I am grateful to staff of Council for this opportunity because over the years it has been possible to introduce locals and visitors to the geological wonders of our coast. I focus on the joys and legacies of the Hawkesbury Sandstone on a walking tour south from Coogee. Of course I throw in some other social and environmental points, but the theme remains our inheritance from the past extending our historical base out some 200 million years or more.

In 2016 Randwick Council made arrangements to video me on this walking tour. This was their second attempt as on a previous occasion high winds and other disturbances led to a poor recording. But the edited 2016 can now be accessed online as a permanent record of this activity. One way to access is just to Google Bruce Thom coastal walk (videos). There is a YouTube version that can be accessed as

I enjoy meeting different people each year on this walk including some who are repeat participants. I was delighted to hear from one person that she learnt something new each time she comes. I can understand this as for me each visit to this area offers new thoughts in coastal science and management. I hope I can be invited again to help with this wonderful Summerama program—long may it continue to engage councils and communities across the Sydney area.

Bruce Thom


Words by Prof Bruce Thom. Please respect the author’s thoughts and reference appropriately: (c) ACS, 2018, posted 15 February 2018, for correspondence about this blog post please email