Sydney Harbour Sea Fog - Summer of 2018/2019

Sea fog has been a regular occurrence this summer in Sydney Harbour. To hear fog horns sounding in the middle of the day is a rare experience. From our verandah we can see the fog as it rolls through the Heads into Middle Harbour. It seems to stall and bulge up as a mound still attached to the sea surface. We saw this on 17 December and again last Friday. The fog then expands down the Harbour and over the cliffs into Vaucluse along the lines of our local valley and streets. Later in the afternoon it dissipates. Read More


During this past year, I have had the opportunity of working once again with Don Wright, formerly a colleague at Sydney University now based in Florida. Don and colleagues have been involved in producing collaborative reports in the USA through the Coastal Environmental Research Committee of the Southeastern Universities Research Association (SURA). Read More


Ever since my undergraduate days, I have been fascinated by pits in sand deposits around the eastern suburbs of Sydney. I grew up in Rose Bay. Trevor Langford-Smith had me digging a pit in the backyard of our home in Roberts Street. Read More


The 27th NSW Coastal Conference was held last week at Merimbula on the NSW far south coast. What a wonderful location enjoyed by 250 delegates. This is the first time the conference had been held in Bega Valley Shire, a tribute to the hard work and persistent endeavours of Derek van Bracht. Read More

Slicks (Part 2)

In my blog on moods of Sydney Harbour, I touched on the topic of slicks. I frequently see them on relatively calm mornings from my verandah and they never cease to amaze me with their clarity and spatial variability. Peter Cowell has been a fan of slicks since the early 70s and offered the following observations and comments. It is a privilege to communicate his thoughts in this ACS blog and look forward to any further discussion. It should be noted that Peter's comments do not specifically relate to Sydney Harbour. Read More

Twofold Bay - A Great Coastal Laboratory

Last week Irene and I had the pleasure of attending the 80th birthday celebration of Roger McLean. The venue was Edrom Lodge on the south side of Twofold Bay located on the New South Wales south coast. It was a family gathering with a few old friends and it provided an excellent opportunity to pay tribute to Roger’s contributions to physical geography and coastal science as well as his dedication to teaching in Australia and New Zealand. Edrom Lodge had been used by Roger and staff from ADFA as the location for many field schools. From the perspective of coastal geomorphology and sedimentology there are few better places where one can demonstrate a range of features that show contrasting depositional histories than Twofold. And this commences on the beach situated right below the lodge itself. Read More

VALE: Professor John Chappell FAA (1940-2018)

It is with great sadness I heard the news last week that my old friend and colleague, John Chappell, passed away. We are of a similar vintage and shared many things in common and times together. He inspired me as he did so many not just in academic terms but as an incredible person; he is the only person I have known who could be called a “polymath”. Read More

Coasts and Legal Systems

The legal framework for environmental law as articulated by James Thornton in his book ClientEarth, refers to enforcement as the fifth stage. This follows four stages consisting of science leading to policy to law to implementation. This fifth stage may in all likelihood involve reference to some form of litigation the results of which may in turn intersect with earlier stages, in particular with policy and changes to legislation depending on the outcome of litigation or recommendations from the inquiries. Opportunities this year to be party to all five stages has made me more aware than ever on how important it is to understand and embrace the approaches and procedures that each stage requires from the various professionals who become part of the decision making process. Read More

Moods of Sydney Harbour

Much has been written about “our harbour”: its geological setting, geomorphic evolution, First Nation settlement, the arrival and impact of the British First Fleet, its natural systems and their degradation, wartime conflict, the ships and yachts, and so on. As one who grew up on its shores and now lives with a view of its waters, here is a personal reflection on some of its moods. Read More