Coasts Fieldwork Booklet

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            Year 11 Fieldwork Booklet

             Part A - Cape Schanck

Name: _______________________________

Stop 1 Cape Schanck

1. At the top of boardwalk/viewing platform                                          (photo)
   What natural processes are operating on this section of the coast?
   Why is the Cape subject to massive erosional forces from the ocean?
   Sketch this view, including the main physical characteristics of the coastline.

2. What is the major cause of erosion – wave attack or cliff top surface erosion? Explain.

3. What strategies have been implemented to help stabilise the cliffs?
   (See how many you can find)

4. Can you find areas:  i) covered in vegetation
                       ii) have no vegetation cover?
   How do these areas differ? What is responsible for the shape of the vegetation?

5. How is access controlled to the beach/coves? Is this necessary? Has it been

6. Why do you think people come to Cape Schanck? What has been the effect of people
coming to this region?

7. What type of facilities have been provided?

8. Make a sketch of Cape Schanck. Include and label the following features:
    sea stacks
    shore platforms
    cliffs
    two different types of rocks.                                (photo)

Sketch of the geographic characteristics Cape Schanck

9. Walk down to the saddle. What difference do you notice about the small cove and beach on
the western side of the Cape and the small beach on eastern side of the Cape?
What has caused this?

10. What has happened to the dune capping out on the Cape?

Now make your way back to the bus in order to depart for stop 2 – Sandringham Harbour.

     Part B – Sandringham Harbour and Brighton Beach

Melbourne’s coastline has changed considerably during the 150 years of European settlement
here. Some of the changes have been natural, but many have been due directly or indirectly to
human activity. Nineteenth century maps and charts show that the natural coastline between
Brighton and Beaumaris consisted of extensive receding cliffs alternating with scrub-covered
coastal slopes; there were broad beaches in each of the embayments, and shore platforms
fronting the rocky headlands.

The outlines of this coast are closely related to geology. A soft, easily eroded sandstone (the
Red Bluff Sands) rests upon a harder brown sandrock (Black Rock Sandstone), with a gently
undulating contact between the two. The headlands protrude on sectors where the more
resistant sand rock rises above sea level and is cut back only slowly by marine erosion, while the
intervening embayments have been cut out by wave scour in the softer Red Bluff Sands. The
beaches are of quartzose sand, derived from the erosion of the cliffs.

Modification of the Melbourne coast by the addition of artificial structures began on a small
scale in the 1860s. The first sea-baths were built in Brighton in 1865, but the coast to the
south remained in a natural condition, with little change in the configuration, mapped by
Commander Cox in the 1860s, until after the turn of the century. Eventually, cliff recession
became a matter for concern, and the first attempts were made to halt it by putting in
protective structures.

Sea Walls and Groynes
A timber wall was built at the base of the eroding cliffs on Picnic Point in 1900, and a similar
structure at Green Point five years later in 1905. Cliff recession continued along Hampton
coast, and despite the dumping of various materials (including unwanted tram rails) on the
shore, it became clear that Beach Rd. would eventually be undermined and end up in the bay.

In 1936 the Foreshore Erosion Board surveyed the coast between Brighton and Mentone, and
recommended the building of protective sea walls along rapidly-receding cliffed sectors, notably
at Hampton and at Quiet Corner, south of Black Rock. As the walls were constructed the
steep eroding cliffs were reduced to artificial slopes, and planted with vegetation. The coast
was thus stabilised, and it is sometimes difficult now to realise that the slopes fronted by sea
walls were one vertical cliffs.

Stop 2 Sandringham Harbour

Sandringham Harbour is one of the Port Phillip Bay’s most intensive boating areas. The
protected harbour has been formed by the construction of a rubble breakwater in 1950 which
allows yachts to be moored in protected water. In winter, winds and waves tend to come form
the west while in summer from the south west. A number of private clubs have established
club buildings within the harbour.

1. Draw a field sketch showing the physical and recreational features of Sandringham Harbour
and Hampton Beach. In your sketch include the following:
    cliffs, beaches, headlands, etc
    jetties, sea walls, breakwaters, groynes, etc
    recreation areas, car parks, buildings – name them
    amount of sand on beach (ie beach width) showing areas of building and depletion if
     they are recognisable.

2. From your vantage point, identify the former coastline by following the cliff line from the
northern end of the harbour around to the southern point, (Picnic Point). What major
changes have taken place to this coastline inside Sandringham Harbour? (photo)

3. What has caused this coastline reshaping? What effect has it had on the harbour as a whole?

4. Why was the sea wall built around this bay? Have they been successful or unsuccessful? Why?

5. Is there any connection between the Sandringham Harbour and rubble
breakwater and the condition of Hampton Beach? Explain.       (photo)

6. Should such large structures be allowed when they have affects on the environments some
distance away?

Now make your way back to the bus in order to depart for stop 3 – Brighton Beach

Stop 3 Brighton Beach

Brighton Beach is a small sandy beach, lined with 81 privately owned bathing boxes. Declining
usage of these boxes in recent years has resulted in the public questioning the continued
existence of these bathing boxes.

7. From Keith Court car park, identify and list the ways in which Brighton Beach is being
managed. Why is such management necessary?

8. What has been done between the Esplanade and the back of the bathing boxes to reduce
sand movement and general erosion? What has caused this erosion?

9. It has been alleged that plants will not grow in the shade of the boxes. Is this true?

10. Make a sketch of one bathing box.                                  (photo)
Indicate: its distance from the water
          its distance from the fence behind the box
          measure its dimensions and calculate its area
          multiply this by 90 to give a total bathing box area on the beach

11. Do the bathing boxes take up a significant area of the beach? Approximately what

12. The bathing boxes have been blamed for causing accelerated sand movement from the
beach front – ie causing mini ‘blowouts’. Is there evidence of such erosion? Explain more fully
how the bathing boxes on the beach could cause such erosion.

13. Does the presence of privately owned bathing boxes provide for the optimum use of this
limited beach area?

14. Compare this beach with one up the north of the Life Saving Club.
What difference do you see?

    Well done, you’ve finished. Now make your way back to the bus to return to school.


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