31 Dec The Big Cutting
Most people at Wedge take this entry to the beach as being there forever. Believe it or not in the early days this particular area was covered in very thick and impenetrable acacia Cyclopsis. It was so dense there was no way to the beach other than by taking the track which went past the oil tanks (now removed). In a valley immediately behind this frontal dune six shacks were built so as to be protected from the sou-westers.
With the advent of beach buggies, people took every sand hill as a challenge, an Everest to be conquered. On one occasion I had words with a clown driving a Ford 250 4wd making attempts to drive up a steep dune in this area from the beach. When questioned his response “ this bloody dune aint going to beat me” His future aspirations on life were obviously pretty low.
Cutting a path to the beach from these six shacks and increased traffic allowed the wind scour to begin to move sand and eventually all six shacks were obliterated. The quest for a supply of potable water was always being sought and eventually Maurie Herdsman discovered good water inland from his beach front shack. A bore was sunk 100 yards inland approximately where the six original shacks had been located. He felt it was necessary to protect his water supply from the obvious effects of the wind was creating real problems with this booming sand scour. What to do? First idea reduce wind scour. He built a post and rail fence covered with corrugated iron. Big mistake, the following year it was possible to walk under the iron fence such was the scouring. First lesson learnt. The pressure of the wind hitting the solid obstruction found every slight crevice, which increased the velocity and the eventual under cutting this construction which became completely useless
This newly formed sand sheet began its inexorable march North. A further four shacks were eventually covered before it ran out of puff. Some hard work by owners who laid wire netting, covered it with brush and planted trees grown from seed collected in the area stopped the scour .
The lesson learnt by trial and error was to build a fence using wire netting interlaced with brush etc to approximately 45%. This allowed the wind to flow but reduced undercutting and scouring.
There is lesson for all shack owners be careful not to destroy ground cover, If you clear around your shack do not leave bare soil, if you do it’s a recipe for disaster.
Wedge Story by: Ross Robinson