Vandals trash Jan Juc woodland


The Great Ocean Road Coast Committee is calling on the community to help put an end to the damage caused by illegal party sites in threatened Moonah woodlands along the coastal clifftops at Jan Juc.

Illegal access and campfires were again discovered in the sensitive vegetation, causing significant environmental damage in the protected area and placing lives at risk. Read more

Summer activities a success!


It’s been fun all summer long with more than 50 environmental education activities run with campers of all ages at the Torquay and Lorne Foreshore Caravan Parks.

The Great Ocean Road Coast Committee has been conducting the free activities as part of their camper activity program throughout January. Read more

Keeping beautiful starts with you


With Keep Australia Beautiful Week 2010 starting next Monday, 23 August, there’s really no time like the present to focus on the simple things we can each do in our daily lives to reduce the negative impacts we humans are having on our environment.

This year’s event is focusing on public place recycling to help reduce litter on our streets and, for those of us who live and work on the coast, on our beaches, coastal reserves, caravan parks and the like.

Did you know that of the 43.5 million tonnes of waste we Australians produce every year, just over half is recycled while the other half (around 21 million tonnes) still goes to landfill? Did you also know that, although we’re very good at recycling our household waste, we’re not so good at recycling when we’re out and about away from home? This is where public place recycling comes in.

Rather than sending our empty drink bottles, cans, food containers and other recyclable items straight to landfill by consigning them to rubbish bins (or worse, not binning them at all!), from here on in we should each make every effort to recycle them by using public place recycling bins or, if these are unavailable, by taking them home for recycling. How hard can that be?

The Great Ocean Road Coast Committee has for some years now been working to encourage beachgoers, foreshore users and campers to dispose of their waste appropriately by providing recycling bins in our caravan parks and coastal reserves.

Through our involvement in groups such as the Barwon Regional Waste Management Group and participation in programs such as Waste Wise and Resource Smart, we are also endeavouring to improve our own practices and to educate others by spreading the word (including through this blog).

At the end of the day however, it all comes down to you and your behaviour. What do you do, for example, when you’re enjoying a break at the beach? Do you recycle your recyclables and bin your non-recyclables? Or do you leave them behind for other people to swim in? (Now, if everyone did that, then you have probably been swimming in rubbish too!)

Check out the Keep Australia Beautiful Week website for more information, including tips and resources to help ensure you are recycling right, and to find out what your rubbish is being ‘reincarnated’ into. After all, keeping beautiful starts with you.

Infamous coastal controversies of the past five years


As the clock ticks down on my last two months with GORCC, it seems timely to look back over the achievements and challenges of the past five years.

It will probably come as no surprise to many when I say that our work is not all plain sailing. Indeed, as the following top 10 list shows, GORCC has  weathered plenty of controversial issues. While these have been challenging at the time, they have all inevitably led us towards learning some very valuable and salient lessons.

Here are some of our most infamous controversies of the past five years. Rest assured that while the tone may be light, they each represent some very hard lessons learned!

  • ‘Parking Gate’
    Who can forget our attempt to install parking meters in Torquay, Jan Juc and Anglesea in 2007? It had worked in Lorne for three previous years so we thought we’d use it in other areas to generate some new funding for our work to look after the coast. After announcing our plans, we endured a massive backlash from throughout the local community, causing us to back down and even leading us to eventually remove the meters from Lorne. It still comes up from time to time in media reports.
  • ‘Pool Gate’
    The controversy continues in Lorne about the redevelopment of the Lorne swimming pool and whether it should be heated or not. We’re hopeful this will all be resolved one way or another in the near future.
  • ‘Bunker Gate’
    Our staff discovered an elaborate bunker in the sand dunes at Fishermans Beach in Torquay, which made the news on all major radio stations and ABC TV. Must have been a slow news day!
  • ‘Memorial Gate’
    Thinking we had everyone’s support, we set out to upgrade Point Danger in Torquay, which included building a new war memorial. Unfortunately we had neglected to honour Joe Walker and his mates who had built the original rock cairn, which our local war veterans still considered to be very important. After some difficult times, we worked out a compromise with Joe and the RSL to keep the old memorial while building the new one. They are both resplendent now, especially at the annual dawn service on ANZAC Day
  • ‘Camper Gate’
    Our plans to upgrade the Torquay and Lorne Foreshore Caravan Parks have certainly generated strong reactions from many of our regular campers who for many years have enjoyed staying in the parks. And continue to do so with the imminent start of stage one power upgrade works at Torquay currently attracting many questions, concerns and comments from the campers affected by these works.
  • ‘Cut/gap Gate’
    A few residents in Torquay became very concerned at what they thought were our plans to close the ‘gap’ at Whites Beach.
  • ‘Stairs Gate’
    Unfortunately the old stairs at Bird Rock in Jan Juc had to be removed because they were no longer safe and it wasn’t possible to build a safe set. Despite the danger, the signs and a fence, a few irresponsible surfers still get to their favourite wave by scrambling up and down the cliff face rather than using the stairs leading down from Little Rock car park. It seems some people never learn.
  • ‘Toilet Gate’
    The old toilet on the foreshore in Torquay has needed to be replaced for some time now. Unfortunately it is situated directly across the road from some very expensive premuim real estate. Not surprisingly the owners are concerned – and have been for some time – about how the new building  will be sensitive to their needs (i.e. views) as residents and property owners. The new facility still hasn’t been built while the existing one continues to deteriorate. Beauty certainly is in the eye of the beholder.
  • ‘Slaughterhouse’
    An unused and little-known but important bit of Crown land in Lorne has the potential to be used for accommodation or some other appropriate purpose. But should it be developed at all? And if so, how to ensure the best outcomes for the coast and the community?
  • ‘The Pong Su’
    An international drug operation gone wrong, with dead bodies washing up on the Lorne foreshore. Nothing to do with us but very interesting all the same.

Posted by David Clarke, CEO.

Crown Land Caravan Parks – Funding coastal management in Victoria for more than 100 years


The first reservations of public land along the Victorian coast were made in the 1860s. Not long after, in 1898, the committee of management system was implemented, which gave local communities management control of foreshore reserves on behalf of the Victorian public, with oversight by the State Government.

Most foreshore reserves included small camping areas, which have provided the majority of funding for committees of management since the 1900s.

Today, approximately one-third of the Victorian coast is managed by committees of management. These volunteer organisations (or in some cases local councils) are appointed under the Crown Land Reserves Act to “manage, improve, maintain and control the land for the purpose for which it is reserved”. They also comply with and help implement the Victorian Coastal Strategy.

There are more than 80 caravan parks and camping grounds on Crown land along the Victorian coast.

From Nelson on the South Australian border, along the Great Ocean Road, around Port Phillip Bay and the Mornington Peninsula, through to Wilsons Promontory, Gippsland and Mallacoota near the NSW border, there are a diverse range of caravan parks and camping grounds in fantastic coastal locations.

Caravan parks and camping grounds on coastal Crown land provide affordable recreational opportunities for millions of people to visit and enjoy the coast each year.

Revenue generated by operating these parks is used by the committees of management to look after the foreshore reserves and the coast itself. Committees operate on a not-for-profit basis, with all surplus funds used to look after the coast.

So next time you take a camping holiday along the Victorian coast, not only will you have a fantastic holiday, but you will be contributing important funds towards the management and care of our beautiful coastal environment.

And you will be building on more than 100 years of camping – and coastal management – tradition!

Email info@coastalcampingvictoria.com.au to receive a free copy of the Victorian Coastal Caravan & Camping Guide.

Posted by David Clarke, CEO