Call for beachgoers to be safe

Great Ocean Road Coast Committee’s Coastal Reserves Manager Caleb Hurrell is urging the community and holiday beachgoers to be aware of their surroundings, particularly around beach access ramps on the coast. Read more

Time to have your say in beach access ramp usage

The Great Ocean Road Coast Committee is calling for community members to have their say on local boat ramps to help guide the future planning and management of these sites. Read more

Action Day helps ‘Seal the Loop’

Torquay College students joined in on the annual Seal the Loop Action Day – a day aimed to help untangle the threats to marine wildlife and raise awareness about the impact marine debris. Read more

Volunteers make-over Fisherman’s Beach

Twenty-two volunteers from Lend Lease gave Torquay’s Fisherman’s Beach area a makeover this week, building a new pathway and pedestrian bridge, as well as planting 500 native plants in a rehabilitation area.

Lend Lease_Fishermans Beach 1
Lend Lease volunteers helped makover Fisherman’s Beach











The activities were led by the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC) as part of a range of environmental education and volunteering opportunities GORCC provides to schools and groups.

The new pathway provides a link from the Surf Coast Walk to the viewing deck above the Fisherman’s Beach kiosk, which provides great coastal views, with easy access to the kiosk for refreshments. A number of new picnic tables will be installed on the deck in coming weeks.

Environmental weeds along the bank to the north of the deck have been cleared and replaced with native tubestock.

Lend Lease’s Tanya Moscicki said the activity formed part of Lend Lease’s community day, which was established in 1996 to provide Lend Lease people with the opportunity to give back to the communities in which they live and work.

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The volunteers planted 500 native plants in a rehabilitation area.

“The weather was amazing so it was great to get out and do something different in the sunshine – everyone enjoyed the day,” she said.

GORCC’s Coast Project Manager, Mike Bodsworth said partnering with volunteers enabled GORCC to achieve much more than would usually be possible.

“We estimate volunteers contribute around a quarter of a million dollars worth of work every year,  from hooded plover monitoring and research projects, to weed control, planting, litter removal and construction.”

“Lend Lease’s team of volunteers also included qualified tradespeople, so it was an ideal chance to build some visitor facilities that have been on the drawing board for a while,” he said.

For more information about how you can get involved in GORCC’s volunteer program,  watch the clip below or visit

Related blog posts:

dsc00188GORCC thanks volunteers
img_0118Indigenous groups join weed action
Ford employees got their hands dirty last month as part of a GORCC run program, planting over 1000 coastal saltmarsh plants along the Anglesea River. Photo: Abhishek Sharma.Ford motors towards a healthier coast

Action and art for conservation

Students from St. Therese Catholic Primary School have been working alongside local environmental volunteers to protect threatened Moonah trees while encouraging others to look after our coastline.

Grade 3 and 4 students from St. Therese Primary School students teamed up with with volunteers from Surf Coast Inland Plains Network (SCIPN),  Torquay Coast Action (TCA) and the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC) to plant 400 Moonah and Wirildra trees near  Whites Beach.

Drawing inspiration from the latest SCIPN wildlife card collection by local artist Mark Trinham, students also created and displayed their own artwork at the planting site.

St. Therese Primary School students Mickey Cotsopoulos, Charlotte Morgan and Olivia Gross with their artwork and GORCC conservation officer Georgie Beale

Native animals such as frogs, reptiles, mammals, bats, freshwater fish and many birds from the region feature in the cards, which were developed to promote local  wildlife and conservation education.

SCIPN operations manager Mandy Coulson said students had researched Moonah Woodlands in class and also worked on their art.

“Their artwork depicts local trees and animals, and has been displayed near the planting site to raise public awareness of the coastal environment,” she said.

For more information on Moonah Woodlands, please click here.

Glenda Shomaly, a volunteer from TCA, said St. Therese Primary School plays an active role in educating its students on the importance of maintaining and enhancing the local environment.

“St. Therese Catholic Primary School students plant 400 trees a year  as a part of their carbon offset project,” she said.

The school’s sustainability coordinator, Gerard McCarthy, said students were excited to participate in the day’s activities.

“Opportunities like this allow the students to further understand their local environment and how to look after it,” he said.

“As they grow up, they will be able to appreciate their own efforts made to protect the area.”

This educational activity was made possible by a grant received from the Corangamite Catchment Management Authority, which is celebrating 25 years of land care this year.

Why did the site need rehabilitation?

The area, which borders Fishermans Beach and Whites Beach, was chosen because only one per cent of Moonah trees remain there due to decimation.

GORCC coastal project manager Mike Bodsworth said GORCC was grateful to the students and volunteers for their assistance in an area requiring restoration.

“GORCC has supported their work by fencing the site to protect the re-vegetated area and give it the best chance of survival,” he said.

Our coastal ecosystem will be threatened if Moonah Woodlands are not planted in the area.

More information

Torquay Coast Action hold regular working bees along the coast.

For further information please phone 5261 6266.

Check out what other students have done to help the coast in our previous blogs:

Queens Park blitz a group effort

Plunging in for fish count

Students take lead on coast care

Interesting things that have washed up on the beach

As our Coastal Reserves Manager often reminds us, “the tide comes in and the tide goes out”. Such continual motion brings many things with it, which often wash back out with the tide but occasionally stay. Here’s some of the more interesting things that have washed up on our beaches in recent times (along with one not so recent).

  • Leatherback Turtle – A big beauty of the sea washed up on the beach near Lorne in 2007.
  • Penguins – Unfortunately it’s rare to see live ones these days and more common to find a few dead ones, especially after big storms. In 2009, unusually high numbers of the latter led to concerns that their food supplies had taken a serious hit.
  • Seals – usually alive and stopping for a rest. Occasionally a pup mightn’t make it.
  • Kangaroos – In 2008, one was rumoured to have hopped onto the beach, into the water and the path of a hungry shark. Believe it or not!
  • Shearwaters – This migratory bird species travels thousands of kilometres to the Surf Coast each spring. Unfortunately, some don’t make it.
  • Mako Shark – A dead youngster washed up at Fishermans Beach in 2009.
  • Blue Whale – Found off Cathedral Rocks in the 1990s.
  • Dead body – Courtesy of the Pong Su drama off Lorne in 2003.
  • The Joseph Scammell shipwreck off Torquay in 1891 – The valuable wreckage sparked off the largest wave of illegal looting, pilfering and smuggling in the Geelong area’s history with up to 2,000 people visiting the wreck site in one day.

Have you found something interesting or a bit out of the ordinary on one of our beaches? Share it with us – and others – by posting a comment. You can also visit our website for information about what to do if you find a dead or injured animal on the beach.

Posted by David Clarke, CEO.

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.