Australia: Archaeological Dig to Uncover Old Southport Sea Wall

Archaeological Dig to Uncover Old Southport Sea Wall

An archaeological dig to discover the secrets of the city’s first sea wall is taking place this week.

As part of National Archaeology Week, Council’s Heritage Team will spend two days at Southport with community volunteers and school students unearthing some sections of the sea wall.

Chair of City Planning, Councillor Cameron Caldwell, said the aim of the exercise was to increase the general knowledge of the old sea wall, including the building techniques.

“In addition it will give students a rare opportunity for some hands-on learning,” he said.

The dig will commence on 20 May, with an excavator opening up a trench to reveal segments of the wall. On 21 and 22 May, the public is invited to participate in the excavation – bookings are essential. The trench will be refilled on 23 May and the area returfed.

The activity is considered suitable for all students but particularly Years 2, 3 and 9 in preparation for the introduction of the Australian History curriculum in 2014.

Until the formation of The Spit, Southport’s foreshore was sometimes battered by rough seas and storms which threatened to wash away the esplanade and homes, guesthouses and hotels established along Marine Parade.

The construction of the protective sea wall began in 1896 and was completed in 1901.

From the 1960s, the dredging and dumping of sand at the foreshore gradually saw the burial of the wall and the extension of the shoreline out into the Broadwater.

Today, there is only a small section of the wall visible near the existing bridge to Surfers Paradise. What survives of the sea wall on and below the current land surface provides important evidence of Southport’s past.

It defines the original shoreline and tells a story of Southport’s former importance as a resort town and the efforts of the community to protect the place from the ravages of nature.

The Local Studies Library will have a marquee on site with the Southport by the Shore and the Streets of Southport educational kits on display.


Press Release, May 21, 2013