History - AustralianAustralian CultureAustralian IdentityAustralian animalsCultural Comparisons Between Australia and other CountriesAustralian Prehistory

Australian Environmental Issues

A true-blue battler

Box jellyfish
How to avoid the stings and what to do if stung

So you wrestle crocs...

Unfairly judged in killing off the thylacine?

The wise little gnomes of Australia

Victors of the great Emu war

Shaping everything from how Australians speak to how they salute

Funnel Web spider
Yyou'll never leave your ugg boots outside

Most herbivores don't grow a spine until they are the size of an elephant. Not so the roo.

Kill less people than cows

Shark attack Australia
How to ensure you don't go by the name of Bob

Tasmanian Devil
The solution to mainland extinctions?

Tasmanian Tiger
A sad tale

Keg of muscle

The mainland's largest marsupial carnevore

Mythical creatures
Yowies and dropbears; some say they are myths but those who are not afraid to talk have shared their stories







Max Dupain

Influence of the Australian Coastline on Australian Culture

The Australian outback dominates international perceptions of Australia but considering that around 80 per cent of Australians live in coastal catchments, it could be argued that Australia is more of a coastal dreaming culture. There seems to be a particularly strong desire to be near the ocean for Australians in Perth, and from Brisbane to Southern NSW. The perhaps reflects the quality of the coast on offer. The water is clean and warm ocean currents flow in the summer months to invite swimming.

saltwater crocodile

Owing to low levels of pollution, rock headlands are in particularly good health in Australia

saltwater crocodile

Kayaking up tidal creeks and through mangrove forests is popular all all around Australia.

saltwater crocodile

Even on inclement days, the beach can evoke powerful emotions. The waves have a rhythm, but it is a rhythm of subtle variances.

In Victoria, there is also significant development along the coast; however, the lower demand for coastal lifestyles is probably a reflection on the coast on offer. Currents tend to flow from Antarctica, which combine with Victoria’s inclement weather to make swimming less inviting. In Melbourne, ocean views hold far less appeal than they do in Sydney owing to the fact that they just to be views of flat windswept ocean. When they do want a coastal experience, Melbournians typically head south westwards towards Adelaide to find a spot along the Great Ocean Road. While the cold ocean and weather still are problematic for swimming, music festivals and sightseeing provide some compensation.

Sometimes the wall needs to be jumped in order to have the experience. In the summer months, the water of the Grotto (Great Ocean Road) is warm, salty and highly enjoyable to swim in.

The 12 Apostles are no longer 12 in number. In fact, it is often difficult to distinguish an apostle from a short, fat lump of rock. The region is a particularly photogenic part of the coast as it visually demonstrates the sheer power of the ocean, an idea which makes an interesting juxaposition on clear calm days.

Like Victorians, Tasmanians don't seem to have the same obsession for coastal living. Perhaps this was because Tasmania doesn't have a mountain range that inhibits inward sprawl. As a result, Tasmania developed little villages spread through the state in a way that other states didn't experience. As for the actual quality of the coastline, arguably it has some of the most beautiful in Australia. The Tasmania coastline is defined by countless bays, inlets, islands, and isthmus while the cold ocean attracts whales, seals and dolphins. Additionally, Tasmania has an amazing quality of light that seems to shine into the pure ocean to give it a translucence not seen elsewhere. Those brave enough to venture into the water experience nature in its more virginal forms, but the isolation is also a reminded of nature’s dangers; there are no life guards to pull the swimmer out of a rip, no shark nets to encourage sharks to swim by and no safety in numbers if a shark wants to try something other than seal or dolphin. For all the attraction of a deserted beach, many people fear the realities of the rawness of nature off a deserted beach.

Hobart's harbour front at Salamanca Place is home to galleries, restaurants, nightspots and shops in redeveloped buildings built for Hobart’s 19th century whaling industries. It is the final destination for the yachts in the Sydney to Hobart.

saltwater crocodile

The Tasmania coastline is defined by countless bays, inlets, islands, and isthmus while the cold ocean attracts whales, seals and dolphins. Additionally, Tasmania has an amazing quality of light that seems to shine into the pure ocean to give it a translucence not seen elsewhere.

South Australia is another state with an under developed coastline. It has countless beaches which are only visited only by the occasional fisherman, seals or screeching seagulls. Beaches close to Adelaide have experienced significant development; however, the quality of wine regions has perhaps encouraged an inland outlook that has not always been seen in other state capitals.

Kangaroo Island Seal

With relatively little development, seals still bask on the beaches of South Australia; however, scars on their skin from shark attack warn of the dangers of swimming alongside them.

As Australia’s largest state and with only one city, it comes as little surprise that Western Australia has the most underdeveloped coastline, but also some of the best. White beaches, expanses of sand dunes and astonishing teal blue water seem to stretch on forever. The Abrolhos Island chain is a particularly rewarding area. Situated in a 100km of ocean known as the Coral Coast, tropical and temperate sea life meet,itis estremely beatiful. Ironically, the beautful setting was stage for one of humanity's most sadistic episodes. On the 4th June 1629 the Dutch East India Company ship Batavia, with 316 people on board, was wrecked in the Wallabi Group of the Abrolhos Islands. Most of the people on board made it safety to the islands and then dispersed to find food and water. A religious fanatic named Jeronimus Cornelius, then led a mutiny that systematically murdered, raped and tortured other survivors. Before help arrived, 125 people had been murdered and their bodies dumped in mass graves. After being rescued, Cornelius had his hands cut off and was then executed. Two of the mutineers, Wouter Loos, a soldier, and Jan Pelgrom de Bye, a cabin boy, were left marooned on the Australian mainland near the mouth of the Murchison River, thereby becoming Australia's first European settlers.

Brisbane is on a river, rather than a beach, but the desire for Brisbane residents for the beach is perhaps reflected with the development of the Gold Coast, which is has 70km of sand flanked by high rise apartments. Brisbane is also known for canal developments where canals have been specifically dug so that people inland can have a boat and feel like they are on the coast.

North Queensland lacks much of the enthusiasm for coastal living as is seen down south. This lack of enthusiasm can perhaps be attributed to box jellyfish and salt water crocodiles that have resulted in many nth Queensland coastal regions being uninhabited.


Cairns is a classic gateway city, which means it is an entry point to somewhere else but is itself not very interesting. The city itself is on a ugly mud flat, but it is accessible to the Great Barrier Reef.

Darwin has a harbour but it doesn't have the same enthusiasm for harbour side development as Sydney, even accounting for the fact that it only has 5 per cent of the population. Cyclones, box jellyfish, and crocodiles have perhaps pushed the Darwin mentality inland.


Sydney Harbour is dominated with expensive waterside housing; however, Darwin is still very much a working harbour.







Invasive ferals


Carp and Trout
A tale of two ferals

New hope for Cane Toads
The many unknown predators of the toad

A fence almost 2,000 km long to keep rabbits out of WA? Sounds like a great idea! If it doesn't work, we'll build another one!

The Willow
How a change in its status from asset to weed led to fish kills with blackwater and blue-green algae outbreaks

To bait dingos?
Should the health of the ecosystem be considered or just the kennel club registration?

Koala control
What to do about the "koala plague" on Kangaroo Island

Apex predator in Australia. Confined to urban areas in America.

Environmental values

Environmental problems
How money and ideology shapes environmental "science."

Australia's Stockholm Syndrome with gum trees.

The Kangaroo industry
Should we eat skippy?

Climate change in Australia
Australia was once covered in rainforest. Could it be again?

The dark side of sustainable environmental policies

Native pets
Why no pet wombats?




Australian environmental science is defined by an ideology that is not unlike a prison warden. There, the scientists are not seeing themselves as part of the ecosystem, but as masters over it; protecting the rights of the species that they say have rights and killing those that they say do not…but inevitably killing both.

"It was always seen as desirable to remove or cull the introduced species. We also need to ask whether it was possible to do so, how it should be done, whether it could have unintended consequences and what it would cost? I don't think anyone really asked those questions." Physicist John Reid - 2012