Australia Network
English Bites

Print | Close


print friendly page for http://australianetwork.com/englishbites/stories/s1608177.htm

29 January 2007

Mallacoota

This week on English Bites we're going to visit some rural Australian places. Today it's a small, sleepy town in Victoria called Mallacoota.


FREYA MICHIE, REPORTER: Dawn on Victoria's Wilderness Coast. It's aptly named. There's no development along the beach for almost 200 kilometres. No housing, no jetties, no breakwaters, nothing.

But now a development here is becoming a very real possibility and it's splitting the sleepy town of Mallacoota.

LEO OP DEN BROUW, SURFER: It's a small development when taken into the context of other developments around the countryside, but the effects it will have on Bastion Point are enormous. It will be destroyed.

DAVE ALLEN, SAVE BASTION POINT CAMPAIGN: It's totally inappropriate. It's going to be a blot on the landscape.

JOHN RUDGE, MALLACOOTA OCEAN ACCESS COMMITTEE: A lot of people resist change. But we believe that change is inevitable.

JENNY MASON, SAVE BASTION POINT CAMPAIGN: It would involve a road across the dune, there, and down the escarpment. It would involve a huge breakwall, 130 metres long, across the rocks over there. It would be a dreadful eyesore. It would just destroy the beauty of this place.

FREYA MICHIE: Swimmers, surfers and their dorsal-finned friends started sharing the beach with boat users here about 20 years ago. They've been in close proximity since the Mallacoota inlet entrance silted up.

So Mallacoota's fleet of abalone and recreational boats started launching into the ocean from the town beach, using tractors and four-wheel drives.

Long-term resident, John Rudge, is one of the leading supporters of a new boat ramp and breakwater wall. He says the development is needed for everyone's safety, especially in summer when more people are using the beach.

JOHN RUDGE: There's been a number of accidents that haven't been reported. With the increase in usage here and the number of people using it, an accident is just bound to happen, and why wait? Why wait until a child is injured or killed and say, "Why didn't we do something about it?"

DAVE ALLEN: No, I don't agree with that. In the last 17 years there's been probably in excess of 15,000 launches by professional industry, and to my knowledge not one swimmer or surfer has been damaged during that time.

FREYA MICHIE: The council, sitting 250 kilometres away in Bairnsdale, has voted for a boat ramp, protected by a breakwater wall, jutting out 130 metres. If it goes ahead, the reef will have to be blasted and there would be regular sand dredging. Protesters say the access road will desecrate an Aboriginal burial site. And surfers say it will spoil a top surf break.

LEO OP DEN BROUW: If you want to come to Mallacoota and have a look at it in its natural beauty, come now, because there's a very real risk that it won't be here in a few years' time. The beautiful Bastion Point area and the little bay we can see just up the shoreline here, will become an industrial area with large a breakwall and floodlights, a noisy, diesel-powered dredge operating quite often, and it will just be destroyed and the effects will be irreversible.

CRAIG INGRAM: You have got surfers that are operating in a boating lane where large vessels are operating, and that is not safe. Why is it divisive? It's because people are pretty passionate about it.

FREYA MICHIE: Have there been fights in the pub?

CRAIG INGRAM: I think there's been a few disputes and debates, and I think there has probably even been a few blues.

DAVE ALLEN: The mood in the town is 'us and them', basically.


story notes

 jetties
 
A jetty is a wooden structure built out into the sea, used for people getting on and off boats.
 

 breakwaters
 
A breakwater, or breakwall, is wall built out into the sea that protects a bay from waves.

 real possibility
 
There is a very good chance that something is going to be built there.

 splitting
 
dividing

 sleepy town
 
A sleepy town is a small quiet town.

 Mallacoota
 
Mallacoota is on the wilderness coast in Victoria’s Gippsland region.
 

 taken
 
Taken is the past participle of the irregular verb take. Follow the link below to find out more and to listen to some examples.
 
more information: take

 blot on the landscape
 
A blot on the landscape is something that spoils the look of a place.
 
Example: Some say that the new wind farm is a blot on the landscape.
 
Click here for more idioms and common expressions.

 eyesore
 
An eyesore is something ugly or unpleasant - something that makes your eyes sore when you look at it.
 
Example: The new house is an eyesore.
 
Click here for more idioms and common expressions.

 fleet
 
Fleets are groups of boats or other vehicles.

 bound to
 
Bound to here means sure to, certain to.
 
Example: You're bound to learn more English with EB.

 jutting out
 
Something that juts out sticks out or protrudes
 
Example: The bookshelf is too narrow - the big books jut out over the edge.

 blues
 
fights
 
Click here for more idioms and common expressions.