Friday, May 21, 2010

Cowley Beach . . . Looking Back 50 Years at Better Days

Yvonne Cunningham from Innisfail’s Violets and Lace Garden Centre was kind enough to share this story with me and give permission for me to share it with you too.

Of course Yvonne has her own site. This particular story appears in the May edition of her newsletter.
Yvonne has put together some terrific stories and a favourite is called cassowary. I also found a story on burning National Parks very interesting and Yvonne raises some very valid points.

Well once again I have talked too much so I will hand you over to Yvonne without any further ado!

Let’s Go Down to the Beach
By Yvonne Cunningham

Going down to the beach is the iconic pastime of Australians.

My sweetest childhood memories are of adventures on beaches in north Queensland.

I remember camping at Cowley Beach [south of Innisfail], one school holidays; hard to believe over fifty years ago. My sister and I had a small boat with a five horse-power seagull outboard and in the day time we explored the Barnard Islands, other beaches, waded in seagrass and floated with dugong.
The Barnard Islands are close to the Army Training Camp which is part of the beautiful Cowley Beach and Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

At night we roamed Cowley beach, chased ghost crabs as they bobbed out of their subterranean home in the sand. We found the flipper imprints of turtles and fruitlessly searched for their nests.
We played in the phosphorous algae tossed ashore by waves.

We scuttled after mudskippers and soldier crabs and were alarmed by the loud cries of the curlews.
We followed the footprints of wallabies and cassowaries in the sand and lay on our backs on the beach and looked at the sky.
We woke to the morning chorus of birds
and ran to search the tide line of the beach for flotsam and shells until we were called for breakfast.
A beach is a wondrous place to a child then and now.
The dynamic, vibrant ecosystem of the beach has an interdependent and equally important relationship with the foreshore and the dune, mangrove and forest community.

The foreshore likewise has an interdependent relationship with marine creatures and birds on the close offshore Islands of the World Heritage Great Barrier Reef.
At high tide beaches are fish feeding grounds and the mosaic of life forms that live in the damp sands are not only food for other marine creatures they have been shown to form a structure that binds and stabilise beach sand preventing serious erosion.The animals that live in the sand are essential foods for sandpipers, godwits and all the migratory waders that visit Queensland beaches as well as the local Cassowaries.
Cowley beach remained virtually pristine until vehicles were allowed on the beach when the track to Liverpool Creek became blocked by debris following Cyclone Larry.

The Cassowary Coast Regional Council installed a ‘beach ladder’ to enable vehicles to access the beach more easily.
and now the beach has become a raceway for 4WD and four wheeler vehicles.
Visit Cowley Beach and see what has happened.

Ring the Cassowary Coast Regional Council 40302222, tell them you support their rethink of the situation and their proposed new plan to keep vehicles off beaches in the shire; this will save money as the Council will no longer have to repair damage done to beaches and dunes by vehicles; Well done CCRC.

Thank you Yvonne for taking us on a trip back in time at Cowley Beach and hopefully some of the wonders of this beach will be rightfully restored in the not too distant future.

Cheers Russ

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